Life is a series of paths. Like that of a river, the flow can take us to distant worlds, to ever-changing destinations, to places that you didn’t quite expect. Sometimes life—and the flow of the river—is predictable. It’s unwavering. But at other times, the destination you were once in desire of, turns it’s course. And then you end up somewhere else.
Meet Molly. Molly is a dear friend of mine whom decided, on a whim, to dye her hair burgundy. She’s been dyeing her hair blonde (although I think she’d make a beautiful brunette!!) and this very morning, she decided to pick up a box of color not quite what she anticipated. I have to say, she rocks this becoming-burgundy-beauty. She can most definitely be a poster-woman for Harley Davidson.
Anyway, this may seem like a total diversion to whatever the point it is that I am trying to make, but trust me, it is relevant. It is relevant because forty-eight hours ago I thought I was going to Chile at the end of the year. And by Chile, I mean the real thing: Backpacking the mountains and paddling the rivers of South America. Months and months of exploration and exploring the Andes Mountains.
And then I changed my mind.
WHAT? HUH? WHY?
Believe it or not, the foundation of my reason comes down to the fact that international travel, for me, is not quite as fun as it could be if shared with another human being. It’s lonesome. It’s vulnerable. It’s awkward. It’s boring. I know this because when I went to New Zealand, I went solo. And because of the nature of NZ’s long distance trail, the Te Araroa, I felt out of place most of the time. Even when I teamed up with Dylan, a buoyantly optimistic and friendly Texan, and we traveled the length of NZ’s South Island together, I still felt out of place. I still felt lonesome. And because I lost my “purpose” whilst trying to understand the logistics of NZ’s long trail—and the long, arduous road walks—I felt bored. (Again, New Zealand is BEYOND BEAUTIFUL, but the thru-hike took me to the not-so-beautiful, the very-boring, and the also slightly scary while walking on the thin shoulders of highways).
The second founding reason for not going to Chile, is because I need to listen to my heart. I went out on an adventure this weekend which took me to the headwaters of the 250-mile long Deschutes River. My goal: to pack-raft the river’s entirety (in sections because I need to work too!). Beginning at this small, alpine lake, the river would weave it’s way through forest until reaching the Crane Prairie Reservoir, and then the Wickiup Reservoir, before channeling itself beneath the dam to the more navigable stretches of water. I’d been informed, just in the slightest, that the the upper, upper stretch was under the mercy of fallen wood. But I didn’t expect an entire forest to obliterate my dream of passage on this upper segment. As a result, I had to carry my pack-raft downriver, at first via fisherman trails and then highway. And under and over dozens of fallen trees. The weight on my back caused a monumental whimper, most definitely exceeding anything I’ve every carried. Pack (plus all that entails on a 3-night adventure) + 5-lb pack-raft, paddle, PFD, helmet, dry-top, dry-bags, and cam-straps. I SO wished I left the fresh fruit and avocados at home!
Tangent aside, pack-rafting is just too heavy for me. At least when you’re carrying the raft more than paddling. And that’s what this Chile trip may have entailed. As I walked along the shoulder of Cascade Lakes Highway, I reasoned with myself. Life is too short not to pursue what your heart desires. And although it was a letdown in knowing I will not be seeing or experiencing (not yet anyway!!!) a new country and a beautiful new culture, I will be going somewhere that my heart desires. (Three-years-in-the-making-desire). I can’t put it off any longer.
In 150 days (approximately 5 months) I will begin hiking northbound on the Appalachian Trail to complete the Calendar Triple Crown. Three Trails. One year. 7,700 miles. Appalachian, Pacific and Continental Divide Trails all in one year… No female has yet to do it. And I only know of two strong, confident men who have. It is not an easy feat.
There is so much to do and say in the meantime. And I will be updating my blog regularly from now on. In brief, I am beyond excited. And nervous (in a good way). I will be also seeking out sponsors to help offset and/or fund this trip. I’ll be updating a donation page ASAP so stay tuned.
Are you excited? Because I am!!!