I have countless photos to dig through and slowly post to Facebook for all my friends and family. I have piles of clothes to wash and repack before boarding the plane back to Seattle. I have a handful of friends to visit before leaving Boston and more handfuls to reconnect with once I am home.
The end of the summer has arrived. I find it very hard to believe that I’ve been driving across the country for two whole months. Being back in Boston feels like two months were sucked into a vortex somewhere and it should still be June here. But its August today.
Since Chicago we have been touring the most ridiculous things. Including the Corn Palace and 60 foot Jolly Green Giant that we visited on the way to Chicago, we visited a fantastic range of tourist traps. National Parks are one thing, but the Spam Museum is a must see. 🙂 Its a goofy way to see America, but who would say no to touring the Ben and Jerry’s factory and trying out the Jimmy Fallon flavor that has chocolate covered potato chip clusters? (Actually I found this flavor to be gross, but I also don’t like potato chips…haha).
Mike flew out of Chicago so that he could set up everything before starting law school this fall. And Miranda left the trip in Vermont so she would be able to spend time with good friends before everyone goes their separate ways, as so often happens after college. Jared and I continued onto Acadia in Maine.
There really are too many great memories from the trip to think of off the top of my head. I can only come up with a few and I’m sure that Jared and Miranda could add dozens to the list.
The stories that we told the most when we ran into people willing to humor us as we talk about indescribable experiences are the ones that I know I will never forget. Honestly, I cannot wait to go through all my pictures and laugh and smile as they remind me of all the unbelievable things I saw and did this summer.
In no particular order, Top ten best events of the summer:
1. Hiking Half Dome even though I almost didn’t make it but Jared encouraged me and waited till I stopped crying and started walking again.
2. Synchronous Fireflies in the Great Smokey Mountains and feeling so blessed that we happened to be visiting the park in the two week peak and happened to be camping in the right campground and happened to decide to figure out what everyone was doing that night.
3. Floating down Buffalo River even though I got burnt to a crisp.
4. Hiking Angels Landing in Zion National Park. (Zion is definitely one of my top parks)
5. Watching the sunset at the top of the sand dunes in Sand Dunes National Park. It was beautiful and hiking barefoot at night across the sand is an experience that is impossible to recreate in other national parks
6. Watching the sunrise on Cadillac (sp?) Mountain in Acadia National Park with Jared. From there we are the first people in America to see the sun in the morning.
6A. Looking at tide pools with Jared and seeing lots and lots of snails, one sea star, some “sea enemies,” and some sea urchins.
7. Visiting Seattle and seeing my family and my dad coming with us for a few days to Glacier National Park.
7A. Sitting on the porch at the Jhort’s house and listening to them play music as the sun set over the lake.
8. Mammoth Cave lantern tour. The whole thing. But mostly Molly Ford and Dave and the room filled with names.
9. Seeing Yosemite for the first time right after we drove through that one tunnel and the whole park opens up before your eyes and it being even better than Jared had talked it up to be all summer even though he kept talking about it all summer 🙂
10. Sequoia National Park, even though it was so cold, camping next to the river was fun. (It was a relief to get to Joshua Tree where it was so hot after that. And the coyotes were howling right outside our tent. They checked out our car but decided that it wasn’t interesting enough to them, thank goodness).
The more I write down the more I can think of. And there are so many experiences that I just don’t have the ability to put into words. You have to take this trip yourself to understand how amazing it is. And make sure that you get to Acadia because that park is beyond amazing.
Now I have a few days in Boston and then I am flying back home to Seattle. Jared left this morning after we went for one last breakfast at our favorite place, Zaftigs. He is heading down to DC to begin a mini road trip with some friends. But this time they’re all taking motorcycles.
I don’t know when I’ll see Miranda or Mike again, but Miranda said she is looking to live in Seattle possibly once she is done with grad school. Jared said he will probably be coming to Seattle in January to attend a conference and interview for jobs. Hopefully, this won’t be the last time I see either of them in person but I’m sure that our lives will overlap for years to come.
Many thanks to both of them and Mike and Keith and Ryan C. and Ryan B. and Hannah and Molly Ford and BJ and his family and the Wilsons and Anne and Scott and Travis and his family and my family and the Jhorts and Mrianda’s friends in NYC and Michelle T. and Ian and everyone else we bumped into and hung out with along the way. I am so grateful for everything and send lots of love to all of you.