I’m going on the Middle Fork of the Salmon in one week. In. One. Week. Woohoo!!!! The past few weeks have done wonders to gradually build my anticipation; I have been reading books from the reading list and ensuring that I have all the gear recommended on the gear list to make for a successful trip. For the past month, I have been politely declining social invitations that fall within the one week time frame, trying to casually say “Oh shoot. I am on the Middle Fork that day.” Only to find myself momentarily enraptured by the far off look that briefly glazes over the eyes of the inviter. Are they picturing the rapids or perhaps the hot springs? (Squeal!!!)  I think of have a case of, what’s the word. . .? Oh- right, anticipation!

It’s an amazing thing, anticipation. I read a New York Times article that cited a study measuring the effects of the overall happiness of vacationers during the different stages of a holiday. The study indicated that vacationers reported a higher degree of happiness in the days leading up to the trip, than after the trip itself. Scientists attributed this happiness to anticipation. Sounds reasonable, especially considering that I’m on cloud 9 and I haven’t even left yet! I feel like the next six nights will be like Christmas Eve when I was five, that giddy somersault of joy in the chest is eager to rip open the gift of nature.

I know this trip is going to be the trip of a lifetime. And with the backdrop of the Middle Fork’s rugged beauty and remote peacefulness, I will have good old fashioned conversations and sing to the trees. I am going to live in the moment, meet new friends, give thanks for the gifts of nature, and enjoy a week on the river with my husband. Five years from now, ten years from now, we will have still share this adventure and the memories created will be captured in photos and inside jokes as this anticipation will evolves into precious nostalgia.

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