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.

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