In September, Bruce, our friend Tim and I hiked the Grand Tetons. They were the most majestic, stunning mountains I have ever hiked. We set out late morning on the String Lake Trailhead with our sights on Inspiration Point and onward to Cascade Canyon- about a 10-13 mile round-trip day hike. As we left the parking lot, there were bear warning signs everywhere and we took note.
Our plan of action was as follows. Tim would lead. Tim is 6’4″ and a vigorous hiker with the top of the mountain on his brain. He carried the bear spray. I would follow Tim. I am 5’1″ so I take at least 1.5 steps for every step Tim takes but they didn’t nickname me “Sparky” for no reason. I would carry the Thunder Bear Whistle. Bruce would be the caboose since his main job on this trip is usually to keep up with Tim and myself. He carried his 5″ knife just because that is all he had.
The scenery was breathtaking. We all were high with anticipation to see any kind of wildlife and passed hikers that had spotted a bear. The further we hiked out the less people we encountered and time began to dissolve. After about 5 miles, we meandered down to a stream and ate lunch. Our feet were hot, soar and tired, so we soaked them in the freezing cold glacier run-off knowing that we still had several miles of trail ahead of us.
When we finally decided to turn around, I got my second wind and took the lead. I turned to Tim and said enthusiastically, “I will keep a lookout for any wildlife on the way back!” Have you ever heard that saying, “Watch what you ask for?” Within 5 minutes, I turned the corner of the trail and in front of me stood an enormous, male moose with a full rack of antlers staring straight at me blocking the trail. Did you know that adult male moose stand 6.9 ft. tall, have an antler span of 5.9 ft. and weigh about 1399 lbs.!
Despite all the chattering in my head for the last 3.5 hours about how calmly I would react should I see a bear or moose, suddenly my heart leapt into my throat and I did not feel my feet beneath me as I turned around like lightening and ran to Tim grabbing arm shouting, “Tim there’s a moose!”
I can tell you there was no thought of taking a picture of this grand creature for my next Facebook post. Tim who was nervous as me said, “What do we do?” We ended up gathering Bruce, climbing on a big rock and making some noise in the hopes that the moose would run off.
The moose did quietly walk back into the forest and we resumed our hike sharing our story with every hiker we encountered on the way back and all the way through the Rockies and NM.
The reason I share this is not only because it is a great story but because of what I realized afterwards. After hours of anticipating and inwardly pining to see and planning on how I would react to encountering a large animal, the realty of my experience was much different than I could have ever imagined.
And so it goes with buying a house….. As I returned to showing houses, I realized that I was back on the trail but this time with my clients. I spent time educating them. They bravely dared to visualize, prepare, anticipate what their experience might be like, listened to those who went before them in this experience and thought they knew how it might come down. Then suddenly the right house pops out in front of them and then what? Rarely is the experience quite like they had described to me. There lies the beauty of it. It is in the adventure where the magic lies. I am thankful for these experiences that encourage me to stay in the moment and for the moose that visited me that beautiful day.