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Britta and Lydia Take a Trip to the West

July 2, 2009

After a week of hauling, cleaning, goodbye-ing and graduating, we needed to escape Minnesota. So, we got in a shiny red Suburu and drove, headed for the vast emptiness of the west. Sitting for all those hours felt good after the physical and emotional exertions of the previous week. Our first stop was Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, where we set up our tent in the dark and woke to a view of snowy peaks. Here we laced up our hiking boots for the first time, and our feet took us to a waterfall.

The next leg of the journey brought us to the Grand Canyon. At the North Rim, we considered everything our bodies might need for the next two days: food, water, warmth, and shelter, and carried it all on our backs. Our hips bore the weight of our needs, and we found them incredibly capable.

Over the next five days, our legs carried us and our equipment many miles through Zion and Bryce canyon. As we walked, we supplied our cooling systems with water to maintain our body temperature. We replaced our sweated-out salts with vinegar chips and bugles (the ranger told us that junk food is brain food in Zion). By traveling at a steady pace, and taking breaks when we needed them, we rewarded ourselves with access to beautiful natural places only reachable by foot.

When we arrived at each evening’s campsite, we took off our boots and thanked our feet as we watched their veins pulse with increased blood flow. The soreness in our muscles reminded us of how much we were asking of them, and demanded that we fall asleep as soon as the sun set. Each morning we noticed the new definition visible in our calves and stretched after hours on the rocky, hard earth.

This trip was an extreme physical journey for both of us, which provided the necessary distraction from this difficult time of transition. We felt a sense of wonder at what our bodies could accomplish when we planned carefully and acknowledged the demands of our surroundings. Now we know that we will survive life after college.

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