I’m not entirely sure where to begin because in some ways I feel that I have no business being here. I’m not a writer, I don’t travel to exotic places, and in the past year I feel as though my life has slowed down. Despite this feeling I’m going to jump into an idea I had about something to write about.
Why I Love Rocky Mountain National Park.
By writing this story I’m going to reveal some information about myself. So here goes: I’m 31 years old and have lived in Denver for the past seven and a half years. I moved to Denver during a very low point in my life, without much of a plan, no job, and no car. I may never have the gumption to that again. However it ended up being the best decision I ever made.
Alright, that’s out of the way.
The first amazing place I visited in Colorado was Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s beautiful and, at the time, like nothing I had ever seen. I’ve been going back for seven years and it still melts my heart every time, even during bad weather and cloudy skies. The reason I love it so much is due to the fact that my relationship with the park has changed over time. During the first few years my visits consisted mostly of driving the park’s scenic roads. The furthest I would venture from the car was maybe half a mile. By doing this you are able to take in amazing views of the vast landscape but you never quite feel “in it”. I wanted to get in it. I decided to change that in 2013. I wanted to hike. This was fueled by two years of weight loss and increasing fitness. The first hike I did in RMNP was to Chasm Lake. In hindsight, I can say with complete certainty that hiking to Chasm Lake changed my life. It set in motion a string of events that have shaped me. I discovered I enjoyed camping on that trip and that I was eager to do it again. I did do it again that summer and ever summer since. I realized I wanted the physical challenge that hiking provides. I got hooked on the sense of accomplishment.
Now when I go to RMNP it’s to hike or snowshoe a new trail that will push my limits. There are times on the trail when I feel like I’m a completely new person. Then I’ll think back to the time when I never ventured far from the car and realize that I’m carrying some of the old me along. If I could go back in time I’d tell my 23-year-old self that the trail never gets easier but you will get stronger.
RMNP, I love you.