***Since the last post, I finished getting the Adorable Truck road-ready and set off to have a few of those discussions one has with oneself when you two haven't spoken in a very long time. I delivered a case of "thank-you beer" to my guardian angels (Rocky Mountain Mechanics) at 7am and hit I-25 north to the Tetons. Most of my summer obligations here were fulfilled and I had planned to take this chunk of time off in Alaska anyways. No use sitting in my 120-degree apartment during one of the hottest summers Fort Collins has seen in awhile.
***After a day's worth of driving, I arrived in Jackson Hole...and was promptly smacked in the face by the Tetons. They weren't really even on my radar as I was suffering from Yellowstone fever, but friends had emphasized their grandeur. At this point in the trip, I still wasn't able to make it through the "Best of the Dixie Chicks" album without cursing men and instilling fear in fellow motorists with my monologue rants about life's injustices, complete with gesturing (the truckers were definitely on their CBs about the wacko lady in the white truck) . But then I saw the Tetons.
***And so I spent a few days camping around that area and getting re-acquainted with my tent and sleeping arrangement for one. Again, on paper it was luxurious.
I headed north to Yellowstone, our nation's oldest national park. And was promptly smacked in the face by the tourist scene. My first wildlife sighting up there was a small group of harassed elk trying to just find some shade to hang out in...but alas, the elk were pursued by an unrelenting barrage of tele-photo lenses. I had no idea what this park was all about in the crowded summer months. RVs everywhere and spectacular people watching, especially the parent/teenager combination. It is truly a magnificent place I can not wait to return to...in the winter. Key take-away: So thankful people can't drive themselves around Denali National Park.
Ironically, my favorite part about this trip was the people I encountered. It's always encouraging to see folks enjoying the outdoors, whatever their comfort level. I was reminded of Ted (name changed), a guest I hiked with back in Alaska. Ted had had both knees replaced and while the inner image of a younger, sprier man shined through his eyes, his body had forsaken him. We decided to take a mile-long hike to an overlook of a glacier, close enough to feel the frigid air that comes off the ancient ice. Ted tottered along and we took each step with care. We eventually reached the glacier, and his wife was in tears because this was the most Ted had walked since the surgeries. Ted was pretty damn proud too and relished the cool breeze that greeted us. Some days it's all we can do to walk that mile and I was glad to see a lot of Teds in Yellowstone; some who had waited their entire lives to see these sights and saved their pennies for years to share it with their families.
I ended my trip with visits to several friends in Montana and Colorado. Quiet time is a necessity and crucial to self-progression...but it can also circle back to Crazy Town if you're not careful to temper it with great people along the way. The ones who let you cry in your whiskey and help you laugh through the tears. They help you to accept, process, embrace, and celebrate the things that aren't "on paper" and walk with you when you turn the page.
Excited to finish school this fall and begin again. For a visual recap, here's a short movie of videos and stills from my trip, the iphone video camera performed stellar-ly. Hope all is well in your worlds!