I want to write so much about my recent trip. I wish you knew how strange it feels for me to call it a 'trip'. I want so badly to rip my heart out and hand it to every single reader and have them feel everything that I felt for three and a half weeks, and for awhile before that, too. I want to tell you about how my mom got so mad at me that I thought we would never speak again. I want to tell you about how hard I cried and how a lump still rises in my throat when I think about Giselle saying very softly "I'm sorry. She should be proud of you." I want to tell you about how I got some of my climbing confidence back after leading a few routes at The Pit in Flagstaff. I want to tell you how scared I was to down-climb because I ran out of quickdraws. I want to tell you how hard it is to sleep when you're too cold. I want to tell you how many times we tried to make pour-over coffee work for us. I want to tell you I spent 21 days with the same person, every waking and sleeping moment, and how much fun everything was. I want to tell you about how we ate an entire block of cheese and then went for an 11 mile run and I wish you could have felt my heartbeat when I left Joshua Tree because uncertainty was flowing through my veins. I want to tell you how many texts and Facebook messages I ignored from people of almost every part of my life because I didn't have any sort of answers to any sort of questions. I want to tell you about how when people ask what my favorite part is, I have no idea how to answer, because mostly what comes to my mind is how unsure I was of myself and of the world around me; yet in the moments outside of those times I was so confident in every word, thought and physical action. It wasn't as though I was in two different places at the same time, but rather bouncing back and forth so violently that I could only plan my life one hour at a time, because I wasn't sure how I was going to feel or what I was going to think the next day. Most of all, I wish you could feel how hard I laughed, or how badly it stung when I relentlessly licked my chapped lips.
I want to tell you how important music is to me, because I know it's just as important to you. I want you to know that every time I hear the song Indian Summer by Jai Wolf, I'm hit with one thousand memories from our trip. It hits so hard that I actually feel like my skin is still dark from the desert sun, my forearms are still tight from climbs, my body still feels exhausted at night from truly trying, Giselle and I are still laughing and rapping and talking about living life outside of everyone else's. I'm still staring out the window as we drive across the desert and wondering how long the Jet Boil fuel will last us, and we're still asking each other "What day is it? What time is it? What's the date? Is it still October? I can't remember where I put ____. Where is the ____...? When was the last time we showered? Can I use your toothpaste?"
In real and present time, she just sent me a video from her phone of part of the trip. We got to Crested Butte when it was dark, and we drove my car through a large puddle, it's depth still in question. And it's hilarious. And I already forgot about it. I completely forgot about the moment I thought I had fucked my car up, when we were only 6 hours into our road trip.
That was exhausting. I knew that I was going to come back to Denver quite quickly after I left. In fact, I told Giselle and one other person immediately. I had a date set and I had the end of a plan, or beginning of a plan, worked out in my head and in my finances in a matter of moments. I was leaning against the front of my car while Giselle set up her tripod for night photos, watching the sun sink as the mountains of Ouray towered above us in every direction and the lights of the small town started to spark below. I had my right foot crossed in front of my left, and as my right hand rubbed my chin and lower lip I said "I'm going to write a book. I think I have to." And as my eyes shifted to the right to see her direct reaction, Giselle flawlessly replied with "I think that's an incredible idea. You should. You don't live a normal life."
So that's what I'm working on. All of the time. I'm also working up an article right now that I think is a lot of fun, and separate from the book, and I'll still keep trying to publish smaller work. But that is what I'm up to. That is one of the very huge things I am up to. The second is training to break the Fastest Known Time on the John Muir Trail in August 2017. The third is unpublishable.
photo credit: Giselle Fernandez
"What comes after an incredible road trip with your best friend? Anxiety. Yesterday, Kelsey and I completed 11 days on the road from Denver to Crested Butte to Ouray to Arches NP to Canyonlands NP to Horseshoe Bend to Flagstaff to Joshua Tree NP. I am overwhelmed with the desire to save all the memories we made from the things we said and did and all of our jokes (because we are hilarious). I want to remember even the most seemingly insignificant details, like using water gallons for tent stakes or munching on a block of cheddar cheese through the desert car ride. We had some breakthrough ideas and we had some useless ideas (cue failed filtered coffee moment). And as I come to accept that I’ll forget a lot of special moments from this trip in the coming years, I am comforted with truly knowing I will never forget how I felt through it all."
Follow Giselle on Instragram @gisellewanders to see the full post of the above quote.