The living room floor was covered in gear and supplies all laid out and organized in piles and distinct sections. We were prepping for our overnight backpacking journey up into the San Juan Mountains to camp in a valley by the Ice Lakes. We had to divy up supplies and see whose pack could carry which things. We hadn’t even begun our journey, but I was excited. The spirit of adventure was alive and thriving.
I could see them from seventy miles away, the Great Sand Dunes of Colorado. I was intrigued by this park well before arriving. It was another park I heard very little about. It was founded as a National Monument in 1932 by Herbert Hoover but gained the title National Park and Preserve in 2004 by an act of Congress.
“Why, hello there,” I said to the moose who chose to make my acquaintance. He nonchalantly came by as if we were old friends. I sat at a picnic table off to the side of Coyote Valley. I heard a rustle in the brush behind me, and a moose emerged, ever so unphased.
“Well..." I told him, "we are lost together,” but the stark contract was that I was alive and he wasn’t. It’s like in a movie when someone gets locked in a creepy dungeon cell, or stuck in a remote cave, and a skeleton sits there, as a warning that no one makes it out alive. That’s the type of feeling I entertained for a moment.
Eventually the icy footprints I had been following diminished. They led me right into the upper portion of Timberline Falls. Hmm, am I supposed to climb up the waterfall? I thought. I observed my surroundings. There was absolutely no other way. I didn’t come all this way to give up now, I thought. Onward I must go!
"There’s a moose on the road!” the lady exclaimed. There are no moose in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, I thought. “Just up ahead on the road you’ll see him.” Poor lady, I thought. She doesn’t know the difference between a moose and an elk. However, in my ignorance, I was wrong. She was right.
...then I came back to my senses. I didn’t come all the way out to Colorado to sit in a McDonalds and feel sorry for myself. To make it out here alone, seeing so many beautiful places, and finding my way so effortlessly was an accomplishment of independence and something to be proud of.