This week I discovered that although my home is in North Carolina and my heart is in Hawaii, my soul belongs in Colorado. I’ve spent the last week at a camp with people from across the world, each of us drinking in the sight of the valleys and mountains. I could try to tell you all about each day, relaying the funny stories, my favorite moments, and everything in between, but it would take me days. I feel as though I’ve lived an entire lifetime over the last week and trying to give you that same feeling would be nearly impossible. So I’ve decided to share with you the letter I wrote to my best friend, who is currently enduring bootcamp at the Coast Guard Academy. I figured that my letter to him was the best kind of summary I could give. So here it is:
Hey there REW!
Gosh I can’t believe it’s only been a little over a week since I’ve seen you! I feel like it’s been a lifetime. I spent all day yesterday trying to get home from Colorado and wishing I could talk to you, the one person to whom I wanted to tell all my stories. I don’t know how to include everything; all the days and awkward moments and every time I wished you were hiking beside me without writing a small novel, but I’ll try to keep it brief.
I said you would love Colorado before I went off the grid and that couldn’t be more true. As the designated photographer for the week, I was constantly just spinning with the camera, trying to capture everything, and hardly being able to do so. It was like there was no way to get the right shot because what I got on my camera didn’t look nearly as ridiculous as what I was seeing out my window. The warm days were filled with clear skies, crisp clouds, and snow-streaked mountains while the chilly nights brought the same constellations you and I looked at just a few weeks ago on that creaky old dock. There were a few nights I found myself quietly sitting on the wooden stairs overlooking the valley and smiling because I felt like you were right there too; counting the satellites and poking me when you saw a shooting star. Reid, Colorado has some of the clearest nights I’ve ever seen.
One day we went up the side of the valley, summiting the 11,000 ft mountain just beyond the stretch of cabins. I spent that hike pushing myself because I couldn’t wait to get to the top. (Between you and me I really just wanted to stop and eat the candy and chips I brought in my backpack.) When we finally reached an elevation that barely allows trees to grow, I was looking at snowy ridges and the Continental Divide, which seemed to be within reaching distance. I felt like I was in Narnia.
Day 4 brought western night where we partied like it was 1892. I got to break out the overalls and the bandanas I’d been hiding all week! We painted on the freckles and grabbed the cotton candy, ready to square-dance the night away. It was one of those nights that never really ended.
One day we got up really early to go horseback riding. I had to be up, dressed, and in a pleasant mood at about 6:30am so we could be at the horses and ready to ride by 7. (As you know, this was no easy task..but I managed.) We took these horses up the side of the mountain, feeling the cold of a Colorado July biting into our knuckles. Once we reached a stopping place, one of the wranglers made breakfast for us; smoky campfire breakfast. (As it turns out, pancakes made over a campfire are better than the ones I make.) My horse’s name was Stonewall and he had quite a little attitude. I don’t know why I always get THOSE horses. Stonewall ate everything they didn’t want him to and ignored me beating him. I’m pretty sure he looked at me and thought “I’m so much stronger…you should just stop trying.” His name was very appropriate.
On the 4th of July, we also did Christmas in July. They served milk and cookies while everyone took pictures, had people dressed like Santa, and had the whole camp decorated. Just hours before, we had all been jumping into the lake and just a moment later we were dressed in sweaters and reindeer antlers. I was seasonally confused.
I’ve included some photos so you can have a taste of what my week looked like. Oh and here are your postcards. You can keep some just as pictures if you’d like, but make sure you send some to your momma before too long.
But enough about me! I want to hear from you! You probably don’t know this, but the Academy made a video of R-day and you’re in it like seven times (which means I’ve seen them yelling at you and your sweet lil haircut and you squaring those corners.) You’re looking pretty good!
I can’t wait to hear from you, REW!
I love you and I’m so proud of you,