My Next Big Adventure

April 9, 2011 § 3 Comments

“Find life experiences and swallow them whole. Travel. Meet many people. Go down some dead ends and explore dark alleys. Try everything. Exhaust yourself in the glorious pursuit of life.” -Lawrence K. Fish

I made plans. I kept them. I’m proud of me.

So here’s the background: Right after my mom graduated from high school, she says an add in Seventeen magazine for summer employment in Yellowstone National Park. My Granny and PoPo (her parents) had always taken them to the mountains, on hikes, and long road trips for their vacations. So she thought this sounded like a great fit. She didn’t go away to college, so this was pretty much her “college experience.” She worked in Fishing Bridge at a store and lived in the dorms. She loved it so much, she went back the next summer. After that, 3 of her 4 younger brothers and sisters went and worked 1-3 summers in the park (the only one that didn’t go had stayed because she met the man who became my uncle when she was in 6th grade and they’d dated since 8th. She wasn’t leaving him).

All of my cousins and I had grown up with stories of the park; bears outside the dorms, hiking, hitchhiking back. We all remember when PoPo left Granny at home for the summer after he retired because he so greatly wanted the same park experience (he loved it, but never wants to be aways from his honey that long again). I grew up around the women my mom met when she was in the park. We just went to one of their children’s weddings. We grew up with stories of people they met and adventures they’d had. We were all raised on the same types of vacations as our parents had been and had easily developed a love for peaceful long hikes, getting a little lost on a road trip, seeing the sunset over the Rocky Mountains. Every one of my cousins and I dreamed of working in the park. None of us did.

Until my sister. She finally did what none of us had done last summer. She and a friend got a job in the park for the summer. They had an amazing time. I had never gone for a summer because my Dad insisted I take college classes every summer, so I went on a study abroad to Poland and then, honestly, never wanted to leave Cody for any longer than a couple of weeks ever again. I’m glad I didn’t, because I value every second I was able to spend with him. But, I finally have the chance to go. And I’m taking it.

My favorite waterfall. Osprey Falls.

I met some of my sister’s friends when I went to visit them there. They were great. Mostly, I got to know some people at a Whitewater Rafting company. I’ve kept in touch with a few of them and even flew up to West Virginia with them to raft the Gauley River. I really liked the little town of Gardiner, MT, the north entrance of Yellowstone and wanted to work for this company. I wanted my summer in Yellowstone. So, rather than exactly working in the park, I applied for a job at the whitewater rafting company.

I know what you’re thinking: Isn’t she a law student? Shouldn’t she have a clerkship?

Yeah…maybe I should. But guess what? I’m not.

I did that. I worked for the general counsel of a big company for about a year on and off. I interned for one of the best trial lawyers I’ve ever seen last summer. I currently have an externship with a federal judge. I’ve done the interning thing. If I don’t do my summer in Yellowstone now, when will I ever have the chance? When I retire, like my PoPo? I’m not counting on that. I’m doing it now.

Taking duckies down the West Yellowstone. That's my arm.

So this summer, in a few short weeks, I’ll be road-tripping solo to Gardiner, MT. I’ll be a photographer for the company and a back-up whitewater guide (This is a huge step for me…My next post will explain my love/hate relationship with water. Stay-tuned).

I cannot wait. Really. Really really really really. Enough reallys? Probably not. Its that exciting.

I can’t wait for a summer of simplicity. No tv. No air conditioning or heaters. I’ve made a list of hikes I want to go on. I’m taking a bike to ride around. I’m not packing heavy. Its going to be an excellent break from law school and I can’t wait for the adventures and life lessons I’ll learn.

So, next adventure, here I come. My gypsy half is giddy. My home-body half is scared of having just a few more people I’ll miss. That’s ok. This is worth the risk and the pain of missing people.

Be ready for the stories. I’ll be posting them.

My family (minus the bro) on top of Bunson Peak.

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