We're sometimes asked why we choose to live a good 45 minute drive from our place of work. It's a legitimate question, and there are nights when we get home at 11 pm or midnight that it indeed seems to make little sense to live up here, closer to the Continental Divide than our place of work. But the truth is, I'm not sure I ever want to live in the city, because I much prefer the mountains and woods.
You see, there is something about living here, above it all, that is good for the soul. There is a defined place to work and a clear place where you leave it behind. For me, it's right around when you come up through the narrows, just past the waterfall, up the last rise, where you feel that goodness of the mountains and cliffs and waterfalls and leave the chaos behind. And then, passing the dam, with the lake in the foreground, the sparkling town of Nederland on the far western shore, more mountains, until the end at the rocky and snowy crags of the Continental Divide. Our home is tucked in there somewhere, in a place called Happy Valley.
Today was a classic example. It was busy day at work, I suppose the pre-Mother's Day rush. We had a lot of late-comers, and by the time we got out this evening it was nearly seven. I was in an irate mood, caused by not enough time outdoors and too much time breathing the recycled air of the store.
What to do? The thing we always do: use these mountains surrounding our home to find peace. Elaine is feeling slightly under the weather, so I made this a solo mission. Up into the rapidly fading May light, through the dense forest, across the river and up what is left of the skin track.
It's bordering comical. There is a significant stretch where you're hiking in ski boots up a calf deep river of snow melt. But I sort of like the comedy of it all. While I like "quality" adventures as much as anybody, I find it's the goofy times created as a result of getting out nearly every day that sticks with me. The summit is always nice, but in some ways I prefer slogging through the tussocks to get there.
I went hard tonight and it felt good. It felt good to sweat away the stresses of work and the irate customers. It felt good to breathe the fresh Rocky Mountain spring air. It felt good to keep the head lamp switched to off as long as possible to allow the eyes to gain night vision. And yes, it felt good to top out and see the twinkling village below, and the great divide above. All in all, it felt good and it brought happiness.
And that, more than anything, is why we choose to live in the mountains, despite the inconveniences it sometimes brings.