Windy Peak wasn’t this morning. Oh, it is still a peak, and I reached the 9,141 foot summit at 10:30. But it wasn’t windy.
In fact, the weather was warm and mostly sunny this morning. Dark clouds formed in the afternoon, and I could hear distant thunder as I came down the mountain.
Windy Peak is at the end of a six-mile loop called the Burro Trail in Golden Gate Canyon State Park. The park rates the trail as difficult, and it has some steep spots. But because it’s only six miles, I would call it moderate.
Yesterday I called the park to ask when and where the aspens would be at their peak. The ranger who answered the phone said the peak would come today. This evening the predicted rain and wind would take many leaves off the trees.
The best trails for seeing aspens, she said, were Horseshoe and Burro. I had hiked Horseshoe Trail at least three times. I had never hiked Burro Trail, except for a short section on my June hike along the Mountain Lion Trail. So, my decision to hike the Burro Trail today was an easy one.
I told myself that I was searching for gold. Not the Colorado gold rush of exactly 150 years ago, where miners poured into this territory to look for gold underground. For my search I looked up, not down.
Some of the aspens, however, were still green. Most were yellow. Finally, I found a golden stand within bushwhacking distance of the trail.
An hour and a quarter after finding gold I was approaching Windy Peak and found a stand of one of my favorite plants, the pinedrop. One reason why I like them is that they are so strange.
I was marveling at my good luck on my recent hikes. When, like the aspens, it turned.
My camera failed. The lens kept going in and out nonstop. The same thing happened on a hike with my friend John on the Fowler Trail — but both the camera and the result were different. I had to send that camera in to Sony for repair. I thought that I would have to do the same with my Panasonic Lumix camera today.
Taking a lot of pictures of these pinedrops at different ISO settings, I was close to Windy Peak at 9:40 when my camera stopped working. But I was sanguine about it, figuring that I already had the picture that I came for today, that I could get my camera repaired, and that I could use my Sony in the meantime. In fact, I surprised myself at my even temper.
I am quite a worrier, but this was something that I never worried about. I have been worrying about the soles of my boots separating, if my dreams mean anything.
Still, I had a few regrets that my camera wasn’t available when I reached the peak. It offered a view of the snow-covered Rockies that I enjoyed as I ate my usual sardine snack. And then I climbed down the mountain.
I know that a definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. A commentator in the film Simply Raw said that, and I was impressed enough to remember it.
But I tried again and again to repair my camera anyway. I tried all the controls. Then, almost two hours after it failed, I stopped to pee. Wanting to do something with my hands, I pulled out the camera one more time. This time I changed the menu setting for ISO to “Intelligent ISO,” something that I had never used.
That fixed it! I wasn’t insane!
I resumed having fun with photography. This shot of a bug on a flannel plant was the best of the bunch that I took after the camera began working again.
I learned a lesson from this mishap. From now on I will always have a backup camera in my pack. My Sony camera is already there.