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Heading Westward

Getting ready to start guiding in Colorado
Getting ready to start guiding in Colorado Image courtesy of Leah Andersen

I read a quippy quote once that we need to go on adventures to know where we truly belong. Well I haven't decided yet, but I think I might just belong in a trailer.

This month I packed up my Charleston apartment and headed west to live in a trailer next to the Arkansas River in Buena Vista, Colorado. My friends helped me shove suitcases and gear in the back of my sticker clad SUV for the journey. Adventure, by its definition, is decorated with the unplanned, undetermined outcomes, potential for risk, and the thrill of discovery. I knew this was the onset of an adventure, but that’s about as far as my plan went.

I was welcomed by an early 1980’s Wilderness RoadRunner trailer that sits unhitched on the property of the whitewater rafting outfitter I’m seasonally employed by. The trailer has remained motionless for years. It greeted me with a door that flies open unexpectedly and hideous yellow frilly curtains, that I quickly stripped off. I looked around my new abode: flowered wallpaper, wood paneling, two bunked beds, an old bathroom-turned-closet, a four burner stove, and a college dorm style fridge. I had reservations about my gear fitting into the various cubbies, but I started unpacking.

Prior to committing to trailer life in the mountains, I made a competitive list of pros and cons. The pros mostly encouraged simplifying life. I’d be right next to the river, so no commuting. I would have minimal storage space, so time to scale down on my material possessions. I would have to trek outside for any beautifying I’d want to do, so the vanity category would be minimized. The cons? Well they sounded more like: I’ll probably be cold. And it’s difficult to string together Paleo style meals in the confines of a trailer.

The pro list dominated.

After I stuffed each cubby to its maximum and decorated with party lights, tapestries, and stickers, my roommate and I sat down at our yellow fold-down table for some rum and card playing. Cows were bellowing next to the river. Night was creeping in. And snow started falling...and falling. And oh MY goodness. I was freezing. I crawled into a zero degree sleeping bag and flopped down on my bunk.

The voice of adventure was whispering in my ear that perhaps I don’t belong in a trailer. But I think I just might make it.

Leah Andersen

Leah Andersen is a chaser of words and adventure. She recently moved from Charleston to Buena Vista, CO where she spends her time climbing mountains, rafting rivers, and selling gear to outdoor types who do the same. She loves the Lord and being on the water (whether she is steering a raft on the Arkansas River or paddling a surfboard in the Atlantic Ocean). She smells like frankincense and can be commonly found singing off key. She makes a mean Guacamole, and is ready to share some of her adventures and thoughts on life with you. 

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