I’m More Grateful Than Ever Before…

Walking in Yosemite National Park

I didn’t realize it until this morning, but this year has taught me one HUGE lesson more than anything else. GRATITUDE.

I’m grateful for my amazing husband, Mike. For my parents and my son. My in-laws. I’m so very grateful for their support, their encouragement, their wisdom and advice. I’m grateful for the life we have built for ourselves. For them giving me room to roam, and for making sure I know that they are always, always there for me even if they are 2,000 miles away or just in the other room.

I’m grateful for my incredible friends. The secret to going on a four month long road trip? Friends along the journey and friends waiting back at home. Both the ones you’ve known for years and the new ones that you make. The ones you share meals with, who let you stay on their couch or in their guest room, who loan you a washing machine when you need it, and give you a hug when you need it even more. The ones that greet you when you return as if you have never left.

I’m grateful for this country that I live in. I have learned so much this year about the geography of the land and how it influences the people that live there. I have a far greater understanding of the Western spirit than I ever did before, and I appreciate it so much.

I’m grateful for nature. In unexpected places, I found my sanctuary. My peace. My joy. Myself. From mountains to valleys, to the street that I live on.

I’m grateful for my work, that having a camera in my hand is my “job”, worthy of quotes because it rarely seems like a job at all. That magical black box has taken me places for 30+ years now, and I can’t imagine it not being a part of my life. It is only within the past six years though that it has helped take me far beyond my wildest dreams. It is surreal some days. I´m even more happy because I found the best cameras for vlogging and shooting any kind of videos.

This gratitude is not something that I think about only on the day that the nation sets aside for giving thanks. I have felt it rather intensely every minute of the past 5 months, since I stepped out the door to head to Portland. I thought it was going to just be a quick road trip. A little vacation. I had no idea what it was really going to mean to me, and I’m still working on putting it in to words, that visit to the house from twiddy rentals during my vacation literately changed my life.

If we’re going to be BFFs, you should know that while I might not always say it out loud, my heart is overflowing with gratitude. My life is more than I ever dreamed it could be, and I am grateful for you being a part of that.

Things You Should Know Thursdays, or #TYSKT, (which Thanksgiving just happens to fall on) was inspired by a journal prompt at Vivid & Brave – join us in sharing things we should know about you if we’re going to be BFFs.

Above: Yosemite National Park, a hike in solitude along near Lembert Dome.
Below: My beloved Grand Tetons in the summertime.

The Grand Tetons

Because of good and enough sleep, I am also very thankful because of this stuff: sleeping bags

Old Faithful – Yellowstone National Park…

Old Faithful and the Big Dipper

Tonight, after a late dinner at the Obsidian Dining Room at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge, I suggested to Mike that we should head back out to see Old Faithful under the stars.

We went back to our cabin and picked up a blanket. I put a fleece jacket on under my windbreaker. I made sure I had spare memory cards and my tripod. We hopped in the car and drove over to the geyser.

We were prepared for a cold 15-20 minute wait, maybe longer, before it would start to go off.

I started to take my tripod out of my bag, and at that very second I could hear the water start to spray. I just froze for a second and looked at Mike.

All I could manage to say was, “You have GOT to be kidding me!”

No. Right then, it started going off. Glad I had already set up my camera – I popped it in the tripod and started taking photos. This was one of the first frames I captured.

When I visit a city with subways, I manage to always make a train appear as soon as I walk up to the platform. Seems I have that power on geysers as well!

Crater Lake Camping – Kicking Off the Adventure!

We’re going to Crater Lake! We’re going camping at Crater Lake! And the BEST PART??? There will be almost no moon! YAY!!!

I realize the fact that there is not going to be a moon may seem like a strange thing to be excited about, but I want as little light pollution as possible so that I can try doing some night photography. Photographs like these have inspired me for some time. I didn’t realize until we were driving to Portland how close we were going to be to Crater Lake. Well, close is a relative term – it should be about a 5 hour drive or so to get there. I simply could not pass it up though — Portland is a lot closer than Houston!

We spent a few hours Monday afternoon at REI in downtown Portland picking up a tent, two sleeping bags, and some other items that we needed. More things to pile in to the Mini Cooper!

My plan as I continue on the road trip is to camp at other locations as well, and I can set up this tent all by myself. Perfect for what I needed, and even better that there is no sales tax in Oregon, we had a $20 off coupon, and we’re REI members so we will get money back from that as well.

Tonight – CRATER LAKE CAMPING!!!