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Tackling the West at Long Last

[Google images/National Geographic]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It has been awhile since I’ve felt this giddy. Yep, I’m on the cusp of another adventure! This one is multi tiered!

In a few hours, Jim and I will fly to Utah and join a friend to carefully pack three touring kayaks with enough gear, food, water and clothing to exist for six remote days while floating and camping 100 miles along Utah’s famed Green River. I honestly have no clue whether it will be awesome or horrendously exhausting and cold. Ha! Isn’t it fun to not always have the answers to every little uncertainty in Life?

Oh trust me, I’ve done my investigative homework. I know the temps will often sink near freezing during the canyon nights but climb to the 80s on sunny days. It will be cold… and oh I hate the cold… when we crawl from our sleeping bags and tents each morning; I have no doubt that we will be brutally sore and not so crazy about beginning another day of cramming gear and paddling before the sun has properly risen. If we wait, however, the winds rise and the going will be tougher, so best to tackle the waters during the blissful morning calm.

Still… discomfort aside… imagine the splendor of dipping your paddle in the calm currents of the Green with red rock canyons careening around you!! Day after day!! Sleeping under wildly star-filled skies night after night!

(Haha who puts this image on the cover of a river map guide?!)

(Haha who puts this image on the cover of a river map guide?!)

See? I was nervous for a second there and now I’m just giddy, again!

When the week ends, my adventure doesn’t.

Those who know me well know that for years I’ve talked of the insistent urge I feel at times to head west alone to the canyons and red rock valleys. It’s no secret that for several years I’ve kept a blanket and pillow stowed in the back of my Jeep, just in case. I don’t just want to go… I crave it.

If you don’t know exactly what I mean, because you haven’t felt the same primal longing to go somewhere, experience something despite all logic against it, forgive what must seem to be irresponsible ravings.

Don’t get me wrong—I’m not asking for approval. Every person reaches a time where responding to their inner wisdom is the most important and vital thing they can do.

So for two weeks, I’ll be traveling around Utah, breathing deeply and smiling broadly. I’ll have my hiking sandals, map, car mattress and camera. I know myself well enough to know I’ll be lonely at times, but also that my days will be spent soulfully beaming. I’ll have my watercolors with me to try to express the creativity nature will inspire.

The timing seems providential. When I return, we’ll be attending the high school graduations of a group of students we’ve been pacing alongside since they were in kindergarten. In a few months, we’ll be at our son’s college graduation. I’m proudly watching, too, as our daughter, who is a social worker, is making exciting, courageous decisions about her own career and future.

I guess as they go forward, I want them always to be able to look at me and see someone who is not without fear, but is not driven by it. I want them to always turn their faces toward Life and eagerly embrace what’s there to discover.

Even if you’re kinda sorta afraid you’ll fail or stumble figuring out where to go, how to get there, what to do when you arrive… and you’ll surely screw up in some ways, wildly succeed in others… what is absolutely certain is that you’ll be oh so glad you tried.

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