In some sense of the phrase, anyway.
Motivation has been lacking of late. At least for me. Jeny has been getting out and finding new-to-her gems, and I've been thrilled to see the sparkle in her eyes and soul when she returns home to share what she has learned, seen, sensed.
That hasn't been enough to get me out with her very often. I just have this overwhelming sense that Colorado is ruined -- by crowds of well-meaning and mainly like-minded recreationists. We've been loving the place to death, socially sharing 'secrets' that aren't, and thusly precipitating the accelerating decline of the places we allegedly love. Removing myself from the equation seems the only responsible thing to do. And I have. And it feels right -- right up until I begin to feel caged.
And then it all feels wrong. So I've been exploring new, unknown, untrammeled places. Leaving Crested Butte and Durango and Telluride and Monarch Pass to the crowds that have descended on them, and branching out in less obvious directions. Go north young man, or maybe northeast.
And what I've found are pieces of Colorado that are big, wild, open, uncrowded. I rode 20 miles one afternoon a few weeks ago, camped at 11k', then rode a different 20 miles back the next morning. Even fished a bit on the way out. The only people encountered were at the trailhead. None had bikes.
There are no free lunches, so what gives? More like "what must one give?" and the cost has been relinquishing the need to limit rides to singletrack. As a community we have exalted skinny trail as the end all be all even as we widen it out with every use. Stepping away from that limitation has been liberating, and has shown that new (or at least novel) ways of thinking can reap unexpected rewards.
Like a few days ago, when Jeny and I went sniffing in an unknown, unpublicized, unexpected place. We weren't even truly looking for anything other than to have a quiet ride that got us into the cooler air of the high country. What we found was indescribable, unexpected, and incredibly challenging.
So challenging -- borderline punishing -- that even if you could get me to divulge the location (not a chance) I likely wouldn't bother because I think so few people are "into" what this route had in spades.
But also because someone would eventually figure out some convoluted way of shuttling it -- thereby missing the essence -- and then they'd tell their friends, whom would share it on social media, and very quickly there'd be hashtagged selfies from the viewpoints, followed quickly by braking bumps, then cheater lines, then yet more people and, and...
...well. It'd never be the same.
I don't want to enable any of that, nor be a part of it, if I can help it.
"All it took was what it had taken in my own boyhood, among the high peaks of Colorado: if you did your homework and were willing to hike, you could always find Edens in the outback that few others knew about."