I’ve actually tamed down a bit with my birthdays accumulating at a more rapid pace; now I do enjoy a nice relaxing vacation poolside, but I still hanker for at least one action-packed fun-filled trip per year. Lucky for me I have two adventuresome boys who are game for anything. Since I left my full-time job, “KFMB days,” to run my own business, I’ve made a pact with the boys to have one adventure each summer…because now I can work from anywhere.

The idea is always plotted out very methodically. I talk to my inner self (similar to gazing into a crystal ball) to decide. What do I want to do this year?  I want to get back to my love of camping. Next question that pops into my head is where to go. I answer this quickly, heading north to unknown territories would be exciting.  Alaska? No, I’ve already been there. How about Vancouver? I’ve heard it’s beautiful. Where’s a place to camp near Vancouver? Rapid fingers on the Google search engine and then good old Whistler, BC pops onto my screen.  Yep, that looks like it would be a perfect place to camp. How do we get there?  Hmmm, a car? No, that would take too long. How about Amtrak?  Yes, yes. It’s cheap and lo and behold, it goes all the way to Whistler. (Truth be told, it switches to a bus service after Seattle, but what the heck, it’s an adventure, and I’m game.)  We decided to really rough it (minimal carbon footprint) with no vehicle rental  (cheaper, too).  We’ll just backpack into our site, pitch the tent, and then walk the two miles to “Whistler town center” every day. FUN!

The boys were an easy sell on the idea. They were excited as I laid out the plan in full detail, similar to my days of plotting adventures with my six-year-old sister.

My husband Kevin was on board like always and this is one of my most favorite things about him. He never holds me back; he only propels me forward.  His only input was “are you sure you don’t want to use suitcases?” I quickly dismissed that thought: “of course not!”

The day prior to our departure comes quickly. Kevin methodically packs out our backpacks. Greg is carrying a smaller version of my backpack and Matthew has the mini one. Greg and I do a trial run that evening, walking around our living room. My backpack seems heavy (70 pounds), but I’m stoked to have the waist harness to keep the load manageable.

The next morning, four hours before our departure on Amtrak for our 35-hour rail adventure north, I’m doing what all women would be doing in my position, shaving my legs for the last time for a few days. After applying moisturizer, I started to sit back up, but within seconds I retreated because of the excruciating mind-buzzing pain radiating around my lower back. I stammered for Kevin as I proceeded to crawl to the ground, moaning in agony. Something was very wrong.  Kevin came running and I proceeded to tell him that I couldn’t move. Nope, nada.  Panic started to set in. If I moved my hips at all, I was immobilized immediately by the vice grip teeth holding my pelvis in place like I’ve imagined an immense Jaws attack would feel.

Take two: Thanks to my faithful and awesome chiropractor and my general practitioner, I found my tolerable pain threshold 24 hours later and of course “the trip must go on,” with a few modifications. We took a plane to Seattle with five pieces of luggage in tow (no more backpacks); drove a rental car to Whistler; still camped in a tent the entire time (the first night a 500-pound bear said good morning to us by sniffing our door); made one visit to the local chiropractor; squeezed in a mirage of ATV rides, eight bears, one cub, one deer, Ziplines, Adventure Zones, suspension bridges, DFX bike camps, gondola rides and daily hikes; drove the rental car back to Seattle, and finally flew home to San Diego. Of course, a chiropractor visit was needed on the day after my return home, but that was the perfect ending to another adventure-laden trip. Eat NuttZo, I do!

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