I’m a nurse and I’ve been around a lot of illness, disease, death. But the day I learned my step mom had stage 4 pancreatic cancer I was taking a shower and it was raining outside. I was living in Asheville NC nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The sound of the water hitting the shower curtain sounded different. It was crisper, louder, almost palpable.
It’s raining in the spring season of Colorado snow and flowers. The smell of the rain reminded me of that day when I connected to the spirit of Ann and I knew she would stay with me and she wasn’t leaving as the pain of her situation screamed.
I knew I’d feel your presence and I always will.
I have joined a new group on Facebook and I was excited when a member said ‘we wanna start hiking together!’ I love hikes and have several amazing ones just out my back door …literally. So it took me a minute to put together an invite for a week away. Although I didn’t have any takers from that platform I did end up on 2 of the most adventurous hikes I’ve been on in 20 years!
The first with a lone local 22 yr old young man named John. I offhandedly mentioned a hike and he was thrilled and off we went. He lives up in the canyon – home-less. He is not on Facebook nor part of my intended target audience. His story originates from Indianapolis. The streets thereof. His mom was a drug addict and he had meth, heroin, etc in his blood when born. We’ve been acquaintances since I first arrived in town as most frequent Good Karma Cafe for free wifi and yes coffee. Back then I had noticed his wrapped finger and I suggested he soak it in warm salt water – often. He’d dropped a rock on it and it looked painful …still does now months later.
Chica has begun to run and jump when she sees John was happy he was there when the inevitable headwall would cross her path on our hike. He kept saying ‘I can go into 4 wheel drive!’ and plowed ahead scrambling up across over the alpine terrain, I suggested he pace himself instead. When he had asked every group of hikers ‘Hey do you need pot brownies I have them for sale!!’ and received only raised eyebrows and no takers I suggested he save his products for another crowd. He quit after the next group ignored his sales pitch altogether.
We had a blast on the hike. Made it to the Williams Canyon Waterfalls. So beautiful. We ventured way above the falls looking for crystals as the locals vaguely point this to be a good area. John found prettier rocks than I did! He even learned to keep the volume down in the canyon by saying ‘I’ll show you this if you don’t scream.’ I tend to get excited about life’s simple pleasures, it can be a bit much at times I’ll admit even for me. But I have noted the younger crowds are much more forgiving and we tend to balance out in some fashion.
On Sunday I decided to hike alone. A comedy of errors ended up a day full of adventure with me, Sky, and Sarah. The two 17 year old girls had seen me way up above the canyon trail and thought I knew where I was going. Sky works at the local chocolate shop and hadn’t been back here since the massive Manitou Springs flood wiped familiar away. They’d caught up with me and we hit it off immediately. Actually it was after I’d put them to the Pam test and they actually took it gracefully that things began to flow and I accepted I was not going on a solo hike. Later when I apologized Sarah laughed and said ‘no we would have said the same thing!’ We’d found ourselves terribly off trail and loving every minute as we fueled each other at the exact right moment. Yet, I’m an old rock climber so if I sense a hint of danger I’m safety focused and we had some of those moments. It was too much fun and I must’ve time warped to being 12 again. Scrambling up these cliffs and caves therein, seeing the waterfalls from WAY far away, not knowing which way to go and switching leads. Magnificent views. We didn’t take pictures as it couldn’t be captured. We couldn’t turn back as down climbing was not an option. We somehow ended up at the base of Williams Canyon Waterfalls after seeing it from so far away never believing we’d end up at it’s base and the familiar way out. There we shared the hand sized blueberry pie I’d brought along for this exact spot.
Birds of a feather ….. it’s fun to be together. We’re gonna do the Incline next. Sarah hasn’t done it and we know we’ll all enjoy each others company. Chica isn’t invited as she ends up in my backpack too much. When I told John about the girls he was interested in their adventurous style and ‘I’d like to have a girlfriend.’ In the meanwhile, he’s gonna meet me at the laundry mat as we both need to do some cleaning up.
I love Manitou Springs 🙂