The Devil’s Backbone

Yesterday was the last of eight consecutive days on the bike. The ride was about 80 miles from Brush to Loveland. I rode with Sascha, Cindy, and Dylan. Besides some spurts of uncontrollable laughter, which can be quite hazardous on a bicycle, the first 70 miles presented few difficulties. But of course, adventure begins when things go wrong, and I had quite the adventure yesterday as we were nearing Loveland. About 10 miles away from our host, a wasp violently flew into my face and stung me underneath the eye. That brings me to the present–I am currently sitting on a comfortable couch in Grace Community Church with an uncomfortably puffy eye that has been swelling up by the second. My teammates are taking good care of me, though. Cindy brought me ice for my flaming eye and Ashley has generously supplied me with her various antihistamines.

Strangely, after the initial pain from the sting subsided, my eyes looked and functioned normally, and I was in pretty good spirits. Michelle, one of our leaders, gathered up a van of people to go hike and see the Devil’s Backbone, which is an interesting geological structure here in Loveland. We walked about a mile, mile and a half, along an upward-sloping trail of red rock towards the unique rock formation.

Though we had seen the shadow of something that was rumored to be the Rockies during our ride earlier that day, the foreboding shapes had been indistinguishable from the clouds. At the peak of our hike at the Devil’s Backbone, I could, for the first time, clearly see the mountains ahead. I expected to feel clammy sweat accumulating under my arms and on my back. Instead, I looked at the mountain range appraisingly, with wonder and confidence. Even with the sun setting rapidly, time felt still.

The landscape’s color scheme continued to transform. The sun’s changing angle introduced new hues at every new moment. It was a beautiful sight, and even though I experienced it with several of my teammates along a well-paved path that had clearly been walked by countless people before me, there was a wonderful sense of secrecy and solitude.




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