August 18, 2019
Yannis rouses from slumber just after I do. I am sitting perched upon the leather couch in the main room. Sky is slowly waking herself up as Yannis and I conference over the evening before. The sky was unlike any we’d ever seen and we spent the return leg of our evening hike looking up at it in wonder.
Yannis pours water from the cooler and sets it to boil whilst I watch the hummingbirds outside. I take a handful of trail mix and proceed to munch on it as we waited for the world’s coldest stove to boil our water. Skyler joins us shortly after and we wait together.
We say our goodbyes. Sky is taking a ride from the Walden wilderness to a city just outside of Aspen. Her driver? Myself.
The Nissan is coaxed from its dusty place of rest and navigated down the rocky hill. After a few bumps that seemed aggressive, we made it to the mouth of the driveway and pulled out. Thus began our trek 91 miles south.
9:45 AM-11:30 AM
We stop for the bathroom after talking nonstop for the past hour and fifteen. To be with Sky induces the nicest feelings from within me. Our friendship spans decades now, I had not seen her for a year and some change. So much was discussed between us from my old relationships to my new ones to her future to our future together.
The drive resumed after a five minute wait. We chatted ever longer until we reached her car. In a series of grateful hugs and grins and exclamations, we were separated once again.
Sky will never change in her importance to me. A steadfast pillar, Sky’s friendship will weather all storms that may take me hostage. Saying goodbye is never painful because of this.
11:30 AM- 2:15 PM
Colorado is a beautiful example how water can shape our landscapes. Oceans and rivers carved great rocky behemoths into the land. Highways weave through the aftermath, taking passengers through a scene more entertaining than most films.
Peace and fear cohabited the free space in my mind as I worked my way back to Walden. I listened to a podcast as I maneuvered and felt comforted by the familiar voices coming from my stereo. During these moments, I wondered about the days ahead, the months, the years. A bounty of emotion ferried alongside my thoughts, eliciting tears of joy most often with smatterings of fearful tears in between.
This state is really something to behold. I am reminded by a thought to recommend long drives through the mountains to anyone who needs to answer some existential questions.
2:15 PM – 3 PM
I make it back to homebase. A feast of salad awaits me thanks to Yannis’ preparation. Together we chat about what busies our minds as we dine. We head out after cleaning up to hike out one final time before we depart the next day.
3 PM – End
The trees always bring with them a sense of calm. You enter their domain to be transported into a world that is both alien and familiar. Wind flows like water through the aspen leaves. The shivering sound that results is harmonious, tranquil.
Humans thrive within nature and experiencing it on foot is leagues better than through the windshield of a car. We walk up slopes and switchbacks in silence. The noise of the forest urge us not to interrupt and we are further lost in their world.
In these moments of solitude where the focus remains on putting one foot in front of the other, I find answers to mysteries. Countless hours are gone from this day, having been spent cruising through Colorado both by car and foot. A theme planted itself in my head after Sky departed, took root and is now revealing itself from the soil.
Among these stoic trees and unpredictable wilderness, my identity comes to find me from beyond the ridge. It sees that idea growing there, waters it.
At this point I am not yet sure what it may be but I trust the process.
We see deer and cows grazing in mountain meadows. We return back to hummingbirds buzzing about the cabin. We settle in to sleep.
I think that mystery bud will bloom soon. I’m excited to know what it may be.