Traveling the Back-Country

Today I realized it has been almost a month since I posted. Time flies when one is traveling and enjoying life, most of the time.

Where have I been? After the dentist gave me his OK, I left San Diego in early September. I was heading for a grand adventure in southern Utah.

hiking in Flagstaff

First, though, I stopped to visit a dear friend in Flagstaff, AZ. If you follow the archives of this site back to the beginning, you may find one with a photo of many intravenous fluids. The post is titled “Hating the Once a Nurse Always a Nurse Idea.” Yep, that was Sharon. She has since recovered and is leading a happy and full life with the support of family and friends around her. Elsie and I spent two nights with her. It is fun to catch up and explore each others worlds. I love my friends.

Next stop was Durango, Colorado. I dropped Miss Elsie off to visit with my friend Deana for a little over two weeks. The national parks are very limited as to where they allow animals. Elsie got to spend the time in Durango while I ventured off with friends in Canyonlands National Park.

One of the nice parts of living in my Roadtrek is meeting other people. Linda, Mary and I have become friends due to our love of travel and other mutual interests. We especially like to wander off into the back country. On a warm summer afternoon we met up in Moab, Utah.

See the white rock-it is why it is called the White Rim—–Musselman Arch

The plan was to drive the White Rim Trail. Mary and I had secured our free campsite reservations back in the spring. Linda rented a jeep and along with Mary’s fancy camper on her truck we went 4-wheel driving. This road is all dirt and definitely requires high clearance vehicles. Covering about twenty miles a day we explored the back country of Canyonlands for five nights. It was amazing, awesome, spectacular and any other adjectives you can think of that would describe this vast open space. It was filled with canyons and plateaus, hoodoos, rivers, slot canyons, water cisterns and so much more.

Descending to the White Rim on the Schafer Trail

What makes a successful trip?

  • The first thing I can think of is that we all were willing to pitch in and help each other out. I still believe in the rule “you are only as strong as the weakest member of your group”. By helping each other out we were equal and strong.
  • We planned our meals together and went shopping in Moab before the trip began.
  • When someone needed time alone, it was respected.
  • A good Gin & Tonic, glass of wine or a beer helps smooth things over at the end of the day.
  • Although we never said lets pack up and leave, all of a sudden it would just happen and everyone was ready to go at about the same time.
  • Ample time was given for photos and exploring. It helps to travel with other photographers.ūüďł
  • Communication is key to a successful adventure of any sort.

Mary, Linda, Janet

Our trip was successful and fun. There were moments of stillness during each day to appreciate the sunrise or sunset. Although we saw little wildlife, Linda did see a bighorn sheep. I saw a bunny and a beaver.  I realized as we got to the end of the trip we had taken very few photos of each other. There was so much expansiveness that I believe we forgot to look closer, when taking photos. We did manage one selfie. (thank you Linda)

There was not one moment that was more important than any other. Every time we saw something amazing there was another amazing moment around the next bend. Linda really got into the 4-wheeling part of this adventure. It was fun to ride with her. Often the hills were done more than once.



When I think back on this week, I find I am grateful for the opportunity that presented itself. Thank you Mary. It was nice for a week, to not be connected to my phone or computer. I was still pretty hooked to my camera. I got to enjoy the good companionship of others and saw country that I may never see again. I discovered I still like camping in a tent. I appreciated Linda listening to me when I needed a shoulder.

Camping on the Green River

I hope that we will each have the opportunity to travel together again. Sadly at the end of the week Linda needed to return to Boise and her family. Mary and I adventured on for another week. Now I am in Colorado, reunited with Miss Elsie and spending time on my land.

Remember that clicking on any photo will enlarge it. It is worth the time to do that. This was amazing country.

Next post-Mary and my adventure continues.

 

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Wrapped in the Loving Arms of Friends

Friday morning I left the land and started moving west. It was hard to leave. I have made such good friends in southern Colorado. Deana, Ron and Miss Carrie kept trying to get me to stay longer. I need to return to San Diego, though.

I left the loving support of my Colorado friends, only to arrive in Flagstaff and be swept up into the loving arms of a good friend, Sharon and her extended family.

For thIV fluidsose of you who have been following my blog since it’s conception, you might remember this photo. It was the first stop of the first trip and Sharon ended up in the ICU. It was touch and go for a few days. She made a miraculous recovery and, at 80 is going strong. She is independent and feisty and I love her.

Because I was instrumental in saving her life that morning, her wild extended family has taken me in. I am honored. Her five children are delightful and very different from each other. Her grandchildren and great grandchildren are beyond delightful, so full of life and adventure. Even though they complain about each other, they are tight and love being in each others company.

Sharon & Janet

Sharon a year later

When I went in to give Sharon a hug, a greeting, she announced to me that there would be a fish fry that evening as two of her grandsons had just come back from a very successful fishing trip in San Diego. By the time everyone arrived, ages 8 and up there were at least 15 people in the kitchen. This family, I believe will be eternally grateful to me for helping save their mom. I am eternally grateful to know the delight of a very loving and happy extended family which now includes me. We all save each other.

