Posts Tagged With: Yellowstone

Your Secret Superpower


Have you ever hung around someone from a different region of the country?

I had a friend in the military, his name was Brandon, and he was from New Hampshire. We would hang out when we weren’t on duty and being that he was a New Englander he had certainly phrases and ways of saying things (colloquialism) that were very different from my Ohio upbringing. Eventually I found myself saying things the way he did. Listening to the same music, and even smoking the same cigarettes that he did. My friend had a secret superpower that I had never even knew existed.

Influence.

He never set out to influence me, it happened by chance. If you spend enough time with someone they tend to rub off on you. You pick up phrases, habits, even world views. Think about it. Do you see the world the same now as when you were in high school? A lot of people’s view of life changes when they get to college or have a life changing experience. I see the world differently now then from when I wasn’t disabled. People, books, movies, experiences, all of these and more have an influence over us, but have you ever stopped to wonder what you influence everyday?

My son loves video games and movies. If he could he’d sit on the couch all day long and rot his brain until it’s seeping out of his ears. I’m not talking about National Geographic documentaries that we used to watch, no I’m talking about cartoons that offer up nothing but 22 minutes of mindless entertainment. He’d do it all day and all night without question.

Back in 2009 we took a trip to Yellowstone National Park. It reawakened my desire to explore the outdoors again; it had been put on the back burner for awhile, but now it was burning hot again. Eventually this led to a desire to try rock climbing. After researching and reading, watching videos and day dreaming my family and I spent a Saturday afternoon  at a local outfitter and their bouldering cave in the basement. Needless to say we were exhausted after about fifteen minutes. I was sweating, I was tired, my forearms wanted to slap me in the face then go run into a corner and cry they hurt so bad.

I was hooked. SN852092

It was exercise that wasn’t exercise. It was fun and new. Our son was four years old about to turn five and he was hooked too. Now he’s on a climb team and we’re in the second year of climbing and members at a climbing gym. We volunteered at a recent comp and anytime my son hears the words Vertical Endeavors he pipes up, smiles, and wonders when we’re going to go. He hates leaving the gym. He can’t stand to take his shoes off. Chalked up hands, sweaty, tired and wanting more and more. He climbs until his little hands hurt and the skin is peeling off where callouses form. He transforms from a couch potato to a little crushing climber.

Influence.

My little guy would have never gotten the climbing bug had I not influenced him and given him the experience and shared with him what has become a mutually attraction to this terrific outdoor adventure. He has yet to catch on to my love of hiking (too much walking he says) but when he gets out there he loves it. I’ve taken him snowshoeing and I find that who I am and what I endorse influences him more then what I realize. My values and favorites all-of-a-sudden become his during our conversations.

Me: “Mmmm…. I love asparagus it’s one of my favorite vegetables!”

Son: “It’s one of my favorite vegetables too!” (This after him never having eaten them before…..ever)

We can influence the next generation, we can influence our friends and family, our influence can stretch beyond our zip codes, our race, our gender, and our language. It’s a superpower that has no bounds, but it’s a superpower that should have boundaries. It should be harnessed and focused for good; for the betterment of those who look to us and glean from us. They incorporate it into their lives. So what are people incorporating into their lives being around you? Is it a love for the outdoors that is positive and ethical? Is your influence one that inspires greatness in others?

If you’re not a comic book/movie nerd who has read/seen Spider-Man let me borrow a quote from Uncle Ben.

“With great power comes great responsibility”

What are you going to do with your superpower?

How do you use your superpower?

How do you use your superpower?

For good or evil?

For good or evil?

Until next time………..Adventure On!

Categories: Climbing, Family Vacation, Hiking, Insight, Outdoor Adventure, Outdoor Recreation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The first time


Most outdoor bloggers have always been in love with the outdoors.  On the spectrum from being an outdoor hater to outdoor enthusiast, I would consider my former self an outdoor sympathizer.  Sure, I loved scenery and perfect weather, because who doesn’t?  When it came to any adverse weather or having to deal with backcountry conditions (what do you mean there isn’t a bathroom along the trail?!?) I was certainly not interested.

