Our Everyday Adventures

We are not adventurers by choice but by fate – Van Gogh

You are currently browsing the archives for June, 2012.

Trip of a Lifetime

Post by:  Jake
6/19/12

All our bags are packed, we’re ready to go…. Tomorrow, Veronica and I embark on a trip of a lifetime.  One of those bucket-list trips everyone dreams about.  Or so we’ve been told.  To us, we’re simply making it happen.  We’ve scrimped and saved, and have been planning each detail for over a year.  Ireland by bike.  At least, that’s the simple but appropriate title of one of the many guide books we’ve used to plan for the trip.  ”Cycle touring in Ireland” by Cicerone press, Lonely Planet guide to “Ireland”, Keyguide to “Ireland”, just a few more of the guide books we’ve been using for the past year to plan our “epic” journey around the Emerald Isle.

350 miles over 15 days.  An average of about 23-miles per day.  Very easy and very doable by most peoples standards.  But what a way to see a country?  Early last summer, Veronica and I mountain biked the Going-To-The-Sun road in Glacier National Park and, although we’ve been in the park dozens of times before on the very same road, this experience changed our outlook on what it takes to really “see” a place.  With that fresh perspective, we started planning a cycle touring trip in Europe.  We didn’t know where, how far, or how long we’d be on this journey, but we knew it was something we wanted to make happen.  Over the following year we narrowed it down to Ireland, for many reasons previously disclosed here.

We’ve sorted through gear, purchased airline tickets, reserved rooms in key cities, and have even purchased a few rail connections.  We’ve packed, re-packed, then re-packed a few more times to dial our equipment to only the bare necessities.  I’ve purchased special computerized GPS map cards and have pre-loaded daily routes into a new Garmin GPS.  And with a few other details squared away, we’re ready.

But why don’t we feel like a kid on Christmas eve then?  I mean, from all we’ve been hearing, it’s a “trip of a lifetime”.  And a year of planning should feel a bit more climactic shouldn’t it?  Perhaps it still just doesn’t feel real yet.  I am still sitting in my living room, embraced in the comforts of home.  Perhaps it’s because we’ve been so pre-occupied and consumed with buying a new home?  In fact, we close on the new home during our trip–a friend will be acting as our hand, signing all the legal paperwork, while we’re out having fun. (*Note to self–Buy something nice for said friend!) Whatever the reason for the lack of goosebumps and butterflies, it doesn’t change the fact that we ARE flying out of the country in the morning.  We ARE renting bikes in Dublin, and we ARE going to experience what few ever have the opportunity to.  We are so blessed and so thankful for everything that life has brought us.  We look forward to the adventure that awaits, and adversities that lie ahead (the weatherman is calling for steady rain).  It won’t all be smooth sailing, but from adversity comes growth and for that we are thankful.  Our Ireland bike tour ends around July 9th, but the journey and memories will surely live on forever.  We can hardly wait to post updates, photos, and stories.  But till then, we’re “out of the office”. Cheers!  J&V

 

 

1 comment

San Rafael Swell ~ Utah ~ Slot Canyons

Post by:  Jake
6/9/12

Over Memorial Day weekend, Veronica and I organized a bunch of friends and drove out to the desert for a long weekend of hiking and rappelling.  What started as a beautiful desert evening Thursday night, soon morphed into a biblical sand storm by Friday afternoon.  As we hiked away from our base camp Friday morning, the weather was calm, sunny, and overall fairly uneventful.  Five long miles later and deep into a slot canyon, we were struggling to stay on our feet as the wind pelted our bare legs with sand and pea gravel.  Hoping that somehow the slot canyon we were hiking was simply concentrating the wind, disappointment greeted us as we turned the last narrow corner and walked into the open desert where the wind seemed equally strong, if not stronger.  Immediately I felt a pit form in my stomach, knowing full well that we should have taken down our tents before leaving in the morning.  Wishing for the best, but expecting the worst, we headed back to our camp to find the following: 1 tent, precariously teetering over a cliff face, held fast by a single stake and a guy line; 1 tent perfectly fine, although nearly completely filled with sand; 1 tent with 2 of the 3 poles broken and protruding through the formerly waterproof fly; and 1 tent missing entirely.  Finding the missing tent a while later several hundred feet away at the bottom of a ravine, we were at a loss for words.  The group simply sat around on rocks, completely demoralized, trying to figure out our next move.  Move camp to a more sheltered location? Nope, the wind and blowing sand penetrated every crack of the desert equally; there was no place of refuge.  The wind continued, as if blowing salt into our wounds.  Staring at each other with blank, expressionless faces, we decided to throw in the towel and opt for a motel room in nearby Green River.  Booking one of the last rooms in town, we threw our tents and gear into the cars and dashed to the safety of 4 solid walls and a comfortable, sand free (nearly) bed. I contemplated the hardships of the early explorers and pioneers as I relaxed in the hotel’s hot tub, jets pounding into my sore shoulders and tired muscles.

The next day we woke to winds even more intense than before.  Although we certainly can claim no prizes for toughing out the storm in our tents, we also could not simply sit idle in the hotel room, through what was supposed to be an epic Utah adventure.  So, we hopped in the car, and following the directions of the hotel owner, we made our way out to Sego canyon where the wind seemed slightly less intense.  Ancient rock art panels and a beautiful desert canyon landscape filled our morning.  During the afternoon, we set a climbing rope and rappelled through the ceiling of a natural bridge cut into the sandstone.  Drop after drop, we hooted and hollered like a bunch of kids; and for a while even forgot about the intense wind.

Sunday morning, the wind had finally blown itself out and we ventured back to the San Rafael Swell to set up camp and hike to another incredible desert wonder, a massive cavernous alcove cut out of a tall sandstone cliff.  Sunday afternoon, we crossed into Goblin Valley State Park to explore the giant coliseum of cartoon characters that appear to have been frozen in time, preserved into a valley of sandstone hoodoos.  One step into the valley of goblins is enough to bring out anyone’s inner child. Before we knew it, we were calling out shapes of turtles, clowns, lions, tigers, and bears; all the while scrambling up and down blobs of sandstone. Back at camp, we toasted up a feast of Hobo Pies, and sat around the fire late into the night; watching embers burn into the starry night sky.

Monday morning dawned late as we were camped against an east facing cliff.  Originally we had planned to simply pack up camp and drive back home; however the allure of one more “quick” hike was too strong, so we hiked out and squeezed in one last slot canyon.  Driving home, the only thing any of us could think about was coming back for another adventure.  With endless slot canyons to hike, ancient dwellings to explore, and shapes to pick out of the sandstone hoodoos, it’s just a matter of time till were headed back to the desert.  The desert can be brutal and unforgiving; but even during the worst weather there’s always more adventures to be had.

 

1 comment