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Glimpse of white Jeep Cherokee near red rock tower of Canyonlands

My New Wheels

I’ve been laid up a while with a serious illness 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… 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.

two pages print from PDF sewing pattern

Face Mask Sewing Instructions

The following are instructions for the face mask sewing pattern available as a PDF download in the Little Package shop. I drafted this pattern off the Olsen mask design, honing it over a period of several months for easy fit, good looks, and comfort. What I like about it is it allows you to open your mouth without the mask slipping down off your nose. As a former nurse, it’s important to me that people including and around me and my loved ones have functional masks, and so I make them. And you can too!

Mount Whitney with SQF wildfire smoke, september 2020

The Curse is Lifted

In 2013 I started an annual tradition of sleeping on top of the tallest mountain. I don’t know why, but year after year I went up. Pressure built to go up again the next year, and so on. These extended 14er summits were not easy for the obvious reasons, but almost every time it ended up being harder than hard because of surprises at the top. 2013: I had no idea what I was doing. It was very hard to get up that strange hill, especially since the notorious PCT clown Guino had dosed me with 200mg caffeine that morning (I’m caffeine-free). But it turned out to be bizarre and romantic, with a sunset and a sunrise akin to something… continue reading

tiny covid masks for a two year-old

Sewing Face Masks

I’ve been meaning to share the face mask pattern that I adapted from the Unity Point Olson Mask, but it’s not ready yet because it keeps shape-shifting. I keep making small adjustments to it, which probably don’t matter at this point because every face is so different. Anyway, soon I will have it tacked down in PDF format and will share here. So far I’ve made >200 masks. I’ve made masks for climbing guides: I’ve made masks for tiny people: I’ve made masks for small people: I’ve made masks for adults: I’ve been handing out free two-layer cotton masks around Bishop, and giving them to friends. Folks who have insisted on paying — their money has been donated to the… continue reading

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