Ranger Kathryn's Arches

April 23, 2011

Exultation & Exhaustion

Rookie job of packing, but it worked! Kathryn treks in Bullet Canyon, Utah.

The verdict is in for my first backpacking trip: Marvelous Success. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. You know that combination of “I love this so much” plus “it hurts so good” — ?? That delightful satisfaction that comes when you push your limits and find that nothing terrible happens?

Filtering your own water from a spring, or finding centuries-old pottery shards to admire at a ruin, or climbing 60 feet up a steep cliff to photograph an archeological site —  these kinds of “firsts” open up a whole new world of possibilities. I found myself thinking outside the box the entire time. “What’s stopping me from (X)?” began to supplant “I don’t think I can (X).”

Truth be told, I’m spent… especially legs and hips. My body is resilient, however, and I’ll get that spring back in my step by tomorrow. The pure joy of being in a wild land and being able to decide where to put our tent and how many miles to hike and what alcoves to explore, without having to bump into more than a handful of others, was what caused my heart to sing. The nights were cool, the days perfect, the experience magnificent. Details to come.


  1. Sounds like you could now go to the BWCA!! I believe the spring in your step might not be there in the morning however it will return. Looking forward to hearing more about your adventure.

    Comment by Dawn — April 23, 2011 @ 9:54 pm | Reply

    • I couldn’t believe it, but I RAN a half a block this morning to catch a shuttle bus to the sunrise service, and nothing hurt. Aren’t our bodies amazing?!?

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — April 24, 2011 @ 9:42 am | Reply

    • I have been to Quetico Provincial Park as well as the BWCA — in my twenties! I never stopped to consider those as backpacking trips since so much time was spent with a paddle in my hands, but you’re right — you carry everything in Duluth packs. I want to go again!!!

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — April 24, 2011 @ 10:13 am | Reply

  2. Limits . . .
    We grow up thinking of them as electrified barb-wire fences beyond which we dare not – nay, cannot go, Yet, in reality, they are but lines in the sand put there by others (or often our very own selves) that can be passed with impunity if one dares to approach them.
    It’s usually the case that the untested limit is a changable limit.
    Keep testing them, K

    Comment by leroque — April 24, 2011 @ 3:33 am | Reply

    • I’m keeping on, Dad, I’m keeping on. Life is extra joyful when you are not constrained by preconceived limits.

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — April 24, 2011 @ 10:07 am | Reply

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