WHAT a weekend.
The first ski trip of the season with my boyfriend and his mom was not at all what I imagined, and it actually turned out to be a good thing.
Our first error was not checking the weather, and anyone who lives near mountains knows that weather can change in a half hour and vary by the mile. One hour out of Laramie, the snow became thick, the shabby tires on our Crosstrek failed us, and we went flying off the highway. Within minutes, another car had stopped to help us–a nice family of 6. Two other vehicles stopped shortly after, just to check on the situation. The husband of the family of 6 attempted to dig us out of the snowbanks for 20 minutes and finally just offered us a ride into town. He moved their four children into the far back of the SUV and let us cram in. With no functional car, no cell phone service, and a winter storm coming in quickly, I fear what would have happened if no one had come along the road that afternoon.
After the family dropped us off at a gas station in Walden, CO, population 582, the employees there helped us contact the town sheriff and coordinate with a tow truck. While we were waiting for the tow truck to bring the car into town, we walked across the street to a restaurant called the Moose Creek Cafe. A couple of the waiters and townspeople sitting inside immediately heard of our situation and began searching for a place for us to stay for the night, as the blizzard was getting worse. In a small town like that, the citizens were friendly with the motel managers, but every motel in town was full for the night. Our waiter, a jolly man who looked to be in his 40’s, offered us to stay in his house for the night. It did not seem to phase him one bit, and that was the nicest thing I’ve seen someone do in awhile. I’m sure we would have taken him up on it over sleeping in the frozen street, if he had not come up with a better solution soon after. He told us about a house down the road that the restaurant owner owned and rented out to visitors and travelers–a hostel of sorts.
It wasn’t much privacy, but it was shelter for the night, and we met some pretty cool people. A woman who had been living there only since August was extremely welcoming and set up a room for us. A young man who was staying in a room there temporarily told us about his journey; he had left his home in Wisconsin some time ago and was simply traveling the nation on his bike, exploring, and visiting friends along the way. We also met another man who was stranded in Walden for the night, and was actually visiting from Zimbabwe. We talked to him for a good while and told him of some places around here he had to see before he went back. He even offered to drive us anywhere if our car needed repairs from the crash. He was absolutely delightful.
The next day, the weather cleared up enough for us to continue on our way to the ski resort. And while I wish we had gotten more skiing in…what an adventure.
Sometimes a good story is more beneficial than a flawless trip.
This past weekend, I learned that bad preparation can be deadly; that mishaps can be translated into adventure; that it feels good to be a little rugged for awhile. But most of all, I discovered that people are truly good. Living on the east coast for four years, I developed this negative attitude about people in general. It’s a dog-eat-dog world over there. The east coast is known for many things, but warmth from strangers is not one of them. I can’t even put into words how refreshing it was to come across people who didn’t even blink at helping a stranger out, even if it took an hour of their day.
I heard it from multiple people in Colorado last weekend: “That’s what we do, we help each other.”
I feel so blessed that God sent me to this remarkable part of the country, to experience its beautiful landscapes and its compassionate people.
Cover photo found here.