“The mountains are calling and I must go.”

Is there anything more appealing to flatlanders than mountains? Massive upheavals of rock seem so exotic when you come from a land of endless expanses and unbroken horizons.

Mountains insight both awe and fear. There is no better feeling than climbing to the top and looking at the world from a novel top-down vantage point. But mountains also contain scary elements like bears, rapidly changing weather conditions, and steep ski slopes. Regardless, I return at least once a year to worship at their feet. I pray to the mountain gods for an injury-free ski trip and some powder days, for good measure. I bargain with the weather gods for stable conditions so we can camp and hike in peace and relative comfort. Sometimes they hear me out. Other times, they let me know who’s really in charge.

I just returned from a trip to Vail to watch two good friends get married. This journey required no pre-praying to the gods. We stayed in a VRBO house and all of our hikes were of the pleasure cruise variety. Best of all, the weather was amazing. Warm sunny days, followed by cool, clear nights. The aspens were so bright they appeared to be dots of fire scattered across wide swaths of green pines. One week gave us just enough time to experience the best of Colorado: breathtaking views from on high and down below, hidden waterfalls, caves, hot springs and the tallest sand dunes in North America.

There is magic in the mountains and it’s available in abundance this time of year. To be continued…

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