Notes from the trail

Welcome to American Backcountry’s Notes from the Trail. Here we share stories and thoughts from some of our favorite contributors. Each mountain is different and each trip has a different story – these are notes collected along the trail.

The Reality of Returning Home by Heather Balogh, From Just A Colorado Gal

February 1, 2013

Walking Tals this weekend, it was hard to imagine that I hadn’t seen the gigantic Colorado sky in over a month. Truthfully, it’s almost like we returned from our month-long road trip to a different world. When we left the state in January, knee-high snowdrifts covered our neighborhood with icy ribbons dancing down the sidewalk. Now, Denver is flaunting some ridiculously warm temperatures so birds are chirping, bulbs are blooming and weeds are sprouting in our yard. Quite the contrast from the frigid cold temps I remember a mere 30 days ago!


I spent the entirety of February exploring the American west: Colorado, Utah, California, parts of Nevada and Oregon were all on our schedule. We trekked through 38-degree water in Zion National Park; camped in Yosemite; backcountry skied in the Mt. Hood territory of Oregon; rock climbed in Bend; and hiked among the giants in Redwood National Park. After steering our trusty Subaru through 5,136 miles, I felt like we could keep going forever.


But we can’t. And we couldn’t. The real world beckons.


And you know, I’m okay with that. As much as I like to say that I’d love a permanent life on the road or “van life” like so many are doing, I’m past that point. I’m very glad I did it in my 20s, but as someone whose 34th birthday is tomorrow {gasp!}, that proverbial ship has sailed. I love exploring. I love adventuring. I love journeying into the unknown. I love the discomfort and exhilaration of new experiences. I love the outdoors.


There is something about the comforts of home that make the journey more rewarding. Would the Redwoods seem so gigantic if I didn’t have the Colorado Ponderosa Pines to compare them to? Would the moss-covered trees of Oregon’s trails amaze me if I didn’t have the Rockies’ dry and rugged terrain as a basis of comparison? I think not.


Traveling near and far is awesome. But so is being home. And I’m happy to be here.


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