Senior Profile: Brayden Patterson

by Chloe Kiparsky

Brayden Elijah Patterson has a need for speed. On any given day, one might find him out on his motorcycle, ripping through the trees. Then again, maybe he will be on his back in the shop, staring up at the motorcycle he is repairing; he might even be out in the cold forest, building a shelter with his bare hands.

Whatever Brayden is doing, he dives fully into the activity, and will not surface until he understands its every facet. He, his mom Jessica, and his stepdad Jasper moved to Ouray from North Carolina in 2019, during Brayden’s freshman year of high school. Jasper was passionate about off-roading (the family had come here during prior summers), and what better place to off-road, right?

Off-roading is pretty fun, he says, but where his heart truly lies is with motorcycles. He rode his first one when he was four years old and has never stopped. Motorcycling, an intimidating sport to some, makes Brayden feel full of life. “It’s freeing,” he said. “You feel open to the world, you don’t feel like you’re in a box.”

He is glad to share his transcendent moments on bikes with other people. “If you wanna do something weird on your motorcycle,” he said, miming taking his hands off the handlebars, “everyone else can see it and it makes me very happy.” Those hands, as scraped up as they may be from his many falls, are protected by scuffed gloves which he often wears to school. He pointed out the rips - each one a memory.

Since he cannot motorcycle over the winter, Brayden has recently turned to skiing. Surprisingly, skiing is very similar to motorcycling, he has observed. “Everything translates over to skiing,” he said. “Basically, how you have your feet on a motorcycle, it’s the same perspective,” he said, and one can lean in the exact same ways to get the same results whether they are attached to skis or a bike. Motorcycling is Brayden’s ultimate passion, but he has found ways to be creative about giving himself the rush all year round.

Up in the mountains, there are endless worlds to investigate, Brayden’s favorite being the geology of Ouray. He is fascinated by “How rocks are made and the different kinds,” and one of his favorite pastimes is going “up on the passes to look for rocks,” a lot of the time accompanied by his stepdad. The cool rocks he finds, like “tiny little pieces of pyrite that are perfect squares!” he puts in his “little rock collection,” which is small now but steadily filling up.

Another way he likes to spend time outdoors is with his grandfather - his role model and “a big part of my life.” An activity they do together is hiking up into the wilderness, building shelters out of the natural materials they find there, and camping in them. All it takes, he explained, is stacking up cut logs “like Lincoln Logs,” and throwing a tarp over the top as a roof (plus, I assume, some clever planning and a lot of physical labor!). When they are ready to leave, he said, “we take off the tarp and just let it sit there until it slowly goes back to the ground.” 

Brayden is also “interested in heavy equipment,” and looks forward to a life out of doors. After high school, he has plans to move to Villa Rica, Georgia and work at a quarry, where he will grind rocks into gravel to make roads. And when he’s not working? The growl of the motorcycle has filled Brayden’s ears since he was four years old: he’ll keep that throttle open!