A Travellerspoint blog


Closing doors and Opening new ones.

sunny 65 °F

Wow has this summer flown by fast. Too fast, if I could have my way. The month of July went by much too fast, with no 14ers climbed either due to my knee still having problems. This last week I was able to get out and hike up the front of Vail to the top of the gondola from Lionshead and had no pain, so next weekend I'm hoping to get out and do two awesome hikes. Saturday, I plan to either hike another 14er (no idea where or which one), or if my buddy Geoff can work it out, we'll go climb Parry Peak off of Berthoud pass. Parry Peak is known to many as "the bear paw" as seen from Winter Park and Mary Jane in winter, and is above 13,000ft. On Sunday, I'm hoping to climb Gray's and Torrey's peaks with my dad (and hopefully my mom) as part of our annual 14er tradition. We're still deciding which route to take, but it should be a good time as hiking 14ers always is. I'm excited to be able to get back out again and back into my natural habitat where I feel most at home. My heart will always be in the mountains, and it's where I find my truest self.

Looking ahead at the month of August, there is both fortunately and unfortunately so much going on and so little time left here. Next weekend will be filled with hiking with friends and family. The weekend after that, an old friend of mine who I haven't seen in years is going to be in town for a few days. The weekend after that will be filled with another day of hiking and the award ceremony where I'm being honored with an Award for Distinguished Service for when I saved that man's life in June. That day and moment still makes me speechless. And then, a week later, it's off to France for a semester abroad (4 months). It's amazing how fast this summer has gone by, and how precious little time I have left here before leaving the country. I am hoping to make the most of the time I have left here, and spend my time with those who matter most to me to create lifelong memories.

That being said, France awaits and is finally taking some shape. The classes are set, approvals are ready, place ticket is ready, housing is secured for at least my arrival, the visa process is finally done, and I have a 3 months all access rail pass for travel when I arrive. All that awaits now is the packing and last minute details. I only have 2 days to pack and prepare for a 4 month journey, but I can hardly wait to get back to Denver and begin packing, despite how much I love living up here in Vail. It's a pretty daunting experience on the horizon really, trying to prepare for everything. I'm nervous, excited, scared, and probably more prepared than I realize to take this thing on. I can't wait to get over there now, and I'll be sure to post lots of pictures on here and facebook when I arrive. If anyone has any study abroad tips, feel free to share, as I'm sure you can never have too many of those before you leave. All said, Dijon awaits four weeks from today! Let's get this show on the road.

Posted by la vita bella 16:14 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Man am I behind...

...but there are big things ahead!

65 °F

I've been meaning to write a blog for the last couple days and haven't really gotten around to it because I've been so busy, so here's a new one with some updates on the life of Scott...

Let's start with work I guess. The whole concierge thing went really well, but I've kind of disconnected from that and moved on to other things. Still doing data entry here and there, but trying to move away from that...because it's boring. It's really important to the growth of the company, and I understand that, but it needs to be shared, not beared by one person. The two things I've been spending the bulk of my time on at work now have been an international tour operator project for Tommy, our CEO, which is focused around the new magazine we're putting out next month, and rebuilding the social media outlets for this company. My hope is to wrap up this tour operator project quickly and move on to social media full time, but we'll see what happens. Nothing in this company is predictable anymore. So far, two weeks into social media, the google analytics and facebook insights results look really awesome, and I'm hoping to keep that up. If you haven't checked things out yet, visit our twitter @lodgingdeals and go like our facebook page Rocky Mountain Vacation Rentals and let me know what you think. What I can do better with, what needs more/less attention, etc. All feedback is welcome and valued!

France Update!
Things are taking shape and settling down, finally. I have a Visa appointment in less than two weeks, which is really the final step. Everything else is lined up, flight, studio, classes, etc. I bought an all access train pass for my entire trip this weekend too! Can't wait to put that thing to good use. Departure is less than seven weeks away, so close yet so far. Some days I can't believe it's really happening. It's going to be one hell of an awesome, terrifying, and life changing event, no question. Can't wait!

