We've moved out of the dreaded fire season and into something much more palatable…monsoon season. While the mornings are humid, the evenings bring cool air, rain, clouds, thunder and all the things that make summer life at 8,800 feet above sea level palatable. I'm not a summer person…never have been and doubt I ever will be, but the past week has been much more enjoyable than the previous month and a half.
It's been a bizarre summer, in some ways a summer of waiting and reloading for future adventures. For the very near future, we plan a big one: either a hike of the entire Continental Divide Trail or, perhaps more motivating and inspiring, a hike north from home to very far northern terminus of the Great Divide Trail near the Yukon border. The former has been done before. The latter would be an expedition into true adventure. In the meantime, we wait. Little medical things to take care of, dental work to get done, a work place to keep running and optimistic. Life basically. I struggle with it, because I realize life doesn't last forever, but it's not a terrible fate. For summer in Happy Valley is downright delightful.
We've done a lot of different activities. While May was spent for me largely sick after a brutal and hard ski season, June had copious amounts of mountain biking and hiking. We'd ride in on weekends, a 25 mile jaunt through the woods and dirt roads between here and 633 South Broadway. Elaine got some clipless pedals this spring and it's made a big difference in her progression. It's been a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to next week to get back into it. We're taking a NOLS Wilderness First Responder Class at C.U., and the schedule is quite conducive to bike commuting.
July this year has been a foray into trail running. Elaine's been heading out with Ester and Jill, and last week I finally got the guts to go run with her! I completed the longest run of my life last Wednesday, the 18 mile High Lonesome Loop. Truth is, running hurts the heck out of me, but it's good. I've been struggling with some breathing issues all summer, and I've noticed it gets worse in heat and when the pollen is high. I suspect it's allergies, and I'm looking forward to that season slowly, slowly dying off. Anyway, the run was great and while my legs felt like dead weights by the end, I was excited that I really never got too sore! We completed the look in 4:45, which I'm told is a respectable time.
We've also done a fair amount of roller skiing. We signed up for a Tuesday evening roller ski training group down in Boulder with Adam St. Pierre and it's been a real learning experience. At least half the battle for me is feeling comfortable on the darned things, especially on the downhills. They're scary! It's also hot as heck, as I'm just not used to exercising in 95° heat. Despite that, there has been improvement, and I'm looking forward to continued progression. We also got some classic roller skis and lately I've taken to skiing up Shelf with a small backpack and then hiking back down. It feels as close to skinning as anything I've ever done, except for that you don't want to get into the habit of a lazy kick! I enjoy the steady exertion up and the peaceful walk through the forest back down.
Work has been trying this summer. I don't want to go into details, but it's been a struggle keeping the team together and motivated. I put a lot of responsibility on myself and feel an obligation to the community to keep the store as iconic as it's always been. It's more than a retail store…it's a community gathering point. The personal struggle for me…stay optimistic at all times. I think I'm doing a decent job, but there is always room for improvement.
As is always the case, when life tosses lemons my way, nature heals. Be it a calm moment on the rock above the creek, or just standing in the forest listening to the aspen leaves rustle, or hiking to the overlook or lakes on the divide and soaking it all in, I find all the stresses of life slowly fade away and the mind reach an equilibrium. I really have nothing to complain about actually, for I live with a beautiful person in a beautiful place and get to do what I love for work, current challenges aside. Our health is pretty good and our fitness is building quite well for the upcoming winter. I'm cautiously excited to see where I'm at this winter. We're certainly putting in the work.
I started writing this again because I've been feeling like I have stuff to say, and I need an outlet. This was a nice intro. Writing feels good, and I think I'll do it more moving forward.