Challenges come in all shapes and sizes. Mine have ranged from a broken arm to a broken heart, from getting lost in the woods to a lost job. Bigger challenges come in the form of the loss of a home or a loved one. Sometimes we can pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. Sometimes we’re so disabled we need someone else to tie our shoelaces. This issue celebrates the spirit of those who overcome life’s challenges.
It began when Gabrielle Greeves, executive director for WindWalkers equine therapy services, asked me if I’d like to meet for coffee and hear about how the Jaywalkers—those very public-spirited guys enrolled in the 12-step programs at Jaywalker Lodge—have been volunteering to help at WindWalkers with riding sessions for clients of Mountain Valley Developmental Services. Three great local nonprofits, all helping people facing different challenges, all working together? How could I resist?
That got me to thinking about challenges all kinds. That, in turn, led to inspiring stories. In these pages, you will learn about how Amanda Boxtel turned a paralyzing ski accident into a lifetime of empowering disabled athletes. You’ll meet Mogli Cooper—if you don’t already know this gregarious Swiss miss—and you’ll learn how she transformed from a penniless ski bum into one of the valley’s most successful serial entrepreneurs. You’ll learn the healing story of Annie Zancanella’s Wishing Tree, that be-ribboned pine that stands along the Doc Holliday trail in Glenwood Springs.
You will also learn a bit about Colorado Outward Bound School (COBS). I’m a proud alumna; my Outward Bound course began in Marble and ended near Old Snowmass. Until writing for this issue, I didn’t realize how historic COBS’ Marble base camp is. Established in 1961, it was the first base camp the international Outward Bound movement established in the United States.
Outward Bound’s motto, one that’s embroidered on a worn patch on the jacket in my editor’s photo, is “to serve, to strive and not to yield.” That quote is the last line of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem Ulysses. These are words I hold dear, for they describe the spirit of the people I most admire, those who join together, in Tennyson’s words, “one equal temper of heroic hearts.”
I can almost hear the echo of those heroic hearts in these pages. I certainly encounter those local heroes in local newspapers, on the radio and in the grocery store. You know who they are: neighbors helping neighbors, tackling issues ranging from housing to homelessness to climate change, founders of institutions and challengers of the status quo.
I’m grateful to live among folks who know, as Mogli Cooper says, that “the best view comes after the hardest climb.”