20 April 2008

working on Sunday won't kill you

I always like to think and it has been repeatedly confirmed, that everything happens for a reason. One always doesn’t

know when it’s happening, good or bad, but given time, there is often revealed a good result.

I was walking on a beautiful sunny Colorado afternoon hiking up a trail to see how far I could make it until snow made it impassable or unbearable. It would be my first fourteener though I wouldn’t get to summit due to the large masses of snow still covering the top, my lack of serious mountain- eering skills not withstanding. I had walked parts of this trail in the week prior but it had always been snow covered. The last two days had been glorious and clear, spring temperatures melting away most of the snow revealing multiple colored stones and creating small streams that meandered down the trail. It was easy to walk and often warm except when the wind blew.

The trail was steep but the vistas were so incredible that I often stopped to simply breathe in the view, taking pictures all along the way. Around 11,000 feet I started to get into a rhythm picking my way carefully and steadily along the now soft and slushy snow covered path.

Streams of water continued flowing down it often spilling over the edge and eroding the trail. I stayed close to the mountain side remembering the story of a family riding in a Jeep up a nearby pass the summer prior who pulled to the side to let another Jeep pass from the opposite direction. It’s courtesy and appropriate; however, the stalling Jeep was sitting on the downward slope side. Apparently though frequently traveled, these trails are not stable enough to support a stationary weight of that magnitude. The soil collapsed and the Jeep rolled to its passenger’s demise. Now while I’m not quite as heavy as a vehicle, my phobia of heights kept me to the inside, while my curiosity and the beautiful warm sky pushed me onward and upward.

It was then that my cell phone rang.

I was still level with the ski resort to my south and likely pulling from their towers. The call was from a potential new client I’d been vying for business with and we still had

much to discuss. I could have just let it go to voicemail, being a Sunday and me climbing a breathtaking steep trail in the middle of no-where and all, but having spent the entire day alone, knowing how

busy my client was in addition to wanting to close the negotiations, I answered the call. Consequently, my pace slowed ultimately stopping to focus on the conversation.

I was nearing a bend in the trail where water was pouring down from everywhere cascading over smooth red stone, concentrated water falls in three locations. I had already passed the two falls admiring the water on the

stone face of the mountain as I finished the call.

I turned to the final waterfall only thirty paces ahead noting what appeared to be thicker snow laid on the trail as

it curved upward. The trail had opened to the face of the mountain here and was not as protected as below as well as relatively barren below the ledge wher

e I stood. I noticed there was a crevice of snow thirty feet above the trail where the water paused before falling again to trail level.

It looked like only a small amount of snow. It was then immediately, this bit of wet snow broke free of the crevice and slid down the rock wall creating now a huge pile of wet snow on the trail and spillin

g over the edge completely blocking my path; the pile now five feet tall in front of me. More clumps of snow fell as I stared at the pile. I know had I kept my original pace, that I would either be under that snow or trapped on the other side. I stood very still thrilled at what I had just witnessed and contemplating what my actions would have been had I been closer. I wondered also if perhaps I should simply climb over this pile of new snow and continue my hike.

The silence was suddenly deafening filling my ears with the motion around me. I heard the small clatter of small stones running down the rock face behind me, the soft sound of running water over smooth stones and I took in the wet trail and the many streams of water running over and down it.

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