Poem: On exploring Rocky Mountain National Park



Two aging acrophobes
We terrorized ourselves
For 3 hours and 22 miles
11 of them a one-way
Dirt road with switchbacks
And hairpin curves
Muddy ruts
And deadly drop-offs

My friend kept me
Clear and calm
Her voice
The voice of reason
Of caring
I quickly realized
She was talking us
Both into sanity

The views were astounding
We lived those mountains
For those moments
Alpine meadows
A clear rushing stream
Aspens turning from sage green
To New Cambodge
The evergreens shrinking
In stature
In the increasing altitude
A harem of elk
Near the 12000-ft visitor center
The peaks across from us
Miles away but knowable

The terror less
On our descent
Two lanes paved
Stone guard rails
Only a few dicey places

If I’d known
What was waiting
Up Old Falls River Road
I wouldn’t have gone
But I didn’t
And once on the one-way
No way back only forward like life
Exhilarating
Terrifying
So worth living

Jill Kelly, 2017

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