A few weekends ago (probably about a month now) A and I went back to RMNP for some fall leaf peeping/fall foliage color change. Little did we know, it is also elk rutting season and all campgrounds were so full we almost (what it boils down to is that we were super lucky to get a walk in site) had to turn around and drive the three hours back home (which would have put us back in the Springs around midnight)! We spent much of Saturday hiking a trail leading to Long’s Peak. We didn’t summit the peak but rather stopped at a lake near the place where the trail spit. I can’t remember the name of the lake, but it was so worth the 4.5 mile hike to get there. The entire day was gorgeous and tiring and we didn’t do anything else except the hike, photographing the aspens as much as we could since they are beautifully golden when the sun sets, hitting the leaves just right, and a little elk watching before retiring to the tent.
I was reminded of something on this trip. Slapped in the face really. After eating lunch at the lake, A decided to jump in for a refreshing swim. I overheard an older man there say something along the lines of ‘You only live once. When are you going to get to experience this again?’ to his group. I thought on that. I wanted to jump in to, to experience this. We were starting to pack up when I got that ‘feeling’ in the pit of my stomach. It was now or never.
[Aside: Sometimes, I get that ‘feeling’ in the pit of my stomach and when I ignore it, I regret doing something or not doing something. I didn’t want this to be one of those times. Have you ever gotten that?]
So I striped down and waded…ever.so.slowly into the ice-cold-heart-stopping-water. And promptly got right out. It was freezing. I am glad I got to experience this. I hope that in a few years when we (maybe) move on from this state, we can fondly remember the time we jumped into the lake near the summit of Longs Peak.
The lesson that slapped me right across the face? This was a special experience, for me and A to share and not necessarily anyone else. It doesn’t need to be posted all over the internet, on my blog, on Facebook etc. This is a memory meant for the heart, not to be pix-elated somewhere. Why did I need to be reminded of this? I got really upset when A didn’t get a good picture of me in the water. After all, I got one of him! I was so upset, I wanted to go back to the lake (we weren’t too far away yet) to get back in just so A could take a picture of me dunking in. It was then that A turned to me, “I did it for the experience Caitlin, not for the picture.” Wow. Yes. And it stung.
But it gave me something to think about. And I have been thinking about it since it happened. Every experience I have doesn’t have to be about taking a picture to post on this blog; yes, pictures are great and I like to take them but I had forgotten that part of trying to live my life with intention is to enjoy it and not be worried about getting the perfect shot. I am still learning this and I hope I never really lose sight of it again.