Saturday, March 26, 2011

My Reemergence into Fancy-Freedom

As I pulled up to the trailhead, I was overjoyed.  It was only 1:00 pm and I had already had a very eventful day.  Hours earlier I had been fired from my job.  Since my place of employment was also my  place of residence, I consequently had to pack up and move out instantaneously.  It took me a few hours to gather my belongings and then I departed Winter Park after a three month stint there.  Now, I was about to go for a run at Matthew Winter’s Park, in the foothills just outside of Denver.  Not only was I completely exhilarated from my newfound freedom, but I had just come way down in elevation and had been running on packed snow for the past three months.  It was going to be a great run.  I was now free as a bird and about to fly around the eight-mile loop.  And that I did.

Nice dusting at  the trailhead (Matthew Winter's Park)
My quick departure from the lodge was not unexpected. I would have been more surprised to have lasted until mid-April, as I had agreed to.  My employment was terminated after a confrontation that was fairly irrelevant, but reflective of bigger issues. I had to confront problems I have been trying to ignore or tolerate, because doing so allowed me to live a lifestyle I was thoroughly enjoying. Although so many things were perfect, I have the luxury to pick up and leave at a moment’s notice. Therefore, I do not have to take shit from anybody.

The moment it was decided, I was elated. This marked my re-entry into my cherished Camp Fancy-Free lifestyle, which I had temporarily traded in for another, not completely disparate lifestyle, but one altogether less open than I have become accustomed to.  The events of the morning and my spontaneous stop for this run had me instantly enjoying the freedom I had sacrificed the last three months.

As I flew around the loop, my thoughts only caused an increase in my pace.  I can go anywhere and do anything.  The unknown is upon me once more and I could not be happier about it.  My running is effortless at this point.  I bound down a steep downhill to the parking lot, catching sight of Mama.  I nearly pee my pants as I ponder the new and exciting adventures that will follow.

After the run, I went to Denver. I spent a few days with my aunt and cleaned and reorganized Mama before heading to Salida, Colorado for a trail marathon. Salida is a super-cool town in the Arkansas River Valley (same as Leadville, a former home of mine). Although dwarfed by snowy peaks, Salida is a much lower elevation than Leadville, and boosts a desert landscape. River sports, climbing, and mountain biking are enjoyed by the masses. Mild winter weather (it was about 65° race day) makes it the perfect trail running destination this time of year.

The race started and ended in the downtown and circumnavigated the adjacent hills on dirt roads and then onto a fairly new network of singletrack.  It was fun course.  Almost snow-free.  Although my current condition did not allow me to be competitive with my own times for this distance I was happy with my first longer effort of the year.  It felt good to get some climbing in (over 4000’) and to be on solid, dry ground after running on packed snow all winter.

San Luis Valley (just south of Salida)
After the race I headed a south to the Valley View Hotsprings.   I’ve been wanting to check these out for years and was surprised to learn I was close by.  They were everything people cracked them up to be and definitely necessary after the run.  I spent the night there, soaked more in the morning, then made my way to Leadville.

Valley View Indeed (from the hotsprings)
I have visited Leadville numerous time since living there.  It always feels like coming home and I have no doubt I will live there again.  I hung there with my friend, Wizard, for three days, enjoying the beautiful weather and then made my way back to Denver.

I initially came down here to spend St. Patrick’s Day with my aunt, Ginny and other relatives, but have now been here for a couple of weeks.  Without looking for it, fun and lucrative work has found me, and I’m trying to take advantage of it as well as all the big city offerings…live music, food, new friends, all-around massive consumption, etc.

It is looking like one more week here, before I start making my way west to the singletrack of the Fruita/Moab area via a couple days skiing, snowboarding and live music in the high country.   With a couple races coming up in that area, and the snow-free desert climate/landscape, it seems like a perfect place to hang this time of year and somewhere I’ve only spent limited time, but have always wanted to explore more.

While I shall continue my quest to always be "fancy-free" psychologically, regardless of my physical circumstances, I recognize how much easier it is when the lifestyle is commensurate with the state of mind.  And how sweet it is to be fancy-free once more. Don’t get me wrong; I had it good where I was. Not only did I have endless amounts of fun activities right out my door, but my restrictive schedule gave some much needed structure to contrast my usual haphazardly spontaneous existence. I like both. But there is nothing like one to remember how much I like the other. Short-term exposure to six-day work weeks, a power-tripping boss, and a more mainstream crowd than I’m used to, give me a greater appreciation for my unconventional and drama-free lifestyle. And, I missed Mama. I slept better in her my first nights back, than I did for three months. Home. Yeah.
Mama is ready to go.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

FUcking Fancy Free going off!

David Ficke said...

"a greater appreciation for my unconventional and drama-free lifestyle." I like you. You speak my language. Will miss having you around this shoulder season!