The road always leads west.

I woke up to a pretty intense rainfall my last day in Yellowstone, so instead of heading into the park in crazy weather I spent all morning planning the rest of my time here in the US. Now everything has been booked and planned. I’m the most excited about my five days in Yosemite National Park in California, right before my parents arrive to San Francisco where we’ll meet up. I hope it’s as amazing as Yellowstone. At least there aren’t any grizzly’s, but more about that later. Oh, I also finally booked my plane ticket to Australia! So, so excited about that. I’ll leave Los Angeles on the 31st of August, and after a 14 hour plane ride land in Brisbane on the 2nd of September. That means I will never get to experience September 1st 2015, isn’t that weird?

The weather calmed down a bit after a while, so I got in the car and drove into Yellowstone. I soon saw that the cars in front of me had stopped, a clear sign of animals on or near the road. In front of the cars coming the other way, a huge bison was calmly walking down the road before he came over on my side.
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I was heading for the falls in the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, both the south and the north side. It was raining a little but not too bad, but I only brought my gopro in its tiny little waterproof case, so you won’t get a lot of photos. I did edit a film from the park though, which you can watch here.

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As I got back to the hotel I went on Facebook to like Yellowstone’s page, and the first thing I saw was that a man had been killed by a grizzly just the day before in the park. It was in a part where I luckily never went, but so extremely sad and scary. They think it was a mama grizzly and her cub that the man stumbled upon, which is probably the worst case scenario of anything you can come across. I’m so glad I never met a bear, and especially a grizzly in the park. Any other bear you can scare away, but not those… luckily there are no grizzly bears in California, which is where I’ll be hiking next.

But strangely enough, I still wanted to see bears before I left and as I headed west the day after I drove to Yellowstone bear world. There you can drive through a park filled with all sorts of animals, like a very rare white elk and of course a lot of bears. A lot of them were sleeping in the shade, but some of them were strolling around the park or playing with the other bears.
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One of the bears decided that the middle of the street was a great place to take a nap. Well, it was shaded so  completely understandable.
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They also had a petting zoo with bear cubs and other baby animals. You could not pet the cubs, but you were free to feed (with food you could buy there) and pet the other tiny animals.

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It was a fun trip, I’m glad I went. I also got to see how I measured up to a grizzly but I think the measurement must be off because I’m about 5″5, (165 cm), not that close to 6 feet!
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After bear world I was headed to the tiny airport in Idaho Falls to try to exchange my car. For some reason I had expected trouble and headed to the Alamo front desk as if I was headed into battle. I was so pumped up and ready to argue.

“I’m renting a car long term from you and the other day I got a crack in the windshield. I called and reported it and they told me I could come here and get a new one.”
“Let me check, okay we don’t have any small cars like that left so you’ll get a bigger car, here are the keys, have fun on the rest of the trip!”

Well okay maybe that’s not the exact words she said but basically. Wow. That was easy. Now I drive a slightly bigger and better Nissan sentra instead, and I love it! I took one look at her and decided that her name was Stacey.
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I drove to Twin Falls and the first thing I saw coming into town was a cinema! Excellent! Though I had seen almost all the movies playing, but Fantastic Four has just opened so why not? It was okay, but not much more than that. Ant-man was much better!
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Movie time is always popcorn time!

And my Monday consisted of driving across half of Idaho and half of Oregon to the city of Bend. It was a 700 km and 7 hour trip, and it gave me a lot of time for thinking and reflecting on my current situation. Like I said in previous post, I did such a stupid thing when I took this photo the other day.
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I never even considered that I was putting a lot of weight and pressure on my hand by holding myself up like that, but I’ve been paying for it ever since. I’m basically back to the amount of pain I was feeling back when I was in Savannah, a month ago. I’ve contacted SOS international in Denmark which I have to go through to get a doctors appointment here in the US, and hopefully I can get something next week when I’ll be in one place for five days. I’ve done a lot of research and to me it seems like it’s the extensor indicis muscle that’s injured. The muscle starts in the arm and goes up in the index finger. It still has a bump on it and it’s the only explanation I can come up with. I have no idea how injured the muscle might be or what you can do about it though, and I’ve only come up with this because of google but still. I’m still very sure that nothing is broken, at least not a bone. Though all of these are just guesses, I really have no idea. 

