The Adventure of the Anxious Traveler

Navajo National Monument

Since leaving San Diego, I have had a beautiful ride and some nice hikes in my favorite parts of the United States. I have visited friends and helped out where I can. It has been a relaxing and easy time.

As I was crossing the Navajo Reservation, I found, although I was enjoying the scenery, I was anxious. The closer I got to Durango, CO the more my anxiety increased. I tried breathing. I tried diverting my thoughts. And finally I took a Xanax.

Rafting the Animas, Durango

The big question, why was I so anxious? I love this area of Colorado. It has a bit of a feeling of coming home. Why the anxiety?

  • Jim and I bought 45 acres of property here, in 1999. It was going to be our retirement home. We have upgraded the property. For the first couple of years after Jim died I was unable to come to Durango, much less visit the property. Last year I realized that 45 acres was more than I wanted to manage on my own and I put it on the market.
  • I have a good realtor. I have a lawyer that is making sure all my paperwork is in order. I have good friends here who offer to help me any way they can. Yet I find it is hard to let go. I try to keep the emotions out of this sale. It is, at times, hard to do.
  • As I drive across this great country I have a lot of time to think. If I focus too much on the issues with my thyroid and cancer I get a little anxious. Have I made the right choice to wait until fall? How long do I have to live? How long do any of us have to live? Why does the diagnosis of cancer create all these mixed up emotions in anyone? Well aren’t these just a bunch of loaded questions.

Very good friends

What surprises me about anxiety is that it shows up suddenly. I have done little to precipitate it. I would like to tell it to go away. If only it was that easy. On the drive into Durango, I diverted my attention with a qood audio-book. This technique helps a lot. It has to be a captivating book. Stopping to take photos also helps me refocus (sic). I know I can reach out to friends as well. Not that afternoon as I was driving in and out of cell range.

I have been in Durango for two days now. I have had a chance to visit with friends, meet my realtor, and take care of some business. I have gotten one good bike ride in and I am doing better. The anxiety is less, yet I still feel it simmering in the deep backgrounds of my being. I am breathing more, throwing in a little meditation and reminding myself that this is just property and as others have said to me, “it is just business”.

I am choosing to find things to do that bring me joy. That has helped lessen the anxiety a lot. If you have never been to this country, joy to me, is being outside and in nature. I can hike, bike, walk and more. There are lovely stores in town that cry out to be explored. The art galleries are my favorite. I may even go off to the hot springs and soak. There is a lot to do in Durango.

I am more than coping. I am being adult when I need to be and then I can drop that and go off and explore and enjoy my day. I am remembering to breath. It is good to inhale spring at elevation. The sky is clearer and bluer. The mountains are an amazing backdrop. I think I will kick anxiety out the door and go and enjoy my day.

 

 

 

A Day at White Pocket-Final in a series of three

 

White Pocket

There are moments in life, I believe, I will remember and carry forward with me for the rest of my life. Sometimes it is a chance meeting, Jim, or a wonderful movie or play. Often for me it has to do with nature. I love the outdoors. I love the wildness of it, the unpredictability of it. I have been known to stand in storms, watching the wildness of a very restless, big ocean with giant waves. Thunder-storms enthrall me. A perfect fall day, hiking through the woods can ease a restless soul.

When my friend and mentor, Mary and I arrived in Kanab, I was introduced to two good friends of Mary’s, Sky and Bobbie. They opened their driveways to us as well as their home. When camping there is nothing better than taking a nice, long warm shower. Bobbie and Sky were gracious and wonderful hosts. And–they gave me a day of their lives to visit White Pocket.

White Pocket

Mary and I have tried for reservations for “The Wave” several times. It is a place many want to visit for its natural beauty. They allow 20 people to hike in there a day. We were thwarted on each of our attempts to visit it. Sky suggested we visit White Pocket instead. He said that it is larger than the wave and just as beautiful, if not more so.

On a lovely fall morning I joined Mary, Sky and Bobbie for 4-wheel drive to White Pocket. The ride in was bumpy and definitely needed a high clearance vehicle to get to the formations. When I first walked into the area all I could say and think was “WOW”. It seems that this word applies to most of this back country journey into southern Utah, this fall.

A pocket is usually a small area of land, this one is approximately 1 square mile, that is markedly different than the surrounding area. White Pocket is a group of domes and ridges, white and gray being the dominant color. Doesn’t sound too interesting does it? But wait, Mixed in with the predominant color are yellows, reds, oranges and more and it is swirling. This area shows upheaval in geologic time.

Remember you can click on the photos to enlarge them.

For a photographer it is eye-candy, everywhere. Yep, you can take a lot of photos here. The formations are beautiful, amazing and just wow. We climbed up and down being careful of the fragile formations as we explored this area for approximately four hours. Sky was our faithful and great tour guide. I don’t believe we missed much.

Off to the side was a cave with petroglyphs. I love this stuff. I have for years been totally fascinated by the ancient ones of the southwestern United States. I love to sit and imagine what their lives were like many hundreds of years ago. And where did they go? Lots of theories and yet no one knows for sure.

This was a memorable day. It was one more highlight of a three week journey that had many. It was the final highlight for me. I enjoyed the company of the people I was with for this day. I believe that Bobbie and I would be friends if we lived closer. I enjoyed spending time with her in the formations talking of deep and wondrous things. These are my kind of people.

Sky

Bobbie & Cyo (not sure of the spelling)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All too soon we returned to Kanab. The ride back from White Pocket and the Vermillion Cliffs was a beautiful late afternoon ride. The photo-ops continued to occur. The conversation was fun. After spending one more delightful evening with Sky and Bobbie, Mary and I departed. She was heading north and west to Oregon and I was heading east to Durango.

The Drive back to Kanab

Departure was hard for me. I enjoyed the company of the people I traveled with as much as I did the awesomeness of the places I saw. It was hard to say goodby. Teachers come in all forms in my life. People come and go, sometimes for a brief moment and others stay much longer. I can’t thank Mary enough for being a good friend and mentor. Linda, the other travel companion at the beginning of this adventure hopefully will be a life long friend. I can’t thank these two women enough for including me in their adventures and lives. Hopefully we will travel together again. Chance meetings, Bobbie and Sky and Bob in Escalante make me feel so honored and special to have met them and even for an instant, shared their lives, feelings and laughter.

Mary, Linda, Janet

Today I am thankful for September, for the wide open expanses, for the quiet, peace and solitude of the back country.

Today I am thankful for friends.