I took last weekend off from hiking in the hopes that I'll be able to hike this weekend. It was nice to be able to go home, help celebrate my birthday with my mom, play some drums (and probably annoy everyone in the house) and make some videos for my best friend Zach, and just relax. The game plan is hopefully to try something easy. I haven't put too much thought into what I want to climb this weekend, but I'm think Huron might be a good option. Barely a 14er (shortest in CO) and barely 6.5 miles round trip should be a nice test for my knee, and then I can decide if I want to hike the next day or not. If I can't hike I may just go crazy at this point since I'm so close to all these peaks that are just begging to be climbed! My goal is still to be able to hike some Elk 14ers by Aspen in August and push my limits, but time will tell where I end up next. Stay tuned for what's next, and make sure you guys continue to follow this (those of you who still do...?) while I'm studying abroad as I'm sure I'll be writing more, more interesting adventures, and things from the other side of the world!

That's it for now, short and sweet!

Posted by la vita bella 18:46 Archived in USA Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises mountains hiking france aspen ski bells dijon vista massive buena vail 14ers tabaguache princeton buena_vista maroon elbert fairplay rmvr scouting elks acl Comments (0)

Playing Catch Up

60 °F

I realized today that it's been a while since I've written with everything going on, so I figured I'd try to write before I leave town and technology for the weekend.

Life up here in Vail has been going really well. It's such an awesome place to live, work, play, and simply reside. I'm so much happier up here than was was months ago. The freedom to live and pursue my dreams without things holding you down is amazing, and I finally feel I have that freedom to make this life everything I want it to be and more. It's a powerful and awesome feeling. Work has been going really well up here too, and I think (it's kind of implied) I may have earned a job offer up here again in a year when I graduate. Nothing is written in black and white, but I think it's there and I couldn't be more excited about it. I'm thoroughly enjoying the concierge work thus far and the perks that come with it and hope the rest of this summer is just as much fun here.

Study abroad is rapidly approaching. As I am writing this I'm officially 59 days out from departure. All that remains is getting that Visa in LA and my train ticket from Paris to Dijon. Housing, classes, flight, Campus France, are all completed. I'm having way too much fun living and playing up here in Vail to realize how soon that is, but the excitement is starting to build. Having never been to Europe before and about to spend 4 months there by myself, it's a pretty terrified excited feeling, but I'm ready. It will put me one step closer to that goal that I set for myself at the beginning of college and the end in sight.

Last weekend I was unable to hike due to a torn (we think) ligament in my right knee, but I still went down to Buena Vista with my good friend and drove up part of the mountain where I saved the man's life. He has a lifted truck so I thought we'd see how far up we could get, and ended up at 12,200 feet. My car couldn't go any further at 10,600 for reference. It was a fun little drive, and we cruised around Colorado on US24 the rest of the day as I pointed out all the cool history and things there are to see. We enjoyed lunch in Leadville at a small little Italian place that is now on my list of favorite lunch spots. Definitely worth the stop if passing through.

I spent the next two days in Denver, briefly, with my family, grandparents, and aunt in town. It was my grandmother's birthday as well, so it was great to be able to be down there and celebrate it with her and see the family for a bit, even if brief. I got a lot of business wrapped up while down there and settled some things with my parents too since it had been a month since home. After things were done I headed back to Vail, thankful to be heading westbound on I70 on Monday and not eastbound, that traffic looked brutal. I've never been in or seen traffic so bad in my life on that highway.

The man whose life I saved called me last week and I spoke with him briefly. Good to hear from him, and I'm glad to know he's going to be making a full recovery. He told me he still has some nightmares of drowning from the accident and can only go for 60 minute walks (this was last week Wednesday) since is oxygen levels are still too low. I haven't spoken to him since, but it's great to know he'll recover fully.

This weekend I am planning to hike some more 14ers, hopefully without a hitch this time. Every time I've gone out this summer something has happened, for better or for worse, so hopefully this weekend will be better. My knee feels recovered, and I was able to bike on it the last two days without pain. I'll be hopefully climbing Mt. Yale Saturday and Elbert Sunday, possibly for Sunday sunrise from Colorado's highest point. If anything changes, I'll probably be meeting up with Zach for some food and catch up since he's in town for the weekend. Either way, it looks like a fun weekend ahead. Stay tuned till next time!

Here's something cool to look at until then, these are the kind of stories and people that inspire me to do what I do, and remind me that anything is possible even when you think it might not be: http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=10266

Posted by la vita bella 19:50 Tagged mountains snow hiking france aspen ski bells hike eagle mtn dijon vista buena scout vail 14ers shavano princeton buena_vista maroon antero elbert Comments (0)

Life Continues.

