A dirtbag’s guide to self-selected families

Thanksgiving was never a really big deal in my family, which is perhaps part of the reason that—despite gluttony being my favorite deadly sin—I’ve never felt strongly about it one way or another.

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The art of letting go, and other things I haven’t really mastered

My summer is not going as planned.

Okay, wait; let me start over: My summer is off to a much better start than last summer, when my personal life was a wreck and my dog died and I was unemployed and moved back in with my parents. Like an emotionally inept phoenix from the proverbial ashes, I had nowhere to go but up. Literally—I spent the vast majority of my time traipsing around the Rockies in pursuit of lofty summits and inner peace, both of which I am still looking for.

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One more season: The odyssey continues

It’s been a big week.

Upon returning from Spring Break, I got word that my research proposal had been approved by the Institutional Review Board at APU, which means I have a green light to start collecting data for my thesis project. From what I’m told, getting one’s ducks in a row for approval is often a superlative pain in the ass, so I’m glad to have this hurdle out of the way.

Perhaps more importantly, at least in a long-term sense, is my next piece of news: I accepted a job. For next season.

In Alaska.

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Alaska, continued! (A story in which, for better or for worse, I find myself back on the Last Frontier)

The Farm is identified by this often-driven-by sign, cleverly hidden by vegetation on the side of Farm Loop Road.
The Farm is identified by this often-driven-by sign, cleverly hidden by vegetation on the side of Farm Loop Road.

Spring Creek Farm sits on the outskirts of Palmer, Alaska, a small, rural community about forty miles north of Anchorage. In the mid-1930s, some two hundred-odd Midwesterners, mostly in their late twenties and early thirties, picked up their families and moved to the Last Frontier as part of Roosevelt’s New Deal. The Matanuska Colony has existed in various incarnations since then, and today, the sleepy township of Palmer is home to just under six thousand people and, still, plenty of dairy cows.

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Peaks and Pee Funnels: My Month of Mountaineering, Part 2

Another climber once asked if I knew the definition of mountaineering. I could have said a million things, I guess, but nothing came to mind. “What is it?” I asked.

“Moving slowly uphill while not feeling very well,” he replied.

Such moments of clarity tell me two things about climbers as a group: first, our chosen activity and its inherent unpleasantness, at least on paper, indicate a slight imbalance in our collective brain function. Second, and perhaps more importantly, we are aware of the first fact, and we have a sense of humor about ourselves.

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