August 15, 2012

Stay for the Goats

Boulder, CO, is something of a mecca for endurance enthusiasts. Trail runners in particular know of the Flatirons, and Green Mountain. This is trail with steady vertical, technical descents, and yet water fountains at the bottom. You get all the pleasure of immersing one's self in the mountains, without worrying about packing anything.

That was what I had hoped to find, in any case. The reality was the most difficult 15 mile run I can recall, my hips and calves protesting the climbs, my quads and knees complaining on the descents. But it felt good to have done it, and I suffered no ill effects. 

Good thing, because after a day of relatively easy exercise, I attempted a somewhat aggressive ascent of Quandary Peak. Popularly considered one of Colorado's easiest 14,000 ft peaks, there was still plenty of scrambling, and 20% (and steeper) grade to slog up. I harbored an unspoken desire to summit in less than 2 hours, but the scenery distracted me too often, and there was simply too much to enjoy. It's hard to press onward when a family of mountain goats idles by, the kids glancing at you curiously, the parents not the slightest bit interested. And so, with a sweat nonetheless broken, I stood at the top in 2 hours and 5 minutes - as best I can tell, a respectable effort. 

This is the part were I would post pictures, if I had them, which I don't. No matter, because a two-dimensional image wouldn't give any real perspective on the experience. Ascending, gasping, and finally, summiting, is a collective sensation that cannot be had, and so it must be chased. That, of course, is why people do it. They go back, higher and faster, because they must. It's a high you earn with burning quads and parched lips.

(I know I said I wouldn't, but here is a picture of me with the goats. There were probably 10 more of them, and seriously, just look. They're beautiful.)

This being a coffee blog, I would be remiss if I omitted a mention of the coffee I've encountered. Although, truth be told, there hasn't been much worth noting. I've consumed too much Starbucks, simply because my hotel has it, and too little local brew. Still, I did manage to stumble upon The Laughing Goat in Boulder, a shop with a moody, almost macabre aesthetic, kombucha, quinoa bars, almond milk, and rich, cocoa laden espresso. It was dry, slightly sweet, and without that lemony acid tang that permeates so many shots. 

Still, this trip was not about the coffee. (Nor, for that matter, was it about the food. I've had a lot of vegetables, potatoes, and various takes on rice and beans. In all seriousness, I can't imagine a more pleasing menu.) I came to see some extended family, and spend more time with my parents and brother. And of course, I came for the mountains, for rocks, dirt, biting air and burning lungs. The goats, laughing and otherwise, were just a bonus. 


  1. Replies
    1. I'm sure I could have; they walked right next to me. I didn't do it, however. They were just so chill that I didn't want to bother them.