Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Backpacking Again

This past weekend, Katie, my best friend, and I headed out for my first backpacking trip since I returned from S.A. We had THE BEST time!! We headed out on July 5th for the West Elk Wilderness within the Gunnison National Forest. The views were stunning, the wildlife rampant, and the flora & fauna absolutely amazing. WE both felt as if we were in our home states of Wisconsin & Pennsylvania (except even better b/c of the mountains).

Day 1:
We had a pretty late start, due to packing in the morning and Katie having to clean up her roommate's dog's mess. Poor puppy. :( We headed up to the mountains via I-70 and through Glenwood Springs. I haven't been past Glenwood via Hwy 82, so this was a real treat. I still, to this day, cannot get over how gorgeous the red rocks of the mountains are in that region. Glenwood Canyon always amazes me with it's steep cliffs and gorgeous canyon. We hit the trailhead at about 6:30 p.m. We started near the Lost Lake Campground at the beginning of the Beckwith Trail. We hiked in about 2 1/2 miles before setting up camp. Just as we hit the trail, it started to sprinkle and it didn't stop until we found our camping spot. We quickly put up the tent and made our first gourmet meal of the trip, salmon patties with really really really good instant mashed potatoes. I don't know how something instant can taste so good.... must be all that salt they put in it. After dinner, we attempted to put our food up via the "bear bag". Now, I have never used one before and I don't aim very well. This effort probably took us about a half hour to finally get it all hung up. I didn't think we would have too many problems with bears, but it doesn't hurt to be cautious. We then hit the hay and got set for our next big day.

Day 2:
As usual, my Alarm clock, otherwise known as Aspen, woke us up pretty early. I just let her out of hte tent and went back to sleep. NO sense getting up before you have to. Both Katie & I were suddenly sitting straight up as I thought I heard Aspen bark and it scared the both of us out of our witts. I instantly knew it wasn't her barking, and that thought was reinforced even more when she came from teh opposite direction from the barking. Turns out, a coyote was on the opposite ridge, about 200 feet away. Neither of us had ever heard a coyote bark before so it really through us for a loop. It eventually started to howl (a pathetic one at that) and then moved along its way. About five minutes later, it was back, barking and howling away. Aspen really wanted to play and the coyote might wanted to as well. I didn't think it such a good idea. I got out of the tent and tied up the dog. The coyote finally left us alone.

We headed out of camp and had a nice cloud cover for a bit before the hot summer sun beat down on us. That is when we really got to see how beautiful the West Elks are. The mountains were all different colors, including my favorite red. The prairies were full of columbines, yellow daisies, several different purple flowers, white flowers, fuschia flowers, etc. The areas along the mountain sides were filled with aspen groves, huge pines and a grass that looked like a golf green. If I could have made money off of how many times we said that is so cool, I would be rich and could retire. God's splendor was in full force. About 1/2 mile from Swampy Pass we found this wonderful opening that just screamed moose. Katie & I decided we'd be staying there at least one night.

When we arrived at Swampy Pass and saw the great view of hte Castles, we decided taht would be our turn around point. No sense killing ourselves for our first backpack of the year. We just sat in the sun looking over the mountains and trees. It was so relaxing. I don't remember the last time I just sat and enjoyed my surroundings. I'm usually hiking quickly to get to camp. After a few hours, the T-storms were heading in. We hiked back down to the meadow and made camp, took a nap and then ate our gourmet meal of fettuccine with chicken. It is amazing how great food tastes while in the back country.

Day 3:
We decided to hike up to Swampy Pass to watch the sunrise, and it was worth it. It was fun to get the heart pumping before we even ate breakfast. The morning was beautiful and was just a hint of the beautiful day ahead of us. I enjoyed going downhill for once and I think Katie did too. We did have to hoof back over Beckwith Pass, but I felt much better today than I did yesterday. My blisters didn't even bother me that much. This was the only day that we saw people and horses and all within a span of about two hours. I love it when you can hike for four days and only see people once during the entire trip.

We hit camp about two miles from the trailhead. It was so hot by the time we found a spot and the flies, once again, were nasty. I didn't even know Colorado could harbor so many flies. Aspen couldn't wait for the tent to go up. She wanted in, no matter how hot it was inside, just to get away from all the mosquitoes and flies. She was pretty tuckered.