So my husband deemed some car camping with the in-laws to be the perfect gateway drug for this sympathizer.  Surprisingly, we hadn’t attempted camping until 2010.  Before we became aware of the online outdoor family community, everyone we knew said it was too difficult to camp with children, so we didn’t bother to try.  Since our son was approaching 4 years old, it didn’t seem as daunting.

Going for a walk on the family farm.

During my time of being an outdoor sympathizer, most of my outdoor enjoyment was via camping in the pop-up camper of my youth (which graduated to an RV by my teen years), short hikes, and time romping around outside on the family farm. Tents were a rather novel idea to me.

Imagine my surprise when my husband enlisted my help to set up the tent at our walk-in campsite.

Um, what is that you want me to do?  Do you mean this pole?  Where do I tie this?   To say the least, it was a frustrating experience.  That tent has since been lovingly donated to my in-laws and we’ve updated to a more recent Coleman model.  I was about as helpful as a 4 year old in the campsite set up process.

My son “helping” set up the tent at age 3. Still more helpful than my skills at the time.

Organizing a camp site and subsequently finding anything when I needed it was like a game of Where’s Waldo?  yet somehow not quite as fun.

And yet, just a week after our initial foray into camping did we attempt a road trip with the primary destination of Yellowstone National Park.  My husband had been educating me regarding the neccesities of proper gear.  I wasn’t convinced we needed to spend money on new hiking socks and other items I was unfamiliar with.  I’m glad I listened to him as we just happened to go during the rainiest week of 2010.  And there’s nothing worse then being cold AND wet.  Unfortunately some of our gear had limitations.  I don’t think I dried out until we had driven through most of South Dakota on our way home.

Snow around our tent

The Yellowstone I remembered from my youth was from the perspective of a tween relaxing in the comforts of an RV every night.  During our stay in 2010 the snow was not yet gone and it rained or drizzled for a good portion of every single day.  I was a fair weather camper and setting up the tent with snow on the ground was far outside my comfort zone.  We ended up accomplishing a trip that I would have formerly described as a trip for only the serious “hardcore” camper.

In spite of the many challenges we encountered, the trip solidified me as an outdoor enthusiast.  As I have embraced that which my husband first loved, I have grown to love it too.  Experiencing the serenity of creation, and the joy of discovering it with my family has gotten me hooked.  I’m now even open to adventures such as hiking the John Muir Trail or climbing one of the Teton Mountains, which are both  goals that my husband and I have.

What about you?  Where you born loving the outdoors or did a significant other warm you up to the idea?  I’d love to hear your stories!

Categories: Camping, Family Vacation, Insight, Outdoor Recreation | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Jr. Adventurer Rewards Program


My wife is feeling a little under the weather this week, so I decided to flex my awesome husband muscles and sweep in to rescue her for having to write a trip report about our winter hiking excursion to Battle Creek Regional Park. Stayed tuned next week when she has had time to bounce back and be fully charged. Now back to our regularly scheduled nonsense.

I’ve had the idea of writing about this topic for sometime now, and after reading an article about the same thing on Tales of a Mountain Mamaand after our hiking trip last week I decided to chime in with my most valuable two cents. Our son Benjamin is certainly cut from a different cloth. He is kind of an enigma at times to me. Instead of playing with action figures he’ll read a book or put together a 100 piece puzzle 2-3 times in a row to the point where for a challenge he’ll do it upside down. When I was his age it was Star Wars, GI Joe, He-Man, and Transformers (ok, I was a bit older then he is, but for the sake of argument roll with me here). I love to hike, he doesn’t. He loves to camp, he wants to live at the campground for forever, but venturing down the trail is too challenging of an undertaking. His behavior and his choices at times baffle me, how can he be my son and be so like me in some things and so far from me in others? There is one thing we both certainly can agree upon, we both love rewards.

