As I walk out to my car on Friday evening, with bags of clothes and hiking packs, people are tugging at me to stay. Not like, literally. But the thing is.... young single professionals take their holidays veeeery seriously. Ya know, young ens with no one to report to, no extra mouths to feed, but some extra cash in the bank. Glamorous life. (Until sometimes it's really not).
So, in order to take full advantage of Memorial Day, a number of friends invited me on their group trips. St. George, Zion's, Los Angeles, Seattle, Duckbeach. Stop ya'll - going hiking with the family in eastern Idaho.
What's that booing?
Hiking is great and all, but so is my grandma's house right next to the place we are hiking. Her house is my personal spa getaway. 5,000 creams and every fragrant, foamy thing for hot baths, and everything smells like her garden of lilacs and lilies. Also, she does my laundry and it always smells like heaven. And also that Moroccan oil for my hair. Holy.
A woman knows her self-care.
So I drive up after work. But because I arrive rather late and my grandma is already in bed, I am unsuccessful at breaking into her house with a credit card. So, I end up on my brother's couch. That's fine. He has.... granola bars.
The next morning we get up early to meet up with the rest of my family. The drive out to Palisades is so gorgeous! I feel like I am driving into a tiny, secret Garden of Eden. The open, green rolling valleys. Rich, blue-clouded sky.
We arrive at the campground that my mom tried so hard to convince me to stay at. Spa or dirt.... There is a time and a place for everything.
"Good to finally see you." Dad.
"I've been ready for an hour and a half, but I had to wait for two girls to shower and get ready." Devin (referring to wifey and myself).
"Hey, it takes time to tame a beauty," I say. "You should have thought about that before you married a pretty girl. God did invent ugly people. They probably don't need much time."
"Says the girl who runs 10 miles and then sits straight down at the dinner table without showering."
"Point not taken."
We're not dry on sarcasm - Devin Lebron Jabar Jabar James. Or black people names.
On that note, we head out for the mountains. We reach the trailhead for Palisades and look at the map. Four miles to the lower lake, we'll stop for our picnic, and then two extra miles to the upper lake. Loaded up with sunscreen and water packs, let's do this!
I walk a few hundred yards with my family, all of us energetic and happy, pointing out hawks and bugs to each other. One would think we hadn't grown up as a camping family. Though that is defined very differently between my father and the rest of us.
After awhile, I tell them that I'm going to run and I'll wait up at the lake.
Trail running. The number one most blessed thing to me in the entire world. Nothing makes me happier then a solid trail run. And little did I realize this was about to be the best one I've ever had.
The trail starts deep inside the trees, dark brown dirt path, surrounded by berry bushes. The thing about running on a narrow little space surrounded so closely by stationary objects is you feel like you are going SO fast. It ascends just enough to give a good leg burn, but then down enough for a sweet relief, over and over, thoroughly working all the muscles in my legs. All the while dodging back and forth between rocks, and jumping high over tree roots and larger mounds.
The trail weaves out into the open canyon, next to the rushing river, and then back into the trees. The sun is bright, and the birds chirp loudly. I run with no headphones, just listening to nature and my heavy breath. After sprinting for several miles, I wonder how far ahead I am of my family, because I haven't come to the lake yet, and I decide waiting there all alone would be lonely anyways. So I turn and run back to hike all this way with my family instead.
I sprint back a ways and find my family resting on a cliff. We all sit for a few more moments and continue on. Walking and climbing and laughing and teasing. Finally, we come over the final bend overlooking the lake. Beautiful!
We walk around and find a good place to rest and eat lunch. We sit by the lake and chat for a good while. Then hear rolling thunder. It gets closer and closer, so we decide to head back instead of continuing on or we'll be careening out of here on a mud slide. Though I try to convince them that it's actually the funnest way to go, as it happened to me last summer.
But, we choose to trek back before the storm, pausing at our same cliff for a break. We spot a mountain goat at the top of the cliff across the river. "What if he just fell off?" Har har har.
We continue walking. Brennan and I run ahead to play in the mud, chase snakes, poke bug nests with sticks, tell each other jokes and giggle, climb on all the boulders to the side of the trail so we can scare passerbys. He's 11 and I'm... not. It's fine. (I love that kid so much, proof here)
My whole family finally reaches the trailhead, an entirely full day of trail running and hiking, legs satisfied, water bottles empty. We climb back in my dad's truck and head back to camp, deciding family hike day should become tradition.
I stay for just a moment to visit, and then jump in my car to continue on before the sun fully sets. Two-day spa awaits.
Here's to God not taming any of the Earth's beauty, and a perfect Memorial weekend.
Upward and onward,