I got a dreadlock in my hair because I didn’t brush it for the entire weekend. And I liked it. Sloop called me a Bohemian Princess. I liked that even better.

My toes were caked in mud and my legs looked extraordinarily well-tanned. But it was dirt. Awesome.

I rode an inflatable turtle down the upper Colorado river (for about 5 miles) and entertained passing boats with my turtle wrassling antics.

We jumped off of a 20 foot cliff. I almost didn’t jump. But then I did. It made me feel better about life in general.

We formed chains of inflatable devices in the water and then “detached” before mellow rapids.

We laughed so hard I peed my bikini bottoms in the river. We annoyed the other oar boat. We didn’t care.

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My hair became totally saturated with the smell of campfire. 

Everyone kept stealing my plastic guns from my holsters. 

The champagne was flowing. The laughter was infectious.

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We woke up to the sound of a creek. Birds chirping.

Campfire crackles.  Cute dogs.

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We did the Bernie.

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Even the grownups wore the neon bandanas with silly wild west rodeo nicknames on them. All weekend.

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And there was nary an iPhone in sight. Because there was no cell phone service.

[[[exuberant sigh]]]]

We put Santiago’s breakfast burritos in the campfire for breakfast (5 hot, 5 mild, 10 1/2 & 1/2). Some people couldn’t taste for the rest of the weekend because of the green chile.

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We were a team. Always a team. From the moment we pulled in after a 4.5 hr drive from the city (not to mention the State Patrol delay when we were trying to pee in some bushes). Immediately Bette was offering me pulled pork and baked beans and fresh corn. They had waited to clean up dinner until we arrived. Even in the dark, the boys were right away helping Nick with the tent. They produced hammers, encouragement, expertise. They made sure it was set up. Correctly. With rain fly on.

They offered us homemade strawberry ice cream and admired our tent. The 10-man tent that my 6’2” husband can stand up in. With the swinging doors. They placated me by laying in our comfort cots.

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Krystle churned the ice cream hurrself!

And when the rain came in, and the campsite became a floodplain, there was Justin, shoveling around other peoples’ tents to help divert the water. He didn’t care about getting wet or muddy or being tired.

He cared about other people – people other than himself.  

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Justin the shovelin' superhero...

And when Sloop’s car got stuck in the ruts in the mud from three days of rain, all 5 men pushed it out. They got it unstuck. They waited around until everyone had made it out. They shared beers and bottled waters and funny stories and laughs.

We helped each other take down tents (and attempted to fold them properly so they would fit in those tiny-ass bags). We teased each other about wine lips and loud mouths.

And then we went to brunch. Delicious, hilarious, bloody mary brunch at the Yacht Club in Wolcott (SO delicious).

Said goodbye,

                oh so hesitantly.

And promised to drive safe. And see each other soon.

And the whole way down I-70, even though it was trafficky and there was construction and it took longer than it should have, I smiled. Because it was an exceptional group of people. Because it was an exceptional weekend.

Because they reminded me what it means to be a mountain girl.

What it means to wake up in the outdoors with people you love. What it means to be around a fire with a glass of Bekah’s box wine. What it means to laugh your guts out. What it means to really mean it when you say “let’s see each other soon.” Because you don’t want to separate yourself from your friends – even though you are so tired you can barely stand it.

Because all of the cliché country songs ring true when you’re with them. Because they get it. Because they seem to understand the meaning of true friendship. Because they have down-home, down-to-earth mountain-people values. And they care about each other.

Strange how the mountain people are sometimes the most down-to-earth, even though in a practical sense, they’re the furthest from it. They are living the high altitude dream. They are 9,000 feet away from sea level. There is less oxygen up here. The air is thinner.

But perhaps that explains it. The thin air. The thin places. Maybe, just maybe, they draw us in to locales

where the distance between heaven and earth collapses and we’re able to catch glimpses of the divine, or the transcendent..

And so. They maintain this attitude – this outlook – this world – that serves as a testament to us all

to stop

                       breathe

appreciate one another

and wonder at the beauty of it all. 

Happy Birthday, Krys.

Thanks for reminding me why you and yours are so worth it.

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