Road Trip VII, Days 22-28, Shaftsbury, VT to Fort Collins, CO: The Ultimate Adventure-Buddy Challenge

You’d think, after a month on the road, that we’d be heading straight home now–next stop, our dear evergreen Washington State.

Instead, we’ve diverged to Colorado. We have an adventure-buddy date.

Seven years ago, when our retirement from our primary careers turned us into annual road-trippers, we found kindred spirits in a pair of friends from North Carolina. On every trip since 2012, we have met our Adventure Buddies somewhere along the way. We rent a house for three days, take turns cooking, and go for lots of hikes.

2012, Moab, Utah:

Arches National Park (duh)

2013, Sedona, Utah:

A little late snow that year!


2014, Yosemite:

Who took this pic? Our Adventure Buddies, of course!

2015, Yucca Valley, CA (near Joshua Tree):

…and great Mexican food nearby too!

2016, Anza-Borrego State Park, CA:

Thanks, Adventure Buddies!

At the end of each day, we watch college basketball together, men’s and women’s. See, our buddies are Tarheel fans like us. North Carolina, remember? If we meet during the eastern portion of our trip, there are regular season games to watch. And if, as now, we meet in late March, there’s the NCAA championship. In the rare years that Carolina’s not in the Sweet 16–yes, we Tarheel fans are that spoiled–we can always root against Duke together.

This year we’re meeting in Estes Park, Colorado, right next to Rocky Mountain National Park.

This place.

So, this should be a perfect weekend, right? #1 seed Carolina’s in, playing this Friday. And Duke? They’ve already choked lost to a lowly 15-seed.

Except.

Something I forgot to mention: these NC friends of ours moved to LA. As in UCLA. Whose team is also in the Sweet 16. Playing Friday.

Luckily for our mutual friendship, UNC and UCLA aren’t playing each other Friday. So we’re free to cheer for both.

Except.

If both couples’ sports-gods prayers are answered, both our teams will win. Then they have to face each other.

How ’bout that for a test of friendship?

I’d like to think that, on Friday, I’ll be wholeheartedly cheering for the UCLA Bruins to beat Kentucky. And I will be. Mostly.

But I gotta admit, more than a teensy part of me will be secretly hoping they lose. Just so we can all cheer on the Tarheels, together, on Sunday. If Carolina loses and UCLA wins, I’ll be a huge Bruins fan.

And if it comes to UNC-UCLA? I’ll be cheering first and foremost for our friendship. Of COURSE.  What kind of person do you think I am?    🙂

 

 

Reason # 7,582 Why Grand Canyon is Just That: The Great Unconformity

If you read my last post, you know how hard I’ve been grooving on Vishnu Schist, the somewhere-around-2-billion-year-old rock at the bottom of Grand Canyon. For all of y’all who aren’t quite as rock-geeky as I am, how about this to blow your minds: in this picture, I am spanning approximately 1,050,000,000 years (that’s 1.05 billion) with my thumb and forefinger:

And my fingers aren't even all that long.

And my fingers aren’t even all that long.

Huh?

Allow me to let the geology experts at LPI Education Resources explain for me:

An unconformity is a surface in the rock record, in the stratigraphic column, representing a time from which no rocks are preserved. It could represent a time when no rocks were formed, or a time when rocks were formed but then eroded away. 

The Great Unconformity (a.k.a. huge gap in the rock record) happens to exist between my beloved  Vishnu Schist (metamorphic, formed by pressure) and the sedimentaryTapeats Sandstone laid down (much later) above it.

For me, it’s one thing to contemplate the scale of millions and billions of years laid down in rock. It’s another entirely to contemplate millions and billions of years that AREN’T THERE.

Where did they go? Were they laid down, then eroded away? Why those rocks, those years, and no others? Or were they never laid down at all? Why on earth–or, more accurately, why NOT on earth?

I already want to come back in my next life as a geologist. Since this life is already too full, I think I’ll have to wait till then to fully explore those questions. Right now, I’m content just to groove.