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Lost at Sea
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week could only scratch the surface. If you wonder just what we do, I’m here to tell you
some of the things that I did. Read on and enjoy the stories from a portion of my life that
was really full of adventure and grief, and lack of sleep (did I mention that before?). I
only hope that you enjoy it as much as I did!
From 30 Below Zero to 80 above, in 12 Easy Steps
In the Rocky Mountains, the peaks rise to over 14,000 feet.
The forests stretch for hundreds of square miles, without as much as a dirt road. The
few people that do live there hug the valleys, leaving the high country to the animals.
Forget about Denver, it is not much different than any other big city. Denver is not
Colorado. What is Colorado are those spaces so wide open that you can actually get
lost and never get found. In those mountain areas, the only sign of people can be a
simple jet trail in the sky. The few blinks of an eye that we called summer saw the
mountainsides filled with wildflowers and clean air. This is where I lived, and spent
countless hours wandering the forests. This is where my story begins.
I worked at the Crested Butte Ski area, running a small lab processing
film. I got the job in college and I stayed for a couple of years after I graduated. The job
was nothing really; the real deal was getting a free unlimited ski pass. I could ski any
day, anytime that the lifts were open. My boss was a great lady named Carol Case. She
hired photographers to shoot pictures of the tourists at scenic spots on the mountain. I
processed and printed the film for her. This took most of the afternoon but my mornings
were open to practice the fine religion of chasing the perfect turn. This was everyday,
even with the worst weather. I became one with the mountain, and it cherished me as
much as I cherished it. If you are not much of a skier, you just can’t understand. If you
are, think about doing it everyday! Yes, life was pretty good during the winter. Even after
four years of this it took a lot to even consider leaving, but I did.
I can’t remember the exact moment when the thoughts of
warm beaches began to seep into my consciousness, but it did. I guess, more than
anything else, I just got tired of the cold. The winters there usually brought 300 or more
inches of snows with temperatures that most often dropped to 30 or 40 below zero.
There weren’t many paved roads and any travel was treacherous at best. The prospect
of actually freezing to death was a real concern. Just don’t get caught alone beside a
deserted highway. Any driving always began with digging out my car from the snow,
and waiting for 30 minutes for it to warm. You can see why my mind reached for
something else. Still, I loved the primal beauty of the Rockies and the miles of open
forests. It took a lot for me to want to leave.
Riding the Silver Queen Lift one morning it occurred to me that there were
people in minimal clothing somewhere, and they were laying on a beach with a tropical
sun overhead. They were there at that precise moment, getting tanned while I froze.
The only problem was getting there with the limited funds that I had saved (very limited),
and a beat up car with 140,000 miles on the odometer. How can my photography
experience get me away from all this? Cruise ships that were the key! I could work as a
photographer. I knew that some people, somewhere, were doing it. Somehow I would
become one of them. I really can’t tell you exactly how, but I did it! I chalk it up to fate