I am typing this entry from our campground just outside of West Yellowstone, Montana. After five amazing years in Seattle, we are returning to the Carolinas now that my residency/fellowship has been completed. We are really trying to make an adventure out of this move too – we have stopped thus far near Crater Lake in Oregon (gorgeous), the Oregon/Idaho border (Fruitland, Idaho, to be precise, which seems to be a suburb of Ontario, Oregon), and then this is our second night near Yellowstone National Park.
My run near Crater Lake served as a very tranquil start to an otherwise hectic day of traveling. A morning 5k in the upper-30s at the start of July while enjoying a pristine sunrise was quite invigorating.
This afternoon’s run was quite special, though. It was just another 5k run from our campsite, but I chose to run along a horse path abutting Hwy-20 in western Montana. Running in this part of Montana is not a new thing. I lived in Hamilton, Montana during the summer in 2000 while working in a research internship with the NIH/NIAID, and enjoyed many a run through the Bitterroot Valley/Blodgett Canyon. It was during that summer that I made the decision to train for a marathon, endured a nasty forest fire, slept in my green Saturn SL at Glacier National Park, and swam down the Black Foot River. No real obligations or responsibilities; just to learn and have fun. Then, I returned to western Montana in 2006, now as a married young physician (an intern) rather than a college student, and again ran to the views of mountains, ranches, and big skies. Here I am again, in 2010, now the mother of two children and a physician finished with training. The scenery is just as beautiful. The mountains appear the same, yet my life is so different. Over ten years everything has changed, but the views remain steadfast. I found myself reflecting on my own mortality, and thought about how life will continue shift for me, but the mountains will be here. And long after I am gone, they will still stand.
Running at 6800 feet elevation proved a bit of a challenge. Breathing was rougher at the end than I recalled. Despite running on Seattle’s hilly surface, I have definitely not been training for this. Still a worthwhile experience, nonetheless!