My family moved to Colorado when I was a young teen, and I’ve been drawn to the mountain wilderness to explore hiking trails and peaks ever since. And each autumn, the great outdoors beckons with a dazzling display of color. Aspen dot the mountainsides with pockets of yellow, gold, and orange against a backdrop of greens and blues from endless forests of pine and spruce.
I’m a slow hiker, often stepping aside on the trail to let others pass. But my slow pace allows for taking in the sights and scents of the high country and for stopping at scenic overlooks to catch my breath. Though I grew up in the San Luis Valley of Colorado, now I live in the northern part of the state, only an hour’s drive from one of the most beautiful spots on earth—Rocky Mountain National Park.
The National Park
The park is a protected sanctuary for many different species of wild animals. I love to linger there at dusk to listen to the elk bugle as they come down from the mountains into the meadows. It’s a thrill to hear their melodic whistle as the sound travels closer and closer until the elk herd finally appears through the trees. The cows graze on the meadow grass while the bulls spar.
My time hiking the Sangre de Cristo mountain range when I was a kid and that spent in the park as an adult inspired the fictional setting in my Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries. Wild spaces seem dark and full of mystery—what better stage for outdoor mysteries packed with action and adventure? And now that I’m older and not able to hike as far or climb as high as I used to, it gives me the opportunity to go into my fictional world and embrace my inner wild.
Where do you like to go to embrace yours?
Margaret Mizushima is the author of the award-winning and internationally published Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries. She serves as president for the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Mystery Writers of America, was elected the 2019 Writer of the Year by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and is also a member of Northern Colorado Writers, Sisters in Crime, and Women Writing the West. She lives in Colorado on a small ranch with her veterinarian husband where they raised two daughters and a multitude of animals. She can be found on Facebook/AuthorMargaretMizushima, Twitter @margmizu, Instagram at margmizu, and her website at www.margaretmizushima.com.