A few weeks ago, I returned from my summer vacation, though it may not be the vacation you expected to hear about. I spent a week driving, camping, hiking and running through three of the most beautiful national parks our country has to offer – alone. A quick, but purposeful two-day drive through Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park (my first visit to each), led me to my goal of spending four days in my favorite place on earth, Glacier National Park, my second visit here. This was my time to enjoy the outdoors and nature at its best – to recharge my mind, my body and my soul, to make time to reflect, to meditate, to be thankful, to pause and for the most part, “unplug” from the daily routines of email, social media and the world wide web – and even cell phone service most days! (When’s the last time you could do this? I wholeheartedly recommend trying it!)
Waking up each morning in a tent I had pitched the night before, complete with my cot and sleeping bag, rising to the 4:00 a.m. sounds of birds chirping, the freshest air imaginable and the nip of 39-40-degree morning temperatures was exactly what I needed. As I look back over my 850+ photos, the beauty of nature and the outdoors brings a smile to my face. I had the opportunity to witness some of the most awe inspiring 5:30 a.m. sunrises I had ever seen – a result of choosing to rise early, but also a result of being at the right place at the right time, and the opportunity to hike and enjoy scene after scene of wildflowers, pristine waters, snow-capped mountain peaks and so much more. The photos I have don’t do the parks justice for the serenity, beauty and calmness I discovered. While standing at the base of Grinnell Lake in Glacier National Park, dipping my feet into the icy cold water, looking all around and seeing the beautiful blue glacial waters, the melting snow, the high mountain terrain and snowy peaks and looking directly at one of the last remaining 25 glaciers in the park, served as a reminder that I, and we as humans, are just a small speck on this earth and the universe around us. I was, and still am, in awe.
My lesson here? All of us should take time to pause and enjoy life when we can – even if it’s a hike or walk through a city, county or state park, a walk through the woods or a bike ride on the greenway – whatever vacation means to you, take time to make it happen. The energy of recharging will be well worth it!
The next part of this blog will focus on why I chose to take this trip and share with you one of the greatest joys of my life. Tune in next week for part two.