Friday, September 30, 2011

Delayed Honeymoon, Part 2

In case you missed my gushing yesterday about the initial amazingness of our delayed honeymoon, let me reiterate that Steamboat Springs?  Best. Place. Ever. The peacefulness of the town and the surrounding mountains made it pretty darn easy to pretend the rest of the world doesn't exist.  We needed that.

Our other big hiking escapade during our trip gave us that peacefulness in bucketfuls.  If you also allow for copious amounts of swearing and me predicting that at any moment I was going to plunge to my death.  It was a peaceful near death experience. 

When we woke up Tuesday morning, Michael and I decided we were going to spend the day at Steamboat Lake State Park.  It's about a twenty minute drive outside Steamboat, and we figured we'd pass the time fishing and hiking the nearby trails.

As we drove closer to the Park, Michael pointed out a mountain peak that he thought would be fun to climb.  I laughed and said there was no way we were climbing that.  The peak of the mountain was completely bare of any vegetation, and looked to be either barren earth or lots of rock.  That's not even taking into account the fact that it was a mountain peak.  And I'm afraid of heights.

When we got to the Visitor's Center at the Park, we talked to a Ranger about the different trails and such in the area.  What do you think he recommended?  Ah, yes. The mountain peak.  Hahn's Peak, we were told.  And he threw in casually that he had taken his seventy year old mother hiking there once.  Was I to be out-hiked by a seventy year old woman?  Apparently not.

So we set out to climb Hahn's Peak. It was another steep climb, so we took many, many breaks.  Luckily the scenery along the way was amazing so I just used that as an excuse to stop.

When we neared the top of the peak, we ran out of pretty trees and wildflowers and were presented with the "fun" part of the climb.  Turns out, what looked like barren nothingness is in fact slate.  Tiny little rocks that I now had to climb on.  With the wind howling at my back, threatening to push me off the edge of the now non-existent trails.

I will admit, I wanted to turn around when I saw all that slate.  I figured we had climbed higher than I probably had ever been before regardless, and my death just didn't seem like a price I wanted to pay.  But then I remembered the Ranger's mother, and unless he forgot to mention that she died on that mountain, I figured I would survive.  Most likely.  And if not?  Well, at least I had my pride.

Since you are reading this, I am pleased to announce that I didn't die climbing that peak.  Or climbing back down.  Because honestly?  That's when I was about 90% sure I was never going to see another day.  I just couldn't fathom climbing back down on slate that moved under your feet with every step.  With that wind I mentioned, blowing at my back.  Quite strongly, I might add.  I am not even exaggerating that I thought I might slip right off the side of that mountain.

The view from the peak was so amazing though.  Beyond amazing.  For once, I don't even have the words to describe it.  I don't believe in God, but in those moments, I felt closer to something.  More at peace with the world than I have ever been.  From that high in the sky, it felt like you could literally touch the clouds they were so close. So I guess the terror of the climb was worth it.

When I made it down the mountain alive, I was pretty proud of myself.  And more than a little cocky.  I hadn't died.  That deserved like, a medal or something.  Overcoming my fears and doing something remarkable should mean something. 

What I got was 33 cent wings and an early bedtime.  But hey, what else are honeymoons for?

Stay tuned for Delayed Honeymoon, Part 3!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Delayed Honeymoon, Part 1

As I mentioned a few months back, Michael and I finally booked a honeymoon.  It's only three years late, but ya know.  Who's counting anyway? We got back from our honeymoon plus bonus trip to Wisconsin on Monday, and I'm still recuperating.  There's more than one reason for that, but more on that later.

Our honeymoon was in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.  I pretty much cannot gush enough about that town.  I loved absolutely everything about it.  The laid back atmosphere.  The gorgeous mountains that make me sort of hate Kansas even more than before.  The plethora of hippie vans and their occupants.  Everything.  If you ever decide to take a vacation in Colorado, I would highly recommend Steamboat.  It's awesomeness compelled me to inform Michael about ten thousand times during our trip that we are officially moving to Colorado at some point in our lives.  I'm pretty sure he agrees with me.

After we recovered from altitude sickness (thankfully that only lasted a little over a day), we set out to enjoy the beautiful weather and the gorgeous mountains.  I've never seen mountains before so I was in awe literally every second we were in their vicinity.

