On irony, ski wax, and dressing professionally

There comes a time in life when one must iron something. A wedding, perhaps, especially one you’re standing up in, or a funeral. An interview, a big presentation at work. I’m not saying I enjoy ironing. I’m just saying you have to do it sometimes. Continue reading “On irony, ski wax, and dressing professionally”


What to say and do when you don’t know what to say or do

A perk of my job is the opportunity to make connections with people—someone I’m interviewing (often someone I admire), someone who reads something I write, and so forth. Occasionally, I get to see or learn or attend something cool, like last weekend’s Adventure Film Festival in Boulder.

We often disparage groupthink as perilous, but it can have the opposite effect, too. Sitting in a theater full of people who are psyched on adventuring, whatever that means to them, is inspiring.  Continue reading “What to say and do when you don’t know what to say or do”

List: Fun facts about the elk rut

Fall is not my favorite season. It’s not that I don’t think the leaves are pretty as they slowly die, or that I’m not ready wear my favorite sweaters. It’s not even that I miss summer, although I do dread the insidious Pumpkin Spice Everything. (I like pumpkins but there’s such a thing as overkill.) It’s mostly just that it rains a lot more in the fall, rendering local trails impassable for a few weeks, and I’m excited for it to be winter already.

You know who loves fall, though? Elk. They love it. These guys are seriously, literally, horny for fall.  Continue reading “List: Fun facts about the elk rut”

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.  Continue reading “The worst/best thing about mosquitoes”

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”