It was about time to unplug, unhook, untether, and unwind. Sometimes recharging in nature means going to a new, unfamiliar place in nature to fully regroup, revise, and recharge.
Driving along the state parks in Heber Valley, Utah. I was able to travel with my husband for work in early October. We stayed in Park City, Utah—a place I had never been. The week was full of meetings, dinners, whitewater rafting, UTV excursions, ceremonies, and a little time left over to explore the town.
Escaping the norm
" Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean. " ~John Muir ["John of the Mountains"]
Every now and then, even as a person who loves nature and gardens, a person who is outside and in the mud as often as possible, a person who volunteers on farms just because it is important and therapeutic, I need a break. I need a break from deadlines that I have imposed on myself, I need a break from over-committing, over-scrolling, researching and learning, computers, and I need a break from myself. I needed to take a break from reflecting and just absorb what I had recognized, I needed to take a breath. And so after an entire month of not posting, I feel refreshed, anew light shining forth. Sometimes we need to spend our days without mirrors, without peering into the thoughts of others, we need to recharge and unplug.
Earlier in October, I was able to travel to Utah. I have never been to Utah and quite honestly, though I love to learn and explore and discover, I do not really know much about Utah. For someone who has done some good soul searching and traveling, alone or with a few friends, I haven't explored as much of the United States as I would have hoped. So heeding John Muir's direction, "Let's go to the mountains," I headed out west. A friend and her daughter stayed at our house with our children and took them to school. Having a loving, focused, artistic friend stay at my house with my children, allowing them to stay in their own beds, follow their regular schedules, and stick to their flows and routines was so refreshing and gave me the opportunity to truly relax and enjoy some time away. I know she was treating my children with dignity and love, as if they were her own, and I am truly blessed to have created a village that includes her.
We were only in Utah for a few short days, losing nearly two whole days for traveling, but I intended to rest, relax, sleep, eat, and trek around. The week of our stay promised to exhibit weather from all the seasons so I packed for spring, summer, fall, and winter and needed to include hiking gear, rafting gear, formal evening wear, and traveling with celiac means that I travel with a bag full of food for the time I am away. I was pleasantly surprised with the sights, the views, the friendly people. and the crisp air. I actually realized upon arrival that I had really no ideas or preconceived notions about Utah before going.
A few snippets from the trip. Floating down the river during our group whitewater rafting trip. The morning cloudscape covering the tips of the mountains, and a picture from the UTV trip on the top of the range through a nearby state park right after the snowstorm. There was a lot of mud, white-knuckling, and possibly times when I did not think we would make it out of there alive. If you like thrills and spills, I highly recommend going on the self-guided, mudslinging, scream-inducing UTV excursion.
I could have taken so many photos but I was trying to just soak up the sights and the sun with my own eyes instead of through the lens of technology. I was able to read some of my books, write, draw, drink some tea with honey while sitting out on the balcony in the morning and watching the fog creep off the tips of the mountain range—and experience some adventurous excursions during the day. Although we managed to flip our two-person kayak and fall into icy, October waters, we managed to get back in and make it to one of the last checkpoints before catching a ride with the van back to our buses. Part of recharging in the outdoors, normally still means preparing for all of the elements so, luckily, I had packed both of us full sets of dry clothes, shoes, plastic bags for wet items, and a blanket. One of our friends managed to get a picture of me smiling in between teeth chatters because I am actually soaked head to toe here. I saved all of our items as I had tied them all together and had them knotted to one of the lines inside the kayak. Whitewater kayaking is fun, I just think it is more enjoyable during warmer seasons.
“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt." ~John Muir, Scottish-American author, environmental philosopher
Some notable takeaways from the trip would include refocusing and being present in the moment. Am I an old person now? I have always loved adventure and trying new, exhilarating sports but now that I have two children and even practice the importance of risky play with children in nature, I seem to be more cautious in the activities in which I participate. Unguided ATV/UTV trips in Wasatch State Park in the snow, sleet, and on top of mountain ranges that just fall into oblivion? That now sounds like a good, once in a lifetime type of adventure. Was I recharging while unplugged? Yes, but some activities may have been draining my energy. Spills and thrills can be fun, but I am so happy that they are few and far between in my current lifestyle. Give me a vast farm space and some woods and hiking on my own two legs any day. I'd like a nice warm blanket, a book, and some tea in a thermos in a field or on the beach while listening to a gentle breeze, please. Let me take a pack of markers or paints, sketchpads, and a basket of picnic snacks to a quiet sit spot and just soak in nature with all her beauty and majesty. And I realized, as I always do, that I already have those things. I can do these things at home, quietly reflecting on life, pathways, direction, and our connections within our spaces.
Reconnecting to ourselves and nature is vital and it can be done in the safety and peace of our own home spaces, sometimes we just need to go somewhere else to remember that. Sometimes we just need to go away for a few days to find ourselves and get a new perspective, in order to appreciate what we have and the gifts we can find at home. While searching for the next best thing we often forget that we are worthy of time and energy, healing, recharging, and we have many gifts available to us that we can share with others and ourselves. We already have everything we need, it is within our reach at all times.
Park City, UT factoids:
If you are looking to go to Park City, Utah there are some beautiful art galleries which sell local artisans work. There are many shops for outdoor adventure gear. Main street hosts a blend of shops, restaurants, breweries, specialty stores, galleries, and also the Park City Museum. I was surprised to discover that this area of Utah once hosted the largest silver mine in the United States. After all the silver was mined, it almost turned into a ghost town but then it was revived with the addition of some ski slopes and lodges and the arrival of the Olympics. There are many State Parks and a National Forest in the local area. There are even some silver mines that are open for touring. There are many options for hiking, biking, golfing, skiing (in season), outdoor adventures, and exploring. There are also two Banksy pieces in downtown Park City, one on the main street and another one is down a back alley. We found both of them and this was an occasion where I did take some photos.
I would have liked to have our own transportation as the Park City Hotels are quite a distance from the downtown area. There is a city bus that transports often and we had a shuttle but there was only one drop off spot so we had limited access to all that the area had to offer. I would like to go back again and really explore the outdoors, travel with no schedules, and take my children along in order to discover the many splendid wonders that Utah has to offer.
Thank you for meeting up with me again. I will be getting back to my "Thirsty for Good Vibes Thursday" interview posts as soon as I complete some more interviews with interesting people in our area who are doing great things in the realms of art, farming, gardening, education, and mindfulness.
All information here is my own opinion and reflections of experiences that I have encountered. Take from this what you need, and leave what you don't need. If you would like to collaborate or need coaching, consulting, or guidance with alternative education, gardening, small-scale farming, reflections, self-care— reach out any time at my email info@thefindingplace-LV.com