Going Pro – return to GTNP

When I had the idea to go back to Jackson Hole, WY, which really came to me the second I left in 2012, I realized a shift in responsibility and maturity. Going three years ago was easy: my ticket was booked, my itinerary was planned for me, most things were paid for. Thanks, Mom!

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Grand Teton National Park, 2012

The new challenge with my recent trip (September 5-10) was not the planning, the booking, or the funds. Since JH 2012 I’ve flown to LA and driven myself to Yosemite National Park. Months later I flew to Portland, OR to drive down toward Medford and Crater Lake National Park to hike a segment of the Pacific Crest Trail. A year later I took similar trips to see the cities of LA, Portland and Seattle. Later, I drove to north Georgia to camp and hike alone in Amicalola State Park. Most recently I drove across the country to Utah and the Grand Canyon.

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Crater Lake, OR 2013

The difference is that I have become the expert, at least relatively speaking. My travel buddy is an experienced traveler, but when it comes to the outdoors, camping, and hiking I had the upper-hand.

Thinking about camping two nights and hiking Cascade Canyon, this time leading the pack, was a little intimidating. My mind went back to being by myself in a tent in North Georgia and a friend texting me, “embrace the fear” while I was in full freak-out mode. While it was a scary experience, I am happier, more in touch and stronger because of it. In other words it was worth it.

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Cascade Canyon 2012

Since 2012 my life changed. Returning to this very place was as mystical and grand as I remembered, but this time I could be objective. I was still entranced by its beauty, but it made me excited for my life now. Every fear I had was never as bad as it seemed. For every snag in our plans there was a solution. For every doubt I had I was reassured.

Cascade Canyon hike 2015

Sunset at Signal Mountain

Lake Solitude, turnaround point for Cascade Canyon hike

This trip was a success and it took well-executed teamwork to make it great! The fear of not knowing what you’re doing, not having that campsite you planned on grabbing Labor Day weekend, the temperature dropping 20 degrees below what you expected is all part of the adventure. And if you’re lucky like me you’ll have someone pretty great to pick up your slack.

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