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It’s hard to capture in a picture, but the part where the muscle is located looks slightly swollen and when I clench my fist it turns into a bump. Well, I hope I can get an appointment soon because it’s so annoying that it’s gotten worse again.

And tomorrow I’ll reach the coast of Oregon. It really hit me today as I was driving, and I just burst into tears right there and then (and I’m crying as I’m writing this). For the first time in a long time I’m so upset that I’m not on my bike. I wanted to reach the coast on my bicycle, not by a stupid car. I had imagined this moment so many times, of seeing the Pacific ocean and dipping my wheels in the water as I had accomplished my goal of cycling coast to coast. I didn’t really expect me to have this reaction, it came as a total surprise today and I’m mad at myself for being upset. But I can’t help it. This adventure has been amazing, and I’ve experienced so many fantastic things. But right now I’m really upset about that car hitting me, and still being in pain. I’m upset that my dreams were crushed, but I’m not upset that they then turned into new dreams. I’m sure I’ll get over it very soon, but I need time to mourn what didn’t happen too. I’m allowed too feel things beside this insane happiness I’ve felt lately, and it’s completely okay.

Just because my dreams of cycling coast to coast didn’t happen this time doesn’t mean that it won’t ever happen in the future. I’m young, I have plenty of time to try again. I really hope I will.

And I’m still very much looking forward to finally seeing the Pacific Ocean tomorrow.

Yellowstone in my heart.

Oh my.

Yellowstone National Park. This place is just amazing. I was up really early on Thursday to get into the park in time, as I would be hiking up Mount Washburn. I had read that the parking would be filling up early so I headed for the gates at 7 in the morning, as I had an hours drive to the trailhead. The park was so peaceful that early, it was just me and the fog basically.
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Get there early they said. It will be packed they said. 

It was absolutely freezing in the park that morning, just 2 degrees celsius. The clouds were low and heavy but I wore my thick sweater for the very first time since the plane coming here, and my rain jacket so I was fine. Mount Washburn is one of the highest peaks in the park at 10243 ft/3122 m
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The trail up was so beautiful, and so quiet. It felt like I was all alone for most of the time, which was nice because I enjoy the silence, but scary because there are signs everywhere not to hike alone because of the bears. Oh well, I lived to tell about it… I did meet a couple from Minnesota on the way up though who I stopped to chat to. They were very nice!
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The hike up was beautiful, but so cold. As I got closer to the top the wind really picked up, and for a moment I almost wished I had brought my thicker jacket instead.
IMG_5558At the very top is a fire lookout station, one of three still active in the park today. A ranger is always there, keeping an eye on the park from above to spot wildfires.
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After I took this picture I did such a stupid thing. I took another picture where I held myself up with the poles and jumped, and it hurt so much in my hand to put that much pressure on it. It ached for hours that afternoon, and it still feels more sensitive than before I did that. So, so stupid. But that is how I learn my limits, not from someone telling me what they are. I will definitely not be doing that again. And the picture? It was blurry. 

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Once I got to the top I could take shelter from the wind in the tower luckily, and enjoy a snack break with a few other hikers who had made it there. We had a beautiful view of the entire park, and on a clear day you’re supposedly supposed to be able to see the Tetons more than a 100 miles (160km) away.
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I signed the guest book of course. Yes, I write like a small child.

