Why I don’t mind being lost in the crowd

You’ve seen Delicate Arch. It’s plastered on every billboard between Grand Junction and Moab. It’s on the Utah state license plate. It’s safe to say this 65-foot formation of Entrada sandstone, the product of millions of seasons’ worth of wind and water, is among the most iconic views in all of Utah, maybe the American West. Continue reading “Why I don’t mind being lost in the crowd”


Something smells fishy

“Best Backpacking Meals—You Won’t Believe You Didn’t Think of This!”

Everyone I know is portioning out the ingredients for Mediterranean Pizza Flatbread and wrapping shit in damp paper towels so it’s fresh when they get to camp and piling up sticks for a makeshift dutch oven so they can make cinnamon rolls in the morning. Continue reading “Something smells fishy”

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”

Pioneer Peak: bona fide NFA

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been looking for a way to accurately describe just how Alaska it is up here. It’s pretty simple: Alaska is not fucking around. I could use a gentler synonym, but that’s exactly the thing: milder language wouldn’t fully convey the amount of fucking around that isn’t happening.

Continue reading “Pioneer Peak: bona fide NFA”