All Humans Are Welcome Here!

Category : Hiking

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

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

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. [Here it is.] [And here are the face mask sewing instructions.] 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… continue reading

Escape to Yosemite

Yosemite now has a permit system which limits traffic somewhat*. We heard maybe we could get more of the Park to ourselves, and headed out on our first venture to a public place since February. We enjoyed a few slightly-more-serene days in the park. For me it still felt like a zoo, but maybe that’s because I’ve been living with 1-2 people surrounded by millions of acres of untouched forest for five months. We went for a hike, and the next day for a climb, and for about 48 hours almost forgot that it’s been a difficult year. I hadn’t seen Tuolumne from up high since 2013 (and I didn’t see much then because I was running from a lightning… continue reading

colorful sunset

Flu and the Trail

We’re now at least a couple months into the surreal shitshow called “COVID-19” (a coronavirus). I’ve spent the past week and a half-sequestered very remotely, not just because of the misanthropy I’ve felt more and more while scanning the news and social media, but to enjoy the wild, help build an off-grid house, and perhaps survive (and help others survive) the pandemic I’ve been warning friends about since I was a nurse in Portland in the oughties. This type of thing was bound to happen, and it’s too bad more people aren’t more prepared. (That said, not many of us have the resources to be prepared.) While cutting wood, plastering, and painting over the past week, various unrelated COVID-19 impacts… continue reading

woman hiking in Utah

Where trails come from, where they go…

I subscribe to Wired Magazine in digital form, where I learn all sorts of neat things each day. This morning I spent over an hour watching a video produced by Wired, where an astrophysicist explains gravity to five people, ranging from beginner to expert. What a brilliant way of teaching/learning a topic, by helping someone realize how much they don’t know, and expanding on a concept bit-by-bit over an hour. (I was about at the grade-schooler’s level of understanding, haha. How far can you follow the concept? By expert level, my mind was blown.) This afternoon, an opinion piece popped into the Wired newsletter. It’s right up my alley. If you’ve been reading my blog lately, you probably know I’ve… continue reading

Little Package