A few weeks ago, I noticed a post from an old classmate at Florida State University. It read: “My grandfather is one of the best people I know. He’s been diagnosed with cancer and my aunt has started a unique plan to make him happy. If anyone is going anywhere interesting this summer or anytime soon and wants to take a picture of my grandparents along in the form of Flat Dig & Mary so they can feel like they are traveling, it would be amazing and they would LOVE it.” Basically, Dig loves to travel, and since he can’t anymore, the family thought it would help keep his spirits high to hop into the suitcases of others and adventure vicariously.
Naturally, I jumped onboard immediately. A man who loves travel is a man after my own heart, so I wanted to see what I could do to put a smile on Dig’s face (hi Dig, I hope you enjoy this!). I enlisted a little bit of help from the incredible, caring, endlessly thoughtful outdoor community – I asked them to take Dig and Mary along for whatever adventures they had planned this weekend, and this is what we got. Dig and Mary, hold on, ’cause you’re about to embark on quite the journey.
Dig and Mary started their trip off by accompanying me on a trail run in Colorado. We braved the heat to take a beautiful jaunt around Lake Standley while enjoying the surrounding views of the Flat Irons and the Rocky Mountains.
I returned from that adventure sweaty and ready to call it a day – but Dig and Mary had other plans. Thanks to my wonderful friends across the country, Dig and Mary went on a road trip that I’m not even sure I can top! First, they zoomed over to the east coast, where they met up with Katie Levy to take a hike at Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park.
Next, the handsome couple decided to kick things up a notch and joined Columbia Sportswear’s Omniten crew on their epic rafting trip on the Rogue River. From what I’ve heard, they got all sorts of soaked by the river, drank a few beers, and camped under the stars before heading onto their next adventure.
With the bar raised for their standards of adventure, Dig and Mary were probably thinking that there wasn’t anyway they could possibly top the experience of floating down the Rogue River in Oregon, but they were quickly proven wrong as Dave Creech took them to more incredible outdoor destinations than most people visit in a lifetime.
Here’s a run-down of their next itinerary: First, they stop by Monterey Bay Aquarium on the California coast. After filling their lungs with fresh ocean air, they journeyed east to Lake Mono. Arizona is next on the to-do list, but how would they resist a stop at the Grand Canyon along the way? Don’t look down, Dig (or do, the view is unbelievable)! Once they hit the desert, it was time for a stroll to Bell Rock in Sedona, followed by reveling at the old, towering cacti at Saguaro National Park. Not too shabby, eh?
While hanging out in the Grand Canyon State, Dig and Mary paid a visit to my dear friend Heidi Henry, who lives in Phoenix. The weather turned sour, but Heidi showed her guests a good time on a trail run to one of her favorite places, White Tank Mountain Regional Park. Dig and Mary got rained on quite a bit, but it was all part of the adventure.
All this desert exploration is sure to give anyone a sunburn, so Dave Creech’s brother offered to cool Dig and Mary off – with a whole new kind of adventure. Their next destination? A tug boat, on the Bering Sea. Can someone get these two a jacket? ‘Cause it sure does look mighty cold.
Adventuring in the extremes is a great experience to have under your belt, but Gina Begin figured Dig and Mary deserved a little relaxation from all the heat and snow with a trip to her backyard, one of the most beautiful parks in America, Grand Teton National Park. Not too hot, not too cold – and mountain views unlike anywhere else. Understandably, all that traveling can be a bit tiring, so I sent Dig and Mary out to someone who really knows how to be hospitable to guests, Russ Beebe. If I know Russ (which I do), I’m guessing he treated Dig and Mary to many, many bottles of wine and a fine homecooked meal before taking them out to the Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge in California’s scenic bay area. They saw ducks, egrets, cormorants, and all sorts of creatures in the tidal marsh. Maybe it was something in the air, or maybe it was all that wine, but Dig and Mary couldn’t pass up the opportunity to join Jon Bausman in Indiana as he watched two dear friends get married. Rumor has it, Dig knows how to bust a move!So Dig and Mary, are you ready for a little vacation from your vacation yet? After traveling from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific, from the mountains of Wyoming to the desert in Arizona, we figured you would be okay with our final destination: Costa Rica. (And thanks to Dave Creech, you didn’t even have to pay any airfare, he quite literally just tucked you into his suitcase.)
We all wish we could have brought the life-sized Dig and Mary along for our adventures this weekend, but since we couldn’t get the real thing, Flat Dig and Mary were just as welcome on our journeys. My buddy Steve even brought Dig and Mary out to the Andes on his epic snowboarding trip, but his internet access is rather spotty, so he wasn’t able to provide us with photographic evidence – but I hear Dig was shredding some serious snow.
Dig and Mary, from the bottom of all our hearts, we are sending you heaps of love and good thoughts. Keep fighting the good fight, and let us know if you ever need to get out of town for a bit – we’d love to bring you along for more trail running, sight-seeing, National Park exploring, and sometimes, a little relaxation. In this one weekend, you two managed to visit three countries, seven states, and four National Parks – impressive! Cheers to you, from all of us!