So pretty much all year ’round, I have to deal with the weather to get my job done. This is both a blessing and a curse as I truly do love to be outside, and have experienced most beautiful and tranquil that Mother Nature and the lower reaches of our atmosphere have to offer, but I can also say that I have experienced some of the worst that these two can throw at me, and everything in between. All those experiences, just in the name of getting the job done.
For those of you that have come to spend time with us at Black Mountain Ranch, you know that after a long day in the saddle, and a fantastic dinner in the lodge, that our view of the sun setting over the Flattops Wilderness area makes for one of those “Hey, Honey. Remember when…” moments.
A “What is this… A postcard?” kind of view.
I have been asked, twice, if our marketing department paid off NOAA to get just the right mix of wispy clouds and sun rays come sunset time.
However, if you want to know what winds over 100 mph feel like, come out and ask me to tell you the story. I was clinging to the ground like a kitten to the curtains…If you need clothing advice on what to wear when the outside air temp, without windchill, is almost -30… I can help you with this. What seems like a lifetime ago, I spent a couple years as a full time athlete. That effort coincided with a summer when the city I lived in had a stretch of 68 consecutive days over 100 degrees. My timing was not good.
If you read my earlier posts, you might know that we usually have to use pack horses to get into the back country to set up our Pack Camp every spring due to the road being under snow. A good snow year in our Colorado Rockies might mean that Jenny the Mule and I get to spend plenty of quality time together all the way through mid-June. This is not a good thing.
A couple years ago,after a pretty average snow year, we had been pushing hard to get Pack Camp set up and open before June came. Load after load, round trip after round trip with the pack horses sometimes belly deep in the snow had us exhausted, but knowing that Pack Camp it self, sitting in the sun on top of the hill, was dry , had us push hard to get the whole place set up and ready for guests. We were beat, but it looked like we were gonna be able to pull it off. It was Tuesday afternoon and Ryan had already headed back up with the last load while I stayed back to pull together the food, drinks and luggage. We were gonna do it!
Then the wind came.
I can’t tell you exactly what the gusts were blowing at. I can tell you though, that the gullies, canyons and drainage around here can take what is a nice breeze on the porch of the Saloon and have it blow your hat off up at Five Points. So when the wind is blowing hard enough at my house that I end up with a layer of dust on my coffee table with the windows closed, it must have been ugly up there. When Ryan finally made it back, he looked shaky and told us all about trees crashing down all around them in the wind the whole ride back. Jenny the Mule went straight to the Saloon and poured herself a shot of whiskey. Two of the other horses had to be treated for PTSD. To say the least, we cancelled Pack Camp that night.
But that is how it goes. I once spent a year behind a desk, thinking it would be great to not have my ability to perform my job determined by something as capricious as the weather. It turned out I missed it terribly. To be out in that weather, to have it determine the course of your day can, at the same time, be so humbling, yet make you feel so alive.
One of my favorite authors once wrote “One thing that can make life on Earth feel like Hell is the expectation that it should feel like Heaven.”
Life in the great outdoors is wonderful, warts and all. I spent the whole day outside in the wind and snow today. I will do the same tomorrow and I can’t wait.