Injury & Healing: Trek On!

In 2014, at just over 200 miles into our southbound thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, injury ensued. And not in some badass way that I can turn into a riveting story either. The knot I tied for one end of my hammock was loose and the toggle slipped out. The result? I landed straight on my tailbone. Oops! Crippled over in immediate pain, I knew it was bad. I could not fathom the thought of dropping off trail — it was not an option to me. So we took 5 days off in Gorham, NH where I laid motionless for the first 2 days, slowly walked around the 3rd day, slowly walked around with an empty pack on the 4th day, and repeated with a half-full pack the 5th day. It didn’t help that we were just getting into the White Mountains of New Hampshire, arguably one of the toughest sections of the AT.

You can see the crushed vertebra outlined in pencil.

You can see the crushed vertebra outlined in pencil. Yowza!

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Gossamer Gear ‘Kumo’ and a Bear Canister Fall in Love

Planning to thru-hike an extended version of Roper’s Sierra High Route, I knew the dreaded bear canister had to join for the escapades. Shortly after becoming enamored with my Gossamer Gear “Kumo” backpack, the question popped into my head: Can I carry the Kumo with a bear canister? Research online proved little-to-no-help, so I set out to test not only the possibility but also the comfort of carrying a bear canister with my beloved pack. The results, a resounding success!

Kumo, fully loaded and ready to rock!

Kumo, fully loaded and ready to rock!

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Toward a Minimalism of the Mind

boronda ridge, big sur

One of my favorite places to clear my mind: Boronda Ridge in Big Sur

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Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become in the next moment. […] every human being has the freedom to change at any instant.
— Viktor E. Frankl
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Much of what materializes in the physical world begins in the mind. The same goes for minimalism. More than just getting rid of things and minimizing what you own, a minimalism of the mind not only allows for true transformation from bulky habits but it also creates a sense of peace and clarity. Minimalism begins in thought, reaches through intent, surfaces in language, and actualizes in action. Continue reading

Mount St Helens: A 16-Hour Solo Circuit

 

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“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing everyday.” – Winnie the Pooh

After a year of intensely satisfying travel, especially travel of an adventurous slant, willfully hopping back into the workforce with both feet is tinged with hesitance. It’s like chasing honey with vinegar. Resume gets updated, sloppy hair gets cut, and you try and look respectable. If Mom were here she’d spit on a hanky and scrub me red. Continue reading

A Winter Ascent of Mt St Helens

wpid-20150212_181805_1.jpgThe extended forecast showed sunny little icons for the next 7 days, which for Oregon in February is a blessing, so I’m told. The rain had stopped and we sat atop Dog Mountain in the Columbia River Gorge, eating chocolate pretzels and watching the little barges beneath us push their cargo up and down the river. We had driven east out of Portland the night before, finding a fairly level spot to park the van for the night and fell asleep with the sound of Multnomah Falls swishing through the roof vent. The climb that morning reminded us that we’d gotten soft since finishing the AT three months prior, although unlike most of the AT, this slog ended with a view.   To the south, the tippy top of Mt Hood rose from the foothills, and to the north and northwest stood Adams and St Helens, blanketed by snow and standing in deep contrast to the blue sky. We’d tossed around the idea of climbing St Helens for weeks, and here was a perfect window; mild temps, no precip, calm winds. We decided to summit the next day.

Driving back into the city we hashed out the plan. Shove gear into our backpacks, throw some food together, rent crampons and ice axes from Next Adventure. Check, check, check. North on I-5, South on 503, Rt 90 East and follow the signs to Marble Mountain Sno-Park. Was it really that close? As a child raised back East, climbing volcanoes was akin to swimming to the moon. Yet here we were, preparing for an alpine start and not another car in the parking lot. Continue reading