The Fallout.

First blog since the last one which recounted the story of how I saved a man's life. It's been a pretty crazy week since then, with updates on almost everything, so I'm going to try to cover all of those and keep it short and sweet. Here goes...

Life Saved
There's been a lot of activity this last week surrounding that story. It's been more attention than I ever wanted or expected, but I guess you could say it's deserved. I didn't think much of it besides being lucky to be in the right place at the right time, but the people at the office went nuts. As a result, I made the cover of the Salida newspaper Tuesday morning (http://themountainmail.com/ftp/frontpage.jpg), and have two copies of that to keep for myself and family. I got a full page spread on the back of the front page of the Vail Daily newspaper yesterday morning also, and have copious copies of that one thanks to my friends at the office. I also received a call this week from the Sheriff in Chaffee County and they're going to honor me at their annual banquet in August with an Award for Distinguished Service for my actions. Pretty cool all in all, but definitely more recognition than I ever expected to get. The man who I rescued is doing well last I checked as well and resting at his home in Nathrop, right off the road to the Mt. Antero and Mt. Princeton trailheads. I'm flattered and honored to receive all this press and attention, but it's definitely a story for the ages and one to learn from. I've also earned the nickname "hero" from pretty much everyone at work and the other people at the intern house, which is cool, but I hope it doesn't stick. I'm too humble for a nickname like that.

The internship has been going really well so far. I did some work this week on international marketing research for the company, which was really interesting and finally a project that coincides with my major. I've also done a lot of work with data entry regarding Vail Resorts for the upcoming winter, which is boring but cool to know you're working for a super small company already partnered with such a giant gorilla in the business. Also, starting this week, I'm taking over concierge services for the company while our concierge guy is out of the country for the next 2.5 weeks. This should be fun because I enjoy the customer service side of things, and learned a lot from working at the Ritchie Center. I'm nervous being so new to the company and taking this on, but I'm sure I'll learn a lot. This may consume weekends for that time period too, not quite sure yet, but we'll see. We spent an afternoon at Camp Hale this week this week for Local's Day with NOVA Guides and got to ride ATVs and Jeep Tours for free. Play time is awesome at this company. I went to a breakfast networking event at the Cordillera Lodge (http://www.cordilleralodge.com/) this week also, aka where the Kobe Bryant scandal went down, and won a two free nights stay up there. Gorgeous place, and I'm not sure when or what I'll be using those two nights for, but either way it'll be a good time and it's cool to have won those. Those business card drawings really do work sometimes!

CampusFrance has finally received my payment, and once I get the confirmation from them on other stuff, the Visa process will begin. For now, I'm making a tentative Visa appointment in LA for the first Monday in August. The housing ordeal is almost complete. They have confirmed a studio for me, which is remarkable considering they wouldn't for a while, and now I'm just waiting for them to confirm the money I sent over there. The way I see it, they wouldn't confirm my studio if they didn't have my money, but regardless I have to wait for that confirmation. Then I can be reimbursed that money and the study abroad predeparture reqs will be almost completely wrapped up.

I'm still aggressively pursuing 14ers, and climbed my 21st yesterday on Mt. Princeton. Beautiful view from the summit at 7am, and gorgeous views of Mt. Antero from just across the valley. The two summits are about 5 miles apart as the crow flies, but the valley between sinks to about 7,000 feet, so the view at sunrise and from the summit is stunning. Check out the pictures on Facebook and let me know what you think if you haven't already. While optimistic about hiking next weekend over the holiday, it looks like I won't be now. I'm lying in bed as I type this with my right knee iced due to what it appears is a torn ligament (2-6 week recovery period). Thankfully, not an MCL or ACL tear, but still pretty painful. I had plans to hike Mt. Yale with a friend today, but had to bail yesterday. From experience, I know I've benched pressed 250+ pounds through a torn rotator cuff in each shoulder, so, I'm optimistic this thing will heal up fast and I'll be back out hiking soon. How soon is hard to say, but I can say it's going to be hard to get in the way of the passion I have for hiking 14ers and climbing the beautiful peaks around me, so we'll just have to see. I'm optimistic it'll be as close to that 2 week period as possible if not sooner, but it's impossible to know.

