Ever since I was a little girl, I held this dream that I would move to Aspen, Colorado. It was in my twelfth year on my first trip out there, that I had found a sense of discovery in the mountains, I was given a taste of the high life. And from that day on, I always carried a feeling that some day I would live that dream. The great outdoors were calling my soul.
Fast forward a decade later and there I was, saying my last good byes to my home. The day had arrived, where I would pack my bags of everything I owned and drive cross country in my best friends little black truck, aimlessly optimistic of my untold future. 5,000 miles, a slight detour to Vancouver, B.C. and twenty two days later, and finally, I was en route to my final destination.
The fresh mountain air filled my lungs, my eyes frozen on the snow covered surroundings. I had made it, after years and years of imagination and wonder, I was living my dream. I had yet to uncover this vast and beautiful place, but the days to come would tell my tale.
One night I made a trip to the local market and there in the check-out line, I met one of my fates. The cover shot of the Aspen Sojourner magazine captivated me. I was flabbergasted, astounded, my eyes began to water with excitement. Blinking in utter shock, I flipped through the pages until I found the article which would introduce me to Aspen Highlands Bowl. From that moment on, I had made up my mind… I was going to hike and ride that bowl in my first winter season. I had too.
Months had past, but I never forgot the first goal I made for myself, ‘hike the bowl’. I had never laid my eyes on the Highlands bowl, but I had heard stories of how amazing it was and how good the snow was up there. So, one day I made it a point to go snowboard at Highlands to scope the mountain out for myself. I found my way to the highest rising chair lift, and with a few steps toward the ski patrol station, there I was standing face to face with the Bowl. For a second there, I could hardly breathe. A sense of intimidation set in, my stomach had butterflies, and my thoughts told me that maybe I wouldn’t be riding in the Bowl this season. Of course from where I was standing, I was still an hour hike from the the bowl, but the power of the mountain peak really took me back.
Whether I thought I was ready or not, the day came when the question was popped, “Do you want to ride the bowl tomorrow?” I responded in a timid, “Well, I don’t uh, think so, I’m not ready for that.” Needless to say, my boyfriend didn’t take no for an answer. I was going, he knew it as well as I. The following morning I awoke with a jittery feeling, I was excited, nervous, curious and stoked. We steadily made our way to the mountain with the early sun warming my nerves. The sky was open and welcoming. Today was the day I would face a challenge with mother nature. We took the chair lift up Aspen Highlands and unstrapped our boards to begin our ascent up to the top. The hike began with eager steps and a skipping heart. The snow was beaming white and the energy of fellow hikers was encouraging. Careful of each and every step, I climbed rigorously along the narrow ridge, cautious not to fall too far to the right or left. The closer I came, the wider my smile drew across my cheeks. Forty five minutes of stamina and a willful heart carried me to a place I could’ve never dreamed of. Standing at elevation 12,392 feet, I was on top of the world. With a 360 degree view of what seemed to be an endless sea of mountain ranges, I was staring my goal in the face. The serene beauty and stillness of the Rocky Mountains filled me with awe. Now for the hard part, getting down.
About the Author: My name is Stephanie Villavicencio and I’m 23 years old. I love writing because it’s a great outlet for me to share my experiences and in turn to hopefully inspire people! I believe that following my passions is the best way to live and I live to invoke those feelings in others.