Sometimes an adventure may come in a different shape and size other than what we think it should be…
I was so excited about the upcoming President’s Day weekend ~ that translated into a 4-day holiday weekend for Dale and I. OOOOOOOO!!!!! Where should we go? What should we do? How far to we want to travel? When should we leave? Thursday night after work or Friday morning bright and early? Should we take our camper or stay in a motel? Do we go to a National Park or State Park? Should we plan to go fishing? Do we take our side-by-side or just hike? The upcoming weekend is ripe for adventure!! The possibilities are endless!! We started our planning on the Tuesday before the weekend.
I mentioned to Dale, let’s go north to Curt Gowdy State Park in Wyoming. We had always wanted to go there and check out their reservoirs and numerous trails. It’s only about a 4.5 hour drive from us. And we have friends in Laramie a half hour away whom we could visit. Perfect! Wait. It’s the middle of Feb. Even though the water is still frozen, the trails might be dry. Then there is the horrific wind we have to deal with. Hmmm. I’ll sit and stew on that one a bit.
Let’s go west! We could take our camper to Goblin Valley State Park in UT. It’s only a 4 hour drive. It’s in the desert and we could take our camper and go hiking. Checked on campsite availability ~ nada. All full.
Okay….. Change of direction. Let’s go south! Once we cross the southern border of Colorado, the weather should be nicer (although, our winter here in Meeker has been pretty nice so far). We could drive to Mexican Hat in the southern part of Utah, almost to the Arizona border, and hang out at Goosenecks State Park overlooking the San Juan River. It’s only a 5.5 hour (gulp!) drive south through the mountains. Then there’s always the possibility of a random snowstorm. We’d have our camper and would be pulling our trailer with our side-by-side on board (double-gulp!).
Throughout the week, Dale and I tossed around these ideas. Why was it so hard to make a decision? I even asked my friends on Facebook which of the above mentioned places would they prefer to go? My sister said to come visit her in Arizona. My friend said to come visit her in Laramie and another said she liked Goosenecks. I think the rest of my friends were hanging in the shadows and didn’t want to interfere with our selection process.
As Friday morning rolled around, we found out that we were needed to work at the local artisans cooperative as no one had signed up for that day. So we spent Friday working, talking with customers, doing book work and making native Aspen wood coasters with turquoise inlay. A very fun and productive day.
On Saturday morning, we woke up to a nasty weather forecast for the southern part of the state and into the northern part of Arizona and New Mexico. There goes our trip south. The wind was still in the forecast for Wyoming ~ it always is, no surprise there, so there goes our trip north. We were contemplating on traveling into the mountains to visit our favorite town, Ouray, and stay at our favorite motel, the Wiesbaden, but we’d have to kennel our Saint Bernard, Fiona, and we didn’t feel like doing that on the spur of the moment.
Later that morning, our friend called and needed Dale’s help with some remodeling he was doing. Then Dale’s uncle called from Maybell (45 miles north of Meeker) and said if we were going to be around, he’d like to drive over and pick up the snowmobiles and jeep we wanted him to have. So, our day was pretty much shot from there on.
Sunday morning found us sitting on the sofa in our bathrobes and drinking coffee while looking at ideas on Pinterest. That website can get you into more trouble than anything else possibly can! All of a sudden, I had a wild idea! Let’s remodel the mudroom! It wouldn’t be too hard ~ we could make a screaming trip to Lowes (1.5 hours away), grab some items and start working on it. We still had 2 days left in the weekend! Brilliant!
On our way to Lowes located in Glenwood Springs, we decided to stop in and see our friends, the Gambas. We hadn’t visted them in a while and we knew they were bottling their Gamba Family Wine that weekend. We pulled up to their home, expecting a crowd of friends there to help them ~ we saw only a few cars, so we joined in to help finish bottling their 2014 Zinfandel and Barbera wine. I always like to help them – it’s the best job ever! Being Italian, the Gambas know how to put on a feed like no other. So, we bottled wine, drank wine, met new friends, touched base with old friends and ate like kings!
Five hours later we were back on the road to Glenwood. We hit Lowes fast and furiously, made our purchases, then beat it back home. The next morning, we got up, fixed breakfastthen proceeded to make a mess in our house.
Monday evening, we sat back and realized there was a reason for our indecisiveness regarding the long weekend. Obviously we weren’t meant to go on the type of an adventure that I had thought about. Our destiny pointed us in a different direction. Initially, I was disappointed that the weekend was going to be a bust, but thinking it over on Monday evening, I was contented with what all we had accomplished and who all we got to help. And I was okay with that, because every now and then it’s okay to not have an adventure ~ or maybe it was an adventure…
Earlier this year, my husband Dale, and I were hanging out in the front room, watching television and talking about the upcoming summer. We usually plan a few weekend trips and a couple of overnight hikes. He came up with the brilliant idea of going on a major backpacking trip this summer. By major, I mean, packing up everything you own to keep yourself alive for 5-6 days in the unforgiving Colorado wilderness, strapping it to your back and wandering down a trail to parts unknown.
A couple of summers ago, we backpacked three segments (42 miles) of the 28 segment, 500+ mile, Colorado Trail.
One life goal of mine has been to complete Colorado’s premier trail ~ not as a thru-hiker, but as a segment hiker. Many hikers complete the trail as thru-hikers in about a month to a month and a half. I have no desire to pound out the heavy mileage day after day, with my head down, my earbuds blasting trail music, not interacting with anyone for fear of being thrown off schedule. For me, work gets in the way of completing more than a few segments at a time. Plus, I really don’t think my body or my mind could handle more than six days on a trail at any given time.
When Dale brought up the CT hike, I jumped on it like a rat on a Cheeto! First of all, we have something fun to look forward to this summer and second, we get to plan for more segments on Colorado’s premier trail.
Which, in turn, means, we get to drag out all our CT books that are gathering dust so we can figure out which segments we are going to tackle.
Mileage is very important. We live hours from the trailheads and need to factor in our traveling time to and from the TH. Then we need to figure out who gets to drop us off and pick us up 5-6 days later.
**More highway travel time equals less time on the trail.
Note to self: Need to put in for vacation time… a lot of it….
Next, we plan how long we can be on the trail. One doesn’t just throw some gear in a pack and head down a trail. Many things need to be taken into consideration.
Given the terrain, how many miles per day can we hike? Where are the water sources? Where are the best campsites? Will there be a lot of exposure? Will we be susceptible to thunderstorms? Snow? What are the weather patterns looking like? When will the largest elevation gains and losses occur? Given the amount of snowpack, which month should we go? So many questions to be answered. Our guidebooks and maps will help to answer some of the questions. Our experience and intuition will help with the rest.
I get to plan the menu for each day and then start dehydrating food. I’ll pack our meals neatly into gallon size baggies with the order in which we eat it. Menu preparation takes a long time, but is very rewarding ~ our survival depends on it.
Lastly, I get to go through our hiking box and start separating out all our gear. That’s my favorite part. When I open the lid of our hiking box I swear I hear angels singing. I love to go through our gear, touching every piece like it’s the holy grail. We have gear for all types of weather ~ it’s Colorado. The weather patterns change every five minutes!
Better get out my notebook and start planning. I will fill my notebook with notes, menus and schedules. My eyes are glazing over and I’m already dreaming of our time on the trail…summer in Colorado is already starting to look good!