On Friday the 27th of July, your AAS decided to head north for a bit of Colorado flavor, settling into AAS-vanced Base Camp (ABC) in the Crestone Group of 14'ers. I had the honor of being the advance team, making an admirable (if I do say so) charge at the South Colony 4X4 road on Friday, making it about half way up before parking my Subie lest it become a permanent fixture of the landscape. 1,700 vertical feet and about 3.5 miles later, I established ABC in a prime spot at the outlet of Lower South Colony Lake at about 11,600 feet, with Crestone Needle and Humboldt Peak towering overhead on either side, and went off for a bit of relaxing fly-casting for what may be Colorado's native Cutthroat Trout. About a half-hour of that went by before Eric, Dan, Paul, and Kirk arrived fresh from some quality truck rodeo on the back of Kirk's spankin'-new stock FJ Cruiser, which apparently had little difficulty in making it to the end of the road, in respectable company with rock-crawlers, lifted jeeps, and other such Earth-stomping beasts. Not being ones to waste any time, we immediately engaged in a half-AAS'd round of Hackey whilst alternately Paul and Eric fiddled with Paul's pipe in a vain attempt to make it smoke. In a fit of frustration, Paul called on his AAS-honed ingenuity to fashion a pipe from some deliciously zucchini bread-encrusted aluminum foil (thanks, Courtney! And Eric, of course, for sharing).
On-and-off drizzle and glowering clouds told us we were probably going to be in for a soaking...and sure enough, just before dinner we were chased into our tents by the rain. Undaunted, we enjoyed premium tobacco products, our dinners sans trout, and a fine red table wine from the makers of Clif Bar (a blend appropriately called "Climber" -- highly recommended, though they need to get the bottle weight down if it's going to become one of our Ten Essentials).
Around sunset the rain let up and our attentions turned next to cooking our hard-won trout, which had been seasoning in fresh mountain stream runoff for several hours. Paul used a secret AAS technique to produce fire from soaked wood, and soon a roaring fire was the envy of all lesser groups camped in the area. The trout was, of course, delish.
Sunday dawned clear, with stunning alpenglow on Crestone Needle followed by a brilliant sunrise. After some discussion, it was decided that Humboldt Peak was indeed worthy of a morning AAS-sault, Bravado in ample supply as we were at least an hour late getting on the trail despite gray clouds quickly building. Dan, displaying superior hubris and clear disdain for the conditions, threw aside early bonking and summited triumphantly with the rest of your AAS -- let it never be said that a piece of AAS is better than the whole. Er, that is to say, an AAS parted is...well, we stuck together, and that's the main point I'm trying to get across here.
A few hours later found us back at camp and packing up wet gear for the short 1.5 mile hike back to the AAS-mobile, followed by some brief truck rodeo on the way down and a customary apres-hike grease-bomb-n-beer AAS luncheon in Westcliffe prior to adjournment.
Here's the video Paul put together: