As we drove up a dirt road at 11,000ft cars began to line the road on either side, creating a very narrow space for my Chevy Silverado. One of my best friends Levi hopped out of the truck to guide me through the narrow space. Once we had passed a dozen or so cars and rounded a bend we saw what was causing this pileup so far down the mountain. Ruts had formed perpendicular to the road. Some were easily 2 feet deep. The only way around was to hug the edge of road on the cliff side and slowly inch forward. Levi’s face grimaced as we entered the ruts and Stephanie, his wife, commented to Jess, “At least you don’t have to look over the edge.” It was a moment full of adventure! I loved it. About 3 miles past those ruts the road ended and we were at a beautiful alpine lake 12,000 ft up. After doing a quick product shoot we decided to take a hike. I don’t know if you have ever hiked at 12,000 ft, but I will tell you its hard to breathe up there. Our goal was to reach another alpine lake at 12,600ft, we started hiking and when I say hiking think walking as slow and you can, in the midwest we would have called it moseying. However, even walking at this incredibly slow pace I found two things fascinating. First, that we were still somehow out of breath. Jess even commented that her stomach felt nauseous. Its a weird feeling really, its not like you just ran wind sprints and your lungs are burning. Its more like a fish out of water. You trying to breath there’s just is no air. The second thing I found fascinating is that even as slow as we were walking we were still making huge progress. I would look back and think, “Wow we have come a long way.” Or “Man, I didn’t realize how high we had climbed no wonder I’m dying!” I found that as I hiked I held myself to an impossible standard of performance and it wasn’t until I look up and gained some perspective on what I had achieved that I could give myself some grace.
As we pushed ever upward, Jess and I began to feel more nauseous, tension headaches began to form in our neck and as Jess stood on a rock on the side of a water fall she looked at me and said, “I’m good, I’m going to wait here.” We sat down and caught our breath and enjoyed the amazing view. After a bit I said to her why don’t we just go up to that rock there. She looked me not thrilled about my request and said, “If we go to that rock then you will just say why don’t we go to the next rock above that and we won’t ever stop.” I had been exposed. That was indeed my plan. Break down, this incredibly steep ascent into small manageable chucks until we reached the top. I smiled big having been called out. I told her my plan. She didn’t like it, but I assured her it was worth it. We pressed on. Fifteen minuets later we had reached the top. The view was without a doubt worth all the effort. The feeling of accomplishment was invigorating! It made me think of my vision for Redemption Road Coffee and what God has put in me. Right now we are small and it has been very hard. Thanks to all of you we are growing fast. I stop and look back to January and this was all just an idea in my mind. I think of all the markets we have attended and all the amazing people we have met. Its crazy to think that RRC was an idea and now its a real thing. People like you have made it so. Your support, love and prayers for us have launched us into the amazing world. As Jess and I climb this waterfall reaching for the summit of our vision, we will get tired and it will be hard. However, we will never give up and we will never forget you: friends who both love great coffee and join us in this grand vision.