A Little Moxie
by Launa Gray
I pulled into the campground in Idaho sometime after midnight, 6 hours later than I'd expected. The stars were so bright, encircled by a ring of the tallest evergreens I’d ever seen. I was waiting for the excitement of it to hit me, but the hours of driving in the dark had robbed me of all available energy to do so. Too tired to change, I crawled into the back of my adventure mobile and laid down.
I was proud: I had done it. I'd set off on my own, excited and nervous all at once. I was seeking a mountain adventure and was determined to find one. My destination: Glacier National Park.
A few things you should know about me. 1. I’m a raging extrovert, so when I planned a 10 day solo adventure, my friends guffawed. 2. I live at sea level so doing any activity at elevation was going to be interesting. 3. I have a freakish fear of getting mauled by a bear. So this trip, in known Grizzly country, was clearly within my comfort zone.
I had little to no plan, other than eat, sleep, run, (try not to get mauled by a bear) and repeat. Whether I would get a hot shower (or a cold for that matter) in my 10 days there was to be determined. Because I was headed to Glacier National Park during the first week of the year they were open, planning (or my lack thereof) was going to be a bit more precarious because of lingering snow. I realized I was playing Russian Roulette with my vacation, not knowing what was going to happen. I am not a fan of taking chances, especially when we’re talking about precious vacation time, so right away I knew the trip was going to be a challenge for me, both mentally and physically.
After finally arriving at the western entrance to the park, I realized other people also like beautiful lakes, and mountain settings…and cabins with heat. It. Was. Packed. Unable to deal with the crowds there, I continued to the East side of the park, hoping the snow had mostly melted enough so that the campgrounds were open.
I got lucky: my first choice campground was infact open and had available sites so I grabbed a spot and settled in. I wanted to get out as soon as possible to explore the area, so I changed and headed to the ranger station nearby to get an update on conditions. I quickly learned that most of the passes and peaks in Glacier, especially on the eastern side, were still snow covered. Regardless, there was no stopping me after my hours spent in the car so I headed out nevertheless, eager to explore this incredible landscape.
In the end I was able to find dry trails to run and mountains to climb and I even snuck in a “free” shower or two at a closed camp facility next to my site during my stay. I learned a ton about moving efficiently on all sorts of icy, snowy, muddy trails and, I must say, I had the time of my life doing it.
Without question I would say this solo adventure was one of the best trips I've ever taken. There were glacial lakes and snowcapped mountains, moose and wildlife along the way, and blue skies every day. That’s right: Every. Single. Day. The fact that places like these exist within driving distance of my house still baffles me.
I’m convinced you don’t need to be a crazy to dream big and make a trip like this a reality. What it does take is some moxie. Moxie doesn’t come from good planning, strong lungs, or big muscles. Moxie comes from the resolve to go. To do. To make. To see. To ask questions. To adventure. To seek understanding of oneself and the world around you. If you're reading this, go ahead and take a chance. Push yourself to do something a little extraordinary.
I promise you’ll thank yourself (and have many good stories too)...