One of the things I've wanted to do since I got to Colorado was to go hiking on a real hiking trail out in the wild. I walked along the river trail downtown one day with a couple I met through my friend and realtor Diane. I asked them about hiking in the mountains and they told me of a trail that wasn't too hard and was really pretty. After we separated I ran into a fella on the downtown trail and we got to talking. He told me about the same trail and gave me precise directions on how to get there and where to park.
He said he'd lived in Pagosa for 19 years and you couldn't dynamite him out of here!
It's been a bit muddy with the snow melt so I've been putting it off but decided yesterday that I'd go today! The weather has been great here. We've been in the high 60s and low 70s most days. I've found since living here that temps I used to find cold where I was don't seem as cold here. They're shirtsleeve weather!
The last couple of weeks I've been going out to one of the breweries here in town on Wednesday to meet some new friends. My hairstylist Angie, herself from Texas, has befriended me and invited me to go. She volunteers as a Visiting Angel and one thing she does is take an older gentleman out each week to hear some good country music. It's an over 50 crowd and the band starts early at 6:00 so it's before my bedtime! Ha! A group of her friends goes there so I've met a few new people. I only stay about an hour and a half. The music is good and the company is nice.
Last night I told Angie I was going hiking on the Piedra River Trail. She said I shouldn't go alone and the bartender offered to let me take her dog! The bears are coming out from hibernation and it's always good to have a fellow hiker in case you fall. I do know this and that it's better to go with someone. But though I've met new people, I've not yet found that person that I can hang out with. Someone that is maybe also without a partner and has free time. And I may never. I'm not much of a joiner and I'm not one to wait for someone else to do something. When I'm ready to go, I'm ready to go!
There are risks involved going alone, but here's my attitude. If you think about everything that can go wrong, you'll never do anything and you'll miss out on some good adventures and experiences. There are some things I'll never do, such as mountain climbing. I know my limits. But there are things I can do. You just have to be careful, study the trail map, take water, and maybe some bear spray. Have good hiking shoes and carry a hiking pole. I read about what to do if I encounter a bear - speak calmly, wave your arms slowly, back up, and maybe sing as you walk the curves of the trail (I hummed I'm an Old Cowhand From the Rio Grande) as bears don't like to be surprised - and what to do if a cougar shows up - make yourself look bigger with your arms and jacket, yell, throw rocks, back up - and in either case, never turn and run, and in the worse case scenario, fight. And I know encounters are rare. Also let someone know where and when you went and when you return.
Angie made me promise to text her when I left and when I returned. She was my backup lifeline! And, of course, I let the kids know, though they are far away.
The trail was about 15 miles from the main highway. About half way there the paved road ends but the gravel road was ok. There are a few hardy ranchers that live out that way. Their views are amazing! I was humbled and almost breathless by the scenery. I went right to the trailhead with the directions I'd been given.
I didn't make a long hike. I spent about an hour there. Clouds were moving in and the temps were dropping. The only wildlife I saw was a little chipmunk, and some ravens and bluebirds. It was beautiful and peaceful. The only sound was the river and the wind. I was the only one on the trail today, according to the sign-in log, and I never saw anyone else on the trail.
But I wasn't really alone. I carry Rick in my heart and everything he ever taught me about the wild world. I kept thinking wow, wouldn't Rick love to see this. And maybe he does.