Whose there? Reward? Why come on in!

I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for a good rewards program. It makes me shop with you (Thank you Moosejaw.com) buy gas at your stores, and use your cards. I employ the same techniques with my son to get him hiking, and luckily like me, he can be bought easily.

We use rewards on the trail, to the trail, at the campsite, on vacations, anywhere we need to go and enjoy our time

Mmm... Treats

together without setting off a full nuclear meltdown. I have found that dealing with a 5 yr old child is like training a dog at times (again…just roll with me I’m making a great point here). When I trained my dog I used clicker training. I bought a cheap device that made an audible sound (a click…hence the name) and stood in front of her hiding the clicker. In the other hand I had treats galore. I first “charged” the clicker by giving out treats with every click. I associate the sound with the yummy goodness her belly desired. After “charging” it several time the training began, and I marked the behavior that I wanted her to display by hitting the clicker when she performed it. This ensured I marked the right behavior instead of the wrong. I use this similar technique with my son. Until he is old enough to appreciate the outdoors and our adventures for what they are, I use a rewards program that gives him incentive to get out and not to complain. As maturity comes the rewards will eventually disappear but in his memory will be the wonderful times that we hiked, climbed, camped, went snowshoeing, skied, etc. The rewards help him to associate in his young mind, our adventurers with fun and goodness on a level he can be excited about.

The Rewards We Use

When we decide what to get our son to reward him for great behavior we never get anything too extra ordinary. On the trail we carry “energy beans” to help him hike hard and far. These are simply Jelly Bellies. He gets 1-2 per half hour/hour and the placebo affect helps him conquer the next section of the trail. WARNING your intelligent children will eventually learn how to work the system. My son now tells me that he can’t go any farther unless he has a bean…..slick, but it keeps him going.

Make for good rewards

We also use gear to get him excited. As disclosure let me say that it is clothes, packs, boots, etc that we would have bought him anyways, but we use the new stuff as a ‘reward’ leading up to a vacation or big family expedition. This only happens once a year but the effect lasts a few outings. This year we’re rewarding him with a Osprey Zip 25 backpack. We’re going to RMNP and I want him to be able to carry his rainshell and have access to as much water as he needs, but again….he doesn’t know this!

One of the last things we use as a reward are trinkets and ice cream. Gift shops with the super cheap trinkets (compass, magnifying glass, books, etc) make great rewards. He’ll usually get to pick out two if his attitude is nice, one for his help and behavior in the campground, and one for hiking. We refer to them as his Jr. Hiker and Jr. Camper prizes and it’s the last big highlight before the trip ends. Almost two years later he still has both of his prizes from our Yellowstone trip. This year, since he’ll be old enough, we’re doing the Jr. Ranger program which means a special badge.

There are many other ways to get your children excited about getting outside. In a later post I’ll talk about a few more ideas you can use to get your children excited about hiking, camping, canoeing, or whatever outdoor recreation you undertake.  What reward works best for you and your child?

So until next time…..Adventure On!

Categories: Backpacking, Camping, Climbing, Family Vacation, Hiking, Insight, Outdoor Recreation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Guest Post: A Wife’s Perspective


A recent conversation between the Bionic Hiker and myself went like this:

BH: You should write a guest post for my blog!

Me: What would I write about?

BH: You could write about what its like to be married to a disabled athlete.

Me: How many posts can you write about applying Tiger balm?

So without further ado, here are some of my thoughts on being married to an outdoor enthusiast and aspiring athlete who also happens to have a disability.

Walking the line between being a reality check and a buzz kill.

When my husband first began expressing interest in rock climbing and mountaineering, it was difficult for me to share the excitement.  With his physical condition, he already deals with pain on a daily basis.  I was not interested in him introducing new pain.  It didn’t help that he was devouring books on high altitude expeditions and routinely sharing about death and mayhem.

