Looking into the wilderness, looking into the wilds, from an elevation of 13,000 feet, you feel you are on top of the world. Or perhaps another world. Can you believe such majesty on this earth exists? I wrote to a girlfriend this morning that yesterday the boys rode once again to a place that seems all at the same time as awe inspiring, far away, and inhospitable as the moon.
Only an hour’s ride from our front door brings them there, when it’s just the two of them, no one to slow them down, riding as a team, two as one, on a track they know so well, on a mountain they know like no one else.
They come home and tell me stories of dropping down into Stony Pass, when the rest of us struggle to make it up to Stony
I have been there before, in summer, on horseback, when I feel invincible and limitless; when I have no boundaries, and there are few places I fear and will not go; when there is dirt and rocks and solid ground beneath me and my horse, and trails leaving some sort of trace for me to follow and feel the comfort of knowing where I am and where I am going. Shouldn’t looking around and knowing the mountains be enough?
And I have been there before, in winter, on the back of Bob’s snowmobile. It frightens me in winter, this awesome world. I can not make it there on my own. In winter, it is different. There is an immensity, an emptiness, an extremeness, a coldness. There is an intensity and urgency as I have never felt or seen before there in the wind blown snow, the exposed rocks and the jagged peaks swirling around you in this dazzling spectacle we call the High Country. Right here in our back yard of southwestern Colorado.
In winter, it is a different world, wild and free, so rugged and inaccessible and far and away. It is vast and powerful. It is humbling for those who make it up there. Very few do. It is not easy, it is not close, it is not convenient. But I suppose this is also what will save this land. They can never take this away.
Where on earth can you still be so far away from others, 15 miles above me, down here and already so alone on this mountain, already so many miles beyond where anyone else may be?