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After a month of traveling and feeling lost when I left, I somehow found some clarity along the way. I know that traveling can’t solve all problems, but for some reason the open road helps to clear my head. I was lost and in pain with the residual of shingles, and what seemed like depression. I didn’t want to get out of bed, and lacked motivation to do much of anything. I didn’t know if I was going to come out of the hole I had dropped into. This is a place I had not been before. It was a scary time for me, and a feeling that I have never encountered in my 47 years. I went from thriving to surviving.

The universe had given me a very hefty smack down and I was spent mentally and physically. I didn’t have the energy to do much. I did, however, manage to squeeze in some downhill biking that allowed for much needed time outdoors, but with little cardio. My doc said my adrenals were tapped, and that I needed some ocean time. So I asked –

“Are you prescribing me a trip to the beach????”

She said, “Yes, that I needed some feminine energy in my life and the beach would provide that.” So, I added that onto my upcoming to my trip to Reno for my annual Therapeutic Recreation conference.

Sunset on Lake Tahoe, California

Sunset on Monterey Bay, California

Sunset Monterey Beach, California

Along the way, I found faith. Faith in myself, and the powers of the universe and found a sense of community in my distant friends I hadn’t seen in a long time. It was magical and serendipitous in a sense. My first stop was Stanley, Idaho to meet my friend and former roommate from Alaska. She brought her Scamp and Jeep and we went exploring and photographing for two days. She brought back my love of photography and taught me how to enhance my images on my phone. This was the start to capturing some stunning images along the way.

I was moving towards a vague destination (Coddiwomple) and I had no plan, except for the conference, and everything fell into place thereafter. Planning this trip wouldn’t have worked. Thankfully, my friends invited me into their homes and it was nice to catch up via real face time.

I made my way to Boise, Idaho and then to Reno, NV for my national conference on Therapeutic Recreation. I made new friends, and caught up with an old REI co-worker from my Alaska days. From Reno, I landed in Truckee, California catching up with my old Roommate Anne-Marie from when I was in school in Moscow, Idaho. She and her husband have two beautiful kiddos that were so fun to be around. I managed a few mountain bike rides, and a paddle before heading towards the coast.

Anne-Marie and I in Truckee, was my roommate when I went back to school at the U of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho. Circa 2003-4

Gina’s Scamp and jeep near Stanley, Idaho

Sunset, Stanley Lake, Idaho

Sawtooth Mountains, Stanley, Idaho

Gina and I in our “jeep hair, don’t care mode” in Boise, ID

The coast offered some much-needed downtime. It was nice to ride my bike around Monterey, and comb the beach for small treasure. The weather was perfect at 70 degrees. One day I spent exploring Big Sur and to a beach and quickly fell asleep in the sun. It felt amazing to let go, and feel the sun on way body and hear the waves breaking beyond.

When I arrived in Las Vegas at another friends house, the snow was coming down in Montana. I dreaded going back to Bozeman, as the weather was so captivating where I was. I was overwhelmed at the thought of it snowing at the end of September – already. Montana’s Mother Nature assistant hasn’t figured out that we are supposed to be globally warming. The few days I was there I took advantage of sitting in the sun, soaking it in before the trek back north.

Big Sur Coastline – Highway 1, California

Big Sur Coastline – Highway 1, California

Moab was the next destination, with warm days and cool nights ahead. The riding was out of this world, and lives up to it’s reputation as being one of the best biking destinations in the world. Again, I caught up with my some more friends. Robin and I had worked together at Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra and served as the program director at the time and mentored me in my role there along with improving my skiing. She was the one that me about volunteer management and took those lessons into future jobs. My other friend Wayne arrived around the saem time and we used to ride together Texas. The stoke level was on high on all the rides. I begrudgingly had to depart from one of my favorite places in the world.

Terry used to be one of my trainers at Eagle Mount and became a good friend over the year. He is showing me petroglyphs near Boise, Idaho

Robin (my old boss and mentor from Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra) and I in Arches National Park for sunset.

Robin on Navajo rocks trail near Moab, Utah

Took a solo ride out Gooseberry Mesa Trail near St. George, Utah

Wayne and I used to ride in Texas when I was living there, but he as since moved to Salt Lake, and was there the same time I was so we made a day to ride. This is us on Porcupine Rim trail near Moab, Utah

Wayne on Porcupine Rim trail, near Moab, Utah

Some friends riding on Slickrock Trail in Moab, Utah

Robin on Slickrock Trail near Moab, Utah

Last stop was Park City for another couple days of riding and paddling. Thankfully I have friends littered all over the west whose floor, couch or room is offered. Without these friends, my travels would be lonely and they offer solace after long days on the road. Friendship is something I try to take for granted. Even though I had not seen a lot of these folks in a long time, it was like we never missed a beat. Hanging out with these folks offered another step in my healing process. Another snowstorm was heading towards Montana, and I needed to get back before the storm. The dread of being cold again weighed in.

This is a portrait of me on Deer Creek Reservoir near Heber, Utah

Brian on the “Wow” trail near Park City, Utah

 

As I drove north that morning on the last day of my trip in the beautiful sunshine, the dread faded away. I have driven this route up I15 to Highway 20 and then 191 through Yellowstone NP, and along the Gallatin River countless times. A bald eagle soared above and a sense of comfort came as I drove along those familiar curves. All signs that I received along my trip were guiding me back to this mountainous northland. When I pushed past Big Sky with views of Lone Mountain, and the last section of the Gallatin Canyon it becomes all too familiar and reassuring.

The surrounding beauty and the crystal blue waters of the river encapsulate me and I know that I am heading home and found love, faith and peace (and heaps of biking) along the way.

Sunset over Arches National Park, Utah

Sunset over Arches National Park, Utah


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About Diana – Owner of Your Adventure Rx

Diana is an Adventurer, Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist (CTRS), worked as professional outdoor recreation educator for people with and without disabilities for the last 20 years, traveled to over 20 countries and is also certified in Wilderness First Aid. She climbed many mountain peaks, biked numerous trails and paddled all around the world. Ladies, if you thought you couldn’t do it, think again. If you hang out with us for too long you’ll start believing in yourself and leave knowing you can accomplish anything.