His excitement also started shortly after a Yellowstone trip in 2010.  Most of the time I think the Bionic Hiker makes good decisions in outdoor adventures, however, on this particular trip I had refused to go on a hike.  He had started down the sloppy muddy trail in the rain while I stood at the trailhead with our 3 year old son refusing to hike a rim trail

A wife-approved trail in Yellowstone (Elephant Back Mountain)

where there was a large sign stating “Hike at your own risk, children not recommended”. I wasn’t interested in seeing my husband loose his balance and slip and slide over the edge or futilely try to keep my son on the inside of the trail from the rim while he was loosing traction during the poor conditions.

So at times the disability feels like a henchman lurking behind a bush waiting to come and knock him out.  While I’m not necessarily a good protector against men wielding crowbars, sometimes I trick myself into thinking if I say the right thing I can keep him from harm or danger.  I know, its so silly to think a husband would actually listen to his wife.  So in the meantime, it’s always there, and I balance concern and fear of future suffering with being a supportive partner.

The first time he tried rock climbing is a prime example.  His first time in a rock climbing class resulted in an injury that required months of physical therapy and a miserable car ride home.  He was ready to give up and I was ready to agree with him.  I didn’t want to watch him incur injury after injury trying to do something his body simply couldn’t handle.  I’m glad he proved me wrong and he has quickly surpassed my ability.  I almost discouraged him from it in the name of being a “reality check” when I really would have been killing a dream.  Which is why I have supported him returning to the sport that almost took his life (skiing).

On the positive side

For the 30 years I’ve been on this planet, I’ve considered myself an uncoordinated non athlete with an aversion to anything labeled a sport.  However, I can’t exactly sit comfortably on the sidelines using pathetic excuses when the Bionic Hiker manages to stay active and challenge himself physically.  Bad memories of dodge ball from my school years don’t hold weight next to having two steel bars in ones back.  I never would have tried rock climbing had it not been for him, and he’s started me on course leading to a much healthier and happier me.

When we are both trying new things, I don’t have the self-consciousness that other women with my self-imposed labels might have (at least most of the time!).  With my lack of ability and his disability we almost have a level playing field.  🙂

I have to say that the Bionic Hiker is quite admirable.  He is the one that could choose self-consciousness because of the limp he walks with or the challenges he faces while learning to climb, but his zest for life trumps that card.

So until next time, adventure on without abandon.

Categories: Climbing, Hiking, Insight, Outdoor Recreation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

On Peaceful Summits I Desire


There is always something wonderful about getting to the top of anything. A sense of accomplishment, the conqueror who has vanquished the opposition. Even as children we understood the value of being on top whether it was a pile-up or a game of ‘King of The Hill’ the best always made it to the top. The high ground holds strategic advantage.

My son (age 3) ready for his first summit bid

In the world of climbing, hiking, and mountaineering it is referred to as ‘Summit Fever’ the internal driving force that propels up terrain pushing our bodies to the limit and even shrugging off that tingling feeling some might refer to as their ‘Spidey Sense’ warning them about the potential danger. Unfortunately Summit Fever (great band name by the way) has led many to great injury or even death. It has pushed them beyond a reasonable limit causing them to fail in situations that they should have never been in, and in situations where they needed to call upon the reserves of strength, courage, and stamina but found the tank empty and in their darkest hour lose hope and then life.

I don’t know if I have Summit Fever. I find a summit less about the joy of conquering the mountain and more about what reaching the top provides for me. Is there a sense of accomplishment? Sure there is. But to me nothing trumps the tranquility of a mountain summit. Sure, sure, I know that most of the time the wind howls, it’s cold, and you’re tired facing the toughest part of the hike/climb ahead which is the descent. Your knees are begging for you to find another way, your quads and shins promise to go on strike. However even in the howling wind, even in the face of a looming descent I find there in no place which brings me such joy as the top of a mountain.

