every year i spend time in Colorado for work. often times my work trips are spent in cities, but on this particular occasion, i knew i had meetings in Estes Park, Colorado. the thought had me squirming with enthusiasm. it was a work trip, and a busy one at that, but when life gives you lemons, you wake up at 4am, drive 45 minutes to meet Mr J and his pup at the trailhead, and squeeze in a 10 mile hike before the work day begins.
for four months Mr J. and i had planned this trip:
leave home at dark.
meet at the trailhead.
10 mile hike.
hustle back to Estes.
throw my hair into a bun.
change into work clothes.
scarf down some breakfast.
be ready for our first work meeting at 10am.
it was genius. and nothing was going to stop us. not even the persistent rain that had dominated Colorado’s forecast for the previous two weeks.
so, at 4am i threw on my waterproofs and set out for Blue Lake:
when we finally made it to the trailhead, Mr J and i both admitted that it was much colder and wetter than we had hoped it would be when we formulated our plan months ago. but that is the great thing about accountability. we both knew the other was going to be there waiting, so there was no backing out.
Mr J and i headed into the green, and had great conversation on life. he had a lot of questions for me regarding thefirst2hours. i shared many stories with him regarding my motivations, and in turn he shared stories with me about a goal he had recently set with visions of a healthier life.
300 Days of Mount Sanitas. every day for 300 days, Mr J planned on hiking Mount Sanitas right outside of his home town of Boulder. it is a 3 mile round trip hike with nearly 1,400 feet of elevation gain, and he is there every day. so if you find yourself on Mount Sanitas, keep and eye out for this friendly face.
we meandered over the river and through the woods, capturing many picturesque sights along the way.
the landscape gradually changed from one of lush green foliage, to more extreme mountain peaks that acted as a quick reminder of the power of Mother Nature.
in the last mile of the hike, we alternated between walking on snow, and rock.
i could feel a shift in temperature. the clouds started to get darker, the fog got thicker. i lost feeling in my fingers. what felt like sun burn on my cheeks was actually from the wind. this could only mean that Blue Lake was right around the corner.
the three of us took some time to soak in our surroundings.
it was 7am.
we were encompassed in the beauty of nature.
we hadn’t seen another person all morning.
i found myself a comfortable rock where i posted up to sit in silence. Mr J and Winnie ran around with glee on our accomplishment.
unfortunately we had limited minutes for reflection because we had a strict timeline to stick to. after scarfing down a bit of trail mix, we forced ourselves to turn and head back down the mountain. it was impossible to think that a day that began with such an invigorating adventure, would soon be taken over with meetings.
but it put a smile on my face to know that most people were starting their thursday morning off with a coffee and a commute. most didn’t take advantage of their day and thefirst2hours. most didn’t get exercise or get lost in nature. most didn’t spend time getting to know more about a colleague and friend. most didn’t make lemonade.
life is all about these moments. and i am thankful i have friends like Mr J to enjoy them with.