“Sometimes, places don’t matter as much as the people who brought you there”, I’m thinking to myself while I’m on my way to the mountain peak. Coffee is on my mind.
My journey had almost drawn to a close. Being on the road had been good, still, I suddenly found myself at loose ends. With little money, little plan and a chipmunk-nibbled tent. The travel blues had hit me.
Before I left for Frisco, Vicky, my host, said: “I know somebody there, text her if you’re in trouble.”
It turned out Vicky had a quick coffee with “her” at an airport two years ago. Just some superficial small talk in the airport’s rush – but enough for talkative Vicky to exchange numbers.
Her idea was well-meant. But wouldn’t it be audacious to ask a strange person that she “knew” for a place to sleep?
No, I wasn’t that bold.
Raindrops on the bus window blurred the fir trees which looked like a massive dark wall. While I was still hopelessly pondering the possibility of glue stick fixing that tent, I finally reached for my phone…
Cecilia picked me up at the bus stop. She was a petite woman in her fifties with auburn hair and a warm aura. Never before had she hosted a stranded traveller. “But I know the struggle”, she said as we left the town behind. “I was on the road for seven years”.
The cabin windows were the only light dots in the narrow mountain valley. Total remoteness. With Cecilia’s husband Drew, we spent the evening chatting to the steady sound of heavy rain hitting the roof.
Only a few clouds were clinging to the peaks the next morning. A mountain goat that looked like a body builder in sheep’s clothing roamed around the cabin while the pure air mixed with the smell of coffee.
“Is there a cheap hostel anywhere nearby?”, I asked at breakfast. “You’re not a burden”, Cecilia replied. I knew she meant it. And what was originally supposed to be a shelter for one night became my home for a whole week.
Cecilia and Drew showed me places I would have shamefully missed and gave up their mountain solitude for a half-baked kid who was more lucky than anything else.
Mere chance had made them my friends and the final week of my journey outstanding.
I had written it off in the first place. Silly me.
Two days before I moved on, Drew recommended a hike that would “literally” take my breath away.
Now, I’m sitting on Quandary Peak, more than 14000 feet high, still panting, surrounded by the sunlit craggy landscapes of Colorado, USA, and I’m thankful. Thankful for that cup of airport coffee two strangers once shared.