On the same day that I started the journey, with my friend TJ Mack, we had mapped out a route to do 3 state highpoints in the same day. We left his house in Charlottesville, VA and made our way to Spruce Knob, WV. From there, we took the winding roads through the Appalachians to the small neck of land in Maryland, where the state highpoint is. I couldn't find a great picture of the actual state highpoint, but this small church is very close to the point in the road, where you park on the shoulder and head up the side of the hill to the highest point in Maryland. And this is a great example of the wonders that I've been able to see as part of this journey. I have seen places in this country, that I never would have imagined because some of the high points are so far off the beaten path.
When I was somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 years old, I found an atlas in the mountain of books stacked unorganizedly on our bookshelf, in our Alpine home. I began studying the pages of maps. I was fascinated with the lines of roads and how they meandered and winded through the 2 dimensional topography. I wondered how the roads were constructed, and why they took the specific courses they did. Then somewhere - and I wish I could remember exactly which state it was - I ran across a little + sign, with the words, "Highest Point in"...... It had the name of the mountain, and the elevation. I thought, "Hmmm.... That means there's a highest point of elevation in every state." I flipped back to the first page of the atlas, and began searching the landscape of Alabama. "Cheaha.... 2407'" The search was on. I found and circled all 50 state highpoints on every page of that atlas, and I said, "I'm going to reach the highest point in every one of these states."
That declaration stuck with me for years. I went through junior high and high school. Left to Brazil for two years as a missionary for my church. Came back and went to to college, and found myself consumed with studies and responsibilities. I never knew how I was going to accomplish this goal. I soon married, and started a career. I found myself with less time to start this goal than ever. Then, I found myself not happy in marriage, and was soon divorced. With a broken heart, I had nothing, but a chance to reinvent myself. As a way to get away, my friend invited me to fly to his house in Virginia to get away for a while. After all, it was through him that I met my now ex-wife. He understood better than anyone that I needed to get away. I told him that I wanted to get out and see the world now, and told him about my dream of reaching the highest point of every state. I mapped out three close points to his house, that we could do in a day, and I talked him into going on a road trip with me.
And so, on October 13, 2009 the journey began.
Spring is here in full effect and I am loving the warmer weather. I can't wait to get out and get hiking. But for now, the little time that I have, I am spending with Mary and Lucas. We have been hanging out a lot outside at her parents house cuz Lucas loves to explore.
First time on a horse
A couple Sundays ago, I took Mary and Lucas to Alpine to introduce them to my mom. I stuck Lucas on Chase. His smile says it all :)
"Oh, hey there neighbor"
bed time kisses
A boy and his dog
Why must kids put everything in their mouths? ha ha. He had a heck of a time trying to get the water out of this hose. He could see it, and hear it when he shook it, but could never get it up to his mouth when he tipped it up.
We have started a little tradition of putting him to bed together. Last night he was feeling extra snuggly before going down. His mama is such a good mom.
This Valentines Day came a little early this year. I have to ref a play-in in Juab tomorrow, on the 14th of Feb, so I will be unavailable for fun Valentines Day activities. So I celebrated a day early. This is the beginning of the cake that Mary and I made for her son's first birthday party, which is also, coincidentally, Valentines Day.
Who is Mary you might ask? Well at work the other day, a cute blonde pushing an adorable baby boy came in. I was impressed by her looks, and was curious. She spent a little time in the store checking out some outfits, and was on her way out the door, when I had to stop her. I wanted a little more time with this one. So I suggested a hoodie that I really liked, and thought would look great with her blonde hair. She really liked it too, luckily (phew!) and bought the hoodie, and left. I was happy she ended up with my favorite girls hoodie, but wondered if I'd ever see her again.
Luckily, about a week and a half later, she came strolling and rolling her son into the store. I wasn't going to let her get away this time :) After talking her into trying on a few cute shirts and jeans, I really wanted to ask her out. But I didn't feel it very professional to do at work. So I awkwardly avoided more conversation. Cuz all I could think about was asking her out, and I couldn't think of anything else clever to say, or clothes to suggest. She ended up buying a shirt I had suggested, but I went back to doing some duties at the front of the store while a co-worker rang her purchase in. And as she started heading for the door, she passed me....... And I finally blurted something out. Don't even remember what I said, but I got her number somehow, by some miracle, and tonight was our first date.
We went out for sushi for dinner. I am not a huge fan of raw things, and have always been a little wary of sushi. But I've always wanted to give it a fair shot. And Mary really likes sushi, so we gave it a go. It was really good, and we had great conversation. She is really enjoyable to be around and has beautiful eyes, and a great smile.
After dinner, we went back to her house and made a birthday cake for her son's first birthday. This picture on the left is her and her dog Baxter. He is a little sweetheart.
And here is the finished product :) I think little Lucas will really like the cake, and learn how fun birthdays can be.
It's been a little while since I've blogged. Not because I haven't wanted to, I've just lacked motivation. Then I watched the latest episode of Parenthood today, and learned that the beautiful thing about each one of our decisions in life, is that it writes a story. Sometimes when we make a choice, we don't realize that it will affect us for the rest of our lives. Some decisions are small and insignificant, but others have long reaching effects. I want to be more conscious of the decisions I make, and write my story, so that 20 years down the road, I am happy with what I have written. And blog posting is a great way to record every day events, and think about the story that I am writing each and every day. And a big thank you to my cousin Rachel, for making me make a resolution to write this year. So here's to you Rachel, and writing and recording my story.
There are so many peaks in Colorado, and I would love to bag them all. But there are just so many hours in a day, and so many days in a week, and very few of them do I have off. So until I find a way to make a living while summitting mountains, I have to be picky. While browsing through a list of peaks in Colorado, one name particularly jumped out at me. It wasn't the tallest, heck, it wasn't even a 14'er, of which I said I wouldn't even waste my time on anything under 14,000', but there was just something about this peak that caught my attention. It was called "The Spearhead". My curiosity got the best of me, and I looked into it's stats. Standing at 12,575' above sea level, it's height isn't it's most impressive feature. But the fact that it's shaped like the head of a spear, and it's perched in the middle of this massive glacial couloir, surrounded by 4 massive peaks, 3 being over 13,500' and the fourth a whopping 14,200', it could have easily been called "The Throne".
And one would certainly feel like a king to reach it's summit. It's northeast face is a giant, flat faced triangle with a vertical height of 900+ feet. The spine of rock that connects it to the surrounding wall of mountains is made up of house-sized boulders, that look like giants are about to have a game of Jenga. And the summit is nothing more than a precariously stacked 20-foot high pile of rocks, like a dainty angel on top of a Christmas tree.
The total hike is 13 miles roundtrip, from the Bear Lake trailhead, and sifts through one of the most beautiful glacial valleys I have ever seen.
By far one of the most beautiful places I have yet visited. Top 3 coolest hikes I have ever done. And now if I could just figure out how to make a living doing what I love.