My family has enjoyed a cabin in a small hamlet outside of Estes Park for over 40 years. Summers of my youth were spent fishing, hiking, and exploring amidst the granite rocks, pristine lakes, and whispering pines of my beloved Colorado.

The Familiar Trail

We often hiked “around the mountain.” Starting where a small creek fed the community, the trail climbed up and behind the mountain to the west. We would traverse the trail to an old homestead road which then connected up to another small creek along a fire road at the other end of the meadows.

On September 13, 2013, a flood of Biblical proportions completely changed the landscape of our community and the surrounding areas. The innocuous flow of water that felt so good to soak your feet in turned into torrents that stripped trees from their moorings and exposed bedrock 15 feet below.

Our cabin and many others were spared; many were not so lucky. The past seven years have been spent reconstructing the dams that created our fishing enclave and the roads that provided access to the serenity of this place.

Building Courage for a Memorable Hike

I have tried to find a way “around the mountain” again but have always been thwarted by time constraints, felled trees, deep ravines, or lack of spirit. Over time, a new trail has emerged along both of the small streams and chainsaws have cut away dead trees to open more and more of the path at both ends of the route.

Recently, I decided to find my way “around the mountain” again. Arousing my adventurous spirit, the day unfolded with unbridled time.

I had my phone’s map app and could see I was headed in the right direction on the old trail when it petered out in a small meadow. I decided to head up the mountain and skirt around the flood debris along the creek bed.

Around the Mountain Again!

The Rocky Mountains are aptly named. I encountered some granite walls that looked negotiable. I asked myself – which is the best route for a 58-year-old, athletic woman to take? Not the same one I would have readily scaled 25 years ago, that is for sure!

Cautiously, I put one foot in front of the other. I got to the top, assumed the power pose, and let out a big “I did it” at the top of my lungs.

Looking at my app, I saw a road started a short distance away. Hiking around a hunting camp, I connected up to a well-traveled jeep road. I felt at ease.

This road lead in the direction I knew I wanted to go. It had a faint air of familiarity and I hoped that I would cross paths with the creek trail from the other side of my starting point.

Ahead on the road, I saw a nicely appointed Airstream trailer, the door open with chairs outside and newer Dodge Ram truck off in a meadow and I took pause. The thought crossed my mind “what is a middle-aged lady doing out here by herself?” I passed by gingerly, not wanting to surprise anyone.

Continuing around the corner – I encountered a wood pallet with a sign “road ends.” As I walked past the sign, I saw reasoning for the signage. The carnage from the flood left ruts 3 feet deep that will be quite the challenge for a road grader someday.

I followed the remnants of the road and kept my eyes peeled for the trail that I hoped lay ahead. I was rewarded. Recognizing familiar terrain, I followed the trail back down to the far end of the meadow. I had made it “around the mountain.”

The Financial Takeaway

As always, I have comparisons to your financial journey. Has Covid, the economy, your work environment, or other life circumstance blown out your “plan” in retirement?

It certainly can happen to anyone, but there is good news: you can re-route and navigate a new way through it! I had a map – my destination remained intact.

I just had to do it differently from what had been done in the past. I had to take some risk, emotionally and physically, and was rewarded for doing so. I had to explore and push through the fear. I pressed on – one foot in front of the other.

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How have your retirement plans changed? What similarities can you see from my adventure to entering into the fall season of your financial life journey? What is your “vision of true prosperity”? what is important about your adventure? Please connect with our community and leave a comment below!

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