A few weeks ago I had the pleasure to be in the great state of Washington for a few weeks. A cousin’s wedding had drawn me there, and so I decided to take the opportunity to spend a few extra days enjoying some of the incredible gems that the state has to offer. We did a backpacking trip in the always spectacular Olympic National Park, and then spent a few days playing, camping and exploring Mount Rainier National Park before heading back to civilization.
On our last full day at Mount Rainier, the weather was perfect and the mountain was out! We decided to drive up to Paradise and check out the popular Skyline Trail Loop. When we got there, the parking lot, the visitor center, and the trail were all packed, in a way that didn’t make me more excited to get out there and get after it. My calves were killing me from the trip we’d done in Olympic, we were hitting it at the height of the midday heat, and the human interstate that was slowly making it’s way up the steep pitch towards the Glacier Vista all made me want to turn around, come back the way I’d come, and find a cool creek, a cider and a hammock to spend my afternoon with instead. I wanted to quit, and I tried to several times. I would have succeeded at bailing if it hadn’t been for my two true blue adventure buddies.
These two would not take no for an answer. They fished carrot sticks out of the daypack, conjured up an entirely bizarre conversation on Sasquatch (to keep my thoughts away from my burning calves) and urged me up the hill. Eventually, that initial hiking fuzziness wore off, and soon, the hike shifted from a laborious task to an amazing experience. We saw glaciers, volcanos near and far, waterfalls, wildflowers, the illustrious golden marmot, a black bear, a mountain goat and encountered some intensely aggressive chipmunks – which were first detected when one of my buddies realized that her finger was in somethings mouth.
It was an absolutely stunning day, a fantastic hike, and that afternoon turned into one of the most memorable days of the trip. And I had so nearly let it became just another day – an average day.
As we turn the corner into these last few weeks of summer, it feels a bit like it did that afternoon. It’s hot, there’s a certain easing off the accelerator that proceeds the return of the cold, and it’s easy to rationalize -“I’d rather take the hammock and the cider than the hike today – I’m over it.” But wherever this note finds you, I hope that you’ll rally in taking on the last few weeks of summer. Go after them with the fury and enthusiasm that you did in the first weeks when the trails were first starting to clear, or the water was just bearable enough to jump in. Knock off those bucket list items before the leaves fall and the snows fly. Tackle that backpacking trip, the camping trip, or the one giant hike that you’ve been talking or thinking about all summer.
Better yet, take that comfy hammock (or in my case – an inflatable pretzel) along with you on that backpacking trip – so you can enjoy it all – both the accomplishments and fruits of your determination in taking on the goal, with the relaxation and reflection you’ve earned.
Grab the last of summer and make the most of it, and appreciate and celebrate all the accomplishments that your season has added up to.
And before it’s over, before you’re heading down the road towards your next great adventure, make sure you grab those adventure buddies that didn’t let you quit or were by your side when you tried some brand new thing you weren’t quite sure of – and thank them for helping to make your summer all that it was.
If you haven’t had a chance to have a legendary summer adventure yet – believe it or not – I’m here to tell you that it’s not too late to fit it in this year!
There are still several opportunities to stretch your summer and head out to a wonderful new place for the experience of a lifetime! Come late summer when students head back to school, lots of employers in amazing places are looking for people to help them round out their season and help them get to closing time in the fall. Here at CoolWorks, we call it “toe-dipping” – and it afforded me an awesome 5-week stint in Bryce Canyon one September.
Send off an application today and you could be living it up exploring and enjoy the end of summer and the most magical season of them all – Fall – in a great place while there’s still time to break out the inflatable pretzel and get some summer swimming in!
Browse the Help Wanted Now page to stretch your season and grab a job for later summer & fall, or start making plans for Winter!