There is a welt at the crease in my lips. Well, it is more like a laceration. Every time I bend or stretch the skin nearby it rips open again. To some this may first seem like a piece of food stuck on my face, or maybe you could hypothesize that I have the herp, but alas, it is one of my many, and newly dubbed, ‘happy scars’. It came about during the epinephrine day. While severely dehydrated on the 5 hour descent, my lips became overly chapped and dry. This would not have been much of a problem if I hadn’t been smiling and laughing so much. And so now it stays, like a scar to what happened, reminding me every time I open my mouth, with the sharp pain of a ripping scab, that I am happy. This trip has been good.
Driving into Idaho was like entering into a dream. Out of the dust spread a sea of yellow and green that rose into brown and grey/ white streaked mountains. The sky was musky; streaking out the sun just enough to allow for overcast glows to cover endless farmlands and pastures below. I could hardly keep my eyes on the road. Playing through the lengthy “purchased” play list on my Ipod I questioned my own love of music and the value I place on it. It built the scene, the mood of change, just as much as the visuals.
Before all this was the last morning in Utah. I woke up to watch the frost on the windows turn to condensation. The sun streamed through, slowly illuminating the car-nest. I said goodbye to Utah right then and there. D was already making breakfast. Like the perfect bookend to this trip, I had run into her at the SuperCrack Buttress parking lot the day earlier. The first climber I met on the trip becomes the last to share stories with. Reminding me that these life lines that crave the natural world will run parallel, especially the climbers.
Saying goodbye to the guys was hard, the hardest yet. We all hugged goodbye in the wake and bake café in Moab. I have gotten much better at goodbyes, while at the same time getting much worse, I think. I don’t know how to say what I mean, or do justice to the impact and gratitude i feel towards these people. So instead I rush, I just want the goodbye to be over with otherwise I was worried I might not go at all.
The relationships I have built on this trip have been invaluable. The bonds we have made have been stronger and more founded than many I have made over the years living in one place. Although many may be ‘situational friendships’, it is really too early to tell. But for a trip that was only meant to be a stop over, free of expectations and objectives, it has proven to be pivotal to my faith in direction and my conviction to follow my passions. The solitude of traveling alone, matched with the freedom of a vehicle have given me a liberty and an opportunity to really thrive, write, make photos, grow and experience everything I want to experience for as long as I deem necessary. I would trade this for nothing, I know now that this isn’t the last road trip. That’s all I can really say about that.
So now I am sitting in a positive space, a shop on the main street of Lava Hot Springs, ID. There are three gentlemen in the back jamming on electric guitar who were nice enough to let me sit at the front, on this vintage couch and type away, trying to find internet. I hope camber comes tomorrow. I am more hopeful that this drive will go smooth. I cannot wait for the next adventure.