The day that almost wasn’t…

GusmeHow often are we quick to take an easy path or decline an invitation to do something unusual? I believe we frequently fall into complacency by doing routine (many times mundane) rituals, simply because they are trouble-free.

My daughter Katie invited me to a Daddy/Daughter date which was to be a snowmobile trip through the Wasatch Mountains of northern Utah. We have been experiencing much colder than usual weather which dictated that our adventure would begin outdoors in subzero temperatures.

As we were preparing for our escapade, Katie asked me what time I wanted to leave? She suggested 7:00 am, which for me, an early riser, isn’t normally a big deal. This time however, all I could imagine was how bitter cold it would be and a little later start would certainly be welcome. Katie needed to go to work in the early afternoon, 7:00 allowed for plenty of time to do all she wanted to do.

I accepted without her knowing my concern that the sun wouldn’t be around to help warm us up. Snowmobiling at these temperatures isn’t uncommon but for some reason my mind was thinking very sluggishly. For me to pick Katie up at 7:00 I needed to leave home at 6:30, still dark and yes, very frigid…

On our way, I thought of a couple things (such as eating in a warm restaurant) that might allow for Mr Sunshine to assist us in maintaining our warmth. These thoughts came to no avail having a dedicated and determined young daughter. Our assent into the mountains offered a very active decent in temperatures. Upon arriving at the trailhead, we finally realized -4° Fahrenheit—burrrrrrr.

Everything outside the car was very cold. Once we were out, we were out and there was no turning back. As we were starting the machines, they seemed to whisper, come on, are you serious? It is cold out here… We got them started however, bundled ourselves up and were ready to go. The first few miles were indeed very cold and any portion of skin left uncovered quickly became frozen.

About 10-15 minutes into our trip each of us began warming up. The activity of driving and the heat of the engine made the outdoors seem nearly tolerable. As Mr Sunshine began expressing himself, the beauty around us exploded as if we were in a dream. Crystal clear blue skies, glistening brilliantly white snow and unparalleled majestic mountains all burst before our eyes.

About an hour into our trip, we found ourselves warmed to the point of wanting to take some layers of clothing off. We hiked a couple hills, stood in amazement at our surroundings and took pictures. The trail groomer had gone before us and we were the first on the trails. We witnessed adult bull and cow moose within feet. I took a quick picture which turned out blank; we joked they were simply a dream for each of us (Katie, the better photographer did get a picture. This was after she chased them doing a full summersault while in pursuit since my click had scared them off).

Our day together, from beginning to end was completely enjoyable, no, actually it was truly outrageous! And yes, it came within a moment of never happening at all. Today I am reminded of a critical life lesson: Those who have lived the most aren’t the ones with the greatest number of years; they are those who have had a majority of spectacular experiences.

Katie, thank you for the Daddy/Daughter date invite! How often do we miss out on what could have been the greatest day of our lives? I hope never… Be willing to accept what our hearts are telling us to do; even though our minds may be making up excuses.


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