The last day of any camping trip is sort of sad. You are secretly dreaming of flush toilets and showers, but part of you would like to stay in the wilderness forever.
I slept in much later than the previous day. The sun was up already, civil sunrise I believe. I went for a little morning walk-about. I did some sun salutations on my flat spot from the day before. It felt glorious to stretch my body out. Then I wondered what was just a little further up. And kept wondering until I reach the cliff face of the mesa we were camped below. I sang hi-ho and some other stuff into the rounded curve of the canyon and went back to camp.
Breakfast consisted of apples and oatmeal. Passable but appropriate for the last day. The hike back out was so much harder than the hike in. We followed nearly the same line but each step in the sand was labor. I was still enjoying the challenge. I knew I had lived and hiked for two glorious days and I was going to enjoy the last march out of Checkboard. We paused at the saddle and gazed fondly at the land behind us and the final short canyon ahead that would take us back to civilization. Beautiful views.
Ever since I was a little girl I’ve been reading books & magazines and watching documentaries on explorers—Shakelton, Sir Francis Drake, Edmund Hillary/Tenzing Norgay, Marco Polo, Harriet Chalmers Adams, Indiana Jones (ok, not factual or realistic, but it still piqued my desire for adventure), etc. Even though I’m not exploring any new frontiers, I love it when I can live my dreams.
I can’t over emphasize the beauty of the land, the excitement of the physical challenge, or the elation in completing the quest. However, in the end probably the best part of the trip I haven’t even gone into in detail. The best part was spending 2 ½ days with Casey, Pete, and Jake. Three people I love dearly and all the more dearly now. Even despite group consensus if we were stranded, we’d eat me first, and how I would be prepared (roasted, maybe with a little rosemary). All the more for it really.
We sang, and laughed, and joked, and philosophized, and witnessed each other's calamities, and laughed all the time. I have the best friends. They put up with my silly musings and dropsy’s and incessant chatting and even seemed to enjoy it most of the time. All of my friends are amazing, but I’m glad I can take a moment to spotlight these three.
I will hike the Barracks some day. There are many lessons learned this trip but my final words will be this. Don’t hold on to plans or goals to the point that you miss out on the wonderful detours life has for us. If we had attached ourselves to only hiking the Barracks, we would have been bitterly disappointed. But also never let go of your dreams. I’ve been dreaming of this kind of adventure for 20+ years. It was better than I ever imagined thanks to 3 wonderful people. So dream, surround yourself with wonderful people, and gratefully take whatever life actually gives you. And I continue to dream and plot my next trip. Epic Adventure II: Return to the Barracks.