The second full day of our honeymoon, we visited one of the "must see" spots in Steamboat:  Fish Creek Falls.  There are two main waterfalls, the Lower and Upper Falls.  The Lower Falls was an easy quarter mile hike, and very beautiful.  You could walk paths to see the Lower Falls at it's base and via an overlook path--we did both.

Many people stop at the Lower Falls, and never realize there is an additional trail that leads up to the Upper Falls.  The hike is a few miles, mostly uphill.  We had to stop a ridiculous amount of times along the way because although we were over our altitude sickness, we were increasing our altitude with every step.  And some points were relatively steep.  I tell you this to make me feel better.  Many of the elderly people on the trail didn't seem nearly as out of breath as I was.

The hike was absolutely worth it.  As every person we passed going up--as they were hiking back down--felt compelled to tell us.  It was gorgeous.  If we had packed a lunch (and if I wasn't so afraid a bear would attack me if I dropped trou to pee), we would have stayed at the Upper Falls all day.  Breathtaking doesn't even describe it.

It was a beautiful first exploration into the mountains.  And a great precursor to the hike we would embark on the following day.  Stay tuned for Delayed Honeymoon, Part 2 tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Oktoberfest Style

I've been busy living life instead of blogging about it, but I promise I have a whole mess of posts lined up in the coming days to catch you up.  Until then, here's my (not so) Wordless Wednesday, Oktoberfest style!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

My Theme Song

I don't know how I managed to just hear this song for the first time the other day.  But it is now my theme song.  Definitely resonates with my feelings lately.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Shooting For the Stars

Have you ever had a moment in your life when you realize that you're too scared to shoot for the stars because if you fail, you'll have nothing left to shoot for? No? Well, those moments suck.
I was having a conversation with Michael when I struck on something.  The novel that I've been writing has been almost finished for some time now.  I always think about picking it back up, and finishing it, but never do it.  I say it's because I'm stuck.  I know the writing is good, but I also know that the story needs more.  More depth, more intrigue, more everything.   

I know it’s a work in progress--and that seems like a lot of work, going through everything.  I hate to destroy even one page of what I've created, and it's like a physical wound to change things.  So that does stop me from even trying.  But I think the real reason I'm not writing is because I'm afraid.  

I know that with everything else in life that I've ever been really interested in pursuing, I've always just been average. I may not suck, but I'm not exceptional either.  We all want to be exceptional, to find our niche.  I really think writing is my niche.  It's something I've always been good at, and something that I love.  When I write a story, or even a paper for a class, I feel a little bit of magic weaving itself around me as I write.  It's a beautiful thing, reading over what I've written and know I did this.   

But I think I'm afraid that even though it's my niche, and I love it…that I won't be good enough.  I may love it, but what if I don't have the talent?  What if I can't really pull this off?  If I fail--which is my biggest fear in life--what do I have left?  If my biggest dream isn't attainable, what do I reach for then?  If I try and fail, I have nothing left for myself.  Of course I'll still have things in life to be happy about, but not that small portion of this world that is for me alone.   

If I don't try, I can't fail--and then at least I can hold on to the dream that maybe I would succeed if only I tried, someday.  I know that this is part of life, taking risks.  It's just such a scary one.  I know that I need more for myself.  I can't just be a mom or a wife, or even that awesome creation that is a military wife and mother.  I need to be more than that.  And I try--I dabble with sewing, and cooking, and working out.  I try to find a little niche somewhere else--I think so I can have something to fall back on if this doesn't work.  

But I'll never know if I don't try.  I'll never get to succeed if I don't try.  I may fail, but I won't know that…if I DON'T TRY.  Basically, I need to get my damn head out of the sand, and stop being afraid.  I need to dedicate myself to my writing again.  Set aside time.  Stop letting excuses get in the way.

I was able to do that was P90x.  I put aside the excuses, and just did it.  You can't make a change if you don't try.  If you fail, okay.  That sucks.  But at least you tried.  Or, at least that’s what I'm telling myself because I need this damn pep talk.  

 I tried P90x, I set aside excuses, and I succeeded. I may not have had the results I wanted at the beginning, but that doesn't bother me.  Because maybe my results weren't really obtainable.  My results were still fantastic.  And I know I'm not done yet.  I paved the road, and now I have a clear path to follow.  The same can happen with writing.  I need to set myself out to pave that road.  And if at the end, I'm not where I want to be…well, then at least I got the ball rolling.  I can build upon it.   

And I can have the confidence to know that what is inside has the potential for greatness--if I try.