Southern Utah In Late October

Oh, Utah, you always exceed expectations.

This was our four visit to Utah and still she amazes us.

Below is a brief recap of some of the wonder and joys and discomfort we experienced during the three weeks we traveled in southern Utah.

  • Sleeping in late when camping at temperatures falling as low as 9F/-15C
  • Squirmed our way through a few slot canyons and scrambled through many other canyons
  • Watched a couple of female desert bighorn sheep trot across the P-J forest
  • Skirted around a sun-bathing on slick rock rattlesnake
  • Spooked a jackrabbit in rabbitbrush
  • Hiked past a herd of female mule deer and startled one great big buck
  • Watched the sun rise and set almost every day
  • Was serenaded by canyon wrens and nuthatches
  • Found Ancestral Puebloan ruins, petroglyphs and pictographs
  • Read books by headlamp
  • Ate a lot of oatmeal breakfasts, Luna bars and trail mix for lunch and dinners of rice and beans
  • Wished upon a shooting star; marvelled at many more
  • Found free showers
  • Ate lots of cookies while sitting on rocks
  • Drank litres of tea
  • Found frozen waterfalls
  • And we met a dog that purrs. And no. That is not a typo. A dog that purrs!

All in all it’s been a good few weeks.

#thesimplelife

Lupus Is A Bully

“My spirit is broken.”

This is what I told my specialist the other day.

Some might say that’s dramatic, especially since I appear to have such an awesome life.

It’s true. I have a great life. I get to spend the majority of my time not working, playing outside instead. I paddle, hike, ski. I go on multi-week and multi-month backcountry trips. I have more time than most to saunter about in wild places.

And I have John in my life.

But having a lovely life doesn’t negate the struggles I face daily in coping with an autoimmune illness. I can have a good life and still struggle with depression. That doesn’t make me ungrateful though plenty have said that is the case.

I am well aware that when it comes to autoimmune illnesses I have it pretty good. It could be a lot worse. But losing the ability to do what I love most, to lose abilities I once held dear is jarring. It requires a whole rethink of how I see myself. It means finding joy in new things. It means mourning the loss of what was my identity.

If a person talks about struggles they risk being labeled a downer. A complainer. Ungrateful.

But it is just that fear of speaking of struggles that isolates us. And isolation leads to loneliness and the path beyond becomes darker. It leads into a realm that is even more forbidden a topic to discuss.

Instead of telling people to buck up, pull up your big girl panties, how about just listening. I post stories about lupus not for sympathy but because adventuring in the backcountry with an autoimmune illness means what was once easy will no longer be. It is isn’t possible to move through life without lupus influencing my day to day life so how can I possibly never speak of how she bullies?

Choices

So many people say things like, “I wish I was rich like you so I could take a summer off from work.” Or, “You’re so lucky to be able to go traveling.”
Neither of these statements are true.
Too many people fail to realize that John and I are not rich, we’re not lucky. We just make different choices than most. We do not own anything more than a few bins of gear and boxes of books. We live in a cabin without running water. I am nearly forty and have not yet bought a piece of furniture. I paid less for my station wagon than friends have paid for their mountain bikes. I do not need to attach my identity to a career or possessions.
For John and I, we deem time more precious than material things.
We choose to spend time outside instead of working towards owning things. This is how we afford to play outside. It’s about choices. It’s as simple as that so please stop assuming we’re privileged because neither of us have had the pleasure of knowing what that would be like. We work for our time, by working jobs and in the choices we make. I choose time to hike in the mountains than going to work so I can afford a luxury vehicle or buy a house that looks just like every one else’s beige home.

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