Find Your Snack: A Salt and Battery

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 my first in a series of installments about things I’ve eaten (or seen eaten!) in national parks.

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 my first in a series of installments about things I’ve eaten (or seen eaten!) in national parks. Continue reading “Find Your Snack: A Salt and Battery”

How to live in a mountain town

I’ve lived in close proximity to mountains my whole life. Everyone I know who grew up near a big body of water says they feel a little lost in a place without it; that’s how I feel about big hills. I don’t even know how to give directions in cities where I can’t just be like, “Head west—toward the mountains” or “Hold on, I’m running late because there’s a moose in my front yard.” Continue reading “How to live in a mountain town”

How to blow the perfect snot rocket

Old-fashioned notions of womanhood aside, I’m not exactly the poster child for polite behavior. I say whatever’s on my mind, usually—ironically enough—without thinking first. I curse like a sailor. I have trouble determining what constitutes “mixed company.” This leaves me well-qualified to advise you, dear readers, on one of my favorite subjects: the snot rocket.

The last time someone referred to me as “delicate,” it wasn’t a compliment. I’d just come out of the field with frostbitten toes, and the specialist I went to surmised that I hadn’t been taking in enough calories in an effort to “appear ladylike in front of the boys.”  Continue reading “How to blow the perfect snot rocket”

Things to do instead of riding your bike on a muddy trail

You guys. We should not be having this conversation again.

Do not ride your bike on muddy trails.

It’s bad. We all know it’s bad. Bike tires create ruts in the soft trail, which stick around all season long. Water runs through the ruts later in the summer, causing further erosion. Other users step around the ruts and the mud they generate, so the trail widens and social trails pop up. It takes resources—time, tools, labor, which land managers often don’t have—to repair these trails. The International Mountain Bike Association says not to do it. Local land managers post signs at trailheads asking us not to do it. Other mountain bikers are mad (super mad) when we do it. Continue reading “Things to do instead of riding your bike on a muddy trail”

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”