Find Your Snack: Great Sand Trap

The National Park Service turns 100 years old in 2016, and dirtbags nationwide are finding creative ways to commemorate the NPS Centennial. I, on the other hand, lack artistic sensibilities, and am thus marking the occasion in the same way I celebrate everything else: by eating. Here’s the second installment.

The National Park Service turns 100 years old in 2016, and dirtbags nationwide are finding creative ways to commemorate the NPS Centennial. (My favorite so far is the Dirtbag Diaries’Milepost series.) I, on the other hand, lack artistic sensibilities, and am thus marking the occasion in the same way I celebrate everything else: by eating. Without further ado, then, I present the next installment in this series about things I’ve eaten in national parks.

Question: How do you make dehydrated soup appetizing?

Answer: Hike until your companion’s head appears to be a bucket of fried chicken, and then hike three more miles. You are now ready to eat dehydrated soup. Continue reading “Find Your Snack: Great Sand Trap”

Hoping for the best, expecting the worst: A Backcountry Serenity Prayer

There’s a guy staggering around, looking dazed and mumbling something about his insurance coverage, blood seeping from his scalp. Two other patients—one of whom has a badly broken femur protruding from her pant leg—are tangled together on the damp ground. “Hey,” I say to the head wound guy, “I’m Emma. I have some wilderness medical training. Can I help you?”

So there I am, walking down the trail, chatting amiably with my companions, when we hear shouting. There, around the corner, is a pretty gruesome scene.

There’s a guy staggering around, looking dazed and mumbling something about his insurance coverage, blood seeping from his scalp. Two other patients—one of whom has a badly broken femur protruding from her pant leg—are tangled together on the damp ground. Continue reading “Hoping for the best, expecting the worst: A Backcountry Serenity Prayer”

These feet are made for walking

My feet are unsightly—some might even say they’re downright gross—but they’re pretty useful. They’ve been up mountains and down rivers, across glaciers and talus fields, over miles of trail both soggy and dry. I have stuffed them into too-small climbing shoes, smelly ski boots, worn-out trail runners, my beloved Chacos, and, on very rare occasions, a pair of sky-high heels. I rarely have ten toenails.

The week of my wedding, at my best friend’s insistence, I got a pedicure. This was uncharted territory for me.

“Look,” she told me, “If you insist on getting married in those sandals, the least you can do is make your feet presentable.”

“They’re Chacos,” I explained cheerily, “And what’s wrong with my feet?” Continue reading “These feet are made for walking”

Best laid plans

I take considerable pleasure from meticulously planning my next outing—I’ve more than once been called anal-retentive—but you don’t need a fancy headquarters to do it. Some of my best arrangements have been made at dive bars, discussed in vacant classrooms, sussed out around a friend’s kitchen table, daydreamed from my desk at work, or, on occasions that required it, reworked from a soggy tent as Plan A fell to pieces.

When I was in junior high, my school had a thirty-minute period after lunch each day earmarked for reading quietly. As a general rule, I struggled at this point in my life (and also now) to be quiet or sit still, but this wasn’t an issue for me during Charles O. Moore Middle School’s dedicated “Read & Relax” time. Most days, I’d settle in at my desk and pull out the same book I’d read cover to cover untold dozens of times. Continue reading “Best laid plans”

Musings on mentorship, middle school, and other things I’m not qualified to discuss

Immediately after my college graduation, I embarked on a three-week backpacking trip in Montana’s Beartooth-Absaroka Wilderness with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS, as it’s more commonly known in outdoorsy circles). I’ve written a little previously about the long-reaching effects this experience had on me. Still, I don’t think I realized the depth of its impact on my life until another recent backpacking experience, but I’ll get to that.

Continue reading “Musings on mentorship, middle school, and other things I’m not qualified to discuss”