Adventure is What You Make It

GrandCanyon2019 - 5

There are days my greatest adventure is getting through a trip to the grocery store without a meltdown from my four-year-old on aisle nine while other days I find the energy to pack up the four-year-old, two dogs, and myself (sometimes the boyfriend) and we head for my place of solitude. Anywhere I can see mountains, open space, and very few people. Balance, am I right? There are times I don’t give myself enough credit for just getting out of the house. In a previous life adventure to me was packing up the 4Runner and my sweet old sidekick, Sienna, headed for the Rockies or Eastern Sierra for several days of solitude out of a tent. It is my hope that one day those previous adventures will come together with my new chapter and I will be able to share that life with the little one.

At this time though any day spent outside is a great day. Spontaneity is still alive and well, the flame is still burning within. Last week we found a sunny day winter day after the big storm and put aside the daily chores, the to-do lists, and headed for the Grand GrandCanyon2019 - 4Canyon. We are lucky enough to live quite close to such an otherworldly natural wonder and the impromptu trip was a reminder to me that little moments of adventure in life are quite possible and are indeed what you make of it. Granted we didn’t make some big hike down the snowy Bright Angel or South Kaibab Trail, but we did stroll along the rim and take in the beauty. In fact, the greatest moment of that unexpected trip was walking up the rim with Sam, who has been there several times earlier in his four years, and hearing him say “WOW”! GrandCanyon2019Hearing that simple word with such emphasis stopped my heart. It was the first time nature had really moved him (or the first time he had been able to verbalize it). That moment reaffirmed that all of our trailside picnics, afternoons tossing rocks into various lakes and rivers, and hours carrying him on my back down trails from the sweet age of two weeks old have been worth it and will continue to be the backbone of our lives (his childhood). It didn’t hurt that we ended our visit with a round of hot chocolates at the El Tovar Hotel lounge. A must do for any visit!

 

“Wilderness is not a luxury but necessity of the human spirit.” –Edward Abbey

The Never Said It Would Be Easy, But It Is Zion.

Zion 2019 - 2

The last four years have taught me patience and humbled me with almost every new day. It has been far from easy to find my footing as a new mother and single parent, but it has been worth it. I won’t deny there have been days that have broken me and in those moments as I treaded barely keeping my head above water I know for certain I couldn’t see it. As a person that was very selfish in the respect that I did what I wanted, went where I wanted, and lived very minimally adding a child into the mix has opened my eyes to so much more.

In February I celebrated my son’s fourth birthday. Four years of change, four years of laughter, learning, tears, and damn, how did I manage to keep a tiny human alive for four years? Only by learning so much from him. We celebrated in a fashion quite appropriate for our little family, by heading to Zion National Park. In all truth this is the second time we have celebrated his birthday at this spectacular park. The first time being two years earlier on his second birthday.

Zion.2019

I can’t claim to have ever stepped foot in Zion during the busiest season of Spring, Summer, and Fall. In all honesty I have been scared away by the photos of crowds and rumors of heat. I can say that February is quite special though. There is generally a dusting of snow on the ground, you can drive into and through the park in your vehicle and most trails are empty. We spent two days roaming the entrance of the Narrows and many other shorter trails in which he could manage to hike the majority of the way with his own two legs. Quickly going are the days I eagerly carry him down the trail in his Deuter pack. He has gone from being a little peanut to thirty plus pounds of “I can do it on my own”.

In addition to the park being quiet, town is also very low key and hotels are affordable. All in all I highly recommend venturing out into this National Park during the off season when possible. zion-2019-3.jpeg

Past, Present, Future…

Some of you may have followed my escapades in another life and some of you may only be stumbling upon this resurrected blog at this moment in time. It has been a lifetime ago since I have even fathomed bringing back this blog and so much life has happened in between the last time we met and now. Since my days of dirtbagging out my old 4Runner in the mountains of southwest Colorado and the North Cascades I found myself exploring the desert southwest.

My time in the southwest resulted in an addition and loss of one dear member of my adventurous family. Over the last two years I became mom to an amazing little boy; I completed my two degrees, and found a niche in the healthcare field, and lost my beloved furry travel companion, Sienna. The changes have all been drastic and beautiful. I became consumed by the first years of motherhood and began finding my way back to my roots about a year ago when I moved the family to Flagstaff, Arizona to return to a piece of mountain life.

Bringing adventure back into my life in a new form with this new life by my side has been an experiment most days. Here we are though!

Trail Life 101: Planning for Your Backpacking Trip

FLG

While getting outside and reconnecting with nature always sounds appealing, more often than not figuring out where to start can become more daunting than the actual trip. After you have purchased all the necessary gear, next comes the fun part of planning. So grab a guidebook to your chosen destination along with a detailed topographic map and keep these essential tips in mind when planning your big trip.

Choosing a Destination

Consider planning your first few backpacking adventures in areas that are within driving distance of home; this will allow you to reschedule should bad weather unexpectedly strike. Setting out on a well-marked trail with easy terrain, established campsites and ample water sources will aid in alleviating some of the first time jitters and allow you to focus more on the fun and beauty.

Research

A successful hike always starts with research. Your most up-to-date resource are the rangers who roam the area and are well acquainted with the area in which you are about to travel. One phone call or visit to the nearest ranger station can supply you with current trail conditions, permit requirements, what critters to be watchful of and any trail or campsite closures that may be in effect. When researching possible trails keep in mind your physical conditioning and if your skill set (and gear) can handle the worse weather you could possibly encounter. If you find yourself wavering towards maybe (or no) consider modifying your trip and your goals.

GC

Know Before You Go

Plan to hike no more than five to seven miles a day, depending on your physical conditioning. Before setting off be sure find out if the area in which you are traveling will require a backcountry permit, check the weather religiously before departing and most importantly, where you can find a post-trip beverage! Also, do not forget to let someone back at home know your plans and stick to your chosen route. So if for some reason you run across trouble you will be easier to locate.

On the Trail

Stay flexible as surprises are bound to happen eventually. By doing your homework you will be prepared to improvise if need be. Consider keeping a log, at least on your first few excursions. By recording the weather and trail conditions, how long it took you to get from point a to point b, how long it took to set up and break down camp, you can use this information for planning future trips.