The wind cut sharply at my face but the bright glow of Orion’s belt seemed to soften the blow just a little. As I peered ahead I could see the dark outline of Paul’s figure ahead struggling to make new tracks through the knee-high snow banks that surrounded us on every side.
“I love adventure, I love adventure, I love adventure…..” I kept repeating in my head as I tried not to notice the rather large prints in the snow just to my left that disappeared into the darkness. Luckily I’m not much of an animal print expert so I was unable to accurately determine what large beast lay in the shadows waiting to pounce on these two strange creatures…especially the one lagging awkwardly in the back.
“I love adventure, I love adventure, I love adventure…”
With Nordic skis strapped to our feet and 40 pound packs lumbering on our backs, Paul and I were headed to a yurt that was just near the tree line ahead…or so Paul seemed to think. I trusted my burly mountain man but the pitch black and cold Colorado wilderness was playing with my sanity.
“If we don’t make it to the yurt in an hour, we’ll turn back and follow our tracks back to the car!” Paul called back through the wind. It sounded like a good plan, albeit not entirely comforting.
My weenie natural instinct, whom I’ve been quite chummy with throughout the course of my life was in a heated battle with my brave alter ego whom I’m still getting to know but makes me a little uncomfortable sometimes. Lo and behold, my weenie was definitely winning. Why were we in the middle of nowhere headed deeper into the black abyss of the high Colorado Rocky Mountains?
Oh right, I remember…
Paul and I have been hiking and skiing this country since we started dating nearly 10 years ago. Used in central Asia by nomadic Mongols for thousands of years, yurts are portable living structures that kind-of resemble a teepee, circular at the bottom and pointy up on top. This particular yurt system is where we got engaged almost 7 years to the day earlier and we were looking forward to a few days of unplugged serenity, beautiful winter landscape, reading, conversation, weirdo camp/astronaut food, the works. However, we didn’t manage to pull into the parking lot until after sunset and our ski-in was proving to be a bit more challenging than either of us expected.
Luckily after forging our way through waist deep snow for what seemed like miles…which in reality was more like a quarter mile, Paul noticed a groomed trail just to our right. That’s the funny thing about the dark; you can’t see a darn thing.
Once we finally spotted the outline of our yurt looming in the distance we both sighed in relief and booked it to the warmth of the wood burning stove. Stocked complete with woodstove, propane cookstove, bunk beds, firewood, an assortment of semi-washed cookware, and an outhouse, the yurt isn’t exactly a 5 star hotel. It’s burly and that’s what I like about it. It makes me feel like a total woodsy badass every time I make it back down to civilization in one piece.
Paul was made for these types of outdoorsy adventures. Watching him gracefully bustle around our circular weekend sanctuary performing any task from lighting the fire, to melting cowboy water to cutting wood, or inevitably untangling me from my pack, his rhythm and competence is jaw-dropping. I on the other hand, wasn’t born naturally bearing the woods-woman gene. I grew up on the plains of Colorado where the closest I ever came to a mountain was a rather large pile of sugar beets and roughing it meant having to pee in my best friend’s barn which usually resulted in wet pant legs for the remainder of the day.
But after meeting Paul and seeing his eyes light up whenever he spoke of the big, beautiful outdoors I was ready to show the Gods of the Open Air that I could hang. I’ve willingly and lovingly adapted to the wiles of my mountain man and after watching hours of Bear Grylls and other Survivorman’esque cable shows I now know the following:
1.) Don’t sweat when it’s freezing outside or you may die…check
2.) Don’t play the harmonica with polar bears around because they’re attracted to strange noises…check
3.) You can use an empty coconut shell to transport a smoldering coal…check
I was once even able to forge a fire out of Carmex and cotton balls…with Paul’s help of course.
Deep down I’ve always loved the breathtaking beauty of creation; it’s the strange appeal of 3 a.m. trips to the frozen outhouse and straining pieces of bark through my teeth when drinking snowmelt that I never would have guessed could make me giddy with pleasure.
Being out here in nature without plumbing, running water, or electricity takes a bit of getting used to…especially that plumbing part, but I honestly love every minute of it. It busts me out of my comfort zone which not only adds to the fullness of life but also makes me feel so grateful once I’m able to flush my toilet with the mere flick of the wrist or drink water from the tap without choking on random pieces of nature…you know, the small things.
After all, as a brilliant and quite beautiful woman once said, “When our comfort zone grows, so does our world, and so do we.” (Yep, just quoted myself. Love when that happens.)
“When our comfort zone grows, so does our world, and so do we.”
So whether your adventure involves braving the Colorado wilderness, taking a new route to work, or starting a new business venture take on your own inner weenie and banish it once and for all… at least until it rears its puny little head again, because after all it’s a lifelong process. But you’ll be glad you did
I would love your feedback! What was the last brave thing that you did?