The worst/best thing about mosquitoes

A few things signal to me that I’m really getting somewhere: washboard roads, for example, and Forest Service two-track lined by “No Shooting” signs riddled with holes. It’s like the whiff of white gas as I light my Whisperlite or a sleeping bag that smells vaguely of last night’s campfire or a long silence punctuated by loon calls; these smells and sights and sounds signify that something is going right.ย  Continue reading “The worst/best thing about mosquitoes”

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List: Things that aren’t so bad about portaging a canoe through thigh-deep mud

As my Chaco-clad feet sank ever deeper into soupy black mud, I thought briefly of the woolly mammoths, who perished in droves as they struggled to free themselves from quicksand. Like the mammoth, who no doubt once inhabited the same sort of glacier-carved landscape I was now thoroughly stuck in, I was fighting against my own weight, not to mention that of the 100-pound portage pack strapped inconveniently to my back. Continue reading “List: Things that aren’t so bad about portaging a canoe through thigh-deep mud”

How I am staying motivated despite our terrifying political climate

After the November 2016 election, I gave myself a few days to grieve, and then I got motivated. I showed up to marches and engaged people around me in conversations about power and privilege and donated some money to organizations I cared about. Let’s keep fighting the good fight, I said. Continue reading “How I am staying motivated despite our terrifying political climate”

Why I don’t mind being lost in the crowd

You’ve seen Delicate Arch. It’s plastered on every billboard between Grand Junction and Moab. It’s on the Utah state license plate. It’s safe to say this 65-foot formation of Entrada sandstone, the product of millions of seasons’ worth of wind and water, is among the most iconic views in all of Utah, maybe the American West. Continue reading “Why I don’t mind being lost in the crowd”

When you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. (Turns out this is still true.)

When I was 21 and thinking about moving to Alaska, I paid my bills by waiting tables at a local sports bar. I had a very wise manager with whom I occasionally butted heads, due in no small part, I’m sure, to my stubbornness. I spent months waffling endlessly on whether I should apply for this teaching job or pack everything up and make for Anchorage, and one night, as I begged him to please cut me from the floor so I could go home and study, he dropped this major bombshell on me:

“When you don’t know where you’re going,” he told me, “Any road will take you there.” Continue reading “When you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. (Turns out this is still true.)”