Altitude

white airliner wing on top of sea clouds
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We were more than three quarters of the way to our destination when the shimmering peaks of the Rockies met our gaze. The seemingly desolate and flat landscape abruptly rose out of the earth without warning, raising up to meet God for as far as the eye could see.

That’s our future home.
We will take our daughter to those peaks.
We will hike, make s’mores, get dirty, swim in lakes, and soak up all the beautiful range offers.

I pressed my nose against the window. Ridges and crests wound their way around ancient rock and dirt.

***

There are times in life when you’re unsure of your next move, both figuratively and literally. It could be while rock scrambling atop a questionable pass, or deciding where to raise your unborn child.  The second my eyes connected with the Rockies, the months of research made sense. The hours, weeks, and days we poured into determining whether or not we could uproot our life on the east coast and start anew—yet again, on the eve of welcoming our daughter into this world was almost too much to process on the bumpy plane.

It’s seems cliche but one look and I just knew. It was visceral and intense. It was home. This was where we’re meant to be. Snow capped mountains that rival only the Sierras, were calling out to us. If we didn’t seize this opportunity, I wasn’t sure we’d get another. It was time for a new chapter, and maybe some new hiking boots. Whatever required, we were ready.

Adventure & Motherhood

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Adventure is something I crave. My husband and I love exploring this grand planet God created. We are risk takers. Adventure looks different though, now that I’m a mother.

When we hiked pre-motherhood, my biggest worry was whether or not I took any decent photos to document said adventure. Now? Now, I don’t have enough hours in the day to list all the concerns and worry that cloud my mind more often than not.

One advantage of hiking is being forced to be present. It’s hard to enjoy the beauty surrounding you, if you’re constantly focusing on unrealistic “what if’s.” Nevertheless, I’ve accepted that some of this worry is inevitable and part of the parenthood package.

A few weeks ago, we went to Rocky Mountain National Park. I was so stoked, as I’d been looking forward to that day for months. I was Googling “how soon can I hike?,” while still pregnant what seemed like only weeks ago.

I checked the diaper bag several times before we left, even though I packed it the night before. My daughter had enough diapers and clothing for several blowouts. Clearly, I was ready. When we reached the trailhead, I was unprepared for how cold it felt versus what my Google’s weather report had told me. How could it be so icy? Where was the trail? Where are my gloves? How could I forget such a basic item?

Cold air aside, not long after beginning I was completely taken over with the fear of falling. My husband was wearing the baby carrier, so I only had myself to worry about but even so, I was terrified. What if I fell and brought down all of us? What if someone ran into us and pushed us over the mountain? These weren’t rational fears.

But, when is fear rational?

We pressed on, and I tried desperately to push these scenarios to the farthest corner of my mind. After all, we didn’t drive 3 hours, stop twice to feed my wailing baby, and then wait for an hour on the side of the road for the road to the trailhead to be re-opened, just for me to be paralyzed in fear the entire hike.

So, I made it a point to look around me. When I did this, I was astonished by the beauty that surrounded the four of us. Were the leaves this rust amber every fall? Did the lake always form a reflective solid barrier when the weather dipped below freezing? Is that the entire mountain staring back at me in the lake? There was so much beauty, far more beauty than fear, so I pressed on. Instead, I thought about how I’d tell my daughter about this day, when she is older. Tell her how her mom braved sheets of ice, just to prove that we don’t have to live in a bubble of fear. We have you, and that is an adventure I’m intent on embracing.