Roles return

My adventure trip to Arizona and Utah is complete.  I am now home, working and navigating life.  The goal of the trip was to take a break from many life roles and connect more with myself.  Those goals were accomplished and exceeded.  Time was spent with friends from my past trips and new friends were made along the way that I hope to see again on future adventures.  My heart and soul soared throughout the many hiked and driven miles.

After landing and getting into my car at the airport, the roles that I made an effort to leave behind were like passengers patiently waiting in the car.  I settled into the driver’s seat and as much as I tried to kick out some of the passengers, they stayed.  My role as a daughter spoke up first and demanded attention as I drove to the assisted living facility that my dad is calling home since the day after I left on my trip.

Being an Occupational Therapist allows me to look at the evolution of life and independence in an objective manner.  I am trained to seek solutions to bring joy and adapted independence into the last chapters of life.  Yet this situation is very different; it is my Dad; not someone I just met.  I went right up to his dinner table and wrapped my arms around him.  His eyes light up with love while his smile touched my soul.  I shared with him my trip pictures.  Mom and Dad did two cross country road trips 20 years ago.  We have both done the Angel’s Landing hike in Zion National Park, and this trip I hiked it again.  We sat together laughing about the exhaustion, fear and exhilaration of that hike.

Today was a good day for Dad so I took advantage of our time together to share gratitude.  It seems that I have a “gift”.  I tend to talk about really deep things which result in crying and laughing.  This would be one of those times where my “gift” came to life.  We went to his room where many wonderful pictures were hanging on the walls. Reminiscing on the great family times was easy.  I took it one step further and said, “Thank you for being my dad and making so many parts of childhood wonderful.”  I reminded him of the days when Farah Faucet was popular and Dad tried his hand at hair dressing when I was about 7 years old.  He took the blow dryer in one hand and a spiral brush in the other; the result was spectacular.  We danced around while my feathered hair flowed in the wind.

Bed time rituals were always a delight with Dad.  He made a habit of bringing a piece of jewelry to my bedroom when he said goodnight.  I don’t remember reading many stories together with Dad, but what he did share was magical.  He’d tell me the story of each piece of jewelry he had made or purchased for Mom.  The details were spectacular.  I learned about precious stones and how much he loves Mom.  I will cherish those memories forever.

Having the opportunity to say thank you in such a vulnerable way honored the deep connection between a father and a daughter.  I am so glad to have gone right to him and shared that kind of love!

Kristin Springfield

Hikes with Angels
Loving daughter

Visit the Womanly Journey Facebook page to view trip pictures!

Zion and a gift from the Universe!

Left to my original plans, I would have robbed myself of a spectacular day.  I can feel my legs cramping right now as I type this after almost 16 miles of hiking.  My fitness app congratulated me with the most active day to date.  I walked for 6 hours and only burned 1250 calories.  I have to laugh at that one. I burned off so much more than calories; deodorant, eye shadow, stress, and residual mental trash.  Erin, from Moab, had a cat and now has 2 cats.  I am still allergic and was getting sick of my nose running, sneezing and having a tightness in my chest. So I decided on a last minute change in plans to hit a few national parks, Bryce and Zion. Today I planned to sweat with God and work some stuff out.  I wanted to leave the remaining lingering bull shit from the men of my past in at the spot where Angel’s Land in this great park.  

After about an hour drive from my tiny “home” in Kanab, UT, I pull into the visitor’s center ready to jump on the shuttle to finish the ride and to start hiking. As I pull in and some dude gets out of the car next to me.  He’s all smiley like me so I say”Hi!” like I do to all happy faces I see.  My focus quickly turns to preparing my pack to jump on the shuttle.  Just then I notice that the shuttle is closed for the winter.  So, I wander into the center to see if it is safe to hike Angel’s Landing.  Not sure if there will be ice and snow.  There was snow all over the place at Bryce Canyon yesterday and there is no way I would hike to the Angel’s spot in ice.  I make it to the desk and smiley dude is there and leaves with another smile.  I chat for a few minutes with the Ranger excitedly as he explains that I get to drive to the spots rather than the shuttle.  Hot Damn!  

I am almost levitating to the car and there is smiley dude coming out of the restroom.  I look up to hear him say, “Hey there. Where are you hiking today?” I snicker and say, “No, you first.  Where are you going?”  Turns out we are both going to Angel’s landing.  I introduce myself and say “Let’s go, I will beat you there.”  He giggles and follows.  6 hours later we have hiked 16 miles and laughed so much that my cheeks hurt.  He was exactly what I needed to let the old stagnant BS go.  I did not spend one minute thinking about anyone.  I just simply enjoyed each moment, each step, each laughter.  We encouraged others along the way.  The smiles of fellow hikers in need of a pep talk were precious.  Dave lives in Canada, so I most likely will never see him again.  Which is completely fine with me.  I loved today and am grateful for the gift of kindness and friendship from God.  Of course it would take an attractive, funny, trash talking Canadian man for me to stay present.  Too funny!

Here’s to making new friends while enjoying Nature!


Kristin Springfield

Tree Hugger
Cheerleader of fellow hikers