one thing i'm really good at...

I had pretty much planned on not climbing this weekend since Ann and Dylan were taking off on Friday for adventures unknown (to me). Then, Ann called me yesterday afternoon to tell me that they had ended up near Drake, a small town about 20 miles up Big Thompson Canyon, and that I should join them in the morning. We planned on meeting in Drake and then driving up to the trailhead. However, around 9p last night Dylan called to ask if I would mind just meeting them at the trailhead instead, as it would be easier for them, and gave me these directions:

At Drake, turn right on Devil's Gulch Road
Go .3 miles to Forest Road 128
Turn right
Go 5.2 miles to where they're camped

Oh. And there are a couple of 'lefts' that you have to take, but they're pretty obvious.

And we figured since his phone was working up there, then I could just call if I got lost.

So I make it to Drake without incident, but there is no Devil's Gulch Road. After driving through town three times (which took all of five minutes), I finally stopped and asked for directions. The guy I bothered (who had an inordinate amount of nose hair) told me that Devil's Gulch Road starts in Estes Park and ends up in Glen Haven which was about 8 miles away. Hmmmm. That can't be correct. So, I decide to take the only right I can, which is Highway 43. I clock the .3 miles and end up at a road that has a bunch of mailboxes planted by it which makes me think it's a private road where camping can't possibly be allowed. Right before I decide to drive on, I see a brown sign about a quarter mile up the road. So. Even I know that brown signs usually mean trailheads, forest roads, state parks or at least something outdoorsy, so I figure this has to be it and drive on. And. Even though, it's called Storm Mountain Road, not FR 128, I plunge on fearlessly.

Umm. It leads me to what is basically a suburb on the side of the mountain. I come to the first left and it is obvious. Then there's a curve in the road that goes off to the right and there's another road off to the left. However, it's a little narrower than the one I'm on, so I figure it's a driveway and take the curve to the right.

Yeah. Mistake number one.

After winding my way through and dead-ending in a couple of people's driveways, I end up back on Storm Mountain Road and find the place where I made the wrong turn. Unfortunately, by this point I had lost my mileage count and couldn't rely on that to tell me how far I had to go, until, eureka! About 3 miles up the road I see a sign that says FR 128. Whew. I found it and I'm only 30 minutes late.

So I force Bessie up this kind of bumpy, rutty road that dead-ends at FR153. A road that doesn't allow motorized vehicles. And no sign of Ann and Dylan. So, feeling a little frustrated with myself because I obviously can't follow directions, I sit there for a few minutes trying to decide what to do. Finally, I come to the conclusion that I should just turn around and go home. I can't call because Sprint® sucks and I can't get service and driving around aimlessly will do me no good.

When I get back to Loveland my phone starts working again and gives me the voicemail ring, so I log in and there are four messages from Ann and Dylan. Apparently I passed right by them, they tried to chase me down and I didn't see them.

Lesson learned: I obviously need landmarks to find things, and it's probably best not to rely on me being able to find things based on compass directions and street signs, as one thing I'm really good at is getting lost.

The bummer for me is that I don't get to climb today. The bummer for Ann and Dylan is they don't get the frosty cold beers I brought with me.

Oh well. There's always next time.

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