Green with Anticipation

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.

We will be kayaking the lower section called "Stillwater."

We will be kayaking the lower section called “Stillwater.”

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!

Trial run with my new Marmot backpacking tent.

Trial run with my new Marmot backpacking tent.

View of the View from inside the tent...

View of the View from inside the tent…

With the rain fly on.  (Note to self:  Don't set up vestibule so close to tree!)

With the rain fly on. (Note to self: Don’t set up vestibule so close to tree!)

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.

Breakfast assembly line

Breakfast assembly line

Good thing I like oatmeal!

Good thing I like oatmeal!

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!

Dinner for eight nights.

Dinner for eight nights.

Didn't the recipe say "add wine?"

Didn’t the recipe say “add wine?”

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…IMG_2235

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I know how this tree feels right about now...

I know how this tree feels right about now…

This is Independence Monument, taken from the rim overlook.

This is Independence Monument, taken from the rim overlook.

I hear voices, so I zoom in.  There are climbers up there!

I can hear voices across the canyon so I zoom in. There are climbers up there!

Every year, a flag is hoisted atop Independence Monument on the 4th of July since John Otto started the tradition in 1911.

Every year, a flag is hoisted atop Independence Monument on the 4th of July since John Otto started the tradition in 1911.

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Hiking the Lower Monument Trail

Hiking the Lower Monument Trail

Independence Monument from the Lower Monument Trail

Independence Monument from the Lower Monument Trail

I take this photo from the base looking up at Independence Monument.  I didn't notice until a few seconds later, there was a climber about to repel down.

I take this photo from the base looking up at Independence Monument. I didn’t notice until a few seconds later, there is a climber about to repel down.

I zoom in to find him in upper left of photo on most difficult reverse pitch of climb.

I zoom in to find him in upper left of photo on most difficult reverse pitch of climb.

From Upper Ute Canyon Trail.

From Upper Ute Canyon Trail.

"The Kissing Couple"

“The Kissing Couple”

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Why do I only see sheep when I'm driving?

Why do I only see sheep when I’m driving?

26 thoughts on “Green with Anticipation

  1. Boy can I relate! As a fellow former Amexer, I too was equipped in my “youth” with a PC and got “addicted”. In 2006 I did a two week non-motorized raft trip down the Colorado through the Grand Canyon but I don’t remember missing internet, probably because my BF and other friends were along and the guides had the means to reach out in an emergency. I’m leaving for a two week cruise to Panama in October and now I worry about staying in touch with my elderly father. Do we anticipate problems as we get older? Thanks for the reminder that my world will be fine without the internet fix!

  2. What beautiful clarity in these Colorado photos. Have a great river trip and thanks for the yummy life link. I have passed it on to my husband’s backpacking buddies. I was in Utah 2 weeks ago, was in Zion a week to the day before the tragic flash flood. I never had cell service in Zion the day I was there so there’s no way the unfortunate climbers could get the warning. Enjoy Utah, it was wonderful. Stayed in a lovely B&B in Kanab and took a tour with a company there, returning to Kanab each night. It was my first venture since my husband died, maybe I can continue with our plans and have fun after all. Love your blog, photos and wonderful perspective. You’ve had a tough year.

  3. Have a wonderful time, you’ll do fine without the Internet. You’ll either be in the water, or cooking/eating/visiting, then too tired to do anything other than fall into your sleeping bag. We’ll see… AND – I’m SO happy you got that SOS device! I’ve been so worried about you when you write about hiking in some of these places (Jim and Gayle, too). But hiking alone? If you fell, it could be quite a while before you were found. With that device, people would be on the way. That’s great. :)

  4. This sounds like an amazing trip, but I do understand your concerns about being disconnected! Wishing you a safe and fun voyage!

    Thanks for the gorgeous preview of CO Nat’ Monument as we are slowly headed that way. We will be in Moab on 10/12 if you are still in the area…

  5. I had suspected that you were about to catch up to real time in your blog. What wonderful adventures you have been having one after the other and now yet another. Funny that your first concern is missing the internet. Mine would be missing my vino and then wondering if I can manage to keep up to everyone else on the trip. So glad you got the SOS device and can be in touch with your family if need be. Fabulous photos as always. As they say in New York when they seat you at the theater ‘Enjoy’.

  6. Best of luck on your fantastic trip down the Colorado. As former canoeists we appreciate what you are going to experience and feel only envy.
    We shall wait for the blogs describing what promises to be a fantastic trip.
    Bon Voyage!

  7. Oh, what a great adventure you have planned!! That sounds seriously exciting.

    Your Utah photos are exquisite. I love the kissing couple and your photo of the climbers on top of the tower. Cool.

    Thanks for the tip on the healthy meal pouches with ingredients from The Yummy Life. Good info.

  8. Have a wonderful trip. It sounds like it will be a lot of fun. We’re really looking forward to pictures and narrative, since it’s unlikely we’ll ever do that. The link to the yummy site is really interesting. Her food looks way better than the freeze dried stuff; too much sodium.

  9. Interesting that you went to real time with your blog. Mine will continue to publish my “scratching the bottom of the barrel” content while we’re gone. It’s going to be fun!

  10. A break will probably be good as you have been a prolific poster recently. All good stuff though and its made very interesting and enjoyable reading. So enjoy the river trip and I’m sure it will be successful especially if your food packing is anything to go by. Have fun.

  11. We really enjoyed our time in Fruita and the Colorado NM. We were very lucky to see an entire herd of Bighorns right overhead on huge overhanging rock ledge. I recognize many of your photos and hikes:)

    Have a wonderful river trip! How exciting! Looks like your meals are all ready. Can’t wait for you to return and catch us all up! Glad you finally purchased a signal device. You do hike alone a lot. We are thinking of getting that device, as well, after reading Jim and Gayle’s review. We have the SPOT button but we can’t receive any messages. This device wasn’t available when we got our SPOT.

    Safe paddling!! Have an amazing time! Be safe:)

  12. A Dream trip for sure. I’m picturing little things from your “trip packs’ in the little nooks and crannies in your View. I will be sending you ESP thoughts…let’s see how strong that signal is. I can’t wait to hear and see all about your trip.

  13. Wow, what an adventure coming up! I can imagine all the stressing out over making sure that everything is packed and can fit in your kayak. Have a great trip and will look forward to hearing all about it.

  14. You are in for an amazing trip and will be fine without all the technology for 9 days ! I went on a 9 day river trip a few years ago , down the Colorado river / Grand Canyon and it was a highlight of my life !!! Only thing is , I went with a company and they planned all the food and brought all the camp gear. I only had to bring myself and a small bag of what I needed, and some wine of course.

    I can’t wait to hear about it !!! River trips rock big time in adventure, beauty and getting away from it all.

    Beautiful photos once again

  15. Can’t wait to read about your floating trip. Good on ya for getting the SOS device. I read about a woman who hiked the entire Appalachian Trail with only a whistle…but I don’t think anyone would hear a whistle where you are by now. As always, enjoying your stories and pics.

  16. I am definitely “green” with envy!! You are in for such an amazing adventure and the experience of a lifetime. Our rafting trip down the Colorado River years ago remains as one of those indescribable experiences. After a day or two the river will lull you into her own rhythm and the milky way will fill your nights …plus in the stillness, the voices of the river speak volumes. Enjoy. BTW, you seen to be very well-prepared. Look forward to reading all about it!

  17. I’m so behind reading because of travel and lack of signal. I too want to connect to nature and the internet. What a wonderful adventure that I’m thinking you are just returning from. And I know that’s gorgeous country as I was just in the area but not on the river. So look forward to reading about this adventure.

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