“It had nothing to do with gear or footwear or the backpacking fads or philosophies of any particular era or even with getting from point A to point B.
It had to do with how it felt to be in the wild. With what it was like to walk for miles with no reason other than to witness the accumulation of trees and meadows, mountains and deserts, streams and rocks, rivers and grasses, sunrises and sunsets. The experience was powerful and fundamental. It seemed to me that it had always felt like this to be a human in the wild, and as long as the wild existed it would always feel this way.”
- Cheryl Strayed
Over the past few months I've found myself craving spontaneity and adventure. My life has (increasingly) becoming too predictable: school drop-off, work, gym, play dates, naps, meal-prep and so on. We have a calendar and we have routine. Not that there's anything wrong with a little order in life (especially when one has young children), but what was happening to my adventurer-self? The girl who would board a plane to Asia or Central America because a good fare popped up? Or the girl who would hop a boat - one filled with with cattle and ranchers- just to catch a glimpse of southern Chile? Or the 20-something-me who would take the trolley to the French Quarter and do cartwheels down the street just because it was a Tuesday night? I think she was starting to vanish…
Now I know that at this stage of my life I have different responsibilities and obligations than I had a decade ago. There's a mortgage, my career, two kids, and college tuition to think of. But still, there's got to be a little room for adventure, some spontaneity, maybe even some silliness in one's life too, no?
If you’re wondering how this ties in to Great Sand Dunes National Park, I’ll tell you.
We had no plans to drive down. But when one of our intended guests cancelled their trip to Denver due to the flu, we seized the moment and decided to go for it. We had been talking about visiting the dunes for more than 2 years, but we always put it off. We were always making excuses (It's too far/I have too much work/I'm too tired/Maybe next year...) But not this time! We hastily secured a hotel room (there’s only one place to stay), packed a cooler (there aren’t many eating options at this point in the pre-season) and we drove south for about 3 ¾ hours. It felt good to do something that wasn't planned months in advance. In fact, it felt great!
So I encourage you to do something spontaneous! You won't regret it. In the words (I'm paraphrasing here) of Dr. Scott, the paleontologist on PBS's Dinosaur Train, "Get out there! Get into nature. Have an adventure and make your own discoveries."