Throughout high school, all I wanted to do is get the hell out of my Central Wisconsin hometown, with its lack of social life, lack of anything interesting, and of course to shred bigger slopes than the glorious 700vert of Granite Peak. I spent my days hating where I was, my only respite was ripping through the rocky, not nearly snowy enough tree runs at my local mountain whether it was an ice day, a 4 inch pow day, or slush.
Once I graduated and after the classic senior year debauchery of that last summer before moving away, I was headed to Colorado Mesa Uni, in Grand Junction, CO. I was 18 in Colorado with new ski homies and a new attitude, being in the desert and the mountains was an eye opening experience for me, it was my first taste of true youthful freedom breaking out of my hometown shackles. I was stokes to be able to ski, bike, and rock climb almost for 4 seasons of the year.
However, my free spirited days and weed fueled nights were catching up to me as my grades began slipping bigtime, and certain fatigues began creeping in.... I was doing too much. By the time that I had left for winter break I was feeling a bit burnt out on the social life, having no solid relationship opportunities or really even the want for one. yet when I was back I felt a certain comfort of my hometown, and I started talking to the head barista at my favorite local coffee shop, and we hit it off... our first date was a hike date, and our second was getting into a car accident on a midwest backroad on our way back from a makeout spot which followed angry parents and a big dent in my Mom's Volvo. By the time winter break ran out and I was headed back west, we were dating. (and in fact, 2 and a half years later we still are!)
On one beautiful February pow day in the Grand Mesa backcountry, I hit a tree. I did not think too much of it at the time as I felt fine after... but that night I was hanging out at the campus climbing gym the concussion hit me like a ton of bricks, nausea set in, I was dizzy as hell, and a horrible headache hit all at once. To make a long story short I was practically bedridden for 2 weeks as symptoms would not let up. And after that it look about a month to get close to even get close to feeling like a real person again. My grades were in the tank at this point...
As the school year started to come to a close, I was sadly a bit jaded on my Colorado experience. I moved home for the summer, and decided to stay where I was, close to family, close to my girlfriend, though without mountains. However, something happened that I had never really experienced. I felt grateful for where I was at. I felt complete, and started to notice things about my old town. the local hiking trails felt like I hadn't been on them a million times, Newly made MTB trails were popping up as well as new friends to ride with, and best of all, my home mountain felt big again! Newfound stoke made my hometown feel like a whole new place.
Its been 2 years since I moved back to Central Wisconsin, and my gratitude for where I am at continues, so does for my experiences in Colorado. Though this flat little town gets old from time to time, I find myself always able to get out of town for a night or two with the van, and a yearly trip back to Grand Junction...This always resets the place and I am able to enjoy my home town and my home mountain as well. I am still discovering new things about this old town