Is it just me, or is the lure of the mountains irresistible?
I tried to get away once. Deciding to stretch my wings, I moved to the Ozarks to attend college and then stayed for 12 years. Actually, I loved it there. However, it couldn’t hold me as I finally made my way back West.
When I first moved away I swore I would never return to the cold, dry climate of Colorado. In all fairness, it’s not that cold here, but my thin skin enjoyed the warm humidity of the Midwest/South. I still get chilled if the temperature drops below 80, but find me a warm spot in the sun and out of the breeze and I’m happy year-round. When we purchased our condo, I made sure that the windows faced south, along with our patio. I now have a perfect panorama of the gorgeous mountains enjoyable 12 months out of the year.
Every day I stare at those mountains and never get tired of them.
I was born in Cheyenne, raised in Denver, and eventually hung my hat in Colorado Springs. For a few years, I even lived up the mountains, above the clouds, near Florissant and Woodland Park. Every time I think I need to move to a beach, I look at the mountains and realize that there’s an undefinable connection. I belong here.
I consider myself a native even though I spent the first 5 years of my life 8 miles north of the Colorado state line. Nevertheless, I am a Rocky Mountain Girl. Always will be. My family roots are all in Wyoming, and I’m the first generation in quite awhile to grow up south of the Wyoming border, but I don’t see much of a line. The Rocky Mountains define both states in the same way. Rugged, real, inspiring.
THE CHALLENGE OF THE MOUNTAINS
While gazing at the mountains, I don’t see them as merely a source of entertainment as some do – sure, it’s a great place to ski, hike, snowboard, fish, explore, bike – but I see history, culture, majesty, protection, a call to adventure. I see family legacy, the birthplace of determination, and ridiculous vision.
Those mountains seem to challenge us to push ourselves to the limit and then go a little farther; then as I look at Pikes Peak in particular, it’s like the mountain whispers, “You can do it! Don’t give up. Dreams are born here and I am a standing monument to the biggest dreams in history.”
It leaves me speechless. I literally see America The Beautiful every day of my life.
AWE-INSPIRING… AND TERRIFYING
As I watch the shadows fall on the eastern face of the mountain range or the wispy fingers of storms clouds crawl over the mountain tops and into the city below, as I drive along the pine-scented roads or hear the howl of the coyotes at night, I wonder what it was like to have blazed the trail of a new nation. These mountains are awe-inspiring, but they are also terrifying. If you live here for very long, you realize that the mountains that are so welcoming and invigorating will also unapologetically take you out within a moment’s notice. Many come to conquer the mountains, but they are fools who do not respect their power. The warm, rising sun often catches the unsuspecting hiker off guard as the weather turns into a frightening snowstorm or flooding rain out of nowhere.
One minute you can hear the roar of traffic from a trailhead, and the next minute you are engulfed in the silence of the mountains. The only thing speaking are the trees. First, it’s strangely quiet and then the trees roar. For me, at that moment, I sense how small and terribly alone I am out there. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that my heart always races in my chest until I return to my car. It’s like I’m being chased by the very sound of the mountains. It’s eerie and exhilarating at the same time.
ENVY THE WILD
Many nights, I stare out my windows at the twinkling of the lights along the side of the foothills, and even on the darkest night, you can make out the outline of the tops of the mountain range. The darkness of those hills is deeper than the blackest night. The darkness of the hills pull you in and swallow you up without the slightest effort.
People have always attempted to conquer the mountains. The massive granite peaks stand resolute, offering sanctuary for the wild. There is a mystery in those hills, and the curiosity of people will never be fully satisfied…thankfully.
Perhaps that’s why I can’t pull myself away from them. There is much more that I need to conquer. There will always be a need for the wilderness, that which is untameable. The call of the wild is always insatiable. If we were honest with ourselves…We envy the wild.