"Do not go up the hill. Do not go up the hill. Do not go up the hill."
It's hard to explain that there's a very persistent voice hammering inside your head, telling you not to do the thing that everyone else in the van wants to do. I knew that we would be going up the hill just as soon as the guys finished putting the chains on the tires. Monarch Ski Resort was our destination, and we had missed 1 of our 3 skiing days because of high winds. The lifts had been closed, and we were forced to spend a day visting Royal Gorge, and the Great Sand Dunes. Even those side trips had gotten us into trouble. Tip: When the locals look at you like you are crazy for taking the rural route through the mountains, you should probably turn back. They know the snow plow doesn't go all the way to the other side.
Here's another tip: If the snow is blowing so hard that you can't see the highway, and there are no cars comming down the mountain pass, chains on the tires are probably not going to be enough. We had stopped at the pull-out just opposite a hotel at the southern end of Monarch Pass, and only because of the warning sign that chains were required to continue. The chains went on, and the guys climbed back in the van and buckled up.
"OK, if you are going to go up the hill, at least go to the bathroom first." Now, I talk to myself a lot...but this command was comming from somewhere deep inside. I could not ignore it. My traveling companions were not happy that I climbed out and trudged across the highway to use the facilites at the hotel. I took my time getting back in, and we had to wait as 2 vehicles passed us.
We hadn't gone a mile when the wind picked up and snow started to blow in every direction. Dale was a good driver, and he was going as much by how the road felt as by what he could see. It wasn't safe to stop, and we couldn't see where we were going. Even the kids were quiet as we inched up the incline. Just as suddenly, the wind died and we could see the road- and the white pickup and the little car that had passed us. They had stopped in front of us...my first thought was that the state of Colorado had really odd ideas about where gaurd rails were not needed, because there was not one on the opposite side of the highway, and it was a big drop.
That's when we saw the out-of-controll Dallas-bound Greyhound bus bouncing off the rock wall that edged our side of the road! The truck started to move to avoid the head-on collision. We watched the passenger jump out the door and get pulled underneath the front wheel...the snow was deep at the edge of the road, and he was thrown out to the side. The bus did hit the car, which started to slide back toward the drop.
By the grace of God, the bus and the car stopped crosswise of the highway...the jumper walked away from the accident, and we eventually got to the ski resort. I didn't ski...and I balked about getting back in the van to go down at the end of the day.
I've often wondered just how that day would have played out if I had not insisted on making the pit stop...I'd like to say that I've always paid attention to the voice. Many times I've heard it, and have chosen to ignore it. I've often paid for my reluctance to insist that my "gut feeling" could be right. I'll have more on that later.
I will say that when I was investigating WAS, I had the good sense to follow what my gut was telling me. I have not regretted my decison to do what felt right instead of what seemed sensible. Comming to Washington was the first thing I ever did without a plan - and a backup plan. It's working out so well that I don't make plans much anymore. I just try to trust that my intuition will lead me in the direction that I'm supposed to go.
Much to my surprise, intuiton is part of the lesson plan at WAS. It's good to have personal experience validated. I am learning to trust that the voice will be there when I need it...and I don't plan to make it "yell" at me anymore before I pay attention.
Links to Cool Sites:
My Favorite Fiction Authors and Books
- Suzanne Arruda- the Jade del Cameron mysteries: "The Mark of the Lion" "Stalking Ivory", "The Serpent's Daughter", "The Leopard's Prey" and "The Golden Cheetah"
- Ken Goddard - "Balefire" and others
- Stephen White - the Dr. Alan Gregory books are all great. "Kill Me" is my favorite.
- Harlan Coben - anything he writes is great
- Elizabeth Peters - Amelia Peabody mysteries
My Favorite Nonfiction Authors and Books
- "Coyote's Guide to Connecting With Nature" by Jon Young, Ellen Haas and Evan McGown- 2nd edition coming soon!
- Gavin De Becker - "The Gift of Fear"
- "Deep Survival" by Laurence Gonzales- the best survival book I've ever read! Not a how-to, its more of a who does,and why.
- Candice Millard - "The River of Doubt -Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey"
- Anything that starts with "Peterson's Field Guide To..."
- Tom Brown, Jr. - "The Tracker" and others
- Mark Elbroch - "Mammal Tracks and Sign" and "Animal Skulls"