Vail Daily letter: Finding my way | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily letter: Finding my way

First, let me thank Steve and Lucy.

If you read the Vail Daily, you are probably an Eagle County resident. And that, again, just “probably,” means that you have some knowledge about hiking (otherwise you are wasting your astonishing backyard). Well, I’m not. I’m from Buenos Aires, Argentina, a snowless, flat-as-a-pancake city. We know as much about hiking as Nebraskans know about ocean tides.

I arrived on Monday to Vail, and I didn’t want to lose a day to start exploring the surroundings. On Wednesday, my first free day, I chose Booth Falls. I walked to the trailhead and I started hiking. It was deserted, as the snow was getting thicker. My plan was to hike up to the lake, but the moment I reached the falls, a storm was at the door, and I started the retreat.

But here is when the story begins. Snow covered my footprints, and I got completely lost. I retraced my steps to the last sure spot I had, but, even then, I couldn’t find the way. Without a compass, without sun, without a map, without cell signal, I thought the best idea would be to follow the stream downhill. I opened my own trail between fallen trees and weeds. The idea worked for a while, but the stream was becoming canyon-like. I had to make a decision: To continue following the creek at the risk of not knowing how to do it if the margins continued to narrow, or climb again and hope to find an alternative path.

And here is when Steve and Lucy became of such importance for me. I chose to climb, and in one of the trees erected at the edge of the hill, Steve and Lucy, trying to make their love long-lasting (poor dreamers), carved their names in the bark, inside an arrowed heart. When I saw it, I knew the original path was close.

I’m maybe the first to miss the way at Booth Creek Trail, and you can write a manual out of my mistakes. I didn’t panic, only because I’m not that kind of person. But those two hours I was scared in a way you can’t wish anyone. So, after we agree to acknowledge all my responsibilities, other questions arise. How many more like me are there every winter in Vail? How can we be certain that I’m going to be the last one? How can we prevent it, making the path more visible, without impacting the environment?

And again, wherever you are now: Thanks to Steve and Lucy!

Michele Pennella

Avon