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Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life.

Michael Palin

Filled with wanderlust, my darling has done a great job of planning trips with varying lengths and energy level requirements this past year. While I’ve not officially checked the stats*, this year seems to be the most adventure-filled yet.

*Homework for Jay to research?

We booked a long weekend to visit Estes Park, Colorado in July. We planned to take advantage of cheap airline flights to test how we performed hiking at higher elevations. Unfortunately a medical issue over the July 4th weekend meant we had to scale back our itinerary. I felt grateful to be able to still visiting Rocky Mountain National Park, despite the disappointment of the lost opportunity. I tried to make the best of things, picking out the shorter hikes to substitute at the last minute.

The new plan bought Jay enough time to recuperate from his hospital stay, in my view at least. Jay still wanted to tackle the bigger hikes. In hindsight, he was probably right. He did better on the trails than I did. However, I insisted on a better safe than sorry approach. We can always find those $50 flights again and revisit the trip. The long-term consequences of pushing the limits of someone’s health – especially while out in nature with sketchy cell phone service – just aren’t worth the risk.

We didn’t know how the altitude would affect me. Actually, I’m still not sure if the altitude got to me, fatigue (from the mental load on me during his hospital stay), or lack of proper fuel (#snackzRlyfe). 

Photo taken by me, pouting on a rock, knowing I’ll hate myself if I don’t get at least a few photos.

By the time we reached Dream Lake, only a couple of miles into the hike, I couldn’t enjoy the beauty of the area. When Jay wanted to continue to Emerald Lake, I followed, but begrudgingly. He insists that these lakes rank among the best hiking views we’ve ever visited. 

I didn’t care. I felt bad, yet couldn’t pinpoint why. I still can’t put words to it today. Then my lack of ability to enjoy something so beautiful made me feel even worse. Doing something I love, with someone I love, in an enchanting location. Who doesn’t enjoy that experience? Shocking no one who’s ever experienced self-condemnation, shaming myself only made the situation worse. My misery didn’t ease up until we headed back down the trail.

I did allow myself to enjoy these little guys as they scurried on the trail and into the nearby creek.

Eventually, I snapped out of it. A rainstorm came while we came off the trail. After taking shelter at the shuttle stop, we walked back to and around Bear Lake before departing the area. Jay picked out a great spot for a late lunch. And after filling my belly with pizza and a novelty beer (Death by King Cake), I turned my attitude around and enjoyed the rest of our visit to the part later that afternoon.

This prompt is part of February’s Write 28 Days challenge. While I’m well past the mark of writing about all the prompts in the month of love, I’m committed to finishing up the series. I hope to use the prompts to write a bit more about our travels this summer.