Past Adventures Give Way to Future Endeavors

Do you remember a trip or adventure you had growing up that you now reflect back on as something that seemed to have played a very important hand in shaping your present or future?  Throughout what has been an exciting, anxiety-riddled process of interviewing for several jobs and subsequently being offered an amazing position, I am reminded of one such trip my family took when I was 14.

The year was 1994, and my family was embarking on our second big family vacation.  Growing up in Wisconsin, several summers meant a weekend “away” in Milwaukee for a Brewers game, the zoo, state fair, or many other awesome short jaunts away from Independence.  However, this was our second big trip out of the state for the four of us (Dad, Mom, my sister &I).  We were going to Yellowstone and the Grand Teton National Parks!!!!  I remember being so excited, in my awkward 14-year-old girl way.  I am sure my family would tell you a different story because I am sure I was an average teenage girl going through one of many phases, but I was truly very excited.

My mom & I w/ the Lower Falls of Yellowstone River
~ Please don't kill me for using this Mom! 😉

I had seen Western mountains once before, on our family vacation two years prior, and had fallen in love without even realizing it.  This trip to Wyoming would cement a love that will forever be written on my heart and soul.

Me (at 14) & my buddy "Itchy" in Grand Teton National Park.

We drove from our home in Western Wisconsin to Wyoming for this trip.  There will always be parts which will stick in my head from this and other family road trips (“But I don’t want to go to Sturgis!”).  One part that I will never forget was the pure awe that I experienced over and over again while in Yellowstone and the Tetons.  Since this initial trip, I keep returning to the area: another family vacation, a road trip to a friend’s wedding, and my 1st half marathon & 2nd backpacking trip with my sister, would all take me back to this land.  Each time I would once again be filled anew with wonder and amazement by the multitude forms of beauty which nature can take.

My sister & I during our recent Teton adventure (can't forget the limb that saved us!)

I am not sure exactly when it was during my childhood, but my mom remembers that I seemed to always want to wear the uniform which I only then knew as a park ranger uniform.  I was utterly impressed by these adults who got to not only live but work within nature and more specifically the mountains.  Plus let’s not kid around here, I loved the dang hat!

These amazing memories in my past, along with growing up surrounded by the nature of our family farm in Wisconsin, have brought me to the crossroads that I am at today.  As I officially start to close one chapter of my life and leave the Coast Guard and grad school in my past, I cannot help but feel as I did almost 18 years ago as my family embarked on a trip that would take me through my future home of Cody, Wyoming.  During this trip I remember remarking to my parents and sister that I could live out in that area.  Fate has kept her promise this time and worked in magical ways, which I never would have thought possible.  It looks like I will be getting that uniform after all!

I love the mountains!!!

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Sheri Salzmann on April 2, 2012 at 7:22 am

    I love this Kristie! The use of this picture was fine…since I was not gray at that time. Thank you for taking me back in time with your writing. Love ya, Mom

    Reply

  2. That’s such a great story, Kristie. But, you’re a little bit wrong…your going back to Cody is much more attributable to your hard work and determination than to fate and magic 🙂

    Reply

  3. Posted by Sheri Salzmann on April 4, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    Kristie, I COMPLETELY agree with your friend Megan!! Me – mom

    Reply

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