Nate Picklo, founder of Yeti’s Grind and LOV Bikes in Eagle, celebrated with trail dedication
EAGLE — The major celebration of life for the late Nate Picklo occurred while he was still alive, in August of 2016.
A few months later, in November, he would be dead at age 36 from melanoma.
“I was really numb for a while,” Nate’s wife, Tara Picklo said Saturday, Nov. 11. “I tried to travel and run away from things.”
Now in the acceptance phase of the grief cycle, Tara said she finally felt ready to have a posthumous celebration of life for Nate. It happened Saturday, doubling as a dedication for the LOV Connection Trail in Eagle, which was named for Nate and his company, LOV Bikes.
“I’ve been feeling like I’ve wanted to do something for him finally, but I didn’t want it to be awkward,” Tara said. “I didn’t want to bring something up a year later, but then this all came together organically with the trail naming, and it was perfect.”
EAGLE WAS HOME
Nate Picklo was born in Delaware in May of 1980 to a family of Texans who quickly moved back to Texas after his birth. He grew up in Tombull, Texas, and attended Baylor University, where he met Tara.
After college they moved to Eagle and got married.
“Colorado quickly became our home,” Tara said. “He found Eagle, and was a big advocate for this town. He saw so much potential and growth opportunity here.”
As member of the National Outdoor Leadership School, Nate went on multiple expeditions sleeping in snow caves and igloos in Alaska and earned the nickname “Yeti.” He had an entrepreneur’s spirit, Tara said, and the couple had planned on opening an outdoor gear shop in Eagle called Yeti’s Outhouse.
“At our wedding, we even had T-shirts printed out that said Yeti’s Outhouse,” Tara said. “But then we asked ourselves what does this town really need? I decided it needed coffee.”
Yeti’s Grind was born in 2007. Nate finished the inside of the shop using his construction skills — he was working in that trade at the time — giving the coffee shop a sense of character that fit the town well. The business was a success, and eventually Nate gave up his work in construction so he could spend more time helping at Yeti’s Grind.
A couple years later, they started noticing signs that his health was in danger.
“He went through biochemo treatment, he had three different surgeries, and a year of his life was dedicated to that treatment from 2009 to 2010,” Tara said. “Then he recovered, and it made him really live life.”
The realization that life is short inspired Nate to start LOV Bikes in 2013.
“I had never seen him pour so much of himself into something,” Tara said. “He had been dreaming about it for years, and when it came together I saw so much creativity and passion in him for what he was doing. It was beautiful.”
Unfortunately, LOV Bikes died with Nate Picklo.
“It was his company, he was the creative force behind it,” Tara said. “He hand painted all the bikes, and was his outlet.”
The brightly colored bikes, along with Tara’s attraction to rainbow colored clothing, sparked a new theme in the couple’s lives — the symbol of the rainbow. The friendly Yeti is now seen with a rainbow behind him, and at Saturday’s celebration of life, Yeti rainbow stickers were given away as a memento from Nate’s life.
“Without fail when I feel nervous, then all of a sudden someone texts me a picture of a rainbow or we’ll see one,” Tara told the Vail Daily in 2016.
The trail now known as the LOV Connection was reaching completion in the summer of 2017, but no names had been put forward for it at that time. The idea to name it after Nate and his company was brought forth a few weeks ago by the community in Eagle, with no influence from Tara.
“I didn’t pursue it, it just all happened,” Tara said.
The trail itself is an important one, linking together the community in the same way LOV Bikes, Yeti’s Grind and Nate Picklo linked together the Eagle community.
“The need for a connection in that area was identified many years ago,” said Jeremy Gross, with the town of Eagle, who organized Saturday’s LOV Connection unveiling. “There have been several different ideas and plans, but there was always hurdles that were encountered with different land use issues. Finally this plan came together this year, the stars all aligned, we were able to get a little piece of land purchased and make the trail.”
Following Nate’s death in November of 2016, “We just didn’t know how to respond,” Tara said. “Shamefully, I did not have a celebration of life for him.”
Tara didn’t know the trail would be named LOV Connection, but had decided she would finally celebrate Nate’s life posthumously by hiking that trail with a few of their friends a couple of months ago as it was being finished.
“I decided I wanted to do that on 11-11, and on the day I made that decision, there was a big rainbow that shown over Yeti’s Grind,” she said. “And I knew that was what he would want.”
When word got out that the trail would be named LOV Connection, and that the public would be welcome to attend the celebration, people started making plans.
The result was a gathering of 70 or so hikers and bikers who met on the trail on Saturday. They talked about Nate and the great effort it took to build the LOV Connection Trail, and rode it afterward.
“As hard as it is, I can look back on that six year period when he got better, and know that he lived more than he ever had, and inspired others to do the same,” Tara said. “That’s something I will always appreciate about him.”