Southwest

The Makery Experience

observant nomad | the makery experience

When my good friend Rachel invited me to join her on a special weekend getaway with fellow foodies, local entrepreneurs, and creative types, I only had one answer. A resounding yes. I had no clue what we would be doing, where we would be going, or even what the whole thing was about. I just knew I had to say yes to any new adventures that came my way.

All we did know was that we had to pack a small overnight bag and dress for some potential light hiking and hanging around the campfire. It was such a wonderful experience to show up to a pre-planned trip where I didn’t have to worry about any of the logistics or hosting. And once we arrived at the meeting spot we were welcomed with hot cups of fragrant coffee from Novo Coffee and plenty of tasty breakfast treats. We mingled and chatted with some acquaintances and friends who were all in the unknown right along with us.

observant nomad | the makery experience

observant nomad | the makery experience

observant nomad | the makery experience

After a few hours of riding deep into the far east of Colorado, we finally landed in Pawnee National Grasslands. The magical sight of towering canvas tents greeted us in the distance. We were at the Makery Experience.

Once we unloaded and settled in, the spectacular detail of the scene before us was finally clear. Imposing white stone buttes rose in the near distance, soft blue-green sage and tall wheat stalks swayed all around us, with cacti appearing here and there among them. Twinkling patio lights lined the walkways and encompassed the teepee poles. A huge fire pit was smoking ready to roast the delicious food being prepared by Western Daughters.

It was overwhelmingly beautiful.

observant nomad | the makery experience

observant nomad | the makery experience

observant nomad | the makery experience

The Prisoner Wine Company and Denver’s own Fellow Magazine were gracious enough to host the event, bringing together some of Denver’s most intriguing and passionate people I’ve met. From boutique coffee shop owners to fellow bloggers and creative spirits, everyone was equally interesting and had amazing stories to tell.

We sampled the delicious and flavorful food from Western Daughters and learned about each of the unique varietals of wine that TPWco creates. As we gathered around long community tables we chatted about our backgrounds, work, and what drove us to do what we do.

observant nomad | the makery experience

observant nomad | the makery experience

observant nomad | the makery experience

observant nomad | the makery experience

After an enthusiastic lunch, Western Daughters was kind enough to take us on a little hike down through the buttes and around the complex and subtle ecosystem of our grasslands. Wild sage was fragrant and plenty. The rolling hills of grasslands stretched on as far as the horizon and felt amazingly peaceful to be found in.

We learned about local rye, sage, and grasses. How vast the plains of grasslands were before the Americas were settled out west, and exactly how deep grass roots run into the soil. Western Daughters talked passionately about how the types of grasses that cattle and livestock feed on vary the meat in drastic ways. They knew as much about the flora as they do about the fauna they serve in their store.

observant nomad | the makery experience

observant nomad | the makery experience

observant nomad | the makery experience

observant nomad | the makery experience

observant nomad | the makery experience

observant nomad | the makery experience

As the sun slowly set, a golden light drenched the camp site. Wine flowed and music quietly drifted around the tents. The whole experience felt utterly surreal. Everything was perfectly collected to create an environment that was partly rustic and true to a southwestern atmosphere, and yet at the same time luxurious and comforting.

People gathered around the butchers asking questions about the meal preparation, and the techniques they were using. Business owners bonded over the laments of permits, vendors, and nuances of running the day to day. All while still maintaining an optimistic view of the future and their personal passions. It was really an experience in the sharing of like-minds and soaking in the beauty of the vast grasslands that surrounded us.

observant nomad | the makery experience

observant nomad | the makery experience

observant nomad | the makery experience

observant nomad | the makery experience

Although, as amazing as it all was, at some points it was hard. Hard not to compare my journey to those of the people surrounding us. Their smiles were pure and full of passion. Passion for their calling, their businesses, and living their truths everyday.

I wondered how all these lives had collected into this moment. How had magazine curators find themselves in the company of passionate wine makers in California? How had the coffee roasters known the beer makers? It was like jumping to the end of a juicy novel and only experiencing the beautiful ending. The perspective was baffling and yet transforming. It was something that lifted me into a bit of awe.

observant nomad | the makery experience

observant nomad | the makery experience

observant nomad | the makery experience

Perhaps it was the faint laughter of close friends over the fire pit, the quaint teepees sparkling with twinkle lights, or the wash of the golden sun across endless plains. Maybe it was all just too perfect. It felt so far away from the reality of life and the hardships of the journeys it probably took to arrive at these moments.

And that’s what resonated the most with me.

It wasn’t a predicable feeling of a desire to achieve the exact same success as those around me. Instead it was a call to explore my own path, and to create the essence of what I found there.

I left the experience yearning to discover my own version of this magic. The situation, the people, the passion that would eventually accumulate into moments like these—but in my own way. In that moment felt a bit further from my own truth. But at the same time I was at peace with that knowledge, and I knew I would find it in my own way, one day. And to me, that is good enough.

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