This week had a particularly rough start to the work week. I was reminded of the importance to slow down and take the time to connect with and appreciate the people around you, even when life seems chaotic and urgent. One of the residents that I truly enjoyed spending time with and bantering back and forth with passed away, but I am appreciative that I can clearly remember our last interaction and walking out of her room with us both laughing as I shut the door. She had a giant heart and unending determination. As another resident told me, “heaven doesn’t know what’s coming for them.”
So, it felt like today was a good day to take a break and go spend some time outside on the trails. I headed up to Rocky Mountain National Park via Highway 36 for the first time. It takes longer than 34 and there’s no scenic river, but the drive into Estes seemed way more scenic (I had no idea there was a giant lake in the town of Estes).
My plan was to hike Deer Mountain, but I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of snow and trail conditions, so I didn’t have my mind made up. I stopped in at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center where it was early enough that there were only two other cars. It turned out that my coworker and his friend were in one of the other two cars… so random! He looked at me like I was crazy when I told him I was thinking of hiking Deer Mountain, and when I saw nobody else at the trailhead I changed my plan and headed to Cub Lake Trail. IT WAS BEAUTIFUL! I hiked the same trail in the summer, and it was pretty at that time as well, but the snow added a special something. Plus, I had the trail to myself up until the very end of the hike, which was probably a good thing since I spent a weird amount of time literally sniffing trees and that could have been awkward with other people around. They smelled so good though, fresh pine!
Upon reaching the lake, I realized I wouldn’t be able to hike around it without snowshoes due to the large drifts, but I had fun wandering around on the edge of the lake itself. It was so quiet and peaceful. And then I started thinking about Dyatlov’s Pass and how my life could end by my head being crushed from the inside out and nobody would know how it happened. But then I also realized that maybe a movie would be made about me and I came to terms with the possibility (actually I just started hiking back and my brain moved on).
Afterwards, I headed up to Bear Lake since I figured there would be parking on a Tuesday in the winter, and there was plenty. I just did a quick wander around the lake and enjoyed the scenery and the bright blue sky and sunshine!
It was a beautiful day, and a much needed break from watching my bacteria grow for lab, and the overall everyday routine of things, and tonight, I will toast to the amazing people I have known and who have passed on, with a glass of boxed red wine.