I hiked back down again and by then the trail was getting very crowded. When I made it to the parking lot it was full, and someone was very happy when I left so they could take my spot. It was a 6 mile/10 km hike and including the snack break it took around 3 hours. After Mount Washburn I decided to head south on the road. Yellowstone basically have two circular roads, so you don’t have a lot of options. And as I was driving south I remember that the Transamerica Trail passes through Yellowstone, and yep, as I got to the very south I saw a few of them. I felt SO sorry for them. The road is really small with no shoulders and with lots of cars, the poor cyclists looked so nervous. I was NOT jealous as all, I would definitely not have wanted to ride there! (which I would have, had I not been injured. Lucky me I say!)
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My next stop was Old Faithful at the southwest point, which is the most famous geyser in the park. I was lucky and got there just 20 minute before an eruption. It usually erupts every 94 minutes, + – 10 minutes. There were so many people there, but everyone just sat quietly on the benches waiting for an eruption. So funny when everyone went WOW at the same time when it finally happened.
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Yes, that is boiling hot water. 

After that I drove up the west side of the park, but it was getting late and I was getting pretty tired. After a while my brain just can’t process any more things, so no matter how impressive I just can’t bother to care. That’s when I know it’s time to head home and recharge! But on the way back to the hotel I decided to stop at a place I had heard about first, the Boiling River.
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Saw this guy along the way. Another reason why I can’t understand how so many people are speeding through these parks, I’m scared enough as it is driving at the speed limit that one of these will jump out in front of the car, and some idiots are driving even faster.

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The boiling river is a place where two rivers meet, one freezing cold and one scalding hot. It makes it the perfect temperature in some places, but also not. It was so weird walking into the water and one half of your body was absolutely freezing, and half felt like it would be getting huge burns. Weird! And painful… let’s just say I didn’t spend too long in that river. I would actually have preferred to swim where it was just cold I think.

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Oh well, it was good anyway. Slightly smelly but good.

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I was in two places at once on the way home! The park is mostly in Wyoming, but the very top of it is in Montana, which is also where my hotel is. So I stopped and took this photo. Straddling the state line so I was in both Montana and Wyoming at the same time… yeah, I’m such a dork.

Friday morning I slept in for a while, before heading back into the park. I was going to hike up Bunsen Peak, which is the small mountain you can see in the background. It’s too bad that the air isn’t very clear, the mountains in the pictures below would look even more amazing if they were clearer.
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It was a fun hike, but pretty steep. Just switchbacks, switchbacks and switchbacks. A small snake slithered across the trail right in front of my feet as I froze right in a step. It was gone so fast that I didn’t even have time to take a picture though. It was dark and had a yellow stripe down its back, I have no idea what type of snake it was. (a quick google search tells me it might have been the non venomous common garter snake.)
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I enjoyed a snack at the top, and it wasn’t very windy luckily. And someone else wanted a piece of my snack too…IMG_5580 IMG_5607 IMG_5611
“I saw you putting a wrapper in the bag somewhere, it smells delicious, can I have it?” Chipmunks are so cute.
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But when I got back down, something had happened. I have no idea how or why, but my windshield had a huge crack in it. There was nothing indicating it when I left two hours earlier, so I really have no idea what might have happened and I got a huge shock when I got in the car. So annoying, but everything in my life has been so great recently that I guess something had to give… Oh well, I have called the rental company and reported it, and as I leave the park on Sunday I’ll drive by Idaho Falls and can exchange it there. So long Cherry Bomb… 
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The crack is right at the drivers side too, so typical.

But I drove around the park for a while anyway, and also did some souvenir shopping and had lunch. I’ve really tried to stay away from souvenirs on this trip but I love Yellowstone so much that I just had to!
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These signs are everywhere. I bought a bear bell to hang from my backpack that jingles and will alert the bears of my presence so they can leave before I even see them. A can of bear spray was INSANELY expensive but I carry regular peppar spray at least. 
IMG_5606I’m so glad I have another day in paradise, I mean Yellowstone, left. I’m so glad I decided to stay here longer than I originally intended, because it really has been a magical visit. I mean, Grand Canyon was cool, but out of all the parks I’ve visited so far it rates pretty low on my list. Yellowstone is definitely at the very top! This place is just so varied and beautiful, it has big open plains, big mountains, lakes and geysers and thick forests and so many different animals. Simply amazing. I would definitely recommend a visit here.

