I’m so vain (this post is definitely about me)

I should wear a helmet every time I go climbing. This is objective; a fact. I read enough tragic headlines and accident reports to know it. It’s a no-brainer (ack, sorry, I really just couldn’t help myself, sorry). Continue reading “I’m so vain (this post is definitely about me)”


Find Your Snack: Chilly Dogs

The rest of that winter was rough, so I made myself a promise I knew I could keep: Like war-ravaged Scarlett O’Hara right before the intermission of Gone With the Wind, I vowed, I would never be hungry again.

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, or seen eaten in national parks.
Continue reading “Find Your Snack: Chilly Dogs”

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”

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”