I love living in Western Colorado.
Adventure abounds in every season, and we do our darndest as a family to take advantage of it, even in the midst of life’s craziness.
Whether we’re elk hunting, mountain biking, floating the Colorado River, fly fishing or hiking to the top of mountain peaks, I try to sear the experiences into my mind.
But it wasn’t always that way. I grew up in the ‘burbs of the Nati, so I wasn’t accustomed to this way of life. But I am fortunate enough to be married to a true mountain man, who thrives on exploration and adventure in God’s creation.
Now we get to take our son and daughter along. Family adventures are huge for us. We strive to focus on making memories rather than material things.
This type of adventure doesn’t come without a cost though. Often, the unexpected happens. Preparation and respect for the raw ruggedness of nature is required. Yet curveballs still come.
We’ve had flat tires on remote mountain dirt roads, kayaks flipped on the river in peak snowmelt run-off season, trucks, trailers, side-by-sides and anything else with wheels stuck in snow and mud miles out of cell service. Just to name a few.
Photo: Top of the famous 401 Trail in Crested Butte, CO
Heck, one time before kids my husband planned a “day hike” for us from our remote camp spot. Even though he’s former Army SAPPER with excellent land navigation skills, what we thought was a 7-mile hike turned out to be 20+ miles. All we had was one Nalgene bottle and a couple of granola bars. (We weren’t as good at preparing back then!)
But we have a motto and a mentality when faced with these curveballs: If we don’t come back with a story, we didn’t do it right!
It’s so easy for us – and now our kids – to prevent the power of resiliency from thriving within us. Something unexpected comes up and we immediately think, “Great! This wasn’t part of the plan. Now everything is messed up.” Or “Nothing ever goes right!” I speak from first-hand experience. I’m guilty of these default reactions on the regular.
Things do come up – not only in mountain adventures, but in life. And they always will. It’s part of the game.
Photo: Two little adventure seekers at the Uncompahgre Wilderness
Fighting the mentality to play victim to those circumstances is never ending. However, if and when we do fend off the urge, we fan the little flame of resiliency within ourselves. We carve a mental pathway of perseverance, even when things are hard. We force ourselves to use ingenuity. To problem solve and to try and fail and try again.
Call them curveballs, inconveniences, or unexpected circumstances, chances are when these unplanned things happen, they also do something else – they provide opportunities to create the most cherished memories.
Photo: Yankee Boy Basin outside Ouray, CO
I see how these things bond my family together. They give us a common story and point of connection. Only we know, because we were there, we lived it. Our kids love retelling these adventures to our friends and relatives. We hear them proclaim, “We did it right because we came home with a story!”
Now don’t get me wrong, I’d prefer if things went smoothly and as planned (I’m a natural comfort zone seeker). But they don’t. I just hope we’re using these inevitable circumstances to cultivate character in our kids — and ourselves!
As C.S. Lewis said, “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.”
Photo Credit: Leadership Geeks