All Humans Are Welcome Here!


Photograph looking south along the clear Colorado River from the Beamer Trail canyon shelf in Grand Canyon.

North Kaibab, a Trail Closure

So much water! So much trail destruction everywhere! This morning I heard that the North Kaibab trail is 1000% closed for maintenance until June 2. In fact, the entire North Rim is closed until June 2 (at least to cars)! And starting tomorrow the Canyon below Glen dam is about to experience a rare Spring “High Flow Experiment.” Shit’s gotten real in the Grand Canyon area this winter! Wow! Usually it opens May 1. 2023 has thrown a monkey wrench in thru hiker’s plans, and many of them refuse to back down. I’m not hiking but I still got excitedly thinking about fun (but still pretty much impossible) detours, and reminiscing about my time on some of them. (I have… continue reading

A view southwest of Musselman Arch in Canyonlands.

Jeeping the White Rim All By Myself

Last month I was planning on meeting my BFF Pete in Moab to celebrate his birthday. I figured if I was going to make the long drive out to Utah with my Jeep Cherokee, I might as well put the 4wd to good use. I started watching for White Rim campsite permit cancellations, and strung together 3 nights in Canyonlands Island in the Sky (iSky) National Park. That took a few weeks of checking almost daily, so I guess that’s not exactly luck! The idea was this: I’d swing through the White Rim area and pick up Pete at the Moab airport when through. It was pretty critical that I not get stranded somewhere, because he would really be depending… continue reading

Glimpse of white Jeep Cherokee near red rock tower of Canyonlands

My New Wheels

I’ve been laid up sick and not really able to plan hikes. That’s been hard. And so my new set of wheels has come in handy to get me to the places that I love. Don’t worry! I still have my Westfalia! He goes places, too. But I was able to pick this Jeep up for a deal I couldn’t pass up, and it will drive pretty much anything. I originally wanted a Comanche, and SP was stuck on the idea of restoring his old beater Land Cruiser, so we compromised, scoured the web for months, and finally landed this by simply placing a wanted ad in the local paper. Its inaugural drive was up Steel Pass in Death Valley…. continue reading

boy leading mules in High Sierra

High Sierra Pack Tripper

This summer I had the privilege of working with Reds Meadow as a backcountry cook, which meant occasionally bumping into a 12 year-old packer named Bo. I first met Bo in 2013 when hiking the PCT. He was eating candy outside the Reds public restrooms, looking cute. Bo spends each summer in the Sierra with his sweet family on extended National Forest permit at Reds, surrounded by pack animals and thousands of tourists and backpackers. What a life, and what a little man, charming as ever! We had some bumpy interactions at first where he would say strange, sorta bossy things like, “Hi we are your guides on this trip [not true; he was pack support], best get crackin’ on… continue reading

Two women in KN95 masks perform a WFR mock disaster run

Nurse -> WFR

I’ve been retired from nursing for 12 years now, so I’m a bit rusty with all this stuff. For some reason I thought my nursing background would help my Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course feel easy. But since the WFR works on totally different algorithms than licensed clinical medical care, it was pretty challenging. I had to set aside everything I knew and do it a different way. Of course my understanding of physiology and pathophysiology was a leg-up, but I really had to back out of my nursie head and enter a new headspace. Ultimately this course was geared toward training anyone who wanted to be helpful in the outdoors in a way they wouldn’t get sued and have… continue reading

Cardboard box with colorful quilting cotton scraps inside

Fabric, Fabric, Fabric

When I was a kid, I got to go visit my Auntie Pauline back east a few times during the summers. I enjoyed the weird bugs, warm thunderstorms, and swimming opportunities we just didn’t seem to have in Alaska… and the fabrics. My aunt is a spectacularly talented seamstress and fabric craftswoman, and has a refined taste in textiles. Going fabric shopping with her was a treat. Just being in her magical sewing studio, among her collections of tools and materials, projects and commissions was a treat. I had already taught myself how to sew, but she taught me standards of sewing, and opened up the possibilities. Sad to say that despite our talents we are both mostly making face… continue reading

homemade rosemary sourdough loaf

Baking Sourdough

Just like everyone else I’m baking bread during the pandemic! Except I’m doing it at 6300 feet and sometimes even off grid at 7500 feet ? No trick to it, really. I’ve just been following Ken Forkish’s recipes and using the gear he recommends (except I don’t have a proofing oven). I have a nice dutch oven and some bannetons, and some big proofing buckets. This loaf has rosemary, which my mother harvested and dried, in it. It will be gone by tomorrow.

Creek Fire smoke in central Nevada

Flu and The Trail, part 2

This post is an update to my March 16 post, Flu and the Trail. It turns out you can thru-hike during a pandemic, but if you’re not still asking yourself “should I?” and considering your impacts on other people, I hope you’ll keep reading and hear me out. After volunteering several months of my life over several years to help thru-hikers on the PCT, I left with a bad taste in my mouth. I met several burned out trail angels who felt similarly, and noticed quite a few hikers themselves abandoning the trail shaking their heads. Why? Because thru-hikers are generally privileged, and often self-involved and entitled. It’s not exactly “rewarding” work to help people who don’t really need help…. continue reading

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