Saturday, September 24, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy!!

Current Location: Cortez, CO

We've been so busy I haven't had time to blog! Yes, I know that's not much of an excuse so I'll also blame it on poor internet connections at several of our stops. I probably could have posted without pictures, but there is so much to share that I just decided to wait until I had time and better connections. We've done so much in the past couple of weeks it's hard to know where to begin, but I'll try to cover it all briefly.

As I've shared with you already, we spent our first week and a half after leaving Portland traveling around the state of Oregon. After some serious decompressing and waiting out the Labor Day crowds in Valley of the Rogue, we headed to the coast. While there, we had the pleasure of meeting Sue and Mo of The MoHo and Other Traveling Tales. I know I talked about this in my last post, but I wanted to share one of my favorite pictures. I feel like this is a great summary of our visit. Even though we had met less than an hour prior, it was like hooking up with old friends, full of chatter and lots of laughter. The 4 hours we spent together felt more like 4 minutes. We look forward to crossing paths again soon.
Abby (behind Sue), Sue, Mo, Tracy, Connie, Hunter on Harris Beach
From the coast, we headed back inland to visit Crater Lake. This was the one place that I wanted to visit before leaving the state so it was a must-stop, regardless of how much back-tracking it required. The lake is more awesome than I could imagine. It is so blue, it's hard to capture it in a photo. Tracy was still nursing a sprained ankle so we weren't able to hike down to the lakeshore (the only way to reach it is a 700 ft elevation drop/gain hike), but we were able to do several shorter hikes to get a little off the beaten path. We only had a couple of days there and since we didn't get to do everything that we wanted to, I guess we'll just have to go back! It is definitely worth a return visit.
Crater Lake - it is the most amazing color of blue
Connie & Tracy enjoying the moment

 Upon leaving Crater Lake, we headed south to meet up with some friends in the Mount Shasta area of northern California. We met Ron and Chris last summer. They were regular guests of North Shore Campground, where we worked. It's funny how you just have an instant connection with some people; Ron and Chris are two of those people. We didn't have the opportunity to spend a whole lot of time with them last summer as we were always working when they were there, but they were so easy to share a conversation with that we felt an instant bond. We kept in touch over the winter and were hoping to meet again someday. Fate stepped in and due to a change in plans, we were able to join them for a weekend camping trip. It was non-stop and before we realized it the weekend was over, but we knew as we parted ways that we had solidified a life-long friendship.
Ron & Chris at Middle McCloud (?) Falls
By now, it was really time for us to head eastward. We still had a couple of weeks left in our schedule before reaching Denver, but we had a lot we wanted to do along the way. From California we headed southeast for a quick overnight in Fernley, NV. The next day we started down the Loneliest Road in America, Highway 50. It is a long, fairly boring stretch of road, but there's something about the solitude that makes it very peaceful. Our next stop was a 2-night stay in Ely, NV. We had noticed that we would be driving right by Great Basin National Park and since one of our goals was to visit every National Park, we knew we had to stop.

Great Basin NP would not be a destination in and of itself, but if you're in the vicinity, it is well worth the stop. It is truly an oasis in the middle of the desert. The scenic drive takes you up to over 10,000 feet, more than 4000 feet above the valley floor. Once at the top, Tracy decided her ankle was feeling well enough for a longer hike, so we ventured down the alpine lake loop trail. It was a beautiful day and a wonderful break from driving.
Stella Lake with Wheeler Mountain and its glaciers in the background
Our next major stop was planned for Durango, CO, but Ron & Chris pointed out to us that our route would take us right by Capitol Reef National Park in Utah and they insisted it was worth the stop. So we adjusted our schedule slightly (after all, isn't that the beauty of this lifestyle?) and headed to Torrey, UT for another 2-night stay and a visit to another national park.

And they were right...it was well worth the stop. With only a day to explore, we were up and at it early. We settled on a fairly strenuous hike, our favorite way to explore the parks. There were several hikes that piqued our interest, but we selected the one to the top of Cassidy Arch. Once again, we made a great choice. 
Tracy on top of Cassidy Arch
Just a note about the above picture. Tracy is not fond of bridges and doesn't like having nothing but air beneath her. So the fact that she is the one who wanted to walk out on top of the arch, a bridge of sorts, is truly amazing. I'm proud of her!

And for perspective...view from the trail down to the parking lot on the valley floor!
Tonight, we are sitting in Cortez, CO, just outside of Mesa Verde National Park. We have 2 days planned for exploring, not near enough time but it will have to do for now. We are packing a lot in in a short amount of time. We would much prefer a slower pace, spending several days at each stop, but we do have to get to Denver eventually.

The last 3 weeks have done wonders for our psyches. It has reawakened our souls. We have been reminded of the wonders of the road and the beauty of this lifestyle. THIS is the life we dreamed about. And we know now that we need to find a way to keep the dream alive.

13 comments:

  1. So glad you r trip has taken you so many beautiful places and back to your dream. :) That photo of Crater Lake is amazing.

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  2. Glad you're having the chance to do a little exploring! :)

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  3. Great job of summarizing. Wish I could do as well. What a wonderful journey you're having - meeting up with great friends and seeing this beautiful country of ours. What more could you want. So keep the dream alive.

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  4. Thanks for the tour of so many great places with your beautiful photos. Wow! Crater Lake is awesome, we'll definitely have to visit this year!

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  5. Love the picture of the four of you at the beach. Sue and Mo are sure fun people.

    Enjoyed all your photos and descriptions of your travels. You sound so much better than you did last summer. Glad things are looking up for you.

    We were at Crater Lake years ago when the lady standing near me at the overlook turned to me and asked, "Is this a man made lake?" I didn't know whether to laugh or cry!!

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  6. I'll have to agree with Donna. This is more like the Connie and Tracy that I know. I can even sense a lifted spirit in your writing. Keep it up.

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  7. I love that last paragraph especially. So good to see you two having so much fun and freedom. Capital Reef is my heart soul home, and my kids know the secret place to scatter my ashes there. I am so glad that you found the groove and know to keep the dream going. Hooray!!

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  8. You've really been on the move - to some great places. Love the photos. Glad you're back to loving your new life. I'm looking forward to your adventures in Denver. :)

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  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  10. Amazing pictures! We love Mesa Verde N.P. Spent the last two summer working inside the park. What did you think?

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  11. You know that moment when you're __________, finally, and you realize "I'm really DOING this. I am not dreaming about it anymore!"? Is there a more awesome moment ever?

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  12. Hope you are both following your dream!! Miss you blog.

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