This is the weirdest of all the posts to write. We do this blog for us. I want us all to be able to look back and remember the events of this part of our lives from our own perspective and from those we spent these days with. There are a lot of days in these trips, seven and half weeks worth of adventure, exploring, doing, being. These entries are so we can remember the flowers, the scents, the food, the challenges, the triumphs. It’s also the only time all year, any one of us chooses to write. We all read, draw, create, but we are not writers by nature. Except for these two months. And it feels good to be creative in this way.
Undoubtedly, one of the most frequent questions we all get asked when we return is, “What was your favorite place?” We have all prepped answers to this, and will each list two or three of the highlights we had personal connections to. My answer will be Glacier, Arches/Canyonlands, and Colorado home. But, please know, if you ask me that, I’ll be thinking about the wickedly badass-iness of Zoe and Ellie at Yosemite Point after hiking up 3,000 feet. I’ll be thinking about the five nights of backpacking when it poured and we had to spend hours drying everything out. I’ll be thinking about the heat of the desert, sweat pouring off of us, but pausing to watch a lizard find a cactus for shade. I’ll be thinking about the rainforest, because it’s damn amazing. I’ll be thinking about, despite the rain and hard climbs, the perfect camping location at so many parks. I’ll be thinking about the people. The other travelers, the rangers, the volunteers, the servers, the cooks, the owners of small hotels, the few real life friends we got to see. I’ll be thinking about the laughter. My goodness, did we laugh. Every single day. These trips provide jokes and humor unlike any other time of the year. I’ll be thinking about the tears. There weren’t many, but there were some. And they were needed in those moments. I’ll be thinking about the pain. There were a handful of minor injuries and more than a few days of sore muscles. I’ll be thinking about the rewards.
We hiked just under 200 miles this summer. Not all of them were easy, and not all of them were hard. Some provided breathtakingly beautiful scenery and others were a bit dull (or at least I was focusing too much on my footing to have the opportunity to look around me.) During these hikes we were witness to arches, buttes, mesas, canyons, mountains, glaciers, lakes, an ocean, streams, rivers, icebergs, plateaus, valleys, basins, beaches, coasts, islands, volcanoes, and other landforms and waterways. I can take away that this country is a beautifully diverse one.
I use these trips to pull from the rest of the year. We’re a few weeks away from the start of the next school year and I know the upcoming months will be ones of chaos, stress, anxiety, and an overbooked schedule. But we’ll all take the memories of this trip, and the excitement for next year, to stay calm, focused, and relaxed. We’ll have the added benefit of knowing we left a piece of our hearts in Mancos. We have such a lovely, simple future there. That’s where a part of me will be until we can return.
I’m proud of myself, I climbed higher, hiked longer, and pushed myself more than I think I ever have before. And I did it with a pretty good attititude, something that hasn’t always been true of me in the past. But, the girls. Damn. What athletes. What mindsets they have. They can do anything and I’m so proud of them. The lessons they learned this trip, and the others, will take them to their dreams. I have no doubt about that. I admire them, I’m in awe, I love them. And Zak. The work he pours into planning these trips is not measurable. Hours and hours and hours. Then the trip comes, and things get messed up. You should see the list of the things that didn’t go as planned. The snow made him replan so many hikes and adventures last minute, but you’d never know. He doesn’t get upset, he just finds the second best thing we can do that day. I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us next year.
Thank you for following along with us. It’s rewarding to share the beauty of our National Parks with others. Thank you for excusing our spelling and grammatical errors, it’s tough to do all this writing on our phones. Thank you for cheering us on and giving us so many suggestions.