3,930 miles later…

I just finished eating Chinese food on my couch while watching climbing documentaries on Netflix trying to process the last week and a half. There are a few things I know to be true right now.

  1. I feel very strange not being inside of Echo right now.
  2. Being a good 1,000+ miles away from The Rockies has me feeling sad in a way that I’ve never felt before.
  3. I’m so happy to be home with my animals.
  4. Chicago Diner has the most delicious vegan food I’ve ever had. Period.

If you have never spent time in western Wyoming, you are missing out. I honestly never gave the state much thought when planning trips other than going to Yellowstone. The people are great, the landscape is spectacular, and the wildlife is abundant. Seeing bison walking down the side of highways is something I don’t think I would ever get tired of seeing. Driving out of Dubois, Wyoming and seeing the Teton Mountain Range come into view is one of the most breathtaking views I’ve ever seen. While we had hoped to get permits to hike the Teton Crest Trail, the fires in and outside of the park put that to rest pretty quickly. Instead we spent our days hiking up to some spectacular vista points, sitting by the lake, and eating delicious food. As sad as it is to see wildfires completely wreck an area, there was something so surreal about sitting at our campsite having a campfire and watching wildfires come over a ridge and burn through an area right across the lake from our campsite.

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Since our thru-hike was a no go, we headed into Yellowstone after the roads opened back up and spent a day sight seeing in our car. While I am glad to have crossed that park off the list, I would be fine making that a one and done park. There is definitely really cool things to see and do there, it just lacks the type of hiking and exploring we typically enjoy (as well as what seemed like 100,000 tourists everywhere you looked.) We left the park on the eastern side and headed down to Cody, Wyoming for a night before starting the trek back home. The further away we got from western Wyoming, the more I wished I didn’t have to go back to Ohio. Don’t get me wrong. I love Ohio. I love my family, my friends, my career. There is just something about waking up to the sun cresting the peak of a mountain, or taking in a deep breath or crisp mountain air that makes me feel whole.

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I had worried that I would be sick of sitting inside of a van for days on end, and there were stretches of time that I wanted to be out of Echo, but overall it was amazing. The feeling of crossing state line after state line in a van that we spent the last few months building into our home on wheels is indescribable. There may come a time in the future that we make van living a permanent lifestyle. But first, we’d need a bigger van…

Now it’s time to start saving and planning for our next adventure. Who knows where we will end up!

 

Oh, the places you’ll go!

Before I sat down to start writing I had to check and see what day it actually was. To say the last week has been a blur is the understatement of the year. From working on Echo up until the day we left for Colorado, to moving and shaking since we pulled out of our driveway Wednesday night, we’ve done a lot of stuff in such a short amount of time. I’m currently sprawled out in my good friends guest bedroom in Colorado Springs recapping the last few days before we start making our way north to Wyoming.

I don’t think I relaxed once on the drive out to Colorado. Between not knowing if Echo actually had it in her to make it the 1,100 some miles trip, having a random man walk directly in front of us on I-70 (coming inches from hitting him) and the gnarly storms we continued to drive through it was hard to take a full breathe until her tires rolled over the Colorado state line. I do need to take a moment and say how absolutely amazing our friends Andrea and Geoff are for letting us crash in their beautiful home for the first night in town (and then again last night). It honestly made that 18 hour drive not seem so rough when you can look out of any window on the front side of their house and look at Pike’s Peak towering in the background.image

After a good nights rest Matt and I, along with our friend Eric headed down to Buena Vista to meet up with Eric’s sister and set up camp before our Saturday trek up to Mt. Harvard. When we had originally planned this trip, we were going to turn the hike into an overnight trip, knocking out Mt. Harvard and Mt. Columbia. However, mother nature isn’t always on your side and when we saw we only had about a 10 hour window from 4 am to 2 pm to get the hike done without any thunderstorms, we quickly changed our plans. We left camp at 4 am and started walking with our headlamps on towards the 14,421 ft. peak. I spent the first bit of the trail scanning the trail sides with my head lamp for bears and mountain lions since I was convinced one was going to pop up and eat me. However the only wildlife we saw were some deer and some incredibly humorous marmots we saw playing on the rock scramble at about 14,000 ft. To say that it was one of the most awe inspiring hikes I’ve ever done would be true. To say that the last 1,000 ft. of elevation was the hardest thing I’ve ever done would also be true.  We passed someone who told us there is no such thing as an easy 14’er and he was not lying. I am so happy that I was able to experience my first 14,000 ft. trek with some friends. It is definitely a memory I will hold forever.imageimageimageimageimageimageimage

I need to get up and get moving so we can start making our way towards Wyoming. We have a long drive ahead of us, but we have all the time in the world, so who knows where we will end up stopping?