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Final thoughts on the Grand Adventures trip

Updated: May 12, 2022

Tuesday, 3 May 2022, Columbia SC airport

I'm biding my time in the Columbia airport, sitting in a rocking chair, looking at the cumulus clouds build outside, listening to a traveler play a tune on the piano installed in the terminal, feeling philosophic. Temps have risen to the high 80s - glad I don't have to paddle in this heat! So nice to sit and rest, not physically pushing myself through nature.

Who knows what the future will bring to my #60ways challenge? Congaree certainly defied any expectations I had for it.

The intensity of the experience will stay with me, the panic, the frustration, the elation (along with the camaraderie). Leconte Lodge lived up to its reputation, and meeting those physical demands raised my confidence.

The Bridge Walk

and the primitive cabin each provided their own big rewards,

a nice preamble to the big adventures. I thoroughly enjoyed all of them.

But what else can rival these adventures? Surely I will enjoy my first geocaching in Petrified Forest, and the helicopter tour of Badlands will awe me, but they feel almost vicarious, like I'll be a spectator instead of an active participant.

Not that thrilling adventures aren't on the docket. Dog sledding. Whitewater rafting. Kayaking in Lake Clark and Isle Royale. But I can't foretell from where my next adrenaline rush will come. And I'd be surprised if I booked such thrills back-to-back-to-back again. (Except for maybe in Alaska.)

As Sandy confided this morning, "Even though it was brutal out there, now that we're done, I would consider trying it again. At a higher water level, of course!"

I agreed - slowing our pace, spending the time to immerse oneself in wilderness, amplified the experience. I'll end with a quote:

To see takes time, like to have a friend takes time. - Georgia O'Keefe

Thanks, Sandy! Without you, none of this could have happened. (There - that sounds better than, "This was all your fault!" Right?) Getting the opportunity to spend such quality time with you - well, it's made me as happy as a Clark.

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