high and low...

High and low is way more then the elevations at which my wife, Christine, and I were recreating recently.  It can translate across purposes to include the highs of newborn babies, and the lows of the news of a dear friend losing their companion.  My heart goes out to each of them in their experiences on the opposite ends of the highs and lows of the human existence.  I choose to take inspiration from them, and appreciate everything around me that much more because of their examples in both life and death.  Beautiful experiences with my wife and dog are that much more rewarding in the afterglow of the inspiration they have given me.  The views are that much richer, and the fog of sentimental reflection is as thick as the Northern Wasatch scrub oak.

^Christine is climbing higher through the rocky scrub oak lined switchbacks. 

 ^The wild flowers of the north slope at about 8,500 feet take on just that much more splendor through the lenses of inspiration.  Our hearts were broken by the news of my friend and ski athlete coworker, Kate Hourihan, losing her boyfriend Jake Rigby in a terrible hiking accident.  We were both kind of floating aimlessly through our morning routine to get ready for this ride.  At one point Christine was staring off into space when I asked her what was up.  She simply replied, "Just feeling very sentimental after hearing about Jake's fall."  She never met Jake or Kate, but I think she was deeply identifying with Kate and her losing her career outdoorsman companion.  These lifestyles amongst the worlds wildest places are a little more dangerous than most, but those of us living them know how rewarding and enriching they are.  I know Jake lived an inspired and appreciative existence in his time here, and that inspires me to live with that much more zest, love, and exploration.
^Riding through this setting is a gift.  Our spirits were lifted by the view and thin air filling our exasperated gasps for crisp mountain air.  Inspired, appreciative, and sweating.  I will take it all.  

^This ride provided a dual experience of overlooking the mountain valley of Pineview Resevior and the small towns around it, with the opposing view of bustling Ogden City.  The macro view of the city's coming and going always gives me a sense of rising above the madness of everyday life and as bluegrass man Sam Bush sings, "Take a little time for sunshine.  Take a whole lot of time for love.  Take time praise and thank heaven up above.  Take your life, as it may come cause boy it will be gone soon. Take a little time for howling at the moon!"

^Big old Ben Lomond peak.  Pretty high up there.

^Later we descended in elevation to the salty depths of the Great Salt Lake.  Antelope Island is a favorite sunset experience of mine and Christine and I boogied down there to enjoy one. We were a bit late to get to my favorite spot, but this one did not disappoint.

^Locked up and landing.  Pretty cool moment.

^Murphy got quite the surprise when she dipped her tongue into the thick water for a drink.  The salty taste didn't stop her from diving right in though.  I have heard the term salty dog before, but this was a very literal version.  Needless to say, a bath was in order when we got her home.

 ^The waterfowl are abundant out there with the large food source the salty lake provides.  Murphy took advantage of the abundance to chase the feathered friends on the buggy beach.  You can see the bug swarms and waterfowl retreating the tongue flapping, tail wagging newcomer.  Murphy was so fired up to be amongst all the wild activity.

^The sun eventually did set on Murphy's fun, and the orange landscape gave way to the deep purple of the transition of the setting sun to the rising moon.

^The cycles of the universe and life continue each day without interruption.  I can only be thankful to be leading a blessed existence, and take deep inspiration from the examples of those around me.  My wife and I were given the gift of some really deeply enhanced appreciation of some great experiences because of the sentiment gleaned from Kate, her family, and Jake's family in their tragic moments of loss and grief.  It reminded us of our blessing for each other, and our shared experiences.  Many of our friends and family are also getting pregnant and having new babies recently as well.  They add to the appreciation of our blessings we derived from the lows of passing life, with inspirational faith in the existence of the highs of life as well by watching them experience it in the birth of new and beautiful lives.  I am thankful for all of it, and all of them.