Next week I’ll be heading towards the coast! Even though I certainly have taken the long road, I will have made it coast to coast. I’m super excited about that, but I need to do some more research about things to see in both southern Oregon and northern California. I will gladly accept any advice!

Bikers and Men in the Mountains. 

On Monday I left Colorado behind, and headed first into Wyoming, but with the end goal of Rapid City, South Dakota. As soon as I crossed the border into South Dakota I realized that something was off. There was just SO many motorcycles on the road all of a sudden, so as I stopped to get gas I had to ask on of the bikers what was happening. I simply got the response “Sturgis” which I had no idea what that was. Apparently it’s a huge motorcycle rally and hundreds of thousands of bikers gather in the city of Sturgis and around the area to do some sightseeing and partying. Guess which town is closest to Sturgis? Yes, that’s right, Rapid City. No wonder it cost a fortune to stay in the area that night…

As I got closer to Mount Rushmore, the motorcycles just got more and more and I was so scared of hitting one of them. I looked both three and four times before switching lanes but they were seriously everywhere. Scary, but I bet it must be so much fun for them riding around with so many other bikers.

  
I got to Mount Rushmore, which was also filled with bikers. It didn’t take too long for me to get in though, I apparently came from the right direction because somehow I managed to kind of skip the line.


  
  George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Rosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. 
It was a lot of fun seeing Mount Rushmore,  it was definitely a must on my list! It’s so surreal seeing all those things that I’ve only seen on pictures or film before.


I got a gift from the hotel.

After a good nights sleep I sat down to breakfast next to four bikers who were originally from Brazil. They invited me to come ride with them that day, but I felt like that wasn’t something my parents would really approve of. I don’t mind talking to everyone I meet, but getting on a motorcycle and riding around with four unknown guys for a day doesn’t seem like the smartest thing to do. Especially since so few wear helmets around here.

Instead I got in my car and headed back to Wyoming, to go see the Devils Tower. It wasn’t just me that had that idea…
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The Devils Tower is a big butte. A butte is what we learnt the other day a “an isolated hill with steep sides and a flat top”. I walked around and giggled like a 5 year old and said to myself that it is indeed a very big butte. When I got wifi the next time though I googled how butte is pronounced and unfortunately it’s “byoot”, not butt. Oh well.
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At least I tried to get a jump shot. Didn’t really succeed though. 
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There should be six climbers in this picture. Can you find them all? Crazy people.

After a small hike around it I was back in my car, but as I headed out of the park I saw a sign that said “don’t feed or go near the prairie dogs”. All of a sudden I looked closer at the field I was driving next too and realized that it was just crawling with prairie dogs. So cute! I’ve never seen them before.
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After Devils Tower I had a long drive to Billings, Montana. The weather is a bit more unstable up here in the north, that’s for sure. Luckily I drove just north of this storm. I was glad to leave most of the motorcycles behind though, although all the bikers were super friendly and nice, it’s scary having them surround you on all sides wherever you go.
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As I got to Billings I decided to go to the jacuzzi at the hotel, and I think that’s when all my neighbors heard a loud “NEEEEEEJ!” as I realized that my bikini was still hanging from a hook behind the bathroom door at the hotel in Rapid City. So annoying. No other choice but to look up the closest mall and get back in the car. I know there are some rivers that I can swim in when I get to Yellowstone, so I needed a swimsuit. Well, it’s the first thing I’ve forgotten in over two months, a pretty good record.

