Last Saturday we packed our cars and headed up the Poudre Canyon toward the Nokhu Crags, a jagged rock formation in the Never Summer Mountains just northwest of the Continental Divide. We were in search of the inspiration behind our latest beer release, the NOKHU IPA, and our brewer Ben Petersen was eager to take a sip at its base.
We hit Cameron Pass and turned left when we saw the gnarly razor top of Nokhu. As usually happens when I first breath in mountain air after a long time in the city, I felt like Jack London going north on the Klondike rush, and rammed my station-wagon through a thick snowbank. An off-duty firefighter and his dad walked up, removed their snowshoes, and asked a bit wearily, "What were you thinking?" Wasn't thinking sir, just quite happy to be up here. They pulled us out and finally warmed up when we mentioned a pint of NOKHU would be on the house next time they were in Fort Collins.
He pointed us west a few miles and a dirt road led to a huge meadow, worthy of the most epic of mountain parties (more on that to come). Ben and I set out with an ax to collect some wood, and the rest of the evening we sat around the fire and dreamed about the future of our small brewery beneath a million stars.
We woke up a bit later than expected, made some eggs and coffee over the fire, and set off toward Nokhu. After a few hours the pine trees opened up and we stared down at Agnus Lake, the gigantic wall of the "Sleeping Indian" towering above us. We were finally there, and all raised a glass of NOKHU to the mountain that bore its name.