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Stranded in Aspen

Sam Axness  // MAY. 20, 2020

3 min read
3 min read

Sam Axness  // MAY. 20, 2020

Over the past few years I’ve come to crave movement to ease my restless soul, and in almost every situation, it boosts my mood. If I’m feeling on top of the world, I move and conquer it. If I’m down, I find clarity in motion. Regardless, any physical escapade I embark on can bring a sense of accomplishment and confidence that carries over to other facets of life. This is my life in Aspen.
As the pandemic began to strike feelings of uncertainty and anxiousness, I chose to see it as an opportunity to engage in my favorite hobbies. With the lack of travelers, the small ski town of Aspen began to feel much more like an isolated village in the wilderness. Each day has dawned a new adventure with endless possibility to intimately familiarize myself with the vast mountains of my backyard. Living with this explorative mentality has led me to the top of unimaginable mountain peaks, remote alpine lakes, and treks through the maze of forests that lie between. As I return from each venture, I bring back a new perspective and a deeper desire for the year round possibilities the Elk Mountains provide.
During the last two months, between March 5th and May 5th, I moved more than I ever had during any period of my life. In those two months, with only my feet under me, I traveled 430 miles solely for recreation; that is my idea of fun after all. That distance is the equivalent to the distance between Washington, DC and Boston, Massachusetts, or approximately the distance from Los Angeles, California to Sedona, Arizona for the west coasters. Upon reflection, I impress even myself! I had climbed 132,066 ft, which is the equivalent of climbing from sea level to the top of Mt. Everest four and a half times! Years ago, I never would’ve thought it was possible to put my body through that. For a relatively short amount of time, I experienced a lifetime of adventure.
In the end, these past couple months are now just a milestone that will be relegated to the past, yet the insight obtained will be carried with me forever.  We must never falter in our pursuits as we continue to chase after what fills our souls with joy. These experiences give us direction amongst the often mundane dance of human existence. I believe movement frees the mind and leads us to experiences that make us feel the most alive.