Posts tagged “camping

A Year of Washington Hikes

Posted on 11 December 2016

A beautiful thing about living in Washington is the myriad hiking possibilities. One can head to enormous mountains, temperate rainforest, beach, or dry canyons – there are endless options. Living in Seattle means I can enjoy the cultural city life without giving up on outdoor activities. In fact, outdoor recreation is emphasized more here than in many more rural places I’ve lived. This year, I both cross-country skied and snow shoed for the first time, hiked quite a bit, camped several times, and collected mushrooms and berries. The following is a summary of the hikes I took this year – hopefully they’ll give you some ideas, whether you live nearby or are visiting. Paradise, Mount Rainier Hiked in February. Variable distance. This one requires…

The Shock of What’s Real

Posted on 7 September 2015

The magnificent Grand Tetons faced us on the road and I faced them right back, unwilling to look away. As we crossed into the national park, a moose balefully stared at the crowds huddling along the banks of the river, in whose cold water the moose was sheltered. I looked around balefully too, shying away from the hot dog toting crowds. I wanted to get out and camp in the mountains’ shadow, not sit under the eaves of a park convenience store. Feeling mildly claustrophobic, we drove past the already-full tent-only campsite, aiming for another at the far north of the park. A more serene scene greeted us: a spot on the edge of the campground, bordered by a lake and hedged in by…

Disappear into Earth

Posted on 31 August 2015

When I travel, I revel in the crazy encounters, in the soft souls that hold me for a time. And sometimes, I revel in their absence. Wyoming. It’s vast. The sky pools overhead and the hills undulate on and on and on, spotted with scrub, never quite hiding how far the landscape can stretch. For all the millions of people in this country, it still has its empty places. I peered out of the car windows, looking for prairie dogs. We stopped in a small town, population less than a hundred. A visitor information office sat sentry, housing maps for the nearby national forest. We were given our directions, and water from the house out back, from an enthusiastic and helpful lady. I pet…

The Future Is Here. The Past Will Come.

Posted on 13 November 2014

Yes, I’ve been somewhat silent, but life has been spinning by rapidly. The past two weeks, I was in a heretofore unexplored part of the country, to me. And during my time there, I found out I got a job and therefore will be moving to this city: I didn’t just stay in the city, however, during my trip. I fulfilled one of my goals for the year and went camping. Good choice, because I saw beautiful things such as this: This and much more, all within a few hours’ drive from my new home. The next few days will be spent packing and then I will embark on a four-day drive across the United States. I’m simultaneously excited–I’ll see many states I’ve never seen–and scared–I dislike driving.…

Boggy Roots Hold Tight

Posted on 18 October 2014

Mornings came early. We reluctantly emerged from our sleeping bags, quickly trying to replicate their warmth by pulling on jackets and hats. Then, unzipping the tent and brushing against the dew, we emerged into the chilly Siberian day, still a shadowy grey under the trees. Warm kasha, porridge, of some variety waited for us in a big bucket under the green kitchen area tarp, along with bread, cheese, jam, and meat slices for the non-vegetarians. I fumbled with the instant coffee and topped its bitterness off with an overly generous helping of sgushyenka, sweetened condensed milk, my favorite. My thermos kept this gloopy beverage a little too warm a little too long, and by the end I was gulping it as to not be…

An Adventure Words Barely Touch

Posted on 30 September 2014

An admission: I was reluctant to write about my time in Siberia. My words aren’t good enough to encompass the experience. I’m more accustomed to internal drama, to melancholy; I have those words. But this project in its shimmering, impossibly stress free gauze—it is beyond me. An admission: It is slipping away. Though glittering flecks of it all stubbornly remain latched on to my behaviors, gradually I shed them off. I can’t help it. That’s life. Ordinary days take over again; I have things to do; I should focus on the now, anyway. But I still reach behind. Ah, there’s the melancholy. It didn’t exactly look promising, but I already knew it would be just fine. The electrichka train doors slammed shut, with half of…

Lessons Learned From Camping In Siberia

Posted on 22 August 2014

Our little camp in southeastern Siberia truly began to feel like a home, like the place I should be. My sleeping bag was a great bed; I was untroubled by camping night after night for two weeks. I didn’t need an inside anymore. I was out in the world, and with a group of truly great people, at that. And if you watch the world, and listen to it, you can learn some things. Here is an assortment of what camping in Siberia taught me. 1. Life can be busy – and not boring – sans technology The camp had no internet, no cell phone reception, and even no electricity (unless a generator was turned on). And I was busy! I honestly found it…

The Value of Camping with Strangers

Posted on 27 April 2014

It’s daring, but not in the way many people think. Traveling without set plans, staying with strangers, relying on others rather than solely on yourself and your chosen guides—this is not a confrontation of the world, but facing up to yourself. I am less afraid of the evil without than I am of the gnawing within. Traveling sans hotels and itineraries means pushing yourself beyond the relative comfort of certainty into something much more. It means training your mind that things will be fine, even those beyond your control. It means that you’ll experience more than your own limited plans. It means that you allow your knowledge to be expanded by others. I am less afraid of the evil without than I am of…

We Live on the Same Earth

Posted on 21 September 2013

The cold had entered my bones. The heavy mist swirled in the nearby sky above us as we overlooked the village of Cancha Cancha from our vantage point at the foot of the ascent to Pachacutec Pass. Rocks rose from the ground; smoke rose from the rocks. We approached the smattering of houses and began chatting with a young boy who spoke Spanish, though it was like mine, somewhat grammatically amiss. He sold us some straw and came to help us start a much-needed fire. It was more fumes than warmth, but we huddled close. Darkness descended—utter darkness. We were in the middle of the Andes. No electricity, no roads, so no light. Low lying clouds rolled over our tents and the village below.…