By: Joey Schrichte
Two days in a row I couldn’t find the trailhead I was looking for.
The first day I wasted almost two hours driving around looking for one. When I parked and thought I found the beginning of a trail, I ended up hiking a figure-8 around my car, wasting another twenty minutes down promising yet misleading paths.
Finally I found a well-marked and designated trail. But I was so frustrated from the last few hours, I wasn’t in the mood to hike anymore. I kept telling myself just to keep walking. All I wanted to do was bag it and head home.
But, as the miles and steps ticked by, I was in my element. The movement, the ground under my feet, the quietness, soaring eagles, scurrying chipmunks and the vistas replenished me. I was free from anything to stress me out.
The day felt like it went from bad to great with just a few miles.
The next day, I was in search of another trailhead. I was driving along a paved county road keeping an eye out for my next and only turn. Eventually the road turned into a smooth dirt road. And shortly after that it turned into a rugged rocky road.
At the first opportunity I parked where the road expanded in a small section, knowing my car wouldn’t handle what lay ahead.
I set off on foot in search of my next trail adventure.
And I wasn’t having any luck. There were a lot of campsites along the road, but finding the turn or a trail wasn’t in my cards.
I was getting aggravated because it was the second day in a row that this was happening. I wasn’t getting pissed at myself, I was getting pissed because I wasn’t finding what I was looking for. But then I looked around.
In a valley of dark pines and cool air, I took in my surroundings and enjoyed the moment I was in.
I knew I was only a short drive outside of Durango, but I felt that this was the most wild and out-there place I have been to. It didn’t feel like Colorado at all for some reason.
I continued on this gnarly road and took it all in as if I were on a trail. It still felt remote even with the road reminding me of civilization and how connected I still was.
I ended up walking two hours up this road until I couldn’t breathe easily anymore due to the altitude. And also with the threat of a thunderstorm in the forecast, I didn’t want to be too far from my car.
Where I turned around was mind blowing to me.
I was walled in on three sides by high jagged peaks that make up the Columbus Basin in the San Juan National Forest. Jagged rocks filled the bowl-like crater from years of crumble. I almost felt as if I were in an extinct volcano where patches of trees, grass and the last of the Summer wildflowers resided.
Reflecting on the last few days, I realized I wouldn’t have seen what I did had I found what I was looking for originally. Had I not changed my perspective on the situations, I would probably still be frustrated.
And I think we, as a whole, need to do this more often. We constantly think of what we want and only go looking for those things. When what we have around us might be what we are searching for.
We, often times, have our eyes fixated on a certain thing or outcome that we become blind to the beauty that is all around us at every moment of time.
If we find ourselves not exactly where we think we should be, find the silver lining. The blessing in disguise. Change your perspective, change your thoughts. Smile and realize there is a reason you are where you are.