This morning I tried to get an early start but just as I was putting all my luggage in the car I heard someone say “did you really drive all the way from Florida?” which of course sparked a 20 minute conversation. Turns out his grandmother was from Sweden, so we talked about everything from travels here in the US to the Swedish show “Allt för Sverige” where Americans come to Sweden to find out about their ancestors. I love these random meetings.

Anyway, it wasn’t too long until I got to Yellowstone, but I quickly learnt that it’s absolutely huge. I also learnt that the weather can shift in seconds.
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I headed into the park and had to switch from shorts to long pants for the first time since I arrived in the US, over two months ago. I was freezing in 58F/14C. I had planned to go on a hike up to Mount Washmore, but time just seemed to fly by and it was late afternoon before I even got close to the trail. Well, especially since I was stuck in almost the same spot for two hours, when a herd of bison decided to block the entire road. Nothing else to do but wait, so I rolled down my windows and blasted Taylor Swift’s Out of the Woods. It would have been funnier if we had actually been in the woods at that moment though… but I decided that I have plenty of time to do that hike another day, and that I should just enjoy the scenery and the drive, so that’s what I did.
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And here, let’s enjoy some pictures from the amazingly beautiful Yellowstone.

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You know how I said the other day that I had taken my absolute favorite picture? I think this one comes at a very close second place. 
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So pretty, but smelled so bad. 
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I think this elk wanted to be fed too. 
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They certainly weren’t scared of people. 
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My first day in Yellowstone was absolutely great, I can’t wait to explore more and go on some hikes too. I know there are grizzly’s here though, so I should definitely see if I can get some bear spray before I go too far away from other people.

And I have something else to talk to you about. I got a pretty rude comment the other day, from a man who felt the need to tell me what he thought about my injury and how I’m feeling. I think that’s so interesting, when people think they know exactly how I’m doing. Well, you can read it here and my answer too if you want, it’s in Swedish though, but I feel the need to address my current situation. My hand is doing much better. I can use it almost without problems, except for when I use the knuckles to much, like when I’m typing. Every single post here takes me hours to write, because I have to pause so often to stretch out and massage my hand to get rid of the pain. But it’s when I’m keeping it still that it really begins to hurt. When I hold on to the steering wheel for more than a few minutes I get shooting pains down to the bones, that sometimes make me groan out loud from the intensity of it. When I walk for a longer period with my hands hanging down the blood gathers in my hands and for some reason that makes it ache too. My new hiking poles really helps with that, as long as I let go of my grip often so it doesn’t hurt too bad because of that. During the evenings is when it hurts the most, after having used it for a full day, but at least it comes and goes, it’s never a constant pain.

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Picture taken earlier today. There is still some slight discoloring to my skin, and a bump right between the two right knuckles. 

It’s been 6,5 weeks since I was hit, and I never expected me to still be in the amount of pain I actually am from time to time. I don’t write about it very often, because I don’t think it’s very interesting for you to read about, isn’t the adventures where I’m having fun much more interesting? But please never, ever judge me or anyone else based on what we can or can’t do. I am fully aware of my own limits, and no one but me can know what I’m capable of. If you for some reason get upset about what I’m doing, please just leave. What’s the point of being here if you’re not supportive of me or interested in what I’m doing?

The other day I was going through all of my photos from the trip, and found this. I have never seen this before, and I have no idea how I managed to take it. It must have been as I was typing Johns number into my phone when he was going to take care of my stuff right after the accident, and somehow the camera went off in my phone, before I was loaded into the ambulance.
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Because that is a picture off my hand, right after I was hit. The yellow part of my glove is super swollen at that point, it’s supposed to be completely flat. Isn’t that freaky, that I just found this now? I think it is… and just an hour later, this is what was happening.
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But no need to dwell on what is in the past, the present is what’s important and the present is GREAT. Life is so damn good. 

The mountains are calling.

