It's been a bit since I've been on a backpacking trip. Actually, the last backpacking trip I was on ended September 18th last year, a course I taught for NOLS. Life went to hell the next day, so there is something of a full circle being completed by the fact that my wife and I are going on a backpacking trip tomorrow. To a mountain range neither of us has been to, to a place neither of us has been. That was by design, as we want to experience something new together – not just me showing her places. It's got to be a mutual experience where we grow together. It should be good – according to the map, it's at 12,000 feet, it's a stunning lake and it's ringed by a wall of jagged mountains. I got her a new pack and a fleece for her birthday today, freeze dried food is stocked up, appropriate maps are packed and we're ready to roll. We're going minimalistic style with few extras: some good tea, a few sticks of incense and the Rocky Mountain Natural History book. And of course Stella – for she is our family – and one can of wet dog food to make it a special treat for her.
We're both giddy excited, and I think these little exploration overnights are going to become a trend till November. Once you get in the rhythm of heading out there, it's hard to stop. As we told her mom and dad in that very uncomfortable "we're getting married" meeting back in May – a big part of the draw in this relationship is that we DO like to do the same things – backpacking, backcountry skiing, etc. I'm not really sure that argument made the impression we were hoping for, but it's true, and it's a beautiful thing.
I've been getting back on the bike quite a bit, just with the early morning rides up to the 'bou. Stella comes along for the exercise. It's a good way to start the day, going up high and watching the morning light bask the tundra. There is definitely a fall feel in the air…something about the wind, the light. Or, more tangibly, those little flowers under the aspen trees are starting to turn yellow.
We're entering the magical season, autumn in the Rockies. I missed it last year, and that hurt more than anything. Not this time.