Sharon, and 2 grandchildren, Jared and Jaimie

Sharon, and 2 grandchildren, Jared and Jaimie

Ken (son), Jared & Jaimie

Ken (son), Jared & Jaimie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone took over the kitchen. At one point of time or another all her extended family has lived with her in this delightful house. They know where everything is and they make themselves feel very at home.

The fish tacos were yummy and the company was better. I loved being swept up in this loud and outgoing group. When I am with them I am definitely part of the family. They tease me and joke with me and I feel so welcomed.

IMG_1849

When I left yesterday morning to head home, I found it hard to leave. I love being loved and supported. I loved the fact that from the smallest one to the oldest, Sharon, I got hugs. I miss hugs. They are grateful and I am grateful. It makes for a great combination.

Seeing my friends from Alamosa, CO through Flagstaff, AZ was a great end to this summer’s journey (Fred & Judy, Deana, Ron, Miss Carrie, Sharon and the whole clan). Friends are wonderful and I have so many fine ones. I can almost weep for the joy of it. Even though I am on my own now, they remind that I truly am not. I am so surrounded by so many each moment of my day.

 

Now I am home and I promise you the postings are not over yet. Elsie is eyeing the computer as I speak.

Today I am beyond grateful for friends…All of Them.

Marking Year Two-Off on an Adventure

005October seventeenth¬†¬†marked the second anniversary of Jim’s death. Sigh.

The first year was hard yet I kept myself busy and that year seemed to move quickly. All of a sudden he was gone a year. Now I don’t mean to imply that it was easy because it wasn’t. I missed him in a large all encompassing way.

This second year has gone by slower. I have had a much tougher time finding the energy to stay positive and delightful. This year I have missed him in the small ways.

  • A touch.
  • His voice.
  • His kisses.
  • His help around the house, for sure.
  • Kayaking solo because my buddy isn’t here.
  • Bicycling solo because….
  • Conversation. I think I miss this most of all. He was a very intelligent person and we had conversations in depth. Now I find that when I meet someone, like Silver Hooligan (Kat), and we have that kind of conversation I pull it in to my brain, my heart, my soul, through the pores of my skin.
  • Where is my waltz and polka partner?
  • Goofing around the house and being silly.
  • Laughing at the Simpsons.
  • Getting Ready to Raft the Grand Canyon

    Getting Ready to Raft the Grand Canyon

    Planning marvelous adventure trips together.

This gives you an idea of the small things. The list could go on and on.

This past year I struggled. I met new people to help me out, my acupuncturist, Gayle, a new therapist, Heidi (my other one retired, sigh). I chose to meet this grief and sadness head on this year and you know, I feel better. I am not done yet but I feel better. I feel better, about me, about life, about others, about my house and more. It feels good to feel better. There are times that I still curl up in my house and that is OK, as long as I come out again.

I have found that work helps. I work part time locally as a tour guide. I love my job and I truly enjoy the other guides I work with. I go to some mundane places (the airport) and some lovely places (La Jolla Shores). Mostly I enjoy being out and catching up with others. It is fun to see people have a wonderful time. I meet interesting people in this job.

I worry that others will forget Jim and yet when I speak with his close friends I realize they will always remember him in their hearts. I find I am now starting to tell Jim stories and others share theirs with me. This is a new development and I find I enjoy it and it feels light.

Kat and her pups. Bicycling to the east coast

Kat and her pups. Bicycling to the east coast

Travel also helps. Tomorrow I am going to head out in my RV, the cute little Roadtrek. I am traveling through the deserts of southern California and Arizona, where I will meet up with Kat (Silver Hooligan-see my last post) for a night. Next will be Flagstaff where I hopefully, will be seeing a much different Sharon than I did a year ago in July. For those of you who have been following my blog, she was the one who ended up in the hospital while I was there.

On Friday I am going to a private ranch, Kane Ranch, on the north rim of the Grand Canyon to take a water color workshop. This is a big step for me. I have tried a few times since Jim left to paint. It has never worked out. I decided to go where I might get some inspiration. The Kane Ranch is owned by the Grand Canyon Trust. I support their cause and they are the organization that is sponsoring this workshop. If I can’t paint I can always pick up my camera and just enjoy being there.

full moon over Zion National Park

full moon over Zion National Park

Lastly I will be on my way to Zion National Park and a visit with my dear friend Sharon. You can scroll back to September of 2013 to read about this very special family. Since that time David has gone on to join Jim. We have a lot to talk about.

Adventuring off on my own takes a bit of courage¬†for me. I have at times been anxious and stressed in preparation for this trip. Yet I persevere. I know that once I get behind that wheel I will be happy and ready to explore where I am going. I take all my friends with me. I feel everyone’s love and support and encouragement. Thank you for getting me through year two.

On to year three.