That evening, we weathered a pretty big thunderstorm that passed right over us. It probably hailed for a good ten minutes. Fortunately, the rain stopped just in time to get the chili cooked up before it was too dark. All the time we cooked supper, Aspen wanted to crawl right back in tot he tent and didn't understand why we wouldn't let her in. Doesn't she know that dirty paws are not allowed in the tent by themselves!

Day 4:
This was our last morning and then an easy hike out. I woke up a bit early to watch the alpine glow of the sunrise on the mountains. I can't wait to get the pictures back from this trip. The scenery was breathtaking. All morning, Aspen wanted to go back in the tent to continue her night's slumber. I think she was severely disappointed when we took it down. The hike back was nice and cool. We managed to scare up a deer and it's fawn. That was the first time Aspen actually saw the deer. The rest of the trip, she was too busy scaring up ground squirrels to pay attention to the deer.

We headed back to Denver at about ten in the morning and stopped in Glenwood Springs on our way so we could grab a bite to eat. We then hoped for smooth sailing home. Boy, were we wrong. The one thing I hate about I-70 on a Sunday afternoon/evening. All the ridiculous traffic. We did take a break in Idaho Springs. I was on the hunt for pie, we didn't find anything but ice cream. I don't understand why it is so hard to find pie in Colorado. Someone's going to have to write a book about that!

2nd door down, five to go. Ugh

So, I thought that after all the rigormorel that I went through trying to hang my first door, that the second door would be pie in the sky. Well, the sky is playing games with me. Last night, I started on the door and routered out all of the hinges. I had some hiccups with the router, but was well on my way once I got that figured out. I quickly brought the door upstairs and thought I had routered the wrong side of the door. I was in so much disbelief because I was so careful about it. I was so annoyed that I just left the door and hit the hay. I was so thrilled when I realized this morning that the door was upside down and I hadn't routered it incorrectly. Yeah for me!!

So, on to this evening's events. I finally got the hinges screwed into the door and frame. After much finagling, I finally got the hinges put together. I really could have used another hand to help me hold the door up and put the hinge together. What a pain. I went to close it, and it didn't shut. Ugh!!! So, I routered the hinges on the door some more, pulled out the hinges on the door frame and sanded the top of the door and frame. THEN, it finally fit. I really hope the remaining doors go better. This door hanging bit is just not working so well for me!!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Ignore your rights and they’ll go away, or, in my case, Ignore your being and you’ll go away.

Earlier this week, I saw a bumper sticker that read, “Ignore your rights and they’ll go away”. It reminded me of what I have recently gone through with my now ex-boyfriend. I engulfed myself in the relationship, in the idea of forever, in the idea that we can work anything out as long as there is love. I didn’t want to give up my love for him, the excitement of a dog, cat, two kids and a white picket fence. I didn’t’ want to give up on him and certainly didn’t want him to give up on himself. I wanted to make sure he knew how much I cared for him, so I read books for him, cooked for him… and even did his laundry for him (even though I told him when we first started dating that he shouldn’t count on me doing that). So maybe that’s when I lost myself, the first time I did his laundry. I lost my silly carefree self, always concerned if he was happy or not. I lost my sense of adventure and went to Wal-Mart with his family Saturday morning (which was fun and an adventure but not the same) rather than heading to the hills to enjoy God’s Glory. I lost my confidence in doing things well including my work, my cooking, my baking and even my running! Believe me, I’ve never won any running races, but I enjoyed doing it and could, with practice, run a really long time.

Despite all of this, he is not all at fault. There were two of us in this relationship. I let him stifle my being and in the end, he saw that before I did. I still struggle with why he left and am sometimes grateful that he had the strength to walk away when he saw that not only did I lose my being, but maybe he did too. I mourn the loss of our relationship and the loss of a good friendship gone badly. I am also grateful, albeit begrudgingly, that his actions taught me something…Not to ignore my being, and I won’t go away. Now I’m on the road to recovery and am really learning how to be myself and claim it for my own, not only in a committed relationship, but in all of my relationships with friends and family.