I frequently get asked why I started White Hearth Coffee and what better way to tell you than by writing a blog post to detail the trip that started it all. It was the trip of a lifetime, and a trip that I was beyond scared to go on, but I figure that we should all do things in our lives that scare us, so why not?
It all began one afternoon when the hubs and I were sitting around with our dear friend Alan, he said he wanted to drive around the country and hit up some national parks and camp the whole way. I never considered myself to be a camper so this sounded like a terrible idea to me. I hated camping because as many of you know, I had Lyme disease for 6 years and was bed bound for a portion of that, therefore me + woods = major fear. I decided that I didn’t want fear to dictate what I did with my life and that we should just go for it.
We left in mid may and made our first stop in Denver. We stayed at a random campsite that we found on Google Maps on the drive in. I’d also like to add that I am the QUEEN of planning, I have every trip planned out down to the time we eat breakfast in the morning. I have been known to make a Google Doc (or 5) to plan out the stops for every trip, so this was not my cup of tea. This was another lesson I wanted to give myself on this trip, I wanted to relinquish control and take comfort with going with the flow, I was amazed at the things I discovered about myself and the world as a result of this relinquished control.
We decided to stop at Red Rocks and hike around the amphitheater, and it was gorgeous. We saw deer crossing the trails and were overwhelmed by the beauty of the fog covered mountains. I realized that it didn’t matter if we had a plan because the joy of the wilderness doesn’t really need a plan and it’s gorgeous no matter what time of the day you stumble upon it.
Photo above by Alan Kroll
We then headed to Wyoming to see Grand Teton National Park and decided to stay at Signal Mountain Campground near Jackson Hole. This campsite was EVERYTHING. It backed out to a lake that sat at the base of the most magnificent mountains I had ever witnessed in my life. Every night we set up two hammocks behind our campsite and just started at the sunset. It was glorious and sometimes I close my eyes and imagine that campsite when I need a bit of a boost in my life.
Our last stop was up north at Glacier National Park. We got in late in the day and found a hole in the wall campsite that reminded me of the beginning of a horror film – I won't link to that one. ;) It was also completely empty which only added to my fear that someone was bound to attack me when I went to the bathroom at night. I was certain it would be our last stop in history. But don’t worry, I survived to tell the tale.
We soon realized that we had come to West Glacier a bit early for the season. Most shops hadn’t even opened for the season and it was almost like being in a zombie film after everyone disappears. We went on a hike up Sperry Trail and the last part of the hike had our noses frozen over and so much wind that I truly believed there was a chance we wouldn’t make it back down. It was spectacular and such a great experience. That same day, we found an oasis in the desert, Azul Coffee Bar in Columbia Falls. This place had the most amazing coffee and such a unique vibe to be found preseason at Glacier National Park. I realized then and there that I wanted to showcase these little gems I find so that I can look back and remember all the good times.
The drive home was about 22 hours and on the way I thought about how grateful I was that I decided to go on the trip. Nights spent under the stars in temperatures in the 30s were so worth the amazing growth I experienced by doing something out of my comfort zone. And who knew camping could be so fun?
Photo above by Alan Kroll
So there you have it, the trip that began White Hearth Coffee. Call it inspiration by way of mountains or the delicious coffee at Azul, but something about the journey made me want to document amazing places throughout the country forevermore.
Peace, love and White Hearth Coffee,
*All photos are taken by myself unless otherwise stated*