Find Your Snack: Great Sand Trap

The National Park Service turns 100 years old in 2016, and dirtbags nationwide are finding creative ways to commemorate the NPS Centennial. I, on the other hand, lack artistic sensibilities, and am thus marking the occasion in the same way I celebrate everything else: by eating. Here’s the second installment.

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 in national parks.

Question: How do you make dehydrated soup appetizing?

Answer: Hike until your companion’s head appears to be a bucket of fried chicken, and then hike three more miles. You are now ready to eat dehydrated soup. Continue reading “Find Your Snack: Great Sand Trap”

Spring fever

The other night, as we sat on the porch watching the sun set into the foothills, Bix announced that he had itchy feet.

“Well,” I told him, “We finally have insurance. Maybe you should get that checked out.” Continue reading “Spring fever”

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”

CSI: Yellowstone

I spend so much time thinking about the complex scientific properties of snow, marveling at its viscoelasticity and ability to conduct and insulate, pausing occasionally to enjoy a perfect (or even less-than-perfect) ski run. What I don’t take enough time to appreciate is the way snow can tell a story.

It’s just after 2:00 pm on New Year’s Day, and Bix and I are cross-country skiing into a thicket of trees in the Gneiss Creek drainage, about two miles from the Yellowstone National Park boundary. Nighttime temperatures have been dipping below -20oF, but now, just after solar noon, the sun bounces off untouched snow to warm our faces, still tender with windburn from yesterday’s outing.

Continue reading “CSI: Yellowstone”

“Home is the nicest word there is.” –Laura Ingalls Wilder

The idea of home is one that has given me some trouble in recent years. It’s sort of intangible, the assemblage of places and people and feelings that make up a home. It’s hard for me to come to grips with things I can’t fully define. Perhaps that’s why I stopped believing in the Tooth Fairy at the age of three or so and, rather than really committing to my inclination toward atheism, have remained stoutly agnostic in my adult life, mostly abstaining from attributing things to any sort of god but occasionally feeling swayed by beautiful scenery and heartwarming human interest pieces.

But I digress, as I usually do when faced with a notion I find challenging.

Continue reading ““Home is the nicest word there is.” –Laura Ingalls Wilder”