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Golden Hour in Colorado

November 15, 2017

I didn’t sleep that night. When the icy mountain air bothered me enough and a slight ray of light began to fade out the darkness of the early July morning, I decided it was time to move on from camp. We packed up the tent and tuned into the comfort of a coyote’s yelp one last time. We snuck out of the sleepy woods where travelers nestled in their temporary homes and I slipped back into my realm of curiosity.

 

Constantly moving. My mind is constantly moving. The car was constantly moving, chugging up the Colorado mountain. Slowly but steadily with every foot of dirt road we conquered, mother nature silently consumed us. Blue spruce and douglas-fir trees skyrocketed on either side of the narrow dirt road. Luxuriant emerald ferns and pale wild flowers colored in the bottom of the forest. The wealth of evergreen residing on the mountain blinded us from the rest of the world. For it was just us and a road that lead to nowhere for all we knew. We arrived at a bend in the path. Around the corner, a female deer occupied the road with her morning stroll. She sauntered back into the forest, making way for us to pass.

 

My eyes wondered, examining every detail of the forest down to the single drop of dew. I would readjust them and fixate on how deep I could see into the forest, as if the trees would part way to present me with some wild animal or a lost soul. I was hungry for a thrill, a charge of energy that would confirm I was alive. Moving through the mountains manifested my mind into a dream-like state, signaling Colorado was like home to me. The world gradually woke up without me, I remained in the simplicity of my mind. Golden strands of light illumined our route as we traveled deeper into the mountains.

 

We reached early morning around 5:30am. A slight shift in elevation hinted we were nearing the summit. I noticed a small car path that abruptly turned left soon after the “main road” went flat. There hadn’t been any sign of another road, or civilization at all, long before we even stopped to camp. My constant yearning for risk, paired with exploration led me to investigate. We banged a left and there was no turning back. Twisted roots of trees lined the edge of the road and there was so sight of what was ahead. We came to a clearing a few minutes later. Parked in a well taken care of dirt parking lot, we sat for a moment. Strange.

 

An inviting boardwalk with weathered dark brown railings emerged from a secretive corner of the lot. We followed the path by foot. Light chirps of neighboring birds and rustling of leaves created by small creatures of the woods were only to be heard. Our footsteps didn’t last too long. A bizarre gazebo stood at the end of the boardwalk, accompanied by a lookout deck with an ancient-like rusted lookout telescope bolted to it. I grasped onto my blanket that protected me in a battle for warmth against the elements. I inhaled crisp morning air and sprinted to the edge of the deck.

 

 

 

To my admiration, a sequence of snowcapped mountains flowed down the scenic landscape. A layer of trees followed by rolling hills gave way to breathtaking mountains. Reflective hues of lavender, apricot, gold, and periwinkle floated in harmony above the mountains, allowing my thoughts to stand still for a while. I strolled around the parameter of the deck, my body blending with mother nature. I examined every magnificent detail of the environment; treetops, boulders, a breeze, the cold, birds, bushes. I took thoughtful breaths, for air was in its most raw and natural state. My eyes calmly fell back onto the snowcapped mountains complemented by the golden sunrise. It is here, I felt home.

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2017-2019 UNCONVENTIONAL NATURE | BY: NATALIE MACPHEE