When I was younger and far more stupid in my actions I went on a hike to a favorite trail of mine, Herman’s Gulch in Colorado. A nice little jaunt to a small lake which was encompassed by a few small peaks. One day I decided that it was a wise decision to go on this hike solo. When I reached the destination (with plenty of time to spare) I hiked around the lake and began to trudge through a scree field up the peak which looked oh so ripe for an ascent. It was a class 3 scramble all

A set of summits I would love to sit atop of

the way, and being as I was 18 years old and in prime physical condition this shouldn’t have posed a problem. As I began to scramble up a few pebbles started to tumble-down around me. I stopped, grabbed onto the handholds as tight as I could and looked up above me. It wasn’t a rock slide, just two mountain goats kicking stones at me wondering why I was disturbing their mountain. I think they knew why, they’d seen what I was about to see.

Wife and son on top of Elephant Back in YNP, a first summit for both

Finally I made it to the top and experienced the mighty rushing winds, but those did not even enter into my mind as I had a 360 degree panoramic view of Colorado’s beautiful Front Range. I was all alone up there. No one to hold a conversation with, no one to bother me. I sat down and took it all in. It was peaceful. It was scenic. It was a rush to be able to experience the majestic beauty that could only be provided on the top. To me, at that time, the reward far outweighed the risks associated.

I will admit, some summits far exceed others: some are way too crowded and some simply don’t offer that great an experience. Is it level of effort that separates it a great summit from one that isn’t so great? Is there such a thing as a bad summit? I may not know the answer to that, but I sure know this, I’ll take a mountain summit over any low lands any day of the week.

Until next time…..adventure on!

Categories: Climbing, Hiking, Insight | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Am I Peaking Early?


It is stereotypical for men when they reach what many may call a ‘mid-life crisis’ for them to act out in certain ways and display sometimes peculiar or even bizarre behavior.

The man may act out by leaving his wife for a younger woman. Trade in the family four-door for the sports car he always wanted. Maybe he quits his job and chases deer through the forest, I don’t know. Typically this crisis has been associated with a radical change in behavior, values, and priorities. I think I might be experiencing one myself.

I have realized that over the last year or so desires I long thought dormant or never knew existed have taken a flying leap to the forefront and are compelling me to consider things I once thought impossible, or improbably for me.

“I think it would be outstanding to climb El Cap and The Matterhorn, I would love to be able to climb both of those” I said to my wife.

Fifteen minutes later when she came to after her fainting spell she gave me a look of shock and awe.

My wife's reaction....if she were a cartoon, and had blue hair.

By the way she looked at me it was as if I said to her,

“I stole the neighbors dog, come see!”

or

“I sold everything we own for a few magic beans that will take us to a wonderland filled with brussels sprouts and artichokes!”

or

“hey honey, I know I’m crippled, and that we have a child, and that when I stand it’s difficult for me to stay in one place because of my disability but I think it would be great for me to risk life and limb climbing a mountain for no real purpose but to experience the rush of doing so, a few pictures, and feeling of accomplishment!”

I mean really….. I think she over dramatized things a bit.

So where did this desire to take month-long backpacking trips come from? A few years ago I was content with furthering my career in investment finance and now I’m adding arduous outdoor recreation activities to the mix. I get antsy if I haven’t been to the gym in over three days, and I find myself annoyed if I haven’t gotten outside for  a length of time away from the house and surrounded by trees, bluffs, rivers, creeks, hills, or other such features. My favorite pair of shoes are my Merrell hikers followed by my Evolv climbing shoes.

For Christmas this year I bought myself renewed subscriptions to my favorite outdoor mags and I spend nights in front of the fireplace with my wife watching climbing videos and National Geographic as a way to scout new places we should visit. I’m addicted to the LiveWell Network’s Motion TV show (find it here) and Fitz Cahall’s The Season (find it here). Change is everywhere it seems.

I just turned 34, so I don’t think I’m experiencing a mid-life crisis just an awakening of something that was once dormant. Funny how this was all awakened by a family vacation to Yellowstone National Park. Like the caldera beneath my outdoor fervor lie undisturbed, boiling and building to a head.

