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My Apachetas

In order to cross the Continental Divide and officially enter the Colorado River Basin, we went over Boulder-Grand pass within Rocky Mountain National Park. Moving slowly through this space that provides water for so many, including myself in Denver, allowed me to fully process the meaning of the Divide. At the time we crossed, I didn’t think much of it, that the divide was even a big deal. In my life as a city-dwelling outdoorsman, changing watersheds is a regular occurrence, but now something is different. Atop the pass, joyful with pride at our 12,000 ft accomplishment, Tim our kind route guide for the day, introduced the Quechua term Apacheta into my vocabulary. Used to describe a pass and the human-mountain made cairn atop them. Apachetas represent what we leave behind. The Boulder-Grand Pass holds significance not just on this course as we entered the Colorado River Basin, but in my own life as I summit a pass of my independence. What do I leave behind? What do I bring over? What do I return for? Knowing that tomorrow we will exit the wilderness and all its constructs, I am at a moment of pause, atop my own small pass, unable to know what lies ahead beyond my current level of daily comforts. I am sill unable to answer the questions of the pass in full, but I know with the yellow studded willows of the equinox, I continue to change, grow, and leave things behind. In this land that has shaped me, I continue to erode parts of myself underneath like the glacial carved granite cathedral I lay in. I may not know in full what I believe, what lies underneath the ice, or what I hope to bring over, but I will always be grounded by a mountain wind, a boulder beneath my feet, and the chirp of a pika.

As of now…

I miss my family and friends but will not leave them behind. Although they cannot travel over with me, I will return. I hope to leave behind past ignorances and bring over my current curiosity. Whatever awaits on the other side of my apacheta I will meet it with open arms, guided by the side from whence I came.