I had been talking about it for weeks. Exploring Pikes Peak, no matter how far up we made it, was going to be one of the highlights of the trip. But when the day arrived, the weather forecast was predicting storms for most of the afternoon. My husband and I don’t know tons about mountains, but we do know that getting trapped on a mountain, without shelter, in a thunderstorm, is not recommended. So reluctantly we began looking at other options. Something closer to us so we could be back home before the bad weather started. We found an option that sounded like it would work, and the next day we got everyone ready to go. Leo headed outside to get the van started. A few minutes later he came back in. The van was dead. And if we didn’t get going soon, our Plan B would have to be cancelled too. Not to mention we were at an Airbnb in an unfamiliar town, and had no idea who to call or where to go.
A few texts with the Airbnb host later, and one of the neighbors was outside with Leo, jumpstarting our battery. We finally got going, and headed towards Seven Falls. After a long wait in line and a 15-minute shuttle ride, we were hiking through wooded mountains. We could hear thunder rumbling and began getting nervous that we would end up getting soaked anyway. We barely made it to the waterfalls, took three photos, and the storm warning was broadcast throughout the mountains. Five minutes later, the skies opened up and the rain poured down. It was cold, we were wet, and we had a one-mile hike back to the shuttle.
Those are the facts of what happened. All of it is true. Absolutely nothing went according to plan that day. It would have been very easy for us to be cranky and resentful with the way the day unfolded.
But what I didn’t tell you was that the neighbor that helped us wasn’t planning on being home that morning. His friend had to cancel on their fishing trip, so he was home and able to help us when we needed him. I also didn’t tell you that the hike through the mountains to the waterfall was surrounded by forests and mini-waterfalls, and the weather was just cool enough that we could enjoy the walk without getting overheated. I didn’t tell you that we took an elevator ride up the inside of a mountain to get to the waterfalls, and we thought it was the coolest thing ever, or that when we went back down the elevator and the rain started, we all held hands and ran to the restaurant across the street. We sat on the balcony, listened to the thunder echo off the mountain, and watched the rain fall while we waited for our table. Our table, by the way, ended up being on the covered patio, where we could continue to enjoy the storm while we ate a lovely lunch. I wrapped my hands around a pretty mug, gratefully sipped hot tea, and blessed the moment we found ourselves in. By the time we were done eating, the storm was over and we had a relaxing hike back to the shuttle.
The thing is, nothing in life is certain. Plans get cancelled, people let us down, the doctor calls with bad news. That is part of the deal here on earth, and sometimes it straight-up sucks. Sometimes the only thing you can control is how you react. I don’t say that to be annoyingly positive, or naive. I’ve had my share of heartwrenching times in my life, and trust me, I am capable of flipping out over the dumbest, most minor things. Just ask my husband. Or kids. Or parents. And whenever I lose my cool because things didn’t go my way, I make the situation so much worse. Any scrap of fun or hope that could have been rescued flies right out the window. But those times when I am able to remember that life is an adventure, and we get to choose how we react to each moment?
Oh honey. That is when the magic happens.