Who knows. I want to climb every 14er in the Sawatch range this summer and maybe a few in the Elks out by Aspen, especially those Maroon Bells. I want to learn as much as I can from the concierge spot these next few weeks for the future. I want to spend a night or two at the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs soon too, just to relax, either after a day of more 14er hiking or just to escape for a bit. 14er hiking will continue soon enough I'm sure, but it's impossible to know the future. You never know when you'll have to save a life out there, or when you'll end up hurt yourself. Until next time, take care of yourselves out there, and always remember... Be Prepared.

Posted by la vita bella 15:42 Archived in USA Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises mountains snow hiking france aspen bells hike eagle mtn vista atv massive scout beaver vail 14ers princeton buena_vista maroon antero elbert rmvr scouting scouts elks acl mcl Comments (0)

A Life Saved.

How the things you learn along the way really do make a difference.

overcast 60 °F

I debated writing this and putting pen to paper (figuratively) over the last 24 hours since things have happened because of confidentiality and stuff, but I decided to write it out because I know I'll end up telling this story over and over again to friends and family if I don't put it in one place for everyone to read. So, here's the story, I hope I do it justice as it's impossible to fully explain everything that went through my mind. It's a bit long too, so you might want to take a seat...

Yesterday I summitted my 20th 14er, Mt. Antero just south of Buena Vista. On my way down, I was offered a ride farther down the jeep road to my car by a gentleman I met on the summit. I replied no because then I'd see it as an incomplete hike on my part, but told him if he caught me on his way down I'd hop in so I didn't have to cross the rushing and freezing stream on my way down. I already crossed it in the morning and was not interested in doing it again. So, he picked me up not much farther down and dropped me off by my car. Just above my car was the snow drift that I couldn't get over and was the cause of the now 2 foot scrape along my left running board. We met two gentleman on ATVs there on the other side of the snow drift. I took off my pack and taking off layers like any other standard 14er hike and suddenly one of the guys came running down the road screaming "help! help! my friend is drowning!" I'm thinking to myself, no way. This stuff never happens, there's no way. But still, I took off running up the hill.

His friend had hit a rivet in the snowbank from tire tracks on the opposite side of the snow drift with his front left tire, and flipped his ATV into the stream. The stream runs immediately along the road, and his friend was pinned underwater underneath the ATV. I've never felt so helpless in my life. This man was gasping for air and fighting, but simply could not break the surface. The stream was raging and much higher than normal due to the above average snowfall in Colorado this winter. Somehow, I don't really remember, I was able to grab his right arm closest to me (his head was downstream). His friend was standing on a sort of bridge of snow covering the stream that hadn't melted yet, and was leaning out against the ATV. Somehow, his friend grabbed his right arm, and we both pulled as hard as possible to get the guy above water. After a few seconds of desperate lifting, we got his head above water...but he was out, cold. Unconscious, lips bluish purple, eyes faded, face pale. I for a split second thought we had lost him. After about 10 seconds (I think?) he regained consciousness. Thank the Lord. He's alive and I don't have to perform CPR. He mumbled a few things that were simply noise, and then said to his friend, I give up. I'm exhausted, I can't make it out of this stream. I'm going back under.

I held on tighter, and yelled at him, we've got you! We're getting you out of here! He was heavier than anything I've ever lifted, and kept acting like he was going to use the ATV as a crutch to try to stand up. I refused to let go. At this point another bystander showed up and I immediately yelled at him for help too. This way, he was able to grab the guy's left arm and the guy's friend was able to get out of danger from standing on the snow bridge. Somehow through a series of movements, I don't remember exactly, we were able to get him turned around in the stream and solid footing on the stream bed so he could attempt to stand up. We had him do his best, and we both pulled with all we had to get him out of the stream and up onto the snow drift covering the road. This guy was probably 300+ pounds, and it was a huge relief to have him out of the stream. At this point, we had saved his life, and had I not been there initially, he would have drowned for sure pinned under the ATV. But, this is just the beginning.

With my knowledge of CPR, first aid, and an Eagle Scout, I knew the first necessary step was to get him out of his clothes, and being the only person around with any knowledge of first aid, everyone followed me lead, especially once I said I'm an Eagle Scout. I ran to my car and grabbed some towels my dad keeps in there and the fleece sleeping bag liner I slept in the night before and after we got him out of his shirts and hoodie, I did my best to warm him up. I asked him how he felt: nauseated, weak, exhausted, cold. I knew he needed a hospital ASAP. Next thing I did was a memory check with important facts since he was out for so long. DOB, wife's name, address, hometown, political party, things you should remember. He passed all questions, thankfully. He claimed to remember crashing and going under water but not much after that. I'm awaiting another call, but hoping he doesn't suffer from brain damage from the time he was unconscious. At this point the bystander and I got him to my car, and headed 3 miles down the rugged (and intense) jeep road to the Chaffee County dirt road.

