Letter: Thanks to selfless gestures by Mountain Rescue Aspen
An act of kindness and giving from the heart speaks louder than words. Mountain Rescue Aspen made the seemingly impossible possible. On April 5 and 7, a small crew escorted me into and out of the Markley Hut via snowmobile. As a paraplegic, I almost canceled our trip.
Much of my life is restricted to the pavement unless I cross-country or downhill ski. I’ve lived with a spinal cord injury for 24 years and life is becoming a tad more difficult. My mental escape comes through reading travel adventurers’ musings and poetry and vicariously being transported to far-off places through film and imagery. My spirit craves wilderness. As April’s chairlifts wind down, I find myself concocting ways to tackle inaccessible terrain beyond smoothed surfaces. I figuratively climb my mountain everyday, yet I still yearn to scale the easiest backcountry trails. That yearning keeps me alive, keeps me motivated and keeps things real. I wouldn’t make the Markley under my own arm power for its distance, steep grade and avalanche danger, yet I was determined (and resourceful). I cast a plea out to our community, and Mountain Rescue Aspen thankfully answered my call.
This winter, and for the first time in 28 years of living in the Roaring Fork Valley, I was able to experience the serenity an overnight hut trip brings. We enjoyed a two-night peaceful escape in the quiet of the wilderness — a community gem provided through the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association. I thank the Braun Hut management for granting permission to access the Markley Hut via snowmobile, which is forbidden otherwise. Once there, the Markley is fully accessible and a dream getaway from being plugged into the world. There, everything stops. I rested. I read, watercolored, meditated, cuddled by the fire and dined like a queen. I inhaled simplicity, stillness and gratitude as I connected with the trees, the wind and the sky. I felt like a minuscule speck and a part of a magnificence far greater than I can begin to articulate. For a whole blissful day and two nights, I was reminded about what matters most: kindness, loving connectedness, awareness of self and others, being still, feeding one’s spirit, drinking in the miracles of our natural world, respect for Mother Earth and keeping life simple.
Thank you, Mountain Rescue Aspen. Together we conquered. You selflessly gave from your hearts and for that I am grateful.
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