What’s Your “Y” – Employee spotlight on Riley
On June 23rd, he embarked on this venture, eager to spread Yogi’s message of well-being to those he met along the way. From the onset, the trail was fraught with considerable tests. Thunderstorms, snow, hail, and rain, transformed each mile into a daring conquest.
Amidst a dispirited state, Riley met Julie, who lives in a fire tower atop Table Rock. Their bond formed over shared discussions of their personal “Y”s and shared sips of Yogi Tea, which helped invigorate their spirits.
Julie, a self-proclaimed hermit, is following her her long-time dream of becoming a children’s book author, guided by the motto of just doing it, even if perfection eludes her.
As Riley interacted with Julie and fellow trekkers, offering tea and exchanging stories of their life-defining “Y”s, he recognized the journey’s essence lay not merely in the destinations but the people you meet along the way.
In Sumpter, his second town stop, he stocked up on supplies during the lively 4th of July festivities.
Energized and uplifted, he departed, knowing the inner resistance to leave the comforts of a real bed and shower behind would eventually yield to the tranquility hiking has to offer, a concept universally familiar to travelers.
Around 200 miles into the journey, surrounded by Eastern Oregon’s vast landscapes – meadows, creeks, and lakes – Riley immersed himself in introspection.
He philosophized about the true worth of the trail, recognizing that its ending was a goal, but it’s the journey that imprints the heart.
Shifting his focus from the destination, he purposefully slowed down his pace to soak up nature’s beauty in the present moment.
After relentless hiking for two weeks, Riley finally embraced a zero day, a well-deserved rest day in La Grande. Amidst a run-down hotel room, he found contentment in the moment, unburdened by past or future anxieties.
The subsequent day marked the Yogi Tea Party at Blue Mountain Outfitters. Riley wholeheartedly shared Yogi’s message, his own passion, and his personal “Y” with attendees, gifting Yogi tea to those who shared their own pursuits. Energized, he continued, realizing that the people encountered, the landscapes admired, and the obstacles overcome were enduring treasures.
As he ventured into Troy, the last stop before the final stretch, Riley’s path led him to an old Bath House managed by Doug and Diana. Their dinner and camaraderie enlightened Riley’s spiritual connection with sharing food, a powerful way to pass on energy to those who need it most.
With limited funds and no cell service, Riley faced set out for his ultimate challenge: The Long Haul. 180 miles without the possibility for resupply, traversing desert territory during the predicted hottest days of the year. Yet, fate brought him to Bob and Mary Kay, trail angels who fervently supported his journey, after successfully completing a 2700 mile ascent out of Joseph Canyon themselves.
Encouraged by their spirit, Riley pressed on. The following days saw Riley descending into Hells Canyon, the nation’s deepest canyon. The upward climb proved a fierce battle with dense vegetation scraping his body.
His endurance revealed the impressive Wallowa Mountains, validating his decision to conclude the trek there.
At the pinnacle, emotions surged; a mere 9 miles remained until he completed the trail. Riley basked in pride and gratitude, entering the town of Joseph on July 23rd, marking the first North/Eastbound thru-hike of the Blue Mountains Trail.
Joined by friends, he reveled in the shared triumph and joy. The Tea Party Celebration at Quickhatch Provisions sealed the journey, as Bob, Mary Kay, and a friend Julie had sent to joined in festivity. Riley’s conviction rekindled: the journey is the treasure, guided by one’s “Y”.