Wild Wild West

Well howdy there. G and I have been out traveling, doing what we called our Wild West Tour.

With Corona virus still raging through the country, closing international borders, we thought we would use our time to do some in-country travel. We’ve missed the West, our family and our kids. Since the Hood to Coast Relay was ALSO cancelled, we thought we’d head to the sunset side of the country a little earlier than the late August trip we had planned.

We started off making our first stop in Denver, CO. We will come back around to this at a later date. Denver was also our last stop before returning East, because honestly, we just can’t get enough of that Rocky Mountain area. Both G and I have always had a “thing” with the area, so it’s always fun when we can have some extended time there.

Good Morning Tetons
Day before I finish GVRAT

We wandered our way through the Tetons in Wyoming and Yellowstone in Montana after leaving Colorado. Making note that the Teton glaciers will definitely be in the running for our next long backpacking trip.

Can’t be in Coeur d’Alene and not hike Mineral

Second on our list was Big Sky, Montana. We love it! It’s always been a favorite ski area with our family and when we lived in Minneapolis, it was a trip we took often to get some nice, steep, slopes loaded with fresh pow! It’s just stunning all times of the year. I was working through my mileage to finish off the GVRAT 1000k (and now continuing back across, because I’m a glutton for punishment a lover of running) I chose to finish my 1000k on our last day in Big Sky. Waking up on the mountain, with Lone Peak, still with it’s snowy patches, out our window, just stoked our mountain running love affair. The air was crisp, clear and filled with the scent of evergreen forest. The trails were buffed and soft with pine needles and it made those last few miles an absolutely perfect finishline.

The Finish Line of 1000k
Searching for breath in the thinner air.

We soaked in the mountain vibes, sat outside drinking fabulous Montana beer and just really took in the enormity of those western ranges.

It’s a funny thing, our love of the mountains. I remember when we lived in MN and would take our ski trips to Montana, the anguish my soul felt when we would leave. I’d often be sobbing and it would take the ache days to go away, once we returned to the Mid West. It’s like something in the fabric of our lives was off. Our DNA was made to be steep and it’s why a lot of our trips have always been through hiking and climbing big mountains. With G growing up in the mountains of Northern Idaho and me in Northern California, it is just wound into our pneuma. So it was no surprise when I got that first glimpse of the Rockies and started to cry. Actually I take that back, it WAS a surprise, because since being in NC, we have spent A LOT of time in the mountains. Almost every weekend, hiking, climbing and running and have loved every single second of it. But something inside me broke and I was left longing.

Our time in Denver and Big Sky went by too quickly. We drank in the mountain air, literally. I remember running and saying to G “I can actually draw in huge, full, gulps of air” which if you’re living in the south right now, you have no idea what I mean…. or you do, and are looking forward to fall/winter running when the air isn’t thick and oppressive and slapping you in the face when you step outside. I LOVE humidity, but not when I’m running. I think in a perfect world it would be humid for morning dog walking, firefly watching and porch-sitting and crisp and arid at the perfect time for my daily runs. But for now, I’ll have to deal with the daily beat-down of humid, hot air that constantly assaults me while I run.

Distance like a Grizzly and wash like a Raccoon

When we got to Idaho and Coeur d’Alene it was full-steam-ahead with a steady stream of visits with family and friends. It’s hard living somewhere so long, and coming back as a visitor. You know your time is limited and we always try to stretch it out anyway we can, but it’s never enough. Now looking back, we wish we would’ve stayed longer, since we weren’t really on any schedule. We had fun acting like tourists in a town that is so close to our hearts. Running with our kids at English Point, hiking Tubbs, Mineral Ridge and Lost Man Trail all made it to the top of our list. We had fun watching our Goldie-girl realize she was back where she had learned and trained to run trails with us. Her old stomping grounds.

We were able to see friends who now live in AZ that were back in ID visiting their kids. God had impeccable timing. We were so grateful.

I know one thing; solid friends are solid friends and no matter the distance we are separated by now, when we walk into their homes, sit in their back yards having dinner, and picking up right where we left off on our last visit home, it’s magical! Unchanged and constant in my life, they are my sisters and are such gifts to me.

The time we had with our own kids flew by. We always want one more day. Always. I think that’s the way it is for parents. We raise such independent kids, who grow, and fly off and we are so proud, honored and satisfied with the jobs we did raising them and of their accomplishments and then the go and be adults, and you’re left with with the want of “one more day.” G and I feel fortunate to be able to see our kids often, even on the other side of the country. But no matter the time, the yearning of one more day is always present.

I think Covid has us all revisiting what’s important. G and I have really been talking about this a lot. This pandemic, as terrible as it has been, has also given us all the time to stop and redefine some things. To bring into focus what’s most important. To see things differently and with more clarity. To appreciate, recognize and discover what is paramount for us. It’s brought things that may have been in the back of our minds to the forefront and has made them more acute and pivotal. It’s has us both listening so raptly to that Still, Small, Voice. Waiting patiently, and watchfully. It has turned our prayer life upside down and has driven it to a whole new depth. It has made us both keenly and profoundly aware of some goals and dreams that may have slipped to the back of the lineup, that seem to have new breath being inflated into them. We recently had sweet friends that after years and years living out of the country, decide to come back, saying Covid and a recent birthday really put some things into perspective with a new angle and outlook. Has it had this effect on you? Has it brought around a new vibrancy and newness to chapters you’ve maybe left half read? Has it spurred some new passions that maybe you’ve shelved for a later time? Take the book down off of the shelf, dust off the cobwebs and crack its weary spine open. What do you see?

