We drove up the snowy, winding road towards the cozy A-frame cabin. The weekend was spent exploring the area and gauging what our lives would be like in this frozen mountainous land. This was when we decided to leave the lives we knew at 24 to begin a new. Little did we know, it was a weekend in Summit County Colorado that turned our worlds into a whirlwind of ups and downs. Me, my boyfriend Gurjeet, and his best friend Jeremy decided to go out to Colorado for the green rush. Our dreams was to venture out to the unknown and grow ganj in the Rockies.
A month later, we set out to Colorado to make it our home. I had $500 in my bank account, with the promise of a job with the forest service in the spring, and a heart filled with hopes and dreams. I remember the day we arrived to where we would crash for a couple weeks while we worked on finding a more permanent living situation. We arrived at night and parked our cars and was walking down an alley way behind Main Street towards a restaurant called Whale’s Tail. This was the first time in my life I saw snowflakes falling from the sky. Before that I only seen them in cartoons and to my surprise they really did look like fractal patterns blessing the earth and then falling to rest in the sparkling snow. It was like magic, especially for a girl who grew up in the Deep South of New Orleans.
We arrived at Whale’s Tail. It looked like a classical mountain town lodging made of wood and painted a deep red color. We walked up the stairs on the back side of the restaurant that bypassed the dining area up to an apartment on the top of the building. Upon entering we were warmly greeted by Sandra. She was a badass snowboard chick. Spanish with curly dark brown hair, big friendly eyes and a cheerful smile. She showed us where we would be crashing. It was a living room with a couple couches. Behind one of the couches was a guy sleeping named Sam. He was a snow bum who worked a few hours a night at the Whale’s Tail and sold bud during his off time. We dropped our bags on the side of the couch and sat down to rest after the long drive. Gurjeet started rolling a fat joint and Jeremy took a book out of his bag. We all passed the joint and Jeremy was reading his book Saddhatissa: The Buddhist Way. I was feeling the change of altitude and fell asleep for a couple hours. I was woken up by an unexpected loud entrance. The front door busted open and there was a guy in red flannel, long blond hair, and a cigarette hanging in his mouth. He let out a loud yell and tackled Sam behind the couch. They wrestled all over the living room and everyone had to dodge out of the way to not get tangled in their friendly scuffle. Sandra said that Wes does this every night when he gets off from work. He was a cook at Whale’s Tail and he lived in the apartment with Sandra and Sam. The three of them hosted the three of us for a couple weeks until we found an apartment of our own to begin building our new home in the snowy mountains of Summit County.
The three of us could only afford a place in a small nearby town about 45 minutes away called Leadville. This was the starting point of a beautiful disaster.