Once we got back to the dirt road, we went to his part time retirement home nearby with his friend and got him some new clothes, shoes, etc. Not having cell reception and with their landline not working, I told his friend we needed to get back out and head straight to a hospital. I told his friend to follow me just in case they needed any information since he knew his friend better than I did, and that I was going to call 911 as soon as I had reception. This guy did NOT want to go to a hospital. He kept saying he would be ok and just needed to lay down, but the rules of CPR say otherwise. So, we headed out towards the nearest highway (285), speeding like mad down the dirt roads. I continually talked to him to make sure he was there and if anything was changing. Right before we reached 285, he told me he was beginning to shake. Shock? Hypothermia? Either way, I had him recline the shotgun side seat as best as possible and grabbed the fleece blanket to try to warm him. The person on 911 sent the nearest patrol car to meet us and the nearest ambulance, and told me the EMTs would be able to tell us what to do from there. Within minutes, I was pulled over, and for a good cause for once in my life, and the officer began checking things out, getting story info, contact info, etc. Within minutes of this the sheriff and EMTs arrived.

At this point I let the EMTs go to work. The officer turned to me and said you should feel proud, you saved this guy's life today. The sheriff said the same thing. The EMTs then pulled out the stretcher from the ambulance and loaded him on, covered him in a blanket, and loaded him into the ambulance. One of the EMTs then told me the same thing, and told me which hospital they were headed to. At this point, we began to wrap things up a bit. The ambulance flew off down 285 towards Salida hospital, and I shook hands with he sheriff and police officer, and they both commended be again. I told them both I attribute it all to being an Eagle Scout and our motto, "Be Prepared." You never know when those little things you learned in Scouting will come in handy. I exchanged contact info with his friend, and told him to please please call me with an update when they get the verdict from the hospital. Case closed? Hardly.

I got a call this afternoon from the gentleman's wife from the hospital with an update. They were both very grateful for me being there and saving his life, and for the kindness I showed in getting him to a hospital. His wife said he periodically coughs up blood, which obviously isn't great news. He said he experienced the worst shaking of his life yesterday and it took them 2 hours to warm his body temperature back up to normal. They scanned his chest and his enzymes were off (or something like that) and they think he might have had a mild heart attack (he's 69), but aren't positive. His oxygen level is still too low to let him leave, but the doctors said he might be able to go home tomorrow if things improve. He said the doctors said it's a miracle he survived. I told them if they need anything else to call me and also to please let me know how things end up and when he makes it home safely.

And that's where things stand as of right now. I've never been one to take merit in things and try to remain humble, but I do feel proud in some ways I guess for what I did. I feel incredibly lucky and blessed that I was there when I was, had the knowledge and preparedness that I did, and that I took that ride down from the guy I met on the summit, because otherwise that man would not be breathing today. The feeling of knowing you saved someone's life is indescribable really. From the immediate terror and shock that something like that was actually happening to the ability to react to the humble pride you take in success from a situation like that, it's beyond words. I thank God that I was there yesterday. He works in funny ways sometimes. It's truly the most speechless moment of my life to date because you really can't describe the feelings and rush of emotions through the whole thing. It's just beyond words. I shared this story in an email to the man who was my Eagle Advisor last night and spoke with him today, and he suggested using it as an inspiration letter to the guys in my scout troop back at home and the guys in the Philmont crew leaving in two weeks that I had to back out of. I hope they can take as much from the story as I learned yesterday and understand that Boy Scouts really does teach you a lot of useful things. And with that I'm going to close with two words that have always served me very well:

Be Prepared.

  • **Update 8/28/11***

I received an Award of Distinguished Service from the Chaffee County Sheriff's Department yesterday for what I did. For pictures of the presentation, follow this link: http://t.co/tjQl4eI

Posted by la vita bella 17:25 Tagged snow hiking be eagle boy vista atv buena scout prepared 14ers antero scouting scouts Comments (4)

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