I’ve got [sunscreen] on a cloudy day

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”

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A toast to the Aloha Life

This week, I’m getting ready to go on vacation. I have a lot of things to do: work to finish, emails to send, and, of course, packing, which I obviously haven’t started yet. (My philosophy: if I only leave myself an hour to pack, packing will only take me an hour!)

Anyway, in all the excitement (stress), I neglected to post a blog this week. But I’m saved! Turns out some work I already did is now out there in the universe, so in lieu of my usual navel-gazing, allow me to present you with a story about what happened last time I went on vacation and didn’t check my email for ten days. Continue reading “A toast to the Aloha Life”

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”

No goals allowed

I have a small stack of journals sitting on my desk. I don’t write in them regularly; they’re mostly for keeping notes while I’m traveling. I’ll often go weeks or months between scrawled, barely-legible entries. In the back of each one, there is a tally of annual nights spent in a sleeping bag (tents, yurts, huts, cabins, hammocks, and truck beds all count). I’m usually in the thirties by mid-May, and, for the last few years, I’ve broken 100 nights by September or October.  Continue reading “No goals allowed”