Last month we backpacked into Blue Lakes in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. The San Juans are an amazing range of the Rocky Mountains that have awe inspiring peaks, mountain passes with elevations of 11,000ft+ that will take you into the middle of glacial basins, and old mining towns with fascinating history. Blue Lakes is a popular trail which will take you to 3 different alpine lakes. Why we don’t visit this area more often is beyond me considering it is only 2.5 hours away from Moab. Next years goal…visit the San Juans more often.
This was J-Man’s second backpacking trip where he carried some of his own gear and traversed the rocky ground on his own two feet. He absolutely loves backpacking and it is one of my favorite outdoor activities to do as a family.
While we were trekking up to Blue Lakes I was able to let go of the worries, the stresses and the to-do lists back home and really appreciate and take in all that this simple activity offered me.
It’s not just backpacking… it’s so much more.
It’s quality time with my family. It’s time spent together without the interruption of the phone ringing, emails that need to be answered or a schedule that needs to be adhered to. This quality time together allows us to reconnect. It allows us to get to know each other better. It allows us to not only talk with each other but to truly hear what each one of us is saying and expressing. I always feel closer to Bedge and J-Man after a trip like this.
It gives me an opportunity to decompress from the day to day chaos, which recharges me and clears my mind. I’m able to relax and not feel like I have a million things on my to-do list. I’m not rushing from school, to fit in a run, to opening the gallery for the day, to picking J-Man up from school, to getting some outside time with him before heading back to the gallery. I’m not worrying about what’s for dinner, trying to manage my other marketing job all while being a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and trying to take care of myself.
It’s the ability to see what my body is capable of. We all know as we get older the littlest things become more difficult and given that this trip was only 6 weeks after my major surgery I wasn’t sure how my body was going to handle it. The doc gave me the ok but did say…”you might regret it.” I was able to see what I was made of. I was sluggish and slow since I took 6 weeks off with out any activity. It’s amazing how quickly your fitness level goes down hill. The 1,630 elevation gain in 3.5 miles with a 40+lb pack was definitely daunting but my body did it virtually pain free. Pain free, meaning no pain from the surgery, but painful in the fact that I was so out of shape it was a bit difficult and slow going. I take pride in the fact that I’m able to be active with J-Man and I have the will to do so even if there are little setbacks.
It’s the opportunity to show J-Man the beauty of nature and all that it has to offer. It’s the opportunity to create a balance for him where he can appreciate both the modern world and the natural world. We are hopefully showing him and allowing him to experience the changes one feels in the outdoors…the freeing of the mind, the ability to let go of technology, schedules and routines, and have a place where he can always get away when the stresses become too much.
Lastly, It’s fun… plain and simple. It’s an activity I have enjoyed doing since I was 18 years old and I will continue until my legs can no longer carry me and the weight of my pack.