Diamond Lake was the first camping trip of the year (and maybe only…) which I did not embark on alone. Annette—my Virgin teammate/introducer-of-Bend/great soul sister—invited me to join a group of her friends for the weekend, and my arm was easily twisted into a giant yes. We took “Buttercup”, Annette’s vintage-style trailer/camper, and her two insanely cool dogs, Dazi and Savannah, and hit the road about two hours south. I hadn’t met her friends prior to the trip, but I would soon find that they would etch a warm place into my heart and that this would become the beginning of some truly special friendships.
This was also to be Dazi’s last hurrah, as she was diagnosed with a bad cancer tumor just days prior and we weren’t sure she would even survive the night. Dazi loved being out in nature, so we brought her to play—and possibly leave the earth—in her wondrous outdoor playland. Every night before bed we would say our goodbyes, and every morning we would be greeted once again with her waggy tail and sweet wet nose. To this day (over 2 months later) she is still with us and going strong (Thank you CBD)!
Ten of us spent the weekend together biking, paddle boarding, hiking (or rather, trying to find hiking trails), sharing wine/beer/gin&tonics, and huddling in together by the raging campfire laughing, joking, and (sorry Jeff & Tess!) singing far into the night (a little too close to a certain couple’s bedroom). I even got to hit my 7th National Park, thanks to Jeff for shooting Dave and me up to Crater Lake before the sunset. Dave had the brilliant idea to bring Crater Lake gin, and make us Crater Lake G&Ts AT Crater Lake! I mean… Can you see why I adore these people??
A few weeks later, I was at work—way up the jets—looking down at the landscape below, as we flew directly over Crater and Diamond Lakes. I smiled silently as I sat there and remembered the love and fun that was shared there, and gave huge amounts of gratitude for my life. This year continues to bring unexpected gifts that I could not have imagined when I started this journey. Up there in the clouds, I was reminded to go after the craziest of ideas/dreams/long-shots… because like Forest Gump and his chocolates, you just never know what you’re gunna get—and most of the time, it’s pretty freaking awesome :)