Ranger Kathryn's Arches

July 25, 2013

When the familiar is in the rear-view mirror

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 7:11 pm
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Arrowleaf Balsamroot in full bloom sets off the Grand Teton range in mid-June.

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.”

So goes the quote attributed to Augustine of Hippo. Whether he really said those words or not, I’ve been unable to verify, but I resonate with the thought behind them and find that I become restless if intervals without travel occur in my life. Preferably travel with plenty of unknowns: where you’ll end up, what the weather or road conditions may be, whether campsites will be available, what wildlife might be encountered. The rugged, ragged edges of such adventures are what thrill me.

Hot springs galore are to be found in the Norris Geyser Basin area of Yellowstone National Park.

Geothermal features galore are to be found in the Norris Geyser Basin area of Yellowstone National Park.

As Chris and I studied the Lonely Planet guide for the Canadian Rockies, and dreamed of heading to that beautiful country, we couldn’t have known that it would snow on us in Yellowstone National Park in late June and rain on us every day for a week north of the border. That hardly anybody sells block ice in the area we visited. That my credit card number would be stolen at a petrol station in Kootenay. That campfires (as American a tradition as apple pie) cost $8.80 each in Canada. Or that a persistent toothache would muck up the last days of our trip.

We also couldn’t have predicted that we’d travel during peak wildflower bloom and maximum waterfall volume, hike our way to the top of a couple of mountains, and have at least seventeen wonderful experiences for every not-quite-wonderful one. We’d also learn to say “eh?” and pronounce the word “about” differently after spending nine days among the friendly, helpful, delightful people of Canada.

You? Grab a travel magazine at the library. Type in a new destination on Google. Maybe it’s time to read another page of the world.

August 14, 2011

The bike and I

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 7:23 pm
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A boiling water spring in Yellowstone lures me off my bike for ten minutes.

Tossing my dirt-caked gear and sweaty clothes into the back of my car, I felt changed. Tired but invigorated. Spent but refreshed. Somehow made more ready for whatever was to come, as a result of this five-day bike trip in Montana and Yellowstone NP.

One of my paradigms has subtly shifted. I’ve never viewed bicycling as a legitimate way to travel more than a few hours’ journey at a time, for me — and that had better be on level ground. Something happens in one’s brain when you join a group of folks who know better.

I’m sold. Self-powered journeys are remarkably satisfying. In the spirit of full disclosure, let it be known that I used the support vehicle on Days 1 & 2 for some long uphills… but managed on my own the remainder of the time, to my great delight. Got top-notch mountain biking instruction from my guides, lots of encouragement from my fellow bikers, and basically couldn’t stop smiling on this adventure. Highlights to come; stay tuned.

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