GRIT Guest Blogger Evan Blake Welch hails from Louisville, Colorado. After a year of learning and pizza throwing, he's back in GRIT-land showing off his newfound skills writing articles and helping out on the website and social media channels (catch him on our Twitter feed).
I should have titled this piece: Seeing Double in Southern Colorado. Driving home after a tournament drew a lot of parallels to enjoying a sunset after a hard day at the farm, in some pain, but mostly totally relaxed. These times after work leave for the best time to sit around and enjoy the surroundings and there is plenty to see in that rural country. The tiredness allows for total contentedness to do nothing but look and appreciate while the body is allowed to melt into what ever structure is underneath.
Much of what I appreciated on these drives back to Durango, Colorado were the human innovations made in the vast San Luis Mountains. Homesteaders nestled in the most precarious of niches throughout the rocks. Long abandoned cabins perched on rocks unsuitable for mountain goats. The loneliness some of them must have felt is hard to imagine. It makes me think of a sheep herder left with the flock for the summer.
Llama, elk, and buffalo farms weren’t all that uncommon. It must be an interesting life these people have carved out.
A favorite drive that we took was coming back from Flagstaff Arizona through the desert bluffs in New Mexico. It was a tough tournament which made the slothful ride home that much more appreciated. We didn’t see much livestock but here and there were a few sheep, beautiful country. The rock formations are like nothing I had seen before. In my opinion they rival the arches of Utah in many ways. The thousands of years that it took to shape the hills were damn well spent. Shades of red painted the scene along with yellow, pink and the pastel blue blue sky. I would recommend the drive to anyone.
Another trip worth mentioning was the drive to and from Gunnison, one of the coldest parts of the state. One of the curviest mountain rides in the states, probably the country. Many times you would go from 55 mph to 10 mph to navigate the turns. The two lane road flows through a number of small hometown-feel mountain towns, massive aspen groves (ideal in fall), and vast lodge poll/ pine forest. It crosses through some of the most awe striking views in the world, easily. Watch out for deer.
Rugby weekends were yin-yang experiences, the brutal undertakings of the rugby pitch balanced with a serenity that calmed even our hooker (name of rugby position, often filled by the most ruthless). While my rugby days are at a short break the balance is essential.