What my childhood was like in remote Southwestern Colorado (I guess my life is kinda wild + crazy?)

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Me + my dog Finn at the summit of Monarch Pass, October 2019.

To all my Colorado friends:

Last night I terrified some of my Southeast Texans buddies by telling them about #mountainlife.

I told them how Red Mountain Pass has 1,000 foot drops and no guardrails because the county said guardrails would interfere with the snowplows. And how our next-door neighbor in Ouray, a volunteer firefighter, told us a tourist goes off the edge about once a month.

(My dad used to tell this story while waiting with my aunt at her doctor’s appointments in Southeast Texas, and all the old ladies in the waiting room would try to pretend they weren’t listening, but they kept looking up from their magazines wide-eyed.)

I told them how fathers living in the remote valley town of Silverton regularly deliver their own babies in the dead of winter when you can’t get an ambulance through the icy passes north or south and they can’t fly people out in a helicopter.

I told them how the runaway truck ramps on the passes take care of 18-wheelers who lose their brakes on the steep decent down the mountain roads.

I told them how a black bear tramped through our backyard in Colorado Springs back in 2011 and our neighbor called me in a panic to let my dogs inside. The bear rolled himself over one side of the fence, sniffed at our back door, and rolled over the other side of the fence on his journey elsewhere. He damaged the fence both times. 🤣

I told them how it’s not unusual to find dead deer carcasses or dead squirrel parts in your front yard. Mountain lions and coyotes are everywhere, and yes, they will eat your pets.

I told them about putting snow socks or chains on your car in the winter, about how using those is now the law in Colorado on snowy highways.

You see, this was just a normal part of my life for the 12 years I didn’t spend growing up in Texas. Crawfish boils, swamps and hurricanes are normal to me. So are blizzards, friends hiking up 14ers and summer forest fires.

My friends watched YouTube videos of driving Red Mountain Pass and thought it was absolutely terrifying. Which, it is. They’re not wrong. It just became my normal.

My friend Haleigh said, “Eleanor has driven it!?” and Ellie said, “Eleanor is a different breed. I’d rather die than go anywhere near that pass.”

I guess Ellie is right. I really have had a weird, crazy life. 😂

WATCH | This terrifying video shows what crews had to go through to reopen Red Mountain Pass

READ MORE | Colorado’s Most Dangerous Mountain Roads and Passes

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