As the train slows to a stop in the mountain town of Rockwood, I spot the white van in the sparsely filled parking lot. I exit and start to make my way towards a tall, lanky young gent.
“Are you the one that wants to snowmobile?”
“Oh yeah. Am I the only one?”
It turns out that I was the only one, but that didn’t seem to bother him. He introduces himself as Dion as we head up the road to the top of the San Juan mountains.
He is easily twenty years my younger, but surprisingly the conversation flows without effort. This is his last snowmobile tour, as he is moving to Springdale, Utah, in two days to be a rock climbing guide.
He is trying to get his life together, a story I know all too well. We arrive at the trailhead, an elevation at a little over 11,000 feet. The skies are growing darker, and a light snow starts to fall. I tell him it’s been about 20 years since I last rode a sled.
We race up the mountain side, the snow coming down faster and harder the higher we go. Quickly our visibility goes to almost zero. Dion checks in with me to see if I want to brave it, and we keep climbing.
I feel so alive.
We come across another group, and after talking to them we finally decide to turn around. It’s a total white out, and I’m not even sure where the trail is.
I just don’t want to get stuck, or worse, dump the machine over.
We take a break on the edge, overlooking the valley below. Dion tells me about the summer he traveled to Patagonia, with stories of climbing and world adventure.
So I find a kindred spirit up in the mountains of San Juan as we cascade through the snow, fly up and down hills, weave in and out of trees, and just live in this moment.