We’ve been back in town for a few weeks. We have been catching up with friends and family. Everything is put away and the van is returned to it’s normal daily setup. Hannah begrudgingly went back to school. I’ve started back to coaching the FRC team and started back to work. We are also got Noah moved to Salt Lake City to start school at the University of Utah. I’ve been out on some epic mt bike rides with my buddies and Hannah and I have been out climbing. As always lots of things going on.
I was thinking through everything I was grateful for on the trip. It always comes back to the people along the journey and each other. First the opportunity to spend an entire summer adventuring around the west coast was amazing. I’ve definitely developed a stronger bond with Hannah and understand her better as a person. She’s taught me as much over this summer as I hope that I have taught her. I’m very proud of what she has done over the summer. Even in the few weeks since we’ve been back I continue to be impressed with her. She is an amazing person and I love that we have this experience together. I wish every parent out there could do something like this with their kids.
The people we met were far to numerous to mention. Here’s some that stand out because we’ve told the stories around meeting them many times already. The camp host at our campground in Utah that took it upon himself to find wild fire information for us. The ladies in our camp at Frenchman Lake that made sure we were well fed and taken care of after a hard day in the saddle. The fellow bike travelers we met along the coast of California sharing stories, meals and instant friendship. Our Warm Showers hosts always have a special place as they open their house to us and we get to know them. Our guide at Smith was an amazing person to spend the day with and affected us for the rest of the trip. Craig, Kerry, Kelsey, Kurt, Rachael and Rocco were a huge part of our summer. I can’t express how much that meant to us to be adopted into their family. We had outstanding people along our travels that became part of the story and will be what we remember the most.
It’s extremely difficult to say what my “favorite” is for the trip. So let’s go for highlights. Hiking Half Dome at Yosemite is definitely an experience I will always remember. It has been on my list of stuff to do since I found out about it. Getting to do that with Hannah was amazing! Climbing at Luther Pass was super cool and a proud Dad moment as Hannah was finding her stride in lead climbing in such a beautiful area. Riding mountain bikes on the beach and chasing sea gulls. Riding into Kirkwood Lake was cool and Kirkwood was definitely up high in my list of favorite camps. The ice cream at Sno-Flake in South Tahoe. The ride up 395 wasn’t necessarily the prettiest but it was a fun day because we had super wide shoulder, easy riding and we had fun finding license plates on the road that day. Jumping off McCloud Falls and swimming on the way into Shasta because it was not planned and Hannah surprised me by taking the plunge. The ride along the Scott River. Meeting Pacific Crest trail hikers as all of us traveled north. Riding up into Jebediah Smith Redwoods state park. The first day on Highway 1 and popping out of a canyon to see the Pacific Ocean and the ocean cliffs. The daily coastal fog that chilled us to the bone. Sitting on top of a spire looking out over Smith Rocks and Oregon. Climbing up Theater of Shadows with Hannah, doing our first multi-pitch climb together as a team.
I think the hardest day we had on the bike was our ride from Milford through Susanville and up to the rest area on highway 44. We were riding out of Susanville late that day and it was super hot. The climbing out of Susanville in the heat was brutal. Then add on some headwinds, lack of water, no shade due to wild fire scars and a decent number of miles made it tough. The hardest day of hiking I think was our hike up Angel’s Landing in Zion. It was early in our trip and I don’t think we were really prepared for the heat of the day. The hardest day of climbing was probably our second day at Smith. Just because heat, sandbagged ratings and we were tired and not on top of the game.
It’s been an amazing summer. I am truly blessed to be able to spend this time with Hannah doing things we love. We will both be forever affected by these experiences and people.