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Climbing Mountains

Elizabeth Chicoine

Vail Club 50 makes me want to turn 50 I can’t stand the thought of turning 40, yet 50 sounds AMAZING! The Vail Valley is a playground for growing old is just an envious term around here for having the time of your life. The snow flies; seeds are watered. Like a perennial flower, we all come back to another great season.As I think of adding bulbs to next spring’s garden, thoughts wander to the winter months ahead. Time to delight in ski season.The odd thing is that as we prepare for ski season this year, my mother is preparing to be part of an FDA study on ankle replacements. She will undergo surgery soon. Limited numbers of ankle replacements in the U.S.A. have been successful or desirable, so my mom is, in my mind, a pioneer. Her e-mail that went out to friends prior to her departure to a California hospital read, ” I’d appreciate your thoughts and prayers so that when I come back I’ll be able to climb to the top of a mountain again.”Climbing mountains is an everyday gift that we all receive just by living in the Vail Valley. It struck me as I read my mom’s e-mail how little we all appreciate our topography until it challenges us by unavailability.My mother’s whole will to recover lies in the heart of this valley. The topography, the mountains to climb with her Club 50 friends, is her motivation. To borrow the phrase, “Where everybody knows your name,” this is an amazing place to raise kids and to “grow up, not old!” Today, I encourage everyone to climb one mountain with your child, no matter your or his/her age, and to enjoy the rigor of the journey. We are so fortunate to be “locals” of the Vail Valley.Whatever the topography, our destination is the same. Mothers strive to settle their family. My mom gave me license plates as a birthday gift this year. They read, “Settler’s Descendant, Pioneers/Colorado.” The significance of these plates grows for me daily. I look at them now and think of my mom’s medical voyage into the unknown and see her as a medical pioneer for a clinical trial.What a great gift idea. She learned about it from a fellow Club 50 mom-friend who did the same for her daughter’s birthday. I drive around town with pride. I have lineage here, staying power, and fortitude. Or, better said, my mom loves me and is proud to say we’ve worked hard as a family to be here. Pioneers.As my mom embarks on her medical climb, perhaps this experimental procedure can one day help other patients with similar problems. For me, this passage evokes the message of aging in the Vail Valley. I love this area. And I am so proud to call it home. The mountains beckon us all to be strong, enduring and magnificent in our being.It is these mountains, the Gore Range, that are synonymous of Vail. In honor of the beauty and inspiration that our mountains provide us on a daily basis, I have a query to all of you.I have been invited to write a short piece for a family magazine, the premise being the local secrets for family visiting the Vail Valley year round. What would be the most beautiful place here for you and what is it about that place which puts it on the “not-to-be-missed” list? What makes Vail your inspiration and how does it keep you feeling invigorated, able to climb any peak?I titled my piece, “Five Reasons to Visit Vail.” I will disclose my five reasons in an upcoming column, but am curious to see what other local and vacationing moms have to say about our valley.It is clear that my mom sees our valley as a place of renewal, life, friendship and recreation. Her local’s secret is (Oops! I’m sworn to secrecy on this one!) Where is your favorite place in Vail? VTEdwards resident Elizabeth Chicoine writes about matters of the family for the Vail Trail. She can be reached for comment at echicoine@centurytel.net.


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