Saturday night with girlfriends over light summer dishes, summer dresses and a substantial amount of white wine and we are laughing at everything and nothing. Sharing between us different school stories and boyfriend stories, laughing at what was, what has been, will be, and lays ahead we carry on for hours into the night.
The tear inducing moment of the entire evening came as we all concluded together we have a tendency to be crazy. Not fully blown mental hospital admittance crazy, just slightly emotional sometimes ridiculous -but -mostly- female craziness. For some reason this brought peels of laughter that then subsided into the warm fuzzy feelings of being surrounded by good girlfriend love but also the mutual and quiet understanding that a little craziness isn't too bad a thing.
I struggled to explain to them the craziness I had just come from. So I took a few moments today, with the help of Pam and Rick's photos, tried to narrate for myself exactly the Training Block Craziness (and goodness) of the last three weeks.
Here, in the photo with Alex, Matt and Linden (other training leaders), I am rocking my beverage of choice for June 2010. This was day one of training, notice my big smile, name tag and drink in my hand. I met Le Crack on a camping trip in Alaska. Everyone kept reciting, "Le Crack, La Crack", this sparkling water with a slight flavour available at Albertson's USA by the 12 and 24 pack. I went through 12 x2 packs of it on the epic drive from Alaska, and probably equally as many during Salt Lake City training block. The last three days of training block last week were a flurry of drive school tests, final evaluations, final talks, final learnings and prepping for the fields. I bought a case of this stuff and hid it away and drank it in the same manner smokers secretly and furtively smoke their cigarettes when they are resolving to quit. La Croix, please come to Canada.
Of all the BR people in my life this year, Alex is the one that keeps cropping up, sort of like a bad cold that you can't get rid of. (He will laugh when he reads that. I hope. Right Alex? Right?) We've worked Death Valley, Las Vegas, San Francisco and now on training block together this year and are building a creepy sibling-like relationship. In this photo we were trying to inspire 19 new leaders plus 7 new camp assistants into what a camping food buy should look like. Hint. Epic amounts of red onion, potato chips, tequila and m & ms.
Every night on our Mock Trip to Bryce and Zion our new folks would practice giving talks we give on trips: Orientation, Logistics, Safety, Family Games, Teachable Moments, Interpretive talks. We'd through a few tricky scenarios at them as well to see how they would handle it. (Very well indeed). Camping at best was giving everyone 5-6 hours of sleep. Nothing like that to break down all your defences and see what you're really made of.
In Flight, Bryce Canyon.
One of the six people I mentored was Dave. On this hike we had one of those gut wrenching, heart opening, life crunching talks. Something about the orange hoodoos and pristine sky opens you up to wield out details of your life to somebody you didn't enough existed ten days prior.
Team "Larry" included my six mentor-ees for the training block. Chuck, one of the other training mentors is in the middle. These six continued to delight and surprise me during the three weeks, and I was lucky enough to build a relationship with each one. They are now spreading their wings and flying into the Backroads world... trip leading all over the place.
Mock Trip was a five day gong show were we essentially staged a Backroads camping trip for our folks to see how they'd do. I was particularly thrilled with seeing the two new National Parks and not have to fake it like on trip. "Isn't this beautiful" "Yes, I have been here SO many times before..."
Three weeks gone, two days off, long days, big nights, big learning. Mock trip, six new leaders under my wing into the field. Tears shed, lessons learned. An outstanding opportunity to teach to new folks. Coach change, inspire change, ask questions, be bold.
At the top of West Rim Point in Zion this photo was taken. You cannot tell but my eyes are closed. In that moment the craziness paused. For just a brief flicker of time. And Radiohead says it best.

For a minute, I lost myself.