My rest day was amazing and very well needed. I did spend almost five hours trying to find somewhere to stay near Yellowstone though, wow that place is popular. The only place I could find was the Four Seasons, and I would have to pay $15000 for four nights. I wish I was kidding… so that was not an option. After looking through all the websites I could think of, I finally found a place not too far from the north entrance. For a moment I thought I’d have to skip Yellowstone, so I’m just SO happy that I found somewhere to stay. I’ll be there from Wednesday until Sunday, I actually extended my intended stay there just because it was so hard to find somewhere to stay! So I’ll have three full days of hiking, I’m very excited about that.

I also managed to do some food shopping which was needed, as I planned to go hiking the next day. And hiking I did. Kathleen had told me when I was at Jeanie’s house that I should hike up to Bluebird lake, and when someone recommends something I usually try to do it. I did some research on the trail and of course it was marked as strenuous but when has that ever stopped me before?
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Beautiful blue moon morning as I was heading towards the mountains.

So at 6:15 I was in my car, driving towards the trailhead, which was about an hour away. Such a beautiful drive up in the mountains, even if the cars behind me were a bit too anxious to get up there. I don’t understand why people feel the need to speed when they’re driving in one of the most beautiful national parks in the US, but each to their own I guess. I never speed, I’ve seen sooooo many cars pulled over by the police here during my two months that I would never dare! When I got there at around 7:30, the main parking lot was already full. Luckily I found a spot not too far away, but I felt sorry for the other people arriving later, they had to walk a long way to get to the trails.

Anyway, I set off on the hike, it was pretty cool but still warm enough to only have to wear a t-shirt. It was going to be 6 miles/10 km up the mountain to the lake, and then the exact same way down again. I had prepared with a brand new pair of hiking shoes, new socks and new hiking poles. Because everyone knows that a very long, strenuous hike is the best way to test new gear… but I can luckily tell you all that it went without a hitch! The woman who helped me at REI when I bought the shoes took one look at my Keen sandals and guided me towards the Keen hiking shoes, and luckily they were just as comfortable as my beloved sandals. Not a single blister! And I’m so glad I had the poles, because there were a lot of rocks on the trails, and I even had to walk across some snow so they were nice to help me keep my balance.
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Not exactly a smooth surface to walk on! Yes, that’s the trail.
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Halfway to the lake. 

There weren’t a lot of people on the trail which was nice. I think only one couple passed me during the hike, and I walked past just a few others. About two thirds into the hike I met the first man coming down, so we stopped for a chat. He was a local and he was super nice, I think we talked for almost fifteen minutes before we continued in each direction. The hike was really starting to get to me by then, and when I hoped I was getting close I met another man coming down. We also stopped to chat and I asked how far I had left. He told me about an hour, I just stared at him hoping he was going to tell me that he was joking. I had no idea walking 1 mile/1,6 km could be that hard! But the last part was really steep and you had to climb over rocks and snow like I said before. But I finally got to the lake and could dip my feet and wash my face in the ice cold water. It was so beautiful and definitely worth the pain of getting there!

I took so many photos, let’s take a look at some of them.
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This was the very last part of the trail, just up that snow-covered hill and then you were there. Once again, glad I had real hiking boots and not my sandals, and very glad for the hiking poles for sure. 
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Yay, finally there! And the lake was just as beautiful as I had hoped. 
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A man from Denver sat not too far away, we were the only ones at the lake at that point so we started talking. He was really nice, as everyone else I seem to meet in this country. After cooling down for a while and having a lovely picnic, I was ready to tackle the hike down again.
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There were a lot more people coming back up after me, and every single one asked me how far they had to go. It wasn’t just me that was struggling that last bit. But those views of the mountains and the lake was worth it, the Rocky Mountains are so beautiful that no pictures can convey it.
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I think this might just be my favorite picture that I have ever taken. As I was walking down I saw this and just had to stop and just stare. How is the view even real? Colorado is so beautiful, I really love it here. 