I think it’s in most of our natures to grow. I also think for some, the thought of growth or change can be paralyzing. I think Covid has either nudged or downright pushed some entirely out of their comfort zone.

For G and I we use our time in the mountains for prayer, reflection and to bust ourselves out of stagnation. We are most inspired on long hiking trips. We have some of our best conversations either hiking or sitting in the ocean on our surfboards. Maybe it’s the thin air and altitude, but more likely it’s the place that’s the most quiet where we hear the voice of God. We are both pretty content people, but are both constantly seeking to evolve. We have been gifted in knowing when and when not to make a move unless we both feel a prompting. Things tend to be disastrous when we put our own plans before God’s plans for us, but we ALWAYS see how even in the confusion and jumbled disarray we can sometimes step into, God works things out for the best. It’s such a comfort to us, having that faith.

Beautiful Coeur d’Alene
This was her back yard for the first three years of life. Happy Doggo

The mountains give us a great escape from the noise and chaos. They are simple. Their scents and sounds, Fauna and Flora provide us soul-blanketing relief. They make us feel small and for me, like a young child.

Their balm was so welcome on this trip.

Ummm… It’s March!

What?  How did this happen?  I have gone 3 months without a single post.  And I do believe in my New Years post, I said, I wanted to keep up on this blog.  Here’s the deal…

LIFE HAPPENS!!

And before I go getting upset about any part of that…well, I just don’t!  Getting upset about things…not in my DNA!

That's Right!

That’s Right!

So what have I been up to since January 1, 2013?  A whole-lotta-fun!  Had great holiday with my friends and family.  Rang 2013 in with some amazing friends, laughing and dancing…exactly where I wanted to be.  Surrounded by the people I love and love me right back!

January comes into Northern Idaho like an evil stepmom.  Just rough and cold and unforgiving.  You have to either embrace it, or you will be spending a lot of days and nights curled into a blanket with a snarling look on your face!  I’ve seen this look…and it’s not pretty!  So to combat the winter blahs…We snow-shoe.  We ski and jump into frozen lakes (well some do) and still do as much as we can outdoors.  Including running and training for our summer race season!  It’s hard, but you just

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I had the great honor this winter to ski with a first timer.  A great friend of mine, who is overcoming and jumping the hurdle of a life long battle with severe asthma.  If you haven’t seen her blog, you need to!! (See it here)  Never before this year, has she been able to enjoy outdoor activities in the winter.  But she is kicking butt and having fun!  We have made some fabulous memories skiing this year!

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How many skiers does it take to get a boot into a binding?

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The Terrorists!

We also got to travel to White Fish, Montana this past month for a little ski trip with some friends of ours.  This was my first time taking on this mountain, and it was incredible.  Great powder, with amazing snow ghosts at the summit.  It was just a great time with one of our favorite families!!  The little town of White Fish is so quaint with fun, with little shops, some amazing restaurants, and truffles galore!  If you are a truffle-hog like myself, this little town offers truffle oil on EVERYTHING!!  And I had it on everything!

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Gorgeous snow ghosts near the summit.

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A little night skiing in White Fish, Montana

One week later after skiing our legs off in deep powder I boarded a plane to Kona, Hawaii with a friend.  It was literally a split-second decision.  From Friday night having dinner together and complaining about the cold, to booking a sun-filled, beach-lovin’, ocean-swimming trip the very next morning!  How’s that for spontaneity!?  I love being spontaneous!

Kona was fabulous!  We enjoyed every single second of warm, sunshine and beach that we could.  We soaked in Vitamin D like it was our job!  We snorkeled with some giant turtles, one,who seemed extremely interested with the bling on my bikini.  I think he may have been asking for a date.  We lounged!  We drank yummy drinks and ate incredible food.  We went on a whale watching tour.  The whales are there having their babies right now.  They are amazing,  gigantic, beautiful creatures.  We saw them breeching several times!  We decided one day to have a little fun adventure and went to “Flume the Ditch”  This was so much fun.  We laughed the entire time, while we kayaked down the Kohala Ditch, in and out of underground tunnels, for about 2 1/2 miles.  We learned a lot about the island from our amazing guide!  We decided to go and chase some waterfalls, and spent the day over in Hilo.  It’s such a different landscape from the Kona side.  We took off in the morning, with the top off of our little Jeep, and before we knew it we were pulled over replacing the top.  Taking the fun and CRAZY Saddle Road to Hilo was an adventure in itself.  What we didn’t anticipate as we climbed our way between two volcanos is, that even on a tropical island, it can get COLD in the mountains.  The 90-minute drive to Hilo was like being on Mr Toads Wild Ride.  Up and down big hills, making our stomachs drop, all while twisting and turning.  “Hands up!”  Hilo, was magical.  Thick jungle, dripping, humid, rain forests, waterfalls. We spent the day exploring, driving the Hamakua coast, doing some shopping and having a great meal before heading back to Kona.  Our trip was a great time to unwind, catch up with friends, relax, and boost our immune system through ridiculous bouts of laughter.  A, D and S…I’m still looking for giant centipedes!! HAHA!

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Hapuna Beach

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Never missed a sunset!

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Rainbow Falls- Hilo, Hawaii

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Akaka Falls- Hilo, Hawaii

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Cruisin’ on the Body Glove boat for our whale cruise!

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Puako Beach

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Flumin’ the Ditch

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Puako Beach

Now that I have been back for 19 days…I am again craving the sunshine!!  So off we go!  To our home away from home, Costa Rica!

Keep ya posted…..

  ~Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain