Messages of L♥ve from Mountaintops to Fields of Snow
This story is the latter.
I didn’t notice it at first. I had lived in town about six months before a native resident pointed it out to me. But since that day, not a day goes by when I don’t stop and take it in. It’s one of my favorite things about Leadville – – the heart-shaped crater in Mount Elbert.
Have you seen it? It’s big and full, like a grade school Valentine. And the heart is constantly changing its appearance with each passing season. Loveland might have the name, but in Leadville, we have the heart-shaped crater in Colorado’s highest peak, Mount Elbert.
Perhaps it was that heart in Elbert that inspired me one Valentine’s Day to do the most romantic thing I have done. Even though nearly 20 years have passed, the story still steals hearts.
I wanted to do something extra special for my boyfriend that Valentine’s Day, something unforgettable. Leadville got a big storm right before the big day of love. As I drove past the high school football field, the endless white, deep snow inspired me. A blank canvas, I thought. I ran home and grabbed my skis.
I returned to the football field. I was a surprised to see that no one had trekked across it. There wasn’t a mark on it. I stood at the top of the stadium to gain some perspective on my plan. I would have to ski in a continuous line, breaking snow only when it was necessary to complete my design. The letters had to be crisp and clean, if they were to be seen from a distance.
I descended the bleachers, stepped out onto the field and strapped on my writing utensils. The snow was deep, above my knees; it wasn’t going to be as easy, I thought. Ah, but love never is, is it?
Thus, began the creation of my most original Valentine. I spent all afternoon skiing and writing my Valentine message, going over the tracks several times, creating my own craters of letters and shapes. Finally, as the sun started to fade over Elbert’s heart-shaped crater, I took one last look at my Valentine message. It was perfect.
My plan was almost complete. The next morning for Valentine’s Day, I took my boyfriend to the Highest Airport in North America. He was surprised. Just the thought of seeing the Cloud City from the air was a gift in itself. Little did he know what waited him on the high school football field.
The day couldn’t have been any better for flying. It was one of those bluebird mornings, surrounded by snow-laden mountains. It was perfect.
As our tiny plane became airborne, my heart soared with it. I crossed my fingers that my message was still untouched, as I directed the pilot to fly over the high school football field. The plane couldn’t fly fast enough.
“Look,” I said to my boyfriend, pointing down to the field, “Someone left you a message in the snow.” It was the perfect Valentine, and it was exactly as I had left it the day before, no one had messed with it.
My payoff was big, the kind that comes from pulling off this type of feat. My boyfriend’s initial speechlessness was followed by the appropriate gesture of gratitude. Even the pilot prattled on a bit, “Wow, wait until I tell my wife. I’ve never seen anything like that.”
The rest of the flight was breathtaking. If you’ve never flown over the Cloud City, do it. It gives you a whole new reason to fall in love with Leadville.
And if you’re not particularly feeling the love this Valentine’s Day, look up to Mt. Elbert and its beautiful heart-shaped crater – you never know what it may inspired you to do! Happy Valentine’s Day!