Climbing into the alpine of Glacier NP it’s easy to forget all your worries, all your cares, all your personal agendas and finite human hopes and dreams in the shadow of the infinite, ageless landscape sprawled before us. Their imposing faces gazing out upon the world as they have ever been, seem to demand a silent reverence that our souls crave to give. Your own mortality seems to be written in their unchanging, unyielding, unmovable lines, and for a brief moment, that time slows, perhaps even to a halt. You gaze at the mountain, and the mountain gazes back at you, and your heart and breath halt in your chest, and you and the mountain are alone together with the rest of the world spinning around you.
In that moment, you have peace. You have freedom. Your mind clears, the souls can breathe, and the mind stop its needless worrying. The trick is to recognize those moments when they happen and capture them in your mind’s eye. Those are the moments that will weave you a colorful tapestry of memories to look back on. As you grow old and the light dims in your eyes, those will be the hallmarks of a life lived to the fullest. I want my deathbed to be in a sea of memories filled with adventures and loved ones easing me into my final rest.
But enough hopelessly romantic ramblings. That’s not why you clicked on this, is it? You want to know about the regret. 112 ounces of what? Who was the one who did the regretting? Well allow me to dispel any misconceptions you may have had coming into this. Now this story is not brought to you by alcohol. Yes, this story is going to involve some descriptive references to some basic human facts of life which I will have to make a disclaimer about. **DISCLAIMER: this story contains descriptions of human bodily functions.**
So here’s what happened. West and I have a tradition of getting a few fun road tripping snacks every time we have to gas up. So naturally, I pick out my favorite beverages and snacks at the very outset of the day, way back in Bozeman. Along the way I have continued to drink more of the same $0.99 24oz. drinks, which wouldn’t have been a problem if I had been able to also use the restrooms along the way. This had been impossible due to what seems to me to have been a freak series of events which conspired to ruin me and my poor, walnut sized bladder.
The first place we stopped, the bathrooms were being cleaned. No problem. I buy my next drink and we carry on down the road. A few miles down the road the restroom was occupied the entire time I was in the gas station and eventually we just left. At this point I was slightly uncomfortable, but nothing I, as a strong, independent woman in my early 20’s couldn’t handle.
At the next gas station I was accosted by an elderly woman with one of those old school Victorian era looking high buns going on and wearing what appeared to be several different crystal necklaces and amulets around her swaying neck. She was unwell, she said, and needed someone to watch the door of the men’s restroom because the women’s restroom was being cleaned (yes, I know, again with the cleaning in the middle of the day!). I hesitantly agreed and proceeded to stand awkwardly in front of the men’s bathroom door while the old lady hobbled her way inside, humming and clicking her tongue the entire time.
I’m not entirely sure what they are feeding the folks over at whatever retirement facility she had escaped from, but it was enough to send me back a few steps when she came floating out. She then proceeded to tell me that she had also cleansed the room of the negative male energies and that she would now guard the door for me so I could relieve myself. I blinked and before I knew it I was being shooed into the men’s gas station restroom by and old woman who could give Professor Trelawney a run for her money.
I ended up being so caught off guard by the whole thing I couldn’t make myself do anything so I ended up just standing around for a few moments before washing my hands for no reason, rushing out and mumbling a hurried thank you before darting back out to the car.
All told, I had consumed 112 oz. of various liquids by the time we finally reach the campground. The beauty of our surroundings doesn’t even phase me. I have only one thing on my mind and in the end, it wasn’t a moment too soon.
Camp is set up easily enough, our dinner of rice and hotdogs is sufficiently disappointing and hodge-podge enough to qualify as official camp food, and the nice little evening walk we take around the campground is buggy enough to complete the picture.
It’s during this walk that we wander our way down to the river and I get some excellent sundown shots of the bridge, the mountains behind, and some magnificent yellow flowers. My evening and the first night of our trip seems to be shaping up nicely.
And then night falls. The first night of camping for both West and I is essentially a shot in the dark. Did we fill our sleeping pads enough or too much? Did we layer clothing enough or too much? Did we bring everything we needed for the night into the tent with us? Did we drink enough or too much. For me, the answer is most certainly and without a doubt, TOO MUCH!
In addition to the original 112 oz. I had also been consuming more drinks and water and tea right before bed. I always do this at home, but then again I also have a master bathroom literally 8 steps from my bed. I have not mentally made the shift to camping mode and now am going to pay for it.
I make that laborious trip out of my sleeping bag, out of the tent, up the hill, into the spider infested bathroom, into the stall, out of the stalk, out of the spider infested bathroom, down the hill, into the tent, and into the sleeping bag a grand total of 17 times. I may never drink anything ever again.
On top of all this nonsense, there’s a very obvious country music concert happening in the town of Saint Mary which is echoing up into our camp that not even our earplugs can drown out. And then there’s all the natural creaking and groaning and rustling that comes with the whole outdoors in an unfamiliar place thing which we both have to conscientiously decide to not stay wide awake and alert to all night.
We both wake up with huge purple circles under our eyes reminiscent of Fight Club, and looking at each other, we know that no amount of coffee could even begin to touch them, although I don’t think I’ll be drinking anything for any reason anytime soon.