The Funny Thing About Plans...


When I was little (as in age, not height..) I planned on becoming a horse trainer who lived in a barn/house combo next door to my mom and dad. I also planned on being fantastically rich, which would allow me to pursue my world traveling desires. Aside from being an independently wealthy horse trainer, I would be a professional soccer player- in my spare time of course. Fast forward a few years: I realized that wealth, free time and horse training didn't go hand in hand, living next to my parents wouldn't be as sweet as previously thought, and being a pro soccer player didn't consist in eating orange slices at half time and doing handstands on the goal line. Circumstances and mindsets change and therefore plans change.

With the notion of "plans change" stuck in my mind, I always relied heavily on the quote, "there are more possibilities in each moment than we realize." Which beings the mindset for the story of last week:

Brandon and I pulled up to his house at 1:00 AM on Sunday morning with the thick smell of five days of adventure still on us. Exhausted from the the many miles we just logged on the car odometer and our legs, we quickly passed out in what was likely a coma-esk slumber. Plans had changed, but the end result was still the same: the much desired exercise induced crash.

The Plan: To complete Nolans 14 over the course of a few days. (For those of you that don't know what Nolans is- it is completing 14 14ers, typically done in less than 60 hours.) The campsites, shuttles, routes etc were all carefully laid out thanks to some extensive planning by a Colorado Springs Mt. Man. Day 1 plan was to summit Mt. Massive, Mt. Elbert and La Plata. Day 2 would be rest, Day 3 was planned as awful- 6 14ers, Day 4 would be a blur and day Day 5 would likely be death. Total vertical gain would be 44K in roughly 88 miles.

The Players: Brandon, Sean, Gavin, myself and some other runners who would likely join us at different stages.


Brandon, Reese, & Gavin on La Plata


What Actually Happened: On day one we checked off Massive and Elbert. The weather forced us to push La Plata off till Day 2. (Enter Plan B) Who needs rest anyway? After waking from an exercise induced coma on Day 2, it was discovered that the groups master mind, Sean, had become violently ill and wouldn't continue on the rest of the trip. Gavin, Brandon and I decided to head up La Plata and talk about options for the rest of the week: continue on with the plan, make a new one, scrap the thing all together... As we all climbed to the summit in the thin air, we agreed that something epic still needed to occur. And in a moment of weakness and light headed-ness, Brandon (whom I'd carpooled with) and I decided to randomly head to the Grand Canyon.

Plan C: On the drive down to Arizona, Brandon and I realized that it was a bit hot to run at the GC mid afternoon, so we thought we could just be tourists and enjoy the views from the rim. We did this for 15 minutes before coming up with Plan D: Run to the bottom of the canyon to avoid crowds. Starting at 1 in the afternoon might not have been the best idea, but it turned out to be just what we needed.


Day 2 of the GC we intended to (Plan E) wake up early and do a 15 mile loop starting at Hermits rest. Afterwards we would likely go to Durango for the evening. Though as we were heading down the canyon, I began thinking about iced tea, swimming in a cold pool and sleeping in a real bed. I voiced my thoughts about these simple pleasures. Enter Plan F: Go to Dripping Springs, a 7 mile round trip hike, head to Durango, play in the river there and head back to Manitou on Sunday. Yet the hotter it grew, I could tell our minds were both thinking more and more about home. Enter Plan G: Go to dripping springs then bust a move back to Manitou Springs. Which is exactly what we did.

Plan A (Nolans) would have left us tired, smelly and totally spent. Plan G, though vastly different from A, had the same end result. I might not have climbed fourteen 14ers, but I don't regret changing things up. Circumstances changed. Our plans changed because our minds simply became aware of more possibilities. I still had fun, spent some quality time running around on trails- all in the good company of friends.

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