Whenever summer rolls around here in the Colorado mountains I make it a point to get out and hike. Whenever winter comes I make it a point to get out and ski. Living in such a beautiful place I feel obligated to be out and about. I can’t fathom not being outside in the summer or on the ski slopes in the winter (that’s if there is good snow) on my day off. To me it seems like a waste if I am not taking advantage of all that Colorado has to offer especially when it comes to being in the ministry and not knowing if God will call me and Becca away to another place (with God one never knows). Come next month I’ll have lived here for 3 years and counting. In that time I am amazed at how much I’ve gotten used to the Colorado way of life. In some ways I am amazed by how much I have come to take on the culture here without even realizing it. This really hit me the other day when I went hiking in the beautiful Gore Range.
On Monday I hiked to Pitkin Lake, a 4.7 mile hike (9.4 miles round trip) that starts at 8,440 ft and ends at 11,420 ft. Like any hike in Colorado it was beautiful. From the Aspen trees to the waterfalls to the little lakes to the rugged peaks, it truly is God’s country. But it’s what happened when I reached the lake that made me realize that maybe I’m a Coloradan now. When I got to the lake I met some people who had just reached the lake before me. They were relaxing and enjoying the sights and as is usual when you’re the only human beings in about a 5 mile radius you get to talking with one another. Also, it’s always interesting to find out where people are from and what they’re doing in Colorado. Usually its vacationers from around the country and sometimes the world. But this go around they, like me, were locals. Two of them were from Vail and the other was from Edwards. When they found out that I was from Glenwood Springs they asked me about how the weather was out our way (it’s been really dry here this year). We also began to comment on how surprised we were by how much snow there was up by the lake due to our incredibly dry and warm winter. This followed with us sharing different hiking stories about where we’ve been and what we’ve seen. Commenting on the past snow levels and what hikes were hard and what were easy. One of the guys then asked me about how skiing was out by me and I then lamented how horrible it was this year to which he expressed how horrible it was in Vail as well. We then began to talk about the skiing conditions that we encountered and how we didn’t get our money’s worth out of our passes. And this is when I realized that I might be a Coloradan. You see we were talking about things that three years ago I had no clue about. Now I was able to converse and find commonality with people in ways that were foreign to me a few years earlier. Not only that but I was able to talk with a certain level of knowledge and experience which, I must admit, felt really cool. I now have a decent amount of knowledge in regards to the culture and gear related to hiking and skiing. I have a better sense of the workings of the wilderness and a deeper appreciation and respect for nature and the environment. It could be said that I have become hippie-esque in my outlook on life but maybe that’s just the Holy Spirit.
So I guess I’m a Coloradan now.