A simple message with a powerful meaning. The purpose of my solo road trips is to get off the bus of life, but sometimes I can get lost in staying in the car. This Love Myself a Bit More Tour gifted me with the opportunity to actually meet my pen pal of 2 years. He lives in Spearfish, SD where I have never visited. We became pen pals during my Tree Hugging Tour of 2015 when I was considering staying in his Airbnb. It just did not work out, but be became friends instead.
He pointed me in the direction of an amazing hike for my short stay in Spearfish. Along the way to Harney Peak I did my usual drive by shooting with my camera. The hike was challenging and breathtakingly beautiful. I came home physically tired, but emotionally refueled. When my pen pal arrived home, he invited me to explore the canyon hikes that only locals would know. Yet what he told me was that we were going to get off the bus. This profound mantra was a recommendation given to him on his journey in Alaska. A fellow traveler told him while on the bus trip that in order to get the full experience you have to get off the bus. That message stuck with him and now it sticks with me.
Getting off the bus with my pen pal was spectacular. To start being a passenger in this beautiful land was wonderful. The dog and I were hanging our heads out of the windows looking wildly around at spectacular scenery. We pulled over just off the road and headed down a small path. We climbed up rocks and makeshift ladders to reach a view of the canyon that melted my heart. Lying down on the rocks looking over the ledge has never been so fun. I thought we might be done for the day, but no.
When someone asks me how my legs are feeling, my eyebrows raise as I wonder what exactly they are trying to get at. My legs had recovered from my earlier hike, so I thought. I raised my shoulders and said, “I am only here one day so let’s go. YOLO!” Off we went to hike trail old 76 with a spectacular view. In order to get to that view my melted heart and lungs had to wake back up and kick it into gear. Oh and my legs were on fire by the time we got to the top. Gratitude for not showering after my morning hike washed over me. Drenched in sweat with my heart beating in my ears while my calves burned I stopped to take in the view. Wow! There was a sign at the top posted “Do not go beyond this point.” No problem, my body was saying the same thing to my mind. Getting off the bus is truly wonderful. Descending the mountain felt amazing. Hardship is all a matter of your starting point. The only way to enjoy the downhill fully is to have put in the hard work to get to the top.
I left Spearfish the next morning after a night of story sharing. I look forward to returning to this part of the country and visiting my pen pal again so we can get off the bus.
Advocate of getting off the bus