This time last year Lane and I were about to go on one of our more epic adventures. The best part is, we had no idea what was going to happen. Lane was given three weeks leave for his post deployment which is a lot of time for two people about to leave our home and move to Alabama (whomp whomp whooommmpp) We had just gotten back from the fourth of July in texas — which was incredible, we had hiked the tallest mountain in Texas with Thomas
Which was amazing and so hard. These two boys really pulled it together for me in the first mile when I looked up and saw only steep steep mountain above me — we couldn’t even see the top from the base of the trail because a really big mountain we had to climb first was in the way. We were going on about two hours of sleep each since we were driving to Granbury and this was just a detour on our way in, we were hungry, tired and the packs were heavy (to me) but the boys took some of my weight, let me cry it out a little on the first mile, and then we commenced with having the most incredible hike of my life up unto that point. We camped that night on a mountain side covered only by a tree, the air was crystal the sky was superb and the view — oh the view. Hold on let me find the right picture.
RIGHT?! Good Lord God is good. (can that even be a sentence?) Anyway the joy and peace on the top of that mountain was incredible. What I’ve got in my lap on that last picture is a book for people who make it to the top to sign and leave a note — I obviously loved that and wrote a poem which I didn’t take any sort of picture of so I have no idea what it says now.
From there we went to Memaws and had the amazing time we always have being with the Ezells and we headed home to Cali again. Lane and I dropped Thomas off — slept off the 24 hour return road trip then got back in our car. It was the time we had long awaited, we were going to get our skydiving licenses. We’d been talking about it for over a year since we took our first jump. It was a long drive to Lodi where we would take the lessons. The road was backed up, traffic all the way through the grapevine (which is what they call the long stretch of road through California’s Vineyards) construction out of LA was gross but the view y’all vineyards, almond groves, orange groves, the sky was blue blue blue and my best friend was beside me — I was overwhelmed. Also, on the way up I considered my mortality — because sometimes your shoot doesn’t open and I’m afraid of heights, like petrified. But I thought about how quickly I’d die should my shoot fail and I made peace with God and I was ready to jump.
When we got to Lodi, we went into the skydiving hub, we were about an hour late due to the traffic. We were greeted by the meanest man I have ever encountered I won’t go too far into it but he didn’t like us for being late and we didn’t trust him to get us safely to the ground. You don’t want to jump out of and airplane with someone you don’t trust.
So we already had a hotel room — we decided to stay for a moment and explore Lodi. Which is a beautiful little wine town filled with magical little shops, cellars, and breweries. Soon though we’d exhausted our desire to be there and thought we might just go a little early to Yosemite National park, where we had planned to stay only two days. We have never made a more wonderful decision.
Six hours drive time later we were in the middle of one of the most beautiful places in the world. the trees were three times my width or more, the Ivy grew rampant and it was wonderful
We decided to hike the Hetch Hetchy trail just outside of the park. 12 miles up and 12 miles back. The first part of the trail was once again awful in my book. Switchbacks. Only switchbacks. Switchbacks for days. But when we finally overcame the first horrendous miles, we were on a ridge line where the trees were three times what they’d been at the base. The most astounding thing was how the trail changed from mile to mile. We’d be in dense underbrush-y dark forest one second and then a mile later we would be in sparse grounds where there were bare — pine needle covered — feet of forest floor between the gargantuan trees. We were surrounded by berry bushes sometimes that had no berries yet. At one point (I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before because it is a massive highlight in my life) we came into a valley after a steady and long incline we couldn’t see the end of. In this valley ran a little brooke hidden well by the most incredible wild flower garden I have ever seen. As soon as we set eyes on it, I was enchanted. The flowers were tall and in every color. The path was so small we had to walk single file. I was in the front and there were so many butterflies that every time I took a step, they would flutter around my feet and up near my face. I was kissed by daisies and quail ran in front of us to distract us from her young. It was so quiet except for that I couldn’t stop giggling. My joy was so complete because I had discovered heaven and I never really was sure it existed on earth.
The picture really doesn’t do it justice at all. I couldn’t get one to capture it.
We camped that night — sweaty and more alive than ever — in the most difficult to find campground ever. It was worth the extra effort to get there after we lost our spot on the trail. Look:
I’m giddy just remembering.
On our way back we ran into bears — no kidding real life bears– a mother and her cubs ON THE TRAIL. There are no pictures because I was terrified and Lane was busy trying to scare them away, which he did, he just waved his arms and said “GO AWAY BEARS” AND THEY LEFT! What a man.
When we got back into town we ate the best burger of our lives (up unto that point) and Thomas drove up to meet us and my kidney infection got up to an emergency level so I took a steroid shot at an urgent care and asked the boys to please go hiking and enjoy the time here and that I’d wander around when I was feeling better. Y’all I did and it was AMAZING God put a little knitting store right on the street I was walking down, the ladies there welcomed me to their table and while I was working on a little blanket for a baby I know, they were making shawls and sweaters. They talked about the town and asked after the people who were sick and ladies just came and went knitting! Then I found a coffee shop and worked on my book and skyped some friends, I went shopping in the little town square and I had chinese for dinner. It was a mini vacation to myself and the boys got to spend some quality time together and travel up and camp. It was incredible and beautiful and I loved it.
We traveled home after that and still had a week of leave — which we spend on the worthy cause of watching every minute of the extended addition Lord of the Rings movies with all of the specials on the disc, which, it turns out, is actually a week of special features. We’ve watched every minute so thats a check on our bucket list.
This whole story should probably be two blog posts but mostly I am just thankful for so many things about this. That skydiving didn’t work out, that we got to travel with Thomas and hike, that I got a kidney infection that let me explore a town I would never have had time for, that Lane and I got to hike into the most beautiful valley in the world, that Lane can scare a bear away, that we found the incredible elusive camp site, that we got to see California’s vineyards and taste their wine, that we got to spend that much time together, and yes, that we finished every minute of LOTR and still can’t wait to watch it again.
That I married a man with a sense of such adventure who makes my life exciting and different and wonderful.
All of these things are every day miracles, they deserve to be remembered. I am filled with joy still for them.