BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP….
I roll over, grab the alarm clock that’s relentlessly screaming 2:45 AM, click it off, and chunk it towards my feet. This is how I start some of my mornings in the Chicago Basin as I prepare myself for the three mile hike to the Mt. Eolus work site.
“Uhhhummmbummhummuhhh,” I groan as I argue with myself to snooze for 10 more minutes or to just get it over with. I rub my eyes and spew out seven grueling yawns before I can shiver myself out of the bag. Then not one, not two, but three sweaters are pulled over my whisky head of curls before I even think about exposing my legs. By then, I’m full speed ahead on pursuit for wall-tent warmth and a breakfast belly.
Morning ritual complete, the crew and I take off on our daily, 4:00 AM trek up, up, and away to the worksite. But first, we must start the hike with a barefoot creek crossing so cold your momma feels it in her bones four states away. Each of us make it across with dry thighs and slight hypothermia; even so, there are still no complaints of how frigid cold and unpredictable the weather might be. Moist socks and work boots strapped on, I start the climb, calmly reminding myself that it’s only three miles…Don’t get me wrong, I am one of the only who struggles on the hike up to the worksite. Timo, Evan, and Tom crush the climb in 40 minutes, and everyone else is close behind. However, I’m back seat on the struggle bus cruising my way to the top, trying hard step after step.
When the bus stops and drops me off at the worksite, I am so happy and thankful for the extravaganzas I just endured. It only 6:00 AM but I already feel like I’ve conquered something big. I mean WOW! The trail project we are working on is located in what I believe to be the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. I am encapsulated by Eolus’ beauty, charm, and view. I feel so lucky to be living and working in the mountains of Colorado.
What’s so cool about my daily experiences is that they are all made possible by CFI. For over 20 years, CFI has been providing jobs for individuals from all over the United States. Individuals who have the ability to save the alpine and hold a genuine desire to dedicate their summer to doing so. As a member of the Mt. Eolus trail crew, my job is to be a highly contributive aspect on the 2016 Eolus project. Let me be the first to say that I am honored to be in my position.
Although I may whine like a lazy dog about the early morning hike, it’s not that bad. Every agonizing moment I encounter during the season is worth the experience. Every 3:00 AM wake up is worth the bed by 6:00 PM. Every rock in a hard place is the worth the staircase. Every groove is worth the wag. Every step is worth the view.
On days when I think I can’t move another rock or hike one more step, hopefully I stop, think, and remember how thankful I am to work and live in the magical Chicago Basin in the Weminuche Wilderness.
CFI would like to thank Colorado Parks and Wildlife “State Trails Program” and the National Forest Foundation for funding the Mount Eolus project.