Good news! All four limbs are fully attached to my body (ie no grizzly attacks), I haven’t gone crazy from driving, and I’m still loving this road trip. Road trip: Success.
PS these photos might be blurry because they’re from my iPhone…real photos from my camera will come after the trip is over.
I’m currently in the Bay Area, and since I last wrote, I went through Rocky Mountain National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, Seattle (with Mt. Rainier National Park), Olympic National Park, Portland (stopped at Mt Saint Helens), Crater National Park, and Redwood National Park. And since my last blog post in Denver, I’ve done the following things:
1) Been reunited with friends and family from all over
2) Learned how to camp alone. And make a fire. Fun fact: wood doesn’t burn that easily. Ask my neighbors who watched me squat over the fire ring for about 45 minutes with a lighter in hand, and no fire to be seen
3) Driven many many miles
4) Befriended a lot of elderly folks, who seem to think I’m a high school drop-out, since I’m roaming the Parks post-labor day, and still somehow look like a high schooler. That’s cool. I guess. But moose watching with a bunch of old men was definitely one of my day’s highlights. Seriously.
5) Saw the Milky Way galaxy and learned how to photograph it
6) Spotted tons of animals, including grizzlies, black bears, marmots, coyotes, wolves, moose, elk, and marmots
7) Hike a TON of miles. Including accidentally doing 19 miles in a day. Just to be clear, I don’t really recommend that.
8) Ate a LOT of granola. And instant mashed potatoes. And mac n cheese
9) Went to bed before 8pm. Several times.
10) Walked/ran/danced down a fairly deserted, but very beautiful, beach
11) Rocked out to all sorts of awesome and awesomely bad music
12) Ate Mickey D’s more times than I’d like to admit. And also ate really delicious foods while in the cities
13) Drove 4 really epic roads in America: Road to Mt. Evans in Colorado (the highest elevation paved road in the US), Trail Ridge Road in the Rockies, Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier, and Route 1 along the Cali coast
This road trip has been quite magical, thus far. I feel incredibly grateful and privileged to be able to see all of these stunning places, and also to be able to meet up with friends/family who have so kindly and warmly welcomed me into their homes.
Also, this journey has also been perfect to reflect on my Peace Corps experiences, which never quite got “normal” closure on when I left. But nothing better to feed a hungry soul than a little bit of Desmond Tutu in my life, in the literary form of “No Future Without Forgiveness,” while sitting on a quiet beach, tucked behind some driftwood.
I feel like I could go on and on about this trip, and then it would turn into another very rambly post. But to answer some questions I’ve been getting quite often, here’s a list of Commonly Asked Questions:
1) Don’t you get bored/lonely being alone?
Nope. Because Peace Corps, I’m now very used to having “me-time,” and this is no different. Except I get to have modern luxuries, like my music blasting through my stereo. And food that I bought for myself from a real grocery store or Costco. And on top of that, you meet people along the way. People are SUPER nice in the National Parks, I’ve found. Perhaps the nicest group of random people I’ve ever stumbled upon. I’ve hiked for hours with random people that I encountered along the way, and it’s fascinating to hear their stories. I never go a day feeling lonely.
2) What’s been your favorite place?
Ah. The Impossible Question. I have 3 places on my list so far: 1) The Rockies. I love the mountains, I’ve realized. Combine that with kick-ass hiking, beautiful glacial lakes that sparkle colors you never they could sparkle, and you have heaven. 2) Glacier. Everything about that place is big and in-your-face, and I love that about the park. It’s bold and beautiful, and Montana might be one of my most favorite states. Surprising, right? That state is incredibly underrated!
3) Where going next/when are you coming back?
A lot of places. But the next stops will be national parks in California. And I’ll be back in the DC area beginning of November. If I don’t stay out here forever :)
Well, it’s time to go meet up with some friends and explore this city :) A la prochaine!
Peace and love,