Clarity at a Crossroads
The first time I went to Zion National Park, I remember sitting on a log next to a nearly dry riverbed for hours. I was at a crossroads in my life and was seeking space and solitude. Sitting there on that log, I felt a huge sense of relief wash over me. I spent four days hiking in the park and returned with the clarity I needed.
I loved Zion so much and wanted to bring David (who is now my husband) back to the park with me. He was excited and we went to Zion for a day hike. But we got lost – and made about every mistake in the book as we tried to find our way out. The warm and sunny day suddenly turned dark and cold. We were underdressed, low on water, and didn’t have a compass. Then it began to snow and our phone batteries died. We were on our own – with nothing but our headlamps.
That short day hike turned into a 28-mile overnight trek. I wouldn’t wish that experience on anyone. But I also wouldn’t trade it for the world. David and I learned to lean on each other during that long, terrifying night. It was a defining moment in our love story. Not long after that trip, we got engaged at the top of one of the highest peaks in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
To this day, David and I share a deep love of the parks and a passion for funding their protection. We love the words inscribed on the arch at Yellowstone’s entrance: “For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People.” The parks provide so many opportunities to connect with yourself and with whatever forces you believe are bigger than you.
Every twisted ankle, every blister, every skinned knee has beauty in it, just as much as the sunsets do. So often we have moments hiking where one of us feels unsteady and needs the support of the other, a comforting word or a hand up after a fall. We learn how to take the next step, together.
Allie and David joined the Champions Society with a generous gift designated, perhaps not surprisingly, for improved trail signs at Zion National Park.