I’ve grown up around nature my entire life. My dad says I’m spoiled because I’ve never had to live in the concrete jungle. And to be honest, I am OK with being spoiled.
I decided a few years ago to visit all of the Idaho State Parks. As a native of Idaho, who still lives in Idaho, I felt it was my responsibility to check this off my to-do list.
It was early in the summer season and the dogs and I decided to venture out on a hike that I had always wanted to do, but never got around to. Mostly because it was in my own backyard. And when you’re a traveler, you tend to travel away from your backyard. But this summer we made a commitment to stay in the area and explore all that North Idaho has to offer.
So I am going to admit something about myself. Sometimes I can become annoyed while hiking because the trails wind around the endpoint. Perhaps a little aimlessly in my opinion. I can see the end of the trail, such as a lake, but yet the trail continues, dancing around the end, not quite leading you there until several footsteps later.
Sometimes the beer world can be small. As I sat at Barbarian Brewery, 500 miles away from home, I ordered myself a tasting flight and glanced to the left as I waited. I locked eyes with a familiar face. But this face perplexed me as it made no sense to see this face 500 miles away from home. The face belonged to the owner of my local brewery. Then his brother appeared, the head brewer from the same local brewery. And then the manager of the same local brewery’s beer hall. We were all in town for the weekend and one thing was clear… we should have carpooled.
I heard the rumble of gravel as my hiking boot skated across the rocks. Gravity, like a bitch, began to yank me down to the ground. I heard a loud popping noise as my ankle flexed the wrong way. It was the kind of noise you never want to hear a body part make. As I continued to fall to the ground I thought to myself “this was it, I was going to break something today”
Let us step back to 2012 to the inaugural day of my first solo road trip. It was a warm sunny day when I arrived at the town of Polson Montana. A slight breeze created a twinkling ripple in the jewel-toned water. I navigated my truck, following the instructions of Samantha, my GPS, leading away from the main streets and the lake into a more residential area.
In the dark of night, the dynamite charges explode. Puffs of sparks and debris shoot out the windows and the building begins to lose its balance. Wobbling, as though it has become weak in the knees, knowing its final moments are near. The walls give way and floor after floor comes crashing down to the ground. It is the fate of many hotels in Las Vegas.
Sometimes there are benefits to traveling alone. Like when you arrive at a popular brewery and the wait is long… For some. When you are a solo diner, often your wait is not long. You can be squeezed into just about anywhere.
When I arrived at 10 Barrel Brewing in Boise this was the case. It was a busy Friday night in the heat of the dinner rush. A waiter whisked me away to a family style table and handed me a menu where I sat at the end of the table filled with strangers, who happened to also be beer lovers. At least we could use that to break the ice.
It was a night in early January of this year. I laid awake, tossing and turning for more hours than I was able to sleep. I had had an extra stressful week at work. In addition to that, I also had building pressure from financial woes that had been plaguing me for the last few months. If it could happen, it did. My refrigerator died on me, check. Unexpected car repairs, check. Trouble with my main heat source for my home during an unseasonably cold winter, check. Canceled my annual spring road trip due to reallocating funds to lame adult responsibilities, check. Pulled over for the first time and given a ticket, check.