Hot springs, broken bones, and local legends.

Hello, it’s been awhile.

Just under two weeks ago, I spent a glorious morning snowboarding and enjoying the crystal clear view of the continental divide at winter park ski resort. It was my first boarding day of the season and in many years. Sadly the day ended early with a visit to the E.R. and a broken butt. The fall was pretty minor in comparison to some I’ve had, but was at just the right angle for a broken tailbone. I took a couple days off work and had to lighten my load for a week or two. I was very sad to have to give up several of my dog sledding shifts (they are very high energy and working with them requires a lot of physical stamina), but will be back working with the dogs this weekend. My butt should be back to its old habits before long.

View of Parry Peak from Winter Park (not my photo)

Some friends and I travelled to the nearby town of Grand Lake for new year’s eve celebrations. It was a lovely place with friendly people and dive bars that felt like home. I danced (with slightly less gusto than usual thanks to the broken butt incident), enjoyed great karaoke from the locals and welcomed in the new year atop a frozen lake. I watched the fireworks and contemplated what this place and this new year would bring for me.

Drinking at this elevation is an interesting thing. It takes much less alcohol to get drunk at this elevation than it does at sea level. It took a couple trips out to figure this out, but luckily I have the incredible ability to appear severely less intoxicated than I am.

A week ago, a few of the local girls and I visited the town of Hot Sulphur Springs, which is famous for its natural hot springs. We spent two hours trying out most of the 23 different tubs of varying temperatures and size, one of which had a waterfall with wonderfully hot water that poured from above. I smelled like sulphur for days afterwards, but the hot water did wonder for my healing bones.

One of the tubs at hot sulphur springs (not my photo).

I just finished a book that was recommended to me when I first got here about a woman named Susan Anderson aka “Doc Suzie”. This is the woman who inspired the series “Doctor Quinn: Medicine Woman.” Doc Suzie is a bit of a local hero in Grand County, Colorado. She was a country physician who worked in the area I live in from 1907-1960. She originally moved here because she had tuberculosis and thought the dry, mountain air would cure her and if not, she would at least die in a beautiful place. She got better, stayed and helped countless children, lumberjacks, railroad workers, miners, and ranchers. She was strong, passionate, a bit tortured, but a complete bad ass. It’s awesome to learn about the history of this place and the people that lived here at the turn of the century. I highly recommend this book.

Susan Anderson aka “Doc Suzie”

Over the last couple days, I have been having what I will refer to as a brief “pity party”. I don’t often find myself lacking in companionship or yearning for a relationship, but every now and then I will feel something resembling loneliness. Recently, I was missing Seattle and my friends and found myself wishing that I had someone, even though it would in no way fit with my life as it currently is and with what I am trying to accomplish. It defies all logic, yet there it is. Today, one of the women that are volunteering here was talking to me about her life. She said that when she was my age she wanted to go see the world and live in other countries. Instead she gave in to one of her many male suitors, got married, settled down, had two kids, bought a house, and started a business. She is now in her mid-fifties, divorced, and constantly regrets not moving to Mexico and pursuing the life she always wanted. She praised me for moving away from everything I know and finding for myself a life I will never regret. Her story, although sad, was the exact thing I needed to hear. I thanked her for her praise and learned that there are things far worse things than the occasional pang of loneliness.

I leave you with this song. It makes me feel things.

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