It seemed like a good idea in January. When I was sitting with my notebook brainstorming and planning things for my new year, month by month, determined to have a year of personal growth. I wanted to go on a trip. Anywhere in the world, really. I researched and researched. I wasn’t even sure what would interest me. Then I found the perfect trip to Iceland this summer. I was so excited and then I found out that evidently many other people also considered it the perfect trip, and it was sold out. Back to the drawing board. Eventually there was only one trip that fit into my schedule and my interest–a week hiking and camping in Death Valley over spring break! I had been briefly in Death Valley this last August and I absolutely loved it. I had hoped to come back, perhaps in the springtime when I might see flowers in bloom, and the temperature wouldn’t hit 120 degrees as it did when I was there.
I leave next Monday for Las Vegas. On Tuesday morning I will meet a group of ten strangers and two guides and we will pile into a van for the three hour drive to Death Valley. One week! I have one week to get ready! I have been trying to lose wight, and rehab some injuries all the while exercising to get stronger. I am biting my nails with nervousness now. My daughter, who last summer backpacked the Kerry Way in Ireland, assures me that I will probably never feel really ready.
My mind races–what if this, what if that? Do I have enough socks? How about first aid supplies? What if I sit on a snake? What if they are all men and I have to keep sheepishly asking them to wait while I trot (yet again!) off to relieve myself? And no cell phone service for a week! No being able to share pictures and thoughts with my loved ones at home.
I tell myself to calm down. I’m sure it will be a transformational experience. If I am lucky they will still be having a super bloom when I arrive. I expect to feel culture shock when I return to civilization. Meanwhile, excuse me while I sit surrounded by my gear I am trying to figure out: my hiking poles, my day pack, my hydration system, how to layer successfully for 96 degrees in the day and down to the 40s at night, my new watch with its alarms I must set, and my camera. As the shirt that they sent me says “Dream big, then go.” One more week…