Well, that completes my whirlwind loop through southwestern Colorado. The blog is now caught up and I am in the rare state of “real time” as I sit high atop the Colorado National Monument overlooking Grand Junction. Tomorrow, I will wave goodbye to the “Colorful Colorado” highway sign as I cross over into Utah.
I am looking forward to slowing down a bit. At times it has felt like being on “The Amazing Race.” But there were places in Colorado I wanted to see, and I never know when I might pass this way again. After having unexpectedly spent a quarter of the year back in Texas due to the loss of my dearly departed brother and dad, I felt an overwhelming urge to make up for lost time in getting back up the emotional scale to “joyful.” Despite the massive blows of sadness, it ended up as one the best summers of my life. Bittersweet.
Tomorrow I will meet up in Moab with my friends John, BJ, and Kathy. Long time followers will remember them from last March when I was invited to join them on a three day kayak trip down the Black Canyon of the Colorado, just beneath Hoover Dam. Of all the topics shared around the “dinner table” on the banks of the Colorado, their annual trip down the Green River was number one. They have been doing this annual trip for eleven years now. I guess I must have passed the test, as they invited me to join them.
We will put in at Mineral Bottom, about 45 minutes outside of Moab. Nine days later, we will take out at “The Confluence,” where the Green River meets the Colorado River. We’ll be met by Tex’s Riverways, who will shuttle us and our gear on a jet boat back up to Moab.
I would be lying to all of us if I said I wasn’t apprehensive. This will be the longest I have gone without an internet or email fix since 1993 when American Express issued me my first laptop, a Compaq boat anchor. Nine days. It’s not the days that worry me, though, it’s the nights. My laptop is my constant companion. If I can’t sleep, I edit photos. If I wake up before the sun, I write a blog post. I worry that I will be lost without it. That which doesn’t kill me makes me stronger, right? I am gonna need some fast bandwidth when I return!
This is a self-provisioned trip down the Green. Everything I need for nine days must fit into the belly of a kayak. This will be the first trip I have taken of this length where I can’t just whip out the credit card along the way and purchase anything I may have forgotten. I have lists of my lists.
It will also be the longest stretch in my adult life where I have had to feed myself without a restaurant menu involved. This might have been the highest stress factor of all, as I try to find that delicate balance between over-packing too much food, and feeling deprived of something I cannot get.
I really dislike those dehydrated meal pouches. Try finding any of them that are less than 2.5 servings! Therefore, they end up being expensive and wasteful on top of unhealthy. They pack way too much sodium for someone who rarely eats salt. And there are more ingredients in the list I don’t recognize than those I do. I recently read a post on Howard and Linda’s blog, as they are now doing some backpacking trips. They referred to a website The Yummy Life with recipes of homemade backpacking meals. So I decided to give these a try. Procuring all the ingredients, many from Amazon, and assembling them in the tiny galley of a 24 ft motorhome turned out to be an adventure in of itself!
Another big “worry point” has been Mom – keeping in touch while out of touch. She lives alone now, though Don is only an hour away. I am not sure what help I could be miles from civilization, but I feel better knowing I am reachable and vice versa. I have long been considering the purchase of some sort of SOS signaling device. I find myself hiking alone in more remote destinations without cell signal. Whenever I am miles from the trailhead, I often wonder, “How long would it be until someone notices I am missing?” So my big splurge for the trip was a Delorme InReach Two-way Communication via the Iridium satellite network. This will offer me the peace of mind of being able to send 2-way texts back home (once per day due to battery limitations,) as well as have an SOS signaling device to carry on my future solo hikes.
I will miss my blog followers and friends. Writing is like therapy for me, and your kind comments have been great company through the vast ups and downs of this year. I hope you will come back and join me for the retro recap of my time on the Green River. See you in October!
Meanwhile, here are a few scenes from the stunning Colorado National Monument, my home for the past five days while I shopped, packed, caught the blog up, wrote checklists for my check lists, and stressed in between soul-searching hikes…