“If you notice someone in error, then correct this person and his mistake in a humble way. If he does not listen to you, blame yourself only; or, even better, do not blame anybody, but continue to be humble.” –Marcus Aurelius quoted in A Calendar of Wisdom by Leo Tolstoy
Mai convinced me to head up with her to Rocky Mountain National Park for a few days of camping last July. We spent two days on the west side of the continental divide, and two days on the east side. I brought my bike and rode each day. It was delightful.
I loved climbing up the long inclines from each side, the road carrying you high into the sky, above treeline, into the alpine tundra. Just riding there was a pinnacle experience. Cycling is a perfect match for exploring the scenic drives. It makes me feel more like myself. And when you feel like your true self, you really get a better sense of each place.
“The meaning lies in the effort itself.” –Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind
We also took some sweet walks, including through areas where fires had scarred the landscape. The soil was already regenerating. Nature’s resilience.
And on the east side we hiked to Dream Lake and Emerald Lake. There is something about the pitch of the land and textures of the trail you take in on a walk, the rhythm of making steps, that activates your original mind. You get to know a place with your body, engaged senses, through your heart, beyond consciousness.
So glad we took our time there! I liked the west side better, with the hallmark aridity you feel in much of the west. The openness. The vastness. The clarity. The east side was fine too, reminding me of my roots in the east and midwest. Returning home, we stopped in downtown Denver at the Pacific Mercantile Company to stock up on food. They had a nice series of statues there. This one’s inscriptions summed up this trip.
Each ride I take is a nice exercise in adventure, making my own way, crossing divides, and somehow molding me into a kinder person I hope, if only I can follow my inner direction.
“So when you try hard to make your own way, you will help others, and you will be helped by others. Before you make your own way you cannot help anyone, and no one can help you.” –Shunry Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind
I am grateful Mai took me camping and encouraged me to ride my bike up the mountains and across the divide! If you’re interested in seeing more of Rocky Mtn Nat. Park through my rides, there are maps and pictures on Strava, the activity sharing app. you can load onto your phone. Strava is free to use.
Beautiful Kawuneeche Valley (Colorado headwaters)
Rocky Mountain Sunflowers https://www.strava.com/activities/7533830156
Moraine Park to Bear Lake https://www.strava.com/activities/7534711374
Tundra bathing via Old Fall River Road https://www.strava.com/activities/7538650135