Hiking the Colorado Trail was always something I had in the back of my mind, but I really never thought I would have the time or opportunity to attempt it. Then, the COVID pandemic arrived. My summer trip to Denmark was canceled, and, to paraphrase John Muir, the mountains started calling, so I went!
Prior to beginning the hike, we (the NFDA) decided to make it a fundraiser for Danish America. I knew this would add some pressure for me. As the response to our call and participation in the fundraiser climbed, I felt a huge obligation to complete the 500-mile hike. Failure was not an option! Honestly, it really worried me. Not many 60+ year-olds do this! About one-third way through the hike, my knees and my left ankle were killing me. It was raining every night, and the mornings were a wet mess of swatting mosquitos and packing away drenched gear. In my mind I was composing the reasons why I had to give it up. Then miraculously my knee and ankle pain went away, and the skies cleared up. It was truly an answer to my prayers. I began to believe I could do this. I would just take it a day at a time, and not dwell on the hundreds of miles remaining. Days and miles passed, and the end seemed in reach. When I reached Creede and read so many messages of encouragement on social media, it truly lifted my spirits, and I thank all of you for that! I felt stronger, and each day I enjoyed the majesty of the mountain scenery, and the days became so much more fun. The last 2 weeks of the hike were truly a joy, as I passed through the San Juan mountain range in reach of the finish. Tears welled up in my eyes as I approached the finish to see my “base camp support team” waiting for me beyond an arch of Danish and American flags. There stood my cousin Reed Bro, his wife Jamie, champagne in hand to celebrate!
Beyond being a personal accomplishment, I am most pleased that, together with your help and commitment, we were able to support Danish American organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for your generosity and enthusiasm in getting behind this fundraising effort. Thank you for all your pledges and encouragement! My NFDA colleagues - Linda Steffensen, Katrine Vange, and Karin Wasler, and I are truly grateful for your support, and we look forward to many more future projects to support Danish America! Tusind tak! - Bruce
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