I grew up in Ontario, Canada. In fact, before I moved out to Colorado, I had never lived anywhere else. Mountains were never really a part of my life. I knew they existed but had never been given the opportunity to experience them first hand.
I learned to ski at Horseshoe Valley Resort, north of Toronto. Horseshoe Valley has a difference in elevation of 308 feet. Another place in Ontario where I have skied is Calabogie Peaks, which apparently offers the highest vertical drop in Ontario of 761 feet.
My new home resort, Keystone Resort near Dillon, Colorado has a difference in elevation of 3,128 feet. Just to give you an idea of what I’m used to and what I’m experiencing here in Colorado.
So, back to mountains. To be honest, I don’t know how I managed to live the majority of my life without being surrounded by mountains! My first time experiencing mountains was in Bosnia and then Switzerland. It was astounding to see them jut out of the earth as if they were the most powerful things nature had to offer. It was terrifying driving switchbacks in Bosnia with no guard rails. It was exhilarating noticing the thinner but cleaner air.
When I cycled through the Canadian Rockies, I was really nervous. I thought, how can I possibly get my little bike up those HUGE mountains? But the mountains can be forgiving. There are ways to get through them without going straight up. Valleys and passes assist us in being able to experience their majesty without as much effort as we might think.
Although they can be forgiving, they are also not to be messed with. When I climbed Kilimanjaro, I truly learned to appreciate that the mountains are boss. We passed many people who simply couldn’t handle the altitude, returning down the slopes with looks of defeat on their faces.
Since I’ve lived in Colorado Springs, the form of Pikes Peak follows me wherever I go. I can drive into the mountains each weekend if I want to. I truly feel as if “The Mountains are Calling”, and I truly feel as if it’s where I belong.