My, What High Peaks You Have!
In October 2015, I traveled with the National Park Foundation’s Find Your Park Expedition to explore some of our nation's greatest gems. Inspired by my experience on the expedition and previous national park moments, I present you with “My, What High Peaks You Have!”
East, South, West, North
The West Coast is the Best Coast
Or is it?
That’s what I thought until I saw Maine. Acadia National
Crisp Air. Vivid Colors. Refreshing, absolute.
I can’t even
Oh, Maine. Not the state, but like, you know, “man”
Like they say it down South. In Florida. “Mayne”
Which reminds me, have you been to the Everglades?
This one time we drove through Everglades National Park at dusk
The swamp is trip and a half, I’ll tell you
Perfectly eerie. Like a movie you’d watch in IMAX
Every detail, alive and consuming you
Just the thought of gators underfoot.
The hair most definitely stands to attention on the back of your neck
Makes you think, who were those people?
Those that cleared the land
What must they have endured?
The sounds, the smells
You’re drenched in knowing — and in sweat
But that doesn’t compare to the dry heat of the desert in August
Like being in grandma’s kitchen, in summer, with the convection oven doors wide open
You want to find reprieve but...
The smell is too sweet, what’s baking is too magically crafted
With love sprinkled on top
But then she’s flips it. And reverses it
The cake that’s baking, of course
And you peer down into the depths of cake like you’re standing on the ledge of Arizona’s Grand Canyon.
I wonder, how far would a baseball travel if you bun(d)ted it from the top?
You know that feeling when you’re with your people?
Your team. Your #SquadGoals
Y’all are sitting down with the specific intention of chillin’
And then, of course — because I struggle to sit still for more than 15 minutes at a time,
“Come on, let’s go for a walk!” Really excited like because, walks
So we spar in words. Playing the dozens
Taking it all the way back to seventh grade
They say, “Sit your skinny butt down. Be still, woman”
But I pester, “Let’s go, let’s go!”
And then they start throwing pebbles
No they start throwing stones
I weave and dodge as though stealing bases
But finally, Homerun! Y’all are on the march
Well, first the drive. A mini road trip from Seattle right into Paradise
No for real, the town is called Paradise
Want to know why?
Of course you do.
Well, many, many
many, many, many years ago
This lady named Mary was struck by the immense beauty of Mount Rainier.
Of the views
Of the scale
Of the wildflowers
And she said, “Oh, what paradise!”
And it was so.
Side bar, the mountain’s original name is Mt. Tahoma
Let us always remember that.
It’s my favorite. It’s irresistible, especially at sunrise
Now here’s a little something that needs to be heard
Heeeeeere we go
Once upon a time, not long ago
I woke up in Colorado. Mesa Verde National Park at dark.
Alarm jostled me just before sunrise
Enough time to insert contacts into dry eyes.
“I can’t see good” without them.
The morning before, I watched sunrise from the lodge deck
But on this day
On this day, I wanted to see it
Well, experience it, on the ground
Shhhh! The show is starting!
Colors so strong and simultaneously so delicate
Look at the views!
Is this ROY G BIV?
Wait, I lost count.
Red. Orange. Yellow. Green. Blue. Indigo. Violet.
This is ROY G BIV
This is ROY G mother flocking BIV
"Look at the views!" I shouted, to the dismay of That Mule Deer Over There.
Look at the views
Man, I’m going to get so many views
Facebook. Pinterest. Periscope. Google+. LinkedIN. Now This. Burn This.
Tumblr, tumblr, we’ve got a tumbler
I didn’t see that there loose impediment
Down I go, but hands up, I got the shot!
And then the ROY G BIV sky said to me, Slick Rick style, “don’t cry, dry your eyes”
But I wasn’t crying because I was feeling blue
I cried because I was feeling the blue.
Every park has a story to tell
And so do you
Get out there and #FindYourPark.
Andia Winslow participated in the National Park Foundation’s 2015 Find Your Park Expedition. A Yale alumna and founder of The Fit Cycle, she is also a professional golfer, master certified fitness professional/sports performance coach, and on-air TV personality. You can follow Andia's adventures and connect with her on her website, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat using AndiaWinslow, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest , Google+, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Periscope using @AndiaWinslow.
Photo credit: Casey Schreiner