The words of Inéz to her daughter Gabriela from The Goddess of Denver:
“Hija, years ago, we would not be miles from somewhere; we would be the somewhere and anywhere we walked, that would be somewhere. That would be home.”
When I wrote the chapter Inéz in the Mountains I had to go beyond my own experience of hiking and camping and include the experience of caring as a mother and growing as a woman. To do both at the same time, as all mothers do, is amazing indeed. But I loved taking a character out into our sacred wilderness and having the reader experience, through her, a small piece of the joy I have found there.
Although much of The Goddess of Denver is set in an urban environment a lot of the magic in my life is connected to the many wilderness opportunities that I have had here in this sacred land. Sharing that love, magic, respect and awe is an important part of my life today.
In Colorado the wilderness is both very accessible and not accessible. It is right next to the Denver metro area. There are state and federal wilderness lands and mountain parks within easy reach of anyone here. For people with mobility issues there are many areas that are designed for satisfying handicap accessible exploration, or as little as a picnic in a natural space.
But there are dangers associated with the wild land we are so privileged to be a part of. Colorado weather can dramatically change, literally within minutes. It is possible for a novice to easily find themselves in an area where medical help is not available, and then get hurt or sick. The gentle deer we go out to see are the food source for predators that can be just as dangerous to us.
So, how do we begin to get out into the wilderness that is such an important part of a magical existence?
Follow the barest basics always. Bring water, wear layers, start carrying a portable first aid kit that you know how to use. Do this every single time, however close you are to town and you will be getting yourself ready for further adventures.
Buddy up. Lives are saved by having someone else there. Let other people know where you are going and when you intend to return. Make it a habit.
Start close to town. There are so many books and websites available with detailed information on day hikes. It’s easy to get started. This will build your conditioning and your confidence.
Look for handicap accessible hikes even if you are not challenged by a handicap. They are excellent options if you think you are not in good shape or have some physical challenges, or if you are hiking with small children or elderly persons. Adding some usage to these trails and keeping them popular will keep them open for others. Knowing about these opportunities and sharing this information can help make the wilderness available to people who don’t realize what a wealth of opportunity there is here in Colorado.
Take a first aid course, a survival course or a professionally guided trip from a reputable company to increase your understanding and experience and help you to widen your horizons.
Do it. Get up. Take a walk. See the sunset, better yet the sunrise. Get a tree, bird or rock identification book, pocket-sized, to get you connected to the world that you are seeking.
Remember there is magic out there, waiting for you. Go find it, safely.