On the way down I finally saw my first animal that wasn’t squirrels. I was told before starting to watch out for bears, elk and mountain lions, but the only big animal I saw was two deer eating in the forest. Well, I was just very happy that it wasn’t a bear, I would have freaked out. I know enough not to run, but who knows how you would really react if you would actually come across one?
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I was pretty tired when I got down to the car, so I didn’t do much else except drink lots of water and eat a lot of food. I love the exhaustion good exercise brings you.
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I cleaned up my boots too, this is what a 6 hour trail hike does to your shoes…

This morning I woke up at 7:30, and the first thing I did was to FaceTime my nephew to wish him a happy 7th birthday. Luckily I had been warned before that there would be a lot of people at my brothers house, because almost half of all my relatives were there! Even my cousin who lives in Spain with his family that I haven’t seen for more than 10 years. It’s so weird being stuck inside a phone just getting passed around to all the people at the party. But it was so much fun getting to talk to them, the wonders of the internet…

I have been in desperate need of a haircut for months now, so I took care of that today as well. She chopped off almost 2 inches, which was well needed after all that sun and water.

Hairdresser: How do you usually style your hair?
Me: I wash it occasionally and sometimes comb it.
Hairdresser: …okay.
(Later)
Hairdresser: We offer a complimentary touch up of your makeup.
Me: Oh no thank you, I never wear makeup.
Hairdresser: *looks at me like I’m crazy* …okay then.
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I realize that it’s not only my hair that’s getting lighter, where have my eyebrows gone?! 

As I walked out of there I had planned to go up to the mountains and go for a smaller hike, but the rain clouds had already gathered over the mountains so I decided against it. Instead I just happened to come across a movie theatre, so instead I went and saw Ant-man. It was so funny, I loved it.

After some more food shopping I took Cherry Bomb for a wash, that was a first for me. I’ve never owned a car in my life, so I’ve never had the chance to go through a wash before. It was fun! She definitely needed it.
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Tomorrow I’m heading north to South Dakota, and Mount Rushmore. I’m very excited about that! Though I’ll definitely miss Colorado, this place has been so amazing and I’ve loved every moment of it.

I’ll definitely come back. 

New friends and old mountains.

Time goes so fast, I just can’t believe that it’s almost August! I can’t believe I’ve been here for almost 2 months already, but I’ve seen so many things that I hardly can remember it all. I’ve said it before but I’ll keep saying it, because life is so incredibly good. No, good is not the word I’m looking for. Life is great. Amazing. Fantastic. This is how life should be, simple as that.
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This is approximately how I have travelled so far. I cycled up until the third white dot after Wilmington, and then I’ve been driving the rest. Still so much left to see! I need to come back, that’s for sure. 

I left Zion on Monday, and drove towards Arches National Park. It took me a few hours, but I got there right after lunch time and drove into the park. It’s a park filled with these natural stone formations, and most of them were really cool. But it’s mostly famous for the arches that nature has formed though, so I set out to see some of them.
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This one was called the double arch. 
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This was either the south or north window. 
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Can you see me up there, with a halo of blonde hair? I don’t think I’ve been this blonde since I was 12, but I’ve barely seen a cloud the entire time here and the sun is strong.

To get to the Delicate Arch, which is also the most famous one and the symbol on Utahs license plates, I had to go for quite a hike. It was very hot but it was so pretty. 
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I wish I could do that…
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I expected to at least see a snake or something while walking this trail, but nope, just some tiny lizards and that was it. Disappointed.

Right across from the Arches national park is Canyonlands, which is where I went the very next day. I picked a trail I wanted to do, which went up on top of one of the rocks there. It was pretty steep though, so when I was sitting there sliding down on my butt to get down I just thought “I’m so happy my mother can’t see me right now, she’d freak out”. But I got up and down in one piece, so no worry. And the trail was called Aztec Butte trail, I don’t know how to say butte or what it means so I just figured it means you need to slide down some parts on your butt. (I googled, it means “an isolated hill with steep sides”. The more you know…)
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Since it’s mostly rocks they put these tiny little formations so you know where to go. 
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Up at the top I found this. I couldn’t find a sign or anything indicating how old it is, but I’m guessing that it’s pretty old… 
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If at first you don’t succeed… 
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…try again!

