No news is good news

It’s 9:30 on a Friday night, and I’m dozing into the sweeping panorama of some David Attenborough Planet Earth documentary when my phone sputters to life, vibrating amidst a chorus of chirping by both the device and the leopard seals of Antarctica. Continue reading “No news is good news”

True Confessions: I’m an experiential educator, and I don’t wanna go to the ropes course

I’ll get excited over price cuts on pool noodles, insist on debriefing experiences on personal trips, tell you about the roses, buds, and thorns of my day. I own several visors; my sunglasses perpetually dangle from my neck by a sweat-stained pair of Croakies. I put on my loudly patterned Patagonia-brand baggy shorts one leg at a time, just like everybody else. But goddammit, don’t make me go to the high ropes course.

I’m an experiential educator, and I hate ropes courses.

There. I said it. Continue reading “True Confessions: I’m an experiential educator, and I don’t wanna go to the ropes course”

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”

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”

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”