As hard as I try not to embody gender-based stereotypes, I am perpetually Team Mom. I can’t help it. If we’re camping, I will follow you around picking up after you and organizing all our gear into neat piles. I want to make sure you’ve gotten enough to eat. Please let me pack you a lunch.
These qualities are generally considered endearing—who doesn’t want a smorgasboard laid out on the picnic table and a cold beer waiting when you finish pitching your tent? But I do have this one habit that drives people bonkers. Continue reading “I’ve got [sunscreen] on a cloudy day”
A little over a year ago, I headed to Mexico with a group of women who are, in one way or another, associated with Big City Mountaineers. I’ve written a fair amount about BCM before, since I’ve worked as an instructor and as a volunteer, but basically: BCM is a nonprofit that teaches critical life skills to under-resourced kids during the course of weeklong wilderness backpacking and canoe trips. One of their primary fundraising tools is a program called Summit For Someone, in which participants do cool stuff like climb mountains or embark on their own wilderness trips while fundraising for BCM. Continue reading “How I climbed a mountain without making it entirely about myself”
I’ll never forget a monthlong glacier trip I did in my early twenties with a backpack I borrowed from the guy I was dating at the time. He was bigger and broader than me, and so was his pack. A week into the trip, the skin on my hips was raw, and I spent another 20 days miserably adjusting and readjusting and padding and un-padding and generally wishing I had a way to carry 85 pounds that actually fit me. By the time I got home, I was ready to burn it, and not just because our subsequent breakup wasn’t exactly amicable. Continue reading “It’s nice to have gear that fits you”
A year and a half or so ago, my mother-in-law announced that she’d always wanted to visit Finnish Lapland, but that she didn’t know anyone who’d want to go with her. It’s too cold there, everyone around her in Milwaukee kept saying, and anyway, why Finland?
Good news, we told her. We want to go to Finnish Lapland. Continue reading “Puhun vähän”
A chorus of little voices greets me enthusiastically as I shove my backpack into a cubby at the crowded climbing gym on a windy Friday afternoon.
“Emma!” one kid bounds up to me, “High-five!” At the last second, she pulls her hand away with a grin, exposing the same giant braces I had at her age. “Too slow,” she smirks. It’s fine. I’ll get her back later. Continue reading “When 10-year-olds have the answers”