From this awakening I’ve gotten my creativity back and hopefully by the June/July of 2012 I’ll have launched a brand new project I’ve been brainstorming. I might leak a few details here and there but for me it’s an exciting venture that I’m hoping will succeed and surpass my wildest imaginations!

Until next time……adventure on!

Categories: Backpacking, Climbing, Hiking, Insight | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ruining a Camping Trip in 5 Easy Steps


So you’ve decided that going on a hiking and camping trip (or a backpacking trip if you’re high speed and low drag. My low drag is a 5 yr old who can’t pack his own weight in gear….weak sauce) is in the near or foreseeable future but you don’t want to just go anywhere. The destination has to be epic, it has to be mind-blowing, it has to be colossal and be so wonderful that you consider never going anywhere else ever again. Well I have the recipe for blowing that vacation up, sinking it like the Titanic and causing one to swear off every camping and/or hiking ever again.

Perfect camping trip straight ahead. No serious what could go wrong?

This list was birthed out of a trip I took with the wife and son last year to Yellowstone. We went in June and arrived the day after the campground opened looking to take on Yellowstone before the 15.36 million other people descend upon it like a junkyard dog on a bone (??? – I don’t write this stuff so please stop making that face at me). From this trip we gleaned so many thing to do that will ensure your time sucks like no other. Disclosure: Three months after the vacation I turned to my wife and said ‘That trip to Yellowstone was such a tremendous vacation, it’s going to be hard not to go back next year.”

My wife looking at me puzzled and then nodded her head in agreement, she realized that my multiple personality disorder was acting up again, or that I have finally lost my mind. Didn’t matter to her, she scooted closer to the door and unbuckled her seat belt juuuuusssttt in case.

Step #1 – Plan so much that your spouse considers not even taking the vacation.

One of the best decisions you can make is pure obsession with the objective. The more you plan the less fun you’ll have, I guarantee it! Take planning to a whole new level, obsess over it! Get every brochure you can and shove it into the face of your spouse, then be sure that every conversation eventually ends up on what you can do and see while hiking. Or what you need to get to make the trip more comfortable.

Your child isn’t feeling well, who cares, there is multiple geothermic activity all over the park. I mean how cool is that, much better then a toddler with the runs (son was turning four the month after our trip). You had a bad day on your job? Sorry honey, but you won’t have a bad day while hiking on this trail!

Oh no Aunt Louise died of cancer how terrible, but you know how to avoid death by bear on the trail? Make noise and be aware! (Didn’t happen I got carried away)

Step #2 – Over plan your day so that by the time you get back to the campsite you no longer have the desire to make dinner or enjoy what happened earlier.

Wearing yourself out by trying to see everything in one day is a totally awesome way to destroy the fun you had been having. Not taking things slow and having to rush everywhere to see everything and failing to factor in drive times makes for an awesome stress inducer! Especially when you have a toddler who isn’t allowed to nap for more then 20 minutes at a time is the key ingredient to producing a stunning display of child fireworks, tensions, and exhaustion.

Step #3 – Plan elaborate meals that need time and effort to prepare

Cause simple just isn’t going to cut it, especially in the rainy spring and cold of Yellowstone, in bear country where everything needs to be cleaned and put away. Why have PB&J when you can have BBQ meatballs (that make you vomit inside the tent because in the dead of night you can’t find that stupid zipper. true story) grilled chicken with veggies, burgers, and so much more.

Make the messiest meals possible, and be sure to use real plates and silverware because not only is cooking in the rain and cold fun, but eating the food less then lukewarm really hits the spot! Clean up is tremendous without hot water that isn’t carried to the wash basin that isn’t allowed at your site. Good times are had by all.

