Reflections from the Continental Divide
The mountains aren't just for skiing. Summer is a perfect time to visit the West.
It seems strange to be sitting in an open meadow of Colorado wildflowers and writing my column this week, but that's exactly what I’m doing.
I'm at the Continental Divide where the elevation is 11,750 feet. I'll admit, it's a little tough to breathe, but I love it.
I wish I could write from this spot every week. This is a true “Mountain View.” Talk about inspiration!
In front of me lies a ring of 12,000-plus-foot peaks known as the San Juan Mountains, many still covered in snow.
Snow in July? Yes! My boys just enjoyed a great snowball fight as a matter of fact. This is just part of why I love Colorado in the summer.
This is my heaven on Earth.
I think back to the 19th century when pioneers carved their way through these rugged mountains and dry deserts in search of a good life. Such challenges they faced as they struggled across open prairies, rocky ravines and snow-covered mountains. They sacrificed so much, and many lost their lives.
Yet somehow I envy them. How simple life was. The main concerns were shelter, food and family. They weren’t thinking about the voicemails left back at home, the bills that need to be paid, or the kind of new car they should buy.
Even from the top of this Divide in southwestern Colorado my iPhone picks up a full signal. I’m uploading pictures on Facebook and sitting on a rock with my computer resting on my lap.
(An elk just ran by – no joke.)
I know we've come a long way in terms of modern conveniences. Don’t get me wrong - I do love my iPhone. I probably would have a tough time if I were time-warped back into 1876 and living with Ma and Pa Ingalls in a “little house on the prairie.”
I’d definitely want to ‘friend’ Laura and Mary on Facebook.
But I always feel a connection to that life -- the peace and tranquility of a quiet lookout where the breeze is cool but the sun is warm. Simple daily tasks like baking bread and washing clothes would bring a sense of accomplishment and worth.
I often joke that I must have been reincarnated from that time, only I forgot how to cook.
My heart melts when I visit the Rocky Mountains. When I try to explain their majesty to others who have never been there, it never does the place justice. Pictures don’t either. You have to BE there.
It’s the same with the Grand Canyon. We passed through there a few nights ago, and the surreal nature of the place just can’t be spoken or described. You have to be standing there at the edge of the rim, feeling the dimensions, smelling the pine, feeling the breeze.
There’s something about this part of the country that makes me feel so insignificant, yet so happy.
I can’t emphasize enough how grand our country is. I know many folks who travel “down the shore” or to Disney every year. It’s a family tradition for many.
I value traditions, but I also think you haven’t quite experienced life until you’ve traveled to some of our nation’s greatest treasures. We are so blessed to have such great diversity right in our very own country.
As a child I “lived” in 42 states. My parents wanted to explore and see what else was out there, so they purchased a converted school bus and we headed west. I lived on the road until I was 7.
I believe this has much to do with my innate feeling of wanting to be on the road, wanting to explore. My friends ask how I can leave for several weeks at a time. EASY. I ache for the open road.
THIS is living life! If you've never left the East coast of the United States, I highly recommend it. Break out of the mold! Do something new!
Gotta go … my husband just texted me to say he and the boys are returning to the trailhead.
Sigh. See what I mean about technology?