The Summer of Yes

I woke up and for once was not cold thanks to the brown bear skin that covered my body. Ten eyeballs belonging to different animals stared down onto me from around the small trailer’s living room.  I am not a morning person but that particular morning I could not help but giggle.


One of my biggest fears is waking up one day wrinkled with no experiences and missed opportunities.  When I am old I want to have great stories to share and lots of wisdom to pass along. As a secret avid worry-wart, I desperately try to push away negative thoughts and stress on a daily basis.  To spend less time thinking of what could go wrong and more time taking advantage of every chance I can get my hands on. After all, taking chances is what I’m known for and quite fun!

Summer 2013, I took a 32 hour train ride into Essex, Montana with my cousin Kaleigh; a town of 59 people an hour outside of Glacier National Park. There were five of us that lived in one bedroom of this small home. Having just moved out of my sorority house, this did not even phase me. Living in the top bunk with Kaleigh in the bottom, we claimed the balcony as our own space where I did lots of reading, writing, and even dropped my phone from the second story railing onto our gravel driveway once. The phone had zero damage when I picked it up an hour later. This became the summer of “yes” and clearly some luck.

I was working six shifts a week at the Izaak Walton Inn a restaurant and historic inn in the mountains. My backyard was home to wild animals, beautiful hikes, a river, and wild strawberries and huckleberries. If I was not covered in food and alcohol (this was my first serving job) I was outside. Okay, on rainy days and late at night I was binge-watching 90210 on Netflix. There was no cell phone service but I did have Netflix!

A few days off in a row was a treat! To celebrate I went camping with coworkers at Lake McDonald.  Boating surrounded by mountains was surreal. There was tubing, burgers over the fire, lots of laughter and thank the Lord toilets not too far away. The next day after one last boat ride my roommate Sarah asked me to go visit a new friend of hers.


Riding shotgun in my bikini my eyes began to water profusely.  I have a sensitivity to sunscreen and managed to get some into both eyes.  My eyes are bright red and dripping  as we pull up into a trailer park. “Oh yeah, he has a kid.” Sarah warns me after I stare down the tricycle. I jump out of the car without grabbing my backpack and as the door swings open the first sentence out of my mouth is, “Do you have eye drops? I’m Emily.”  The eye drops were not doing my poor eyes any justice so I decided right then and there a hot shower would help.

Post lake swimming and camping showers are amazing but having my full vision back made me feel like a million bucks. That was until I held the shower handle in my right hand, unattached from the faucet, while the water still ran. Yours truly ran out of the bathroom in a towel, panicked, shouting, “I DID NOT MEAN TO BREAK YOUR BATHROOM!” If this was the Bachelor, I would have received the first impression rose. This is what life is like when you say “yes” to all adventures and live in the moment.

I got it together, the shower head was fixable, and we ended up going into the downtown area for some tacos, tequila, and a mini bar crawl where we met up with another roommate, Kelsey. The night may have ended on the fuzzy side but Kelsey got us home safe while we sang along to early 2000’s music.


Unpredictable adventures are my favorite. These opportunities sometimes fall into my lap and other times I seek them out.  Even the morning when I woke up in an unfamiliar place with a bear skin as a blanket I knew that I would never be able to experience that again and I was so happy.

Always say yes to adventure.






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