Step #4 – Leave yourself no flexibility to your lodging and plans

Because you followed step one so well, you planned it all out. Reserved all the sites at multiple places and you were ahead of things. Of course the car accident that keeps you in traffic for 2 hours didn’t come into play. Neither did the blinding rain storm which would put you at the intended site way after dark and setting up in the rain and cold. Who doesn’t want to do that with an already tired 3 yr old and a wife who is fighting the urge to nudge you over a cliff because you’re been the model for a patient and calm travel partner.

A failure to plan is planning to fail….right?

Step #5 – Bring too much gear in a car too small

So you want to make sure everyone is comfortable and taken care of. You planned out all the meals, purchased all the food and brought everything that you know you need; problem is your car is too small. Stupid coolers take up so much space and you can’t leave the child home alone because the police and social services have warned you that if they have to come a third time in the same week you get put in parent time out. So what do you do?

Duh! You pack it all on the roof in a waterproof roof cargo carrier, BRILLIANT! Oh no your car doesn’t have a roof rack to attach it to, what to do now? No worries you need all that stuff and dog gone it that gear is coming with. So let’s strap it on and run the straps into the car, we can deal with the straps over our heads for 20+ hours, right? Who needs head room and leg room, it’s overrated! And when it rains you can collect the rain that floods into the car through the nylon web straps so no one will ever have to deal with thirst. Real Genius!

You too can ruin your offspring’s childhood memories and nearly force your spouse to question why they married you by following these steps to the letter. Anyone can be successful and punching your family’s vacation dream right in the stomach and then kicking it while it lays on the ground. Don’t be the person who helps there family enjoy the outdoors and want to do it again, because really……that’s just lame.

Categories: Backpacking, Family Vacation, Geocaching | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is it Wrong to Hope for an Apocalypse?


Maybe I’ve watched one too many movies. I’ll admit it I like movies, especially movies that allow me to shut my brain off for about two hours. Explosions, gunfire, action, effects, fast-paced thrill fests, my kind of movie. Hey at least I have the courage to admit it and I don’t live in denial like some people I know…….if you feel guilty it’s because I’m talking about you.

Life just seems a little but better after an apocalypse. Yea you have to avoid the S&M biker gangs and they’re attempting to kill you and steal your stuff. Sure there could be mutated zombie/vampire/mutant humans who crave your flesh, and yes it is possible that you could be eaten by a Morlock. Caveats abound.

This could be nice.....right?

Last year when the family and I went on a trip to Yellowstone National Park and the Black Hills of South Dakota. We traveled through Minnesota, across North Dakota, into Montana and then down into Wyoming. We spent several days in Yellowstone camping and then a few more in the Black Hills. Weather re-routed us from the Bighorn Mountains, but I’ll get to that in another post.

One of the many benefits to being at Yellowstone (other then the scenery, flora, fauna, geothermic activity) was that being in a bowl (depressed area surrounded by higher peaks and elevation) yielded little to no cell phone service.

I was amazed at how awesome this experience was. No one could reach me, no matter how much they wanted to! I was free from annoying phone calls and I was free from e-mails that I didn’t want to read. (Note I don’t have a smartphone, but there was no temptation to got on the internet anywhere) We did purchase a portable DVD player for our son on the long ride out, but I think 2-3 movies we played the entire time. There was so much to do and see that there was no need for anything other entertainment. (Disclosure: We took an iPod loaded with the songs we liked for the trip, we did play a few songs but the conversations took over and we marveled at the beauty)

Of course I see the irony as I am writing this on a laptop, posting it on the internet in a technologically innovative format called a blog (well 1Nature is blog-like anyways) so technology isn’t all bad and a near total annihilation of the human race, all life on Earth, and our way of life might be a bit extreme. However the joys of being unplugged and unreachable abound.

This weekend we’re headed out to a place where there is certain and exceptional cell phone reception, but I think I’m going play make-believe. I’m going to pretend that no one wants to get in contact with me and that cell phone’s were never invented. I’m going to enjoy some solitude for the bleeps and the tapping of keypads. It’s time to unplug and stay unplugged…….at least until I get the launch codes.

Categories: Family Vacation, Hiking | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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