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Who Are These People?

Affirmation:  I am a Bold Adventuress!

Geraldine Lucas was 58 years old she became the first woman to climb the Grand
Teton.  She retired as a teacher in the
east and packed herself up and established a homestead in Wyoming in what is
now the Grand Tetons National Park.  In
the beginning she didn’t even have electricity or running water!  It appears from the stories I was told while
traveling through the area that women were very influential in the development
of this state and in its governing. 
brave, adventurous spirit must continue to thrive in this part of the world
because wherever Sandy and I traveled in Wyoming we found people with an
amazing sense of adventure. 
name tag had “Taiwan” printed under her name.  She was a waitress in Yellowstone National
Park.  I was in awe.  She was there just for the summer.  “You are so brave.” I
commented.  “No” she said in
very broken English “I came here with my classmate.” “How
many?” I asked.  “One.”
she answered.  Wherever we went the name
tags told us from where the seasonal employees came.  They were from faraway places like China,
Ecuador, Russia, and of course, they were also from different parts of the
United States.  I wanted to know if they
were enjoying their experience and almost all of them told me they were having
a wonderful time.  One young woman said
she couldn’t believe someone was paying her to show people the beauty of
Yellowstone.  This same young woman had
spent a few of her free days hiking and tenting in the park with another gal,
just them and their bear spray!  Another
young man said it was his 4th summer. 
“What’s not to like?  I’m
getting paid and in my free time I get to hike and fish all summer.” 
When my
husband and I talk about the opportunities presented to us as young people we
recognize that we simply had no knowledge of the kind of experiences that might
have been available then, that are available to people today, all people.
We met
some of the coolest adults while traveling through the National Parks.  Did you know people of all ages work as
seasonal workers in the parks?  And, the
most fascinating part, for me, is everyone I spoke with was having a wonderful
time.  It was the 14th year of service
for one of the seasonal rangers we met. The first time I met an older adult who
worked in the parks was in Yosemite. 
Sandy and I went to a Sunday service in the tiny church in the
park.  At one point we were encouraged to
greet the other people attending the service and to chat with each other.  One woman we greeted told us she and her
husband were seasonal workers.  They had
sold their home and all of its contents, bought an RV and each year since, they
had chosen a different park to work in during the summer.  My eyes were as big as quarters as I
listened.  My husband looked
shocked.  I think he was afraid I was
going to head home and begin the process of becoming a National Park gypsy. 
One of
our guides shared with us the story of how he met his wife.  It was July in Alaska and he was doing
research, out in the wild all by himself. 
He was a professor of geology at one of the universities up there and in
the summers he trekked through the wilderness for weeks on end collecting
samples.  The weather turned unusually
cold and it began to snow. He was concerned about getting back to civilization
when he heard voices off in the distance. 
He could see through his binoculars that three people were huddled
around a fire with a raft pulled up onto the shore.  As he was looking through his binoculars, one
of the women on the river trip was looking through her binoculars; their eyes
met and it was love at first sight.  They
had been married 14 years at the time of his story.  He said his friends were right when they told
him it would be “a snowy day in July” before he met someone who would
marry him. He went onto say she saved him in more ways than one.  He wasn’t sure he would have made it out of
the wilderness if he hadn’t met up with them and their raft.  His wife to be and two friends had been
dropped off at the top of a seldom traveled river with a pickup date and time
scheduled for two weeks later.  It was
quite a daring thing to do but it wasn’t her first trek into the unknown.  As a young single mother she had gone to live
with friends, saved all her money and had taken her 12 year old son on a 2 year
trek around the world in a van.
Who are
these people?  It’s all I can think to
ask when I meet these adventurous spirits. 
It’s all I can think to ask when I read and hear about the pioneers of
the past.  I believe there’s a fine line
between bravery and stupidity.  Sometimes
I think the only way to know which side of the line one is on, is afterwards,
by the results of one’s actions.  If you
enter into a dangerous situation and you come through unscathed or stronger for
it, you might be considered brave.  If
you don’t come through, you’ll probably be considered stupid.  But, don’t all pioneers begin their journeys
on paths unknown and untested?  Where
would we be without people willing to step way outside of their comfort zones?
In the
Grand Tetons we also had the opportunity to watch several para-gliders come off
one of the mountains and soar above us as they came to land at our feet.  It was mesmerizing to watch.  I was ready to give it a try, next time, but
once again, the question arose, “Who are these people?” Who was the
first one to step off the mountain with a parachute attached to them?  Were they brave or were they dumb?  Does it matter? If no one is willing to go
out and see and try that which is new, there would be no growth.  Think of all we would be missing today?
I for one
am grateful for the spirit that takes people to places unknown.  I am grateful for those in our society who
are willing to challenge themselves so that those of us who are not as
adventurous or as spirited, get to follow in their footsteps, get to see and
enjoy and experience things we might never have had the opportunity to
experience except that they paved the way for us. They are our forefathers and
our foremothers and they are those who are still with us, the students and
seasonal workers of our parks and perhaps those amazing people within our
circles who also help us broaden our horizons because of their bravery and
This, for
me, is the blessing of travel.  I get to
see the world differently than I would have had I stayed home in my cozy little
world.  I get to meet people and hear
stories I’d never have met or heard if I were afraid to venture outside of my
comfort zone.  It’s true, I wasn’t the to
first step off the mountain and try to soar; I am not the one living in a tent
and listening for bears; I’m not the one rafting down an unknown river or even
taking a new job in an unfamiliar location but I am the one enjoying the fruits
of all these pioneers because I am the one, perhaps a lot like you, that did
travel to unknown places both out in the world and then, even more importantly,
inside to within, to my heart and to my spirit to discover that maybe there
have been at least a few times in my life and maybe more, when I could answer,
“I am one of those people.”