Rocky Mountain High!
“…Now he walks in quiet solitude
The forests and the streams
Seeking grace in every step he takes
His sight has turned inside
Himself to try and understand
The serenity of a clear blue mountain lake…”
–by John Denver and Mike Taylor
(June 24 to July 1, 2019) Rocky Mountain National Park is my 17th National Park stop during this trip which started in March. In the park, driving on the “Trail Ridge Road” (the highest continuous paved highway in North America), I remembered the song “Rocky Mountain High”.
For the last three months, I have driven to the lowest area (279 feet/85 meters below sea level) in Death Valley National Park and the highest road (12,183 feet/3,713 meters) in the Rocky Mountain Park. I literally felt “HIGH” thinking about all the parks I luckily visited during this trip: Guadalupe/Texas, Carlsbad/New Mexico, Joshua Tree/CA, Death Valley/CA, Zion/UT, Grand Canyon/AZ, Bryce/UT, Capitol Reef/UT, Arches/UT, Canyonlands/UT, Grand Teton/WY, Yellowstone/WY, Glacier/MT, Theodore Roosevelt/ND, Badlands/SD, Wind Cave/SD, and Rocky Mountain/CO National Parks.
Back in April, I met a Korean couple (Seong and Mr. Seonwoo) at Joshua Tree National Park. They are in their 70s. Since their retirement about six years ago, they have been travelling with their RV, visiting National Parks in the USA and Canada. They mentioned about a campground reservation in the Rocky Mountains. By switching text messages, I learned we will be at the same campground about the same time. I was thrilled thinking about speaking in my mother language. They carry an encyclopedia knowledge of National Parks. Woohoo! They brought me a bottle of “Home-made Kimchi” and perfectly ripened apricots from their yard in California and gave me some freshly cooked rice also. Next night, they grilled “T-Bone Steaks” for our dinner gathering and insisted I have the biggest piece of steak.
Hiking on the snowy trails and green meadows and walking around the lakes, I sensed happiness was circulating in my vein from head to toes. It sprouted me the feeling of Bigger and Stronger. It was like I could digest even “Metal and Rocks”. I felt invincible!!!! Then, Ouch happened. I ate an un-refrigerated old cheese sandwich and I got serious food poisoning: “hives” all over on my body from head to toes even inside my ears and palms of my hands. Previously, when I had hives (a long time ago), I became normal in less than four hours. This time, it didn’t go away. I did not sleep for a night because of the itching. The next day, I decided to drive 20 miles to buy “Benadryl”. For the next four days, I was not “Bigger and Stronger” at all. I returned to where I was, not bigger and stronger, but definitely, with more stories and memories.