Barbara Mock's Retirement JourneyI had the opportunity for the past two weeks to “practice” for my retirement. Because of the pandemic all major family activities, weddings and travel were put on hold. However, I was thrilled that somehow we were able to put together a very impromptu getaway to the wilds of northern Idaho. The idea for a trip came together very quickly. My friend of over 25 years and her husband purchased a small lot near Priest Lake and they have a little camp spot there. Another couple we’ve been friends with for 40 years decided to rent a cabin. We pitched our tent the first night and then enjoyed the luxury of a cabin with bedrooms and plumbing the next three nights!

My son and his wife generously loaned us their speed boat and it was amazing to be able to go to such a gorgeous place and explore a mountain lake. This remote area has a very small local population year-round

Priest Lake

Priest Lake

and even during the summer it isn’t as crowded as what we experience in the Puget Sound area. The day time temperatures were in the mid-90’s so having the opportunity to float on a lake with clean, crystal-clear blue water where you can see almost to the bottom was spectacular. Priest Lake is huge but with my friend as our guide we found our way to a connection to Upper Priest Lake called the “thoroughfare”. This is a natural 2 mile channel with a no-wake zone that we found filled with people using kayaks, canoes, pontoon boats, inner tubes and stand-up paddle boards. We packed snacks and adult beverages and stopped in a little bay on Upper Priest Lake where we turned on some tunes and just floated. We took frequent dips in the cold water and enjoyed a chance to catch up, all while enjoying the soft breezes and the mountain scenery.

I know that strong friendships, especially those that go back decades are incredibly important, especially now as I am starting this journey toward retirement. The fact that we enjoy the same activities and we’ve grown up together means we have shared life experiences. We’ve been there for each other during celebrations as well as sad times.

After our morning activity which was golfing nine holes (more on that later) the three “girls” decided to get a view of the lake. It was really hot that day so while the “boys” were finishing up their round we hiked about 2 1/2 miles to the top of a hill to see a panoramic view of Priest Lake.

I believe maintaining long-term positive friendships with the people who will join me someday in my future retirement adventures is wise. As long as we stay healthy and don’t break any bones we plan on traveling, skiing, hiking and biking together, with and without our husbands.

When we arrived at the top and took in the views I had a new perspective. There is a big world out there ready to discover and I can’t wait to get started! For now I’ll just keep practicing for retirement – the real thing will be here soon!

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