Rocky Mountain National Park, and 1,000 miles of Road

The fact that someone actually searched for “the world’s number one waterpark” makes me laugh a little. That their search resulted in my blog makes me laugh a bit more, especially after Joshua and my heated debate about Schlitterbaun (okay, it wasn’t that heated, but it was a debate nonetheless). I’ve been staring at the stupid wristband for that place for the last 700 miles, all of which I drove today.

Yes, 700 miles. Or something dangerously close. I’m exhausted. I drove from the western part of Nebraska almost all the way to Chicago, Illinois today. That be a lot of driving. I would have kept going. I’m only 16 hours away from home, or something like that.

I’m at that point that all I want is my bed. And a complete lack of transience. And friends. And family.

Next Morning:

I was way too tired to finish that post. My last few days have been non-stop and intense.

I spent a few wonderful days with Sarah Lavalee (now Bollinger) in Colorado Springs, which was really great. I was able to relax, have a safe place to sleep, and get to know a wonderful person a little better. Sarah and I never really spent much time together in high school, but we knew each other, and liked each other well enough. There are a few things I wish I had done differently, and I wish I had gotten to know Sarah better. She’s one of those most beautiful people I’ve ever met – both inside and out. She’s really truly stunning, not just to look at, but to talk to, as well.

After Colorado Springs, I drove through Denver (went to the zoo – yes, I have zoo issues), then over to Estes Park, which is right outside the Rocky Mountain National Park. Spent a HUNDRED dollars to sleep in some hotel, then woke up and spent twenty more to get into the park. However, once there, it was all worth it, because it was beautiful and secluded. First, I hiked the five miles back and forth to Cub Lake, which was pretty, even if it did rain on me and make me soaked and cold. After that, even though I was pretty exhausted, I took the shuttle up to Bear Lake, where I then proceeded to hike four more miles down to Bierstadt. As you can imagine, at this point I was barely truckin’, but gosh it was beautiful. To walk from Bierstadt Lake to the trailhead, you have to walk back and forth down a dirt path descending down the mountain. Suddenly, the view opens up and you’re surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. It’s truly incredible. I stood there, by myself, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, which I was hiking by MYSELF, and just breathed it in.

One of those moments a person never forget.

After hiking, I walked downtown Estes Park for a while, purchased some trinkets, and desperately avoided leaving Colorado. It’s incredible. Eventually, however, I bought a Colorado sweatshirt, decided that would have to be enough, and headed out of town.

That night, I made it about 300 miles to Cozad, Nebraska, and crashed in the back of my car at a rest stop. I didn’t really mean to do that, but I was so exhausted I could barely see straight. The next morning, I woke up and started driving at 8 AM… and finally got a hotel last night at 11 PM. Calculate that, giving away an hour because I drove into Central Time. Yes, that would be 14 hours in the car. After hiking 8 miles through the Rocky Mountains and sleeping in my back seat.

I barely minded paying the $65 for this shitty room, and passed out within minutes of getting out of the shower.

I was thinking… how I’m nearing the end of my journey. If you haven’t figured it out, I’ve decided to return home. Even though, I must argue that returning home is indeed not the end to this journey. In many ways, it’s the beginning. Hm. Gotta love cliches.

What I’m trying to say is that I started this journey as I was dying. Throughout this trip, I’ve learned to come alive again.

So returning to Massachusetts is going to be a challenge – a challenge to me and the things I’ve learned. How well will I handle it? How quickly will I lose myself again? Or will I forever maintain these lessons and beautiful pieces of my soul?

Hence, in many ways, it’s the beginning.

Or the end.


I’m sure there’s a million more things I could, or should, share with you. But it’s time to head into Chicago and see my Aunt Dorothy. Yes, my Aunt Dorothy whom I haven’t seen in years. She was really nice to me on the phone, so that’s a good sign, even if she DID ask me why I would ever want to go to a zoo when there’s wildlife all around me.

How dare she question my zoophilia.