The Fear of The Oxbow Lake

What if I come back and I am just another guy? What if I return and I am just a reminder of a time that existed three years ago, but is now irrelevant and forgotten? What happens when I can’t fit into a puzzle I am no longer a piece to?

For someone fairly confident about the decision to come back to his home country, I am still only human. I think one would expect questions like the ones listed above to careen through my mind at blistering speeds. Questions that cause damage to my calm and to my surety. As if there wasn’t enough to think about before leaving, I can throw on a heaping pile of insecurity about the place I called home for most of my life.

Continue reading “The Fear of The Oxbow Lake”

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HBD or Hike Before Death.

Lately, with the beauty and wonder of the New Zealand countryside at my disposal, I have been inspired to seek out hikes. I am slightly transparent when it comes to hiking. If a friend of mine was stuck on the side of the road in need of help, but at that exact moment I also got an enthusiastic call from another friend telling me that the caravan for a hike was about to leave….well, my other friend better have an AA card (AAA for Americans). I’m being facetious…kind of.

Also with the fact that I am leaving at the beginning of the new year for my country of birth, I have started to see opportunities for hiking everywhere. Urban hiking, day hikes, 5 hour hikes, multi-day hikes, mountain hikes, camping trips, road-trips TO the hiking destination. It doesn’t matter. Lately I have even been going on hikes on my own, which has actually been incredible. I want to soak up as much of this incredible country as I can before I leave.

This got me thinking along a very specific train of thought. I started thinking about ALL the great hikes. The spots that cause you to stop walking, look in front of you, and take deep breaths. Spots that need no camera because they leave a lasting imprint on your life. It’s places like these that I want to fill my time finding. If I am to have a hobby, then this is my craft. The hike is my vehicle, and the trail is my highway. Let’s get lost.

So what ARE the great hikes.” one may ask. The answer: Too many. Here is a list of the places I want hike before I die. Starting geographically South and going North. Once you reach the bottom, I’ll sum everything up.

CALIFORNIA (side note: I want to do the entire Yosemite Valley)

Half Dome Yosemite

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El Capitan Yosemite

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UTAH

Bryce Canyon National Park

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Springville Overlook

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Fisher Towers

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Angels Landing Zion National Park

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Mesa Arch Trail

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OREGON

Neahkanhnie Mountian

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Canyon Beach

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WASHINGTON

Mt. Baker

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Noble Knob

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The Enchantments

he Enchantments called Colchuck Lake.

Chikamin Ridge

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Blanca Lake

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CANADA

Cheakamus Lake, BC

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Banff, Alberta

Lake Louise (since I was a boy, this destination has been a place I vowed to visit)

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Johnston Canyon

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NORWAY (one day, I hope to visit the country of my family’s origin.)

Trolltunga

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Kjeragbolten

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Geirangerfjord

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Preikestolen

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So there you have it. My HBD list.

The first few locations are recent additions from places that I have always longed to go, but never have. The locations in Canada and Norway in particular have sentimental significance to me. My father’s side of the family came from Norway and I have always been insanely curious to go there and experience my heritage. And Canada. I grew up knowing that my Dad had his first honeymoon in Banff, Alberta. Since I was a little kid, I have had this tourist pamphlet from the 80’s for Banff National Park. My little eleven year old self vowed that at some point in my life, I would go to this magical land that captivated me.

I don’t know how many of these I will cross off my list, but I think that it is good to have something like this in your life. What is life without a little adventure and something to look forward to? The Wild runs through my veins. Always has. Even living in flat Chicago all my life. I was born for the mountains. I live for the ascent.

Alright, time to cross a few off my NZ list. Until next time.