“The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” -Eleanor Roosevelt
I love to turn the calendar over to a new year. Every month…actually, every DAY gives us a fresh start, but there’s something monumental about starting a bright, shiny new year. A year full of hopes, dreams, adventures. A clean slate.
When December 2012 melted into January 2013, my hope was based in a new adventure of my own. I dropped to part-time at work to pursue my creativity. My goal was to make and sell jewelry from antique silverware and maps. Marshmallow Ranch was born as my art studio nestled high in the Rocky Mountains. The view from my studio looked out over the slopes of Mt. Medaris…not much more than a hill, really. But at any given time, you might catch glimpse of a red fox or a mule deer or the majestic elk that called this place home long before I moved in. I looked out over that vista after with my morning coffee, a fresh blanket of unbroken snow before me, and felt the freedom of the entrepreneur. Then, tragedy struck and my husband died suddenly.
After that, the new year became something I both dreaded and looked forward to…for the same reason. Each new year brought me further from the pain of loss, but also from the memories I held dear. Eventually, the new year began to hold promise again. Being a Sister on the Fly was a huge part of that. I found myself looking at future events as opportunities to get out and explore and meet new people. And, once I’d met so many, the events brought me back to those who so lovingly supported and walked along side of me in my loss as I began to explore who I was in this new life.
I have yet to do one of the big bucket list trips. I once asked Maurrie, Sister #1, if I was “too old” (I’m 65) for Cowgirl College. She gave me a look as if to say… “Are you out of your mind??? YOU are who we designed this stuff for!” You are never “too old” to go on an adventure. You are never “too old” to have more fun than anyone!
One of my favorite events to attend is “Rocky Mountain ‘HI’.” It’s one of the bigger outings and, since the Rocky Mountain group is who I started out with, I know many of the Sisters who attend. It’s like Old Home Week…a reunion of women who were there with me from the beginning. I’ve slept all night at a drive-in. I’ve listened to bluegrass and had lunch with just a handful of Sisters. I’ve Jeeped through Rocky Mountain National Park with my mentor-sister, Diane S. #16. I’ve greeted visitors and stood onstage with Maurrie #1 and Becky #2 at the Denver Fly Fishing Show. When I was interviewed for an article for the New York Times, it was Maurrie who sat with me for the teaser photo. I’ve stayed the night with Sisters as I traveled cross-country. I’ve met, and laughed hysterically with, our own Maizie…Sister #0.
This organization is unique in that YOU make it what it is. Without YOU, and your wonderful ideas for adventures, WE would be nothing more than any other newsletter about camping and fly fishing. I stepped out of my comfort zone and hosted an event. You can, too. I stepped up and volunteered to be a Wrangler. You can, too. I write a monthly story for the newsletter and blog. You can, too. There are opportunities galore out there if you want to do more than just gather together.
Let’s look at some of the fun events Sisters can enjoy in the coming year…
— January has the Dutch oven Divas in Quartzite, Arizona…the capital city of Boondocking. There’s crafting in Glen Rose, Texas at Flannel & Fur II. Or, the Blue Butt Rendezvous II at Banbury Hot Springs in Hagerman, Idaho.
— February brings Sisters on Skinny Skis in Mozambique, WA as well as Winter Frosty Fun in Yellowstone National Park. If you haven’t been to Yellowstone in the winter, you’re missing an amazing treat! Steamy geysers and hot pots, buffalo and eagles and grizzlies and streams full of salmon and trout. Wrapping up in a cozy blanket in front of a fire. Photographic opportunities galore.
— March will see the Panama Canal Cruise and Rocking the Red Rocks in Utah. These are already full, but there’s always next year if you plan ahead. The Swamp Sisters will gather at the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia.
— Grandma’s on the Loose gather in Cougar, Washington in April. What a wonderful way to share the camping life with the littles in your life and, at only 11 miles from Mount St. Helens, teach them about geology and our changing earth. Bluegrass, Barns and Bourbon shows up at the Kentucky Horse Park. I’ve camped there a few times and it’s wonderful.
— May…NOW we’re getting into some fun camping weather! You can go to Send in the Clowns and spot puffins at Cannon Beach, Oregon. Or how about White Gate Farm Camping 101 in Maine for those Sisters just starting out?
— June brings us Camp Quilt S’more on the Mississippi as well as Sisters in the Sierra’s in Yosemite National Park. There’s also Junk in the Trunk 6 in Decorah, Iowa where you can bring your pets!
— July…ever seen a “moonbow”? It is what it describes…a rainbow formed by the bright light of the moon. Cumberland Falls Moonbow in Kentucky gets you up close and personal for an unbelievable experience. I’ve seen a moonbow…it’s amazing! Or, how about Teton Tango 2 in Grand Teton National Park…Colter Bay Village. I love when you start seeing numbers after events, don’t you? It means the first one was SO much fun they had to do it again!
— August brings us Dirty Dancing Weekend with the Sisters at Mountain Lake Lodge in the Appalachians. You can experience tent camping at it’s finest in Hungry Mother State park and get a fabulous hot dog at Got Dip Dogs over Labor Day weekend.
— The 50th Anniversary of Woodstock has a “Save the Date” announcement on September’s calendar. My mom wouldn’t let me go the first time. Who’s up for making the memory of a lifetime, eh? This one is being held in Columbus, Indiana so it’s not quite the same as Yasgur’s Farm, but a good time will be had by all, I’m sure.
— You can ride September right into October at Sisters Take Gonzales, the 20th Anniversary Celebration. A week long affair with Cowgirl Karaoke, kayaking, and a cook off. What could be more fun than that?
— November and December already have a few fabulous opportunities to gather and get to know even more Sisters like Sisters on the flying Dragon or the amazing Danube Waltz – Budapest to Passau 8 Day Cruise on Viking Cruise Lines??? Wow!
So, as you can see, Sisters all over America are working hard to share adventures with you. And, if you don’t see something that tickles your fancy, schedule an event in your neck of the woods. I am planning to be a hostess again this year. Life is what you make it. This year, make it GRAND!
May you continue to keep GETTING BOLDER!
With much love and gratitude,
Post contributed by blogger, Positive Aging Expert & Motivational Speaker,
Ginny McKinney, SOTF #3537
Marshmallow Ranch Blog