In response to a recent Colorado Matters interview with Boulder author Gail Storey about her brutal hike as a "fool for love," listeners sent in stories of physically challenging adventures that transformed their lives.
Gabriele Moritz of Red Feather Lakes reached out to share about an experience involving.
"As I was reaching the big 6-0, I realized that I had to fullfill those items on my bucket list that required great physical awareness," Mortiz shared with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner. "I took a leave of absence from being a commercial airline pilot and applied for the Extreme Mustang Makeover Challenge. 'In 90 days from wild to willing' was the motto."
As part of the experience, Moritz had to take a completely untouched wild horse and train it in three months to become a willing partner and competitor in a national competition.
"Talk about loosing pounds and sleep and nerve," Moritz reflected. "The competition resulted not only in my completing the challenge but also deciding it was time to spend the remainder of my life fulfilling the call of the wild and retiring from a successful and exciting career."
She retired from the airline business and became a horse trainer and advocate.
Another related personal story came to us from Travis Macy, of Evergreen. In 2005, Macy decided take part in a challenging race called Explore Sweden. It covers more than 500 miles and crosses forests, rivers, oceans and lakes as well as high alpine mountains. Competitors hike, snowshoe, climb, kayak and mountain bike.
Macy wrote on his blog:
"Explore Sweden 2005 was my first real expedition race, and I was a green 22-year-old on a team of gritty, experienced athletes. [During the first paddling section,] our two-person kayak flipped over in a large, fast, ice-lined river. After a dreadful swim in cold, fast whitewater, we somehow righted it and continued forward. The long, narrow lake at the end of the river was covered with ice. Thin ice. As we forged on, kayaks in tow, to the transition area at the end of the lake, we repeatedly broke through the ice and had to use the ice picks that were part of the mandatory gear to pull ourselves out of the water. Thankfully, we wore personal flotation devices and wetsuits, but it was still cold. Very cold, especially under the ice."
After a mile or so, Macy's team reached a transition area.
"There, we stripped naked in the snowy air, put on cycling clothes, built up our bikes from the pieces that were packed into boxes for transportation to the remote location, and rode out into the swamp where, hours later, we would have to urinate on our frozen bikes to make the chains spin again. That was the first half of the first day.”