Every year we travel to the lake country in Northern Wisconsin to luxuriate in quiet relaxation, swimming, island living, and loon calls. Our voyage there is tradition. It is the mid-western lineage flowing through our veins that inspires us to drive 22 hours East and North to find water. Root beer colored lake water full of Bass and Musky. 78 degree water, the perfect temperature for kids to jump into all day long. We love it and it is beautiful.
But…There is nothing like coming home from vacation to remind me of how lucky I am to live where I do. When we hit the Eastern plains of Colorado, cruising I-76 and are past Fort Morgan heading West… my eyes are searching. The mountains are there, out of focus at first, then coming into focus. When we crest Floyd Hill West of Denver my senses are alert. The mountains to me are an embrace that comforts and welcomes me. The landmarks that rise up hundreds of feet, easily seen from any direction give me back my sense of direction.
I remember a professor in college stating that she felt claustrophobic in the mountains, like she was being compressed. I can’t relate to that reaction. I feel tucked-in and oriented. I need to look up at granite peaks, forward at valleys and down at crystal clear streams to know I am home.
And that is what I find when we finally pull onto Highway 133 at Carbondale. After passing the fire station South of town the Crystal River Valley draws us forward, Mt. Sopris towers above and the Crystal River dips and flows to our East. After two weeks in the North country all of the details of home come into precise focus. The sky is vibrant blue, Elephant Mountain is more dramatic, Avalanche Ranch is lush green, and our vegetable garden is amazing.
There is undeniable beauty in the places I visit. The rolling hills and small family farms in Iowa, the inlet of the lake we frequent in Wisconsin with its delicate water lilies and Blue Heron, the calls of the loons as we doze off at night. But I could argue that none of it compares to the breath-taking geologic landscape of the Glenwood Canyon, to the raw natural beauty of the Crystal River Valley and the hidden splendor of Avalanche Ranch.