When Failure is Success Plus Travel Blog

As I mentioned I had a business trip to Billings this week. I left at 4am Sunday so I could have some time before my flight to Billings early Monday morning. As I have previously written I hate these early morning flights because I have a recurring nightmare that I am get up late and I miss my flight. This week I had the nightmare 2 times already (and tomorrow’s flight will be the 3rd) early flights. I tried to go to bed earlier and after about 1 hour of tossing and turning I am finally able fall asleep.  I wake up numerous times and check the clock.  I usually wind up getting up before the alarm anyway.

Sunday night I did sleep better because I medicated myself. No I didn’t do drugs or drink. I took a natural supplement called enjoying the day. I arrived in Denver at 7:30am. I picked up my rental car and headed to the mountains.  I had decided to visit a place I have driven by well over 50 times the last 40 years. I did some research and looked at some maps.

Everything looks so easy and accessible on Google maps. I lock my destination in my mind, but first I needed a good breakfast. I do my best breakfast In Denver Google search and pick Mimi’s Cafe right off of I70. I am a big egg and meat breakfast guy. Mimi’s omelet did the trick. The foothills had a slight tint of white, the first snow! I love winter and my mind drifted off to snowshoeing and snowboarding. It was a crisp, windy, crystal blue sky day.

As I drive into the mountains, everything has a surreal white crystal look from the snow. Higher up the aspens had just dropped their leaves. I have never been in the Rockies when the aspens are their golden yellow color and I just missed that this trip. I pass all my familiar landmarks, Mother Cabrini ShrineBuffalo Bills grave, the buffalo herd overlook, the James Bond house hanging on the side of the mountains by Evergreen, the steep downhill where US 6 and Clear Creek come together. It was like coming home. Right before the tunnel to Idaho springs there is a herd of bighorn sheep on the side of the road.

I drive past the Argo gold mill, the dilapidated Stanley Mine. I am closing in on my destination Guanella Pass above Georgetown. As I have previously mentioned I love old mining history, mines and ghost towns. The Georgetown area has acted like a magnet, pulling me back to explore for almost 40 years.

I pull off the road; change into my hiking boots while stop to buy 3 liters of water. Now I am ready to start the drive up Guanella Pass. I drift into that Colorado trance feeling high on life. John Denver was right there is a Rocky Mountain High.  My original plan was to hike up Mt Wilcox a 14,000 footer. I saw snow in the shade at about 10,000 feet and drove to the trailhead at the top of the pass. I got out and assessed the situation. There were elk hunters in the willows in their blazing orange, the snow went all the way up and it was in the 40’s with 20 mph wind. I abandoned this hike for one up the old railroad grade to the ghost of Waldorf which once had the highest post office in the US at 11,666ft. It was a 14 mile round trip hike with a 2,000+ foot elevation gain, a hard hike, but mostly in the trees and more importantly out of the wind.

I get into my slow but persistent pace as I work up the 4 switchbacks past rushing streams coated with their first layers of ice. I pass all kinds of abandoned silver mines.

I stop for a giant breath and just want to stop. No one would know except that inner voice. As its lips begin to taunt me, I started back walking up the hill. Commitment to complete something really is hard, especially when there is no one to hold you accountable except yourself.

Once I reach the old railroad grade it’s a constant 4% grade up. A couple of ATV’s blow by me then it’s the constant song of the wind blowing thru the trees, broken by an occasional bird chirp and rushing water sound from the creek down the drainage. I pass some confusing side roads and then I hear a rumble of multiple vehicles behind me. A group of 4 wheelers pass me by as they wave. After 2 miles I see a glimpse of someone walking ahead of me.

After another half mile a middle aged women walks towards me. I stop her and ask her to take my picture. She is looking for the trail to Silver Plume. She walks with me for about 1/2 mile before she realizes she has to head the other way. She was the only other hiker I saw the whole day. I continued up the trail. I was getting tired and I stopped for some water sitting on a rock. Then it hit me all my worries and thoughts had disappeared. Like a giant reset button I had found another exit from the fast lane.