After the hike I got back in the car, and was finally headed for Colorado. I’ve been looking forward to that state for so long. I was almost immediately rewarded with the most amazing views, as the landscape soon shifted from the red rocks, to a lush green with high mountains showing up far, far away.
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I think I startled the guy on the bike as I shouted “do you want water, peanuts, nectarines or cherries?” (which was everything I had in my car) as he rode by… he didn’t though. I also stopped next to every other cyclist I saw along the road and offered them the same things, Colorado has a lot of cyclists! I’m jealous, but not really, because this state has too many mountains for it to be fun…

I got the Salida in Colorado late that night, and spent the night there. The next day I got to sleep in for a bit, before I was back on the road, heading to a very, very small town called Westcliffe. There I had been invited to spend the night with Jeanie and Mike, all through the wonders of the internet. Oh, I love the internet… After a luckily very small wrong turn I got to their house, and it was just gorgeous. It’s out in the middle of nowhere, with an amazing view of the mountains right in their backyard, and their house was so beautiful too.
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Ceffie the lagotto! It’s the same type of dog that my parents have. They had the exact same mannerism, it’s so fascinating. 
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Just an hour after I had arrived, so did two of Jeanies friends, Cindy and Kathleen. I had the absolute best afternoon getting to know them, they were just hilarious. I’m so thankful that I get to experience things like this, what other tourist gets to do that? This trip has just turned into something so much better than I ever dared to dream of.

When I arrived I was told that there would be gifts waiting for me, but that most of them would be gag gifts. This is everything I received:
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Socks, sandals, a chocolate moose, candy, a bunny pin, a necklace, bracelet, a Colorado cup and a bottle of wine. Not too bad! Though I had sworn I would never wear Crocs in my life, I guess that’s about to change. But I promise that I will never ever wear them with socks again!

We spent the entire afternoon talking and drinking some wine, before Mike cooked us an amazing dinner and Jeanie made a coconut pie that was delicious. I fell asleep as soon as I laid down that night… which was good, because the next day we were hiking up to a waterfall close to where they live. But not before sitting on their back porch drinking coffee and talking for a few hours. This place is just too beautiful. IMG_5186It was a fun hike, and I enjoyed both that and actually having other people to talk to, not just myself for once.
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After a while we got to the falls, and they were amazing! I took the chance to get me feet wet.
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I got some pretty nasty mosquito bites, can you see the one growing on my arm?
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Ceffie and Mike hiking ahead, they were fast.

As we got back to the house I took a quick shower, had a fruit smoothie and was on my way towards Loveland, Colorado. I left at around five in the afternoon, and got to the hotel at almost nine thirty. But I stopped just outside of Denver to have dinner and buy some real hiking shoes at REI. That place is just great, I could easily spend so much money there. As soon as I got to the hotel I started researching where I was going to hike today in the Rockies, but I quickly decided that I needed rest. I’m constantly moving around and doing things, and I’m in desperate need of both a mental and physical break, so that’s what I’m doing today. Well mostly, I do have some minor planning that needs to be done as well but other than that I’m in need of a down day.

Thank you so much Jeanie and Mike for taking me in, you’re the reason why I love this country so much. And Cindy and Kathleen, it was such a pleasure getting to know you! I can’t believe how I got so lucky to get to know such amazing people during my journey across this country. And Colorado is just amazing. I even asked the ladies if they could find me someone to marry, just so that I can stay here. I know I’ve said it before, but Colorado really is my favorite state so far. Might even be my favorite place on earth.

I’m such a lucky woman.
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