As the cold winter winds traverse the western ridge of the Rocky Mountains and tumble down the Peak, Barr Trail becomes more chilling to the bone. When the trail becomes icy and unforgiving, Barr Camp overflows with warmth from the gas stove and a whiney tea kettle. Today, the cabin is packed with camp frequenters; however, none of them can be bothered to socialize. They are all patiently waiting their turn to talk to Bailey Eppard.
Eppard floats from person to person with a warm smile, her hair pulled back in a characteristic messy bun while she refills hot cocoa mugs and cleans the countertops. Eppard, despite her waitlist for attention, is not a fluent conversationalist. Instead, she provides an ear for all of the frequenters to discuss their wild adventures and reminisce about their experiences at the camp. Eppard enjoys her work and encourages the frequenters to talk with her as she laughs with the occasional “Oh really?” and “I didn’t know that.” Although Eppard is an avid listener, she has her own unique story to share.
There’s something about the candle-lit backwoods that attracts electrical engineers and long-distance runners; first, there was Zach Miller, and now there is Bailey Eppard. She received her degree in electrical engineering from University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) in the spring of 2017. Despite her challenging major, Eppard ran track and cross country until an injury ended her college track career. She now runs ultra-marathons and intends to train for a 50-miler in Moab this March. As a recent graduate, Eppard is taking a “gap year” to find her footing after graduation. She spends her days training and performing day-to-day upkeep of Barr Camp.
While Eppard found a love for adventuring in the outdoors, she also values being close to home. Eppard’s mother and father followed her to college in Colorado Springs. Eppard’s parents insist they were looking for a good place to retire; however, Eppard notes that it was not a coincidence when her parents chose to live near her. Both Eppard’s father and mother make their way to Barr Camp several times a week and have gotten to know the other frequenters well.
Eppard plans to continue working at Barr Camp and intends to continue training and catching up with her parents.