“The best laid schemes of mice and men / Often go awry.” -John Steinbeck
When it comes to my latest adventures, nothing has gone as planned. A few weeks ago, a ski trip to A-Basin that Kelsey and I had been planning for weeks got derailed when Kelsey slept through her alarm and I ended up on the side of 93 in a snowy ditch. I got passed by “friends” and towed out by a stranger named Mark – who I ended up taking to breakfast and staying in touch with (remember that name for later). On last week’s full moon mission on Quandary, Steve and I ran out of water, got lost for 2 hours in the dark, got in a fight, hiked painfully slowly and in tears (that was me), and got altitude sickness once we got down (that was him). The next day, Kelsey got violently ill while we were skiing and had to spend more than 12 hours in bed in the hotel we’d gotten for our ski trip.
This weekend’s highly anticipated yurt trip got off to a weird start with some ex gf/bf/cohabitant drama, resulting in one of the girls dropping out. We had anything but a smooth departure from Denver and Boulder, with some snafu’s relating to my skis not matching my boots and my forgetting our lunch in the fridge at work, having to rush back to the office more than an hour after I’d left. When I got to Ft. Collins 30 minutes late, my friend Mark (the guy who towed me out of the ditch a few weeks ago) told me he was in the ER with his roommate – his dog had bit him in the face. My friend Joe and I ended up waiting for him for 4.5 hours until 11pm – then, 30 min on the road, I realized I had forgotten our food AGAIN – this time in the car. Back to the house for an hour long detour…it was 2 am by the time we got to the yurt. Today, we were meant to go on a long mountain bike ride in Ft. Collins after we got back into town – but my bike derailleur malfunctioned causing us to sit in the parking for 20 minutes fixing it. Then, Mark crashed HARD not even 20 minutes into the ride, pitching headfirst into a couple of huge rocks and taking a handlebar to the groin. He was down for the count and after spending about an hour on the couch with him, I headed back to Boulder to try to salvage my long ride with a definitely cold coming on. I got it done with Steve and when I rolled home, the illness, fatigue and chills set in.
Sounds like a string of pretty terrible luck doesn’t it? I think in the past I may have been lead to believe the universe was trying to tell me something – that I may as well just sit on the couch. Stuff goes wrong when I get over-ambitious!
But, I don’t know. Ending up in a ditch led to meet Mark, and he is awesome, and we have had some of the most fun conversations I’ve enjoyed with a near stranger since I’ve stopped traveling. And I can’t help but be proud that despite being exhausted, demoralized and dehydrated, Steve and made it to the top of Quandary that day. Our preparation left something to be desired, but we had hiked under the full moon and seen the sunrise, got some ridiculously fun turns in skiing down the mountain, and accomplished something that been on my to-do list for months. Friday night, waiting in Ft. Collins at Mark’s house with Joe, we had beers and enjoyed a fun conversation with his roommates – 2 strangers we never would have met otherwise. What would’ve just been a straightforward drive up to the mountains turned into an interesting detour in Ft. Collins and even though Mark was exhausted by the time he finally made it back to the house – somehow it made it more fun that we were arriving in the middle of the night. And while we didn’t exactly get to complete our ride as planned in Ft. Collins today, we had some great conversations on the couch – and some good laughs about his taking a handlebar to the groin. I felt like crap on my make-up ride in Boulder, but I got a solid 3+ hours in and I got to ride with Steve, after not having seen him all weekend. We had a lot of laughs, and by the end of the ride I almost felt well again.
As I sit here on this Sunday evening after another jam-packed and satisfyingly exhausting weekend, I can feel my body succumb to the cold but somehow I feel totally ok with it. I know I squeezed every last ounce out of myself the past few days, just like I did last weekend too. I’m thinking that the lesson here is that plans are just that – plans. They’re a blueprint for the way you’ll get something done, but things go awry from to time – and that’s okay. In fact, it can good. I’m remembering that when the plans get derailed, the real adventure begins. That everything going as planned is nice – but definitely not as interesting. It feels incredibly good to do what you say you’re going to do, even when life throws all the blockers it can get in your way. It just means that much more.