I started back up the mountain and another 4 wheeler came up. He stopped and asked if I was ok, he said the mine was still 3 miles away and a steep climb. I could glimpse the snow covered peaks thru the swaying pines. I watched him disappear up the gravel and rock covered road. I decide to walk another mile as it was getting past 3:30 and I hit the wall of high altitude, early wakeup, and realization I still had to walk 4 miles back. I take off my backpack and soak in the scenery. I felt truly at peace. It was a special feeling.

Yet I had failed to reach my goal, the Waldorf mine. Ironically, failure to reach my goal was success because I set my goal so high I had little chance of achieving it. I realized the real goal was the adventure of the journey which took time, energy and pain to pull together. Out of the millions of people within 100 miles only one other person decided to hike this path and she lived a few miles away, I flew 1000 miles, rented a car and drove another 75 to get here.

I started back with that satisfied inner feeling and big smile knowing I will be back and next time I will finish the hike. Sometimes you have to try multiple times to reach where you really want to go.

My lesson of the day:

Failure is when you stop trying, not when you fail trying.

And the corollary

Success is not success if the goal is not high enough.

While walking uphill is against gravity, I usually don’t trip on the rocks. Going downhill I tend to move faster and I catch myself losing my balance on the road’s rocks and ruts multiple times. I set my pace and get back to my car as the sun disappears behind the surrounding mountain peaks casting its slowing moving shadow past my car and down the road.

8 miles and around 1,500 feet vertical in 4 1/2 hours of hiking, my heart was racing and I was dirty, and tired as I let the wind blow on my feet as I changed shoes by my car.  I felt content, thankful and happy that I could spend a day like this as I drove back to Denver and reality.

Like always my question for you is when was the last time you failed at something and then set your mind to try again? And did you set the bar high enough?

Hike Porn

Guanella Pass Summit Snowline 12,000 feet.


Old Railroad grade I hiked, Waldorf at arrow over right shoulder

Ice in streams and looking down on Georgetown.

Travel blog

Billings Montana this morning – The taxi comes to pick me up at 6am it’s still dark.  I walk out to the open trunk and see luggage already in the trunk. I glance thru the mirror be see a passenger in the back seat. I ask the driver who looks like a stereotypical Montana cowboy is this a shared ride?

His answer was a classic start to another day.

this ain’t a New York taxi you’re in Billings

I take the front seat and notice he is correct. There isn’t even a meter.   He radios the taxi dispatch office to say he got me and they say the fare is $13

On my way to the airport I ask him for the background for the Billings taxi procedures. He tells me there are only 4 cabs in the city. The dispatch office figures the fares and coordinates the pickup and combining of different passengers. It works and the fare was decent, it’s just different.

On my trip from Denver to Billings I got pissed at the Denver TSA. I was in the XRay line from hell. I watched people who were behind me blow by me in the lines on the left and right of me. I watched them change the X-ray screen readers 2 times each one fooling around 5 minutes adjusting their chairs and screens.

I was boiling. I have zero respect for the TSA these are people who could never find a real job. They are lazy robot employees no different than 3rd world sweatshops workers. The only difference is they process people, take off your shoes, empty your pockets, put liquids in bag, remove your belt, laptop in a separate tray, stand in X-ray machine with hands above head (I always do that giving them the finger). But I fear them, as they hold the power to make life difficult.

And I just hate their power to make millions miserable for so little benefit when was last time you saw a news report of the TSA stopping a terrorist? They let Dustin and I get on a plane with 2 8 inch knives when we went to Africa.

So I took a risk and complained to the TSA supervisor. I asked him what is going on. I get that who you think you are to ask me a question stare. I tell him I have been in line 25 minutes and the other lines are moving in 10 minutes he doesn’t believe me, then the 2 people next to me in line speak up and tell him the same thing. I suggest if they have a problem just close the line. He rolls his eyes. You want more government we got it in the form of big brother.

The Lorry Government Employee No Respect List Top 5

  1. TSA
  2. Dept Motor Vehicles
  3. Dept of Unemployment
  4. IRS
  5. Congress

On to more important topics as I feel better now that I vented.

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