Waking Dreams

I’ve been having a lot of vivid dreams recently – the type of dreams that you feel, the ones that are hard to distinguish from reality. I mean, not the suddenly changing scenery or the odd situations, but these days I often find myself wondering whether I actually did something or whether it just happened in a dream. It’s made for some interesting scenarios in the waking world, where I swear I’ve done something but haven’t quite actually managed it while conscious.

I think the exuberant activity of my slumbering mind’s a combination of the weather getting warmer and my workload ramping up and me actually getting occasional exercise and and and – life’s waking up after a long, weird winter1, and my dreams are echoing the sentiment. All my friends are waking up, too – going on adventures, doing lots of hiking, taking lots of pictures. And as soon as I get through this last hard push, I’ll be doing the same thing.

I’m not kidding. I start the Pacific Crest Trail in less than a month. Continue reading

Training: Chautauqua + First Flatiron

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve gotten any exercise – I started a primarily outdoors exercise routine and then there was a blizzard and then work picked up and since then I’ve been struggling to find a moment to breathe – so I promise myself that I’m going to do something this weekend, if only to appease my pitiful whiny muscles. Saturday, I don’t have anywhere to be at all(!), so I spend the day in an amalgamation of lounging in the sun/reading Carolyn Finney’s Black Faces, White Spaces1/doing household chores I’ve been neglecting. Once Sunday rolls around, though, I haul all of my gear out of the closet, strap on my not-quite-broken-in Altra hiking shoes, stuff most of everything into my pack, and head out to climb the first Flatiron in Boulder. Continue reading

Training – Little Manatee River

We’re in Florida over the holidays, Spesh and I, visiting my family, and while the family cars are mostly preoccupied with driving my parents to and from work, we managed to persuade one to take us to Little Manatee River State Park twice – the first time, to peek around (and see a wild tortoise!1), the second, to hike the 6.4-mile stacked loop just north of the river. As Florida is not known for its strenuous terrain so much as its humidity, mosquitos, and more toothy fauna, I figure this hike’ll be perfect for stretching our legs.  Continue reading

More Than Me

So in planning this whole thruhiking endeavor, I’ve been well aware of how selfish it is. I have few illusions about my endeavor; my fiscal ability to escape, to (literally) walk away from the problems plaguing Black and Brown folk, is an indicator of my privilege1. And while this blog, I hope, is indicative of my attempts to stay engaged in/with the struggle for equality – or at least to push for it in other arenas – I thought I’d try to do something a little more potent, too.

As such, I’ve set up a CrowdRise fundraiser for Big City Mountaineers. BCM is a Denver(-ish) based non-profit that works to get urban, at-risk (read: primarily Brown) teens into the backcountry, so they can get a second to breathe, to collect themselves, before heading back into the fray. People who travel, who move, often get a better sense of the bigger picture: it opens their minds to possibilities beyond what they know. There’s a reason myopia is a disease, and I want to help afford these young adults the opportunity to both broaden their perspectives and give them a chance to focus on themselves, away from others who police their bodies, tell them who they should be and how.

Getting outdoors has been healing for me – I’ve found in the mountains a place where I just get to be me, away from all the politics and presuppositions around my skin color. And while I’d argue no escape can or should be permanent, if you’re up for giving these kids a break, please consider donating. They’ll have the rest of their lives to live the struggle.


[1] Along with the initially-ambiguous nature of my ethnicity, my cis-gender, my able-bodiedness, arguably my nationality… I pulled a pretty okay birth card, all things considered.

Mother Dearest


I wanted to talk to you about our recent phone conversation. Among the many things we chatted about – and agreed and disagreed on – concerning my upcoming Colorado Trail thruhike attempt, the thing you said that stuck with me the most was a simple, four word sentence:

“I can’t stop you.”

I think it was so potent because I’ve never heard you say anything like it. You’ve always been if not entirely enthusiastic, at least supportive of everything I’ve done. And it’s different and weird and I wanted to try to explain myself a little better. Continue reading

Tempus Fugit

I wake at  9:30am of my own volition, roll over to the scattered piles of oatmeal, instant mac and cheese, and Snickers bars littering the bed. I’m stuck between rolling my eyes at myself and that feeling of staring over a precipice: this is my second-to-last free day until I start the Colorado Trail.

I have an inordinate amount of things to do, but I’m slowly ticking things off the list. Continue reading

Training – Indian Peaks Wilderness

Same trail, second weekend in a row. We’re roundabout the Indian Peaks Wilderness, our supposed destination the Saint Vrain Glacier, but really, I’m out here to walk: find my stride, stretch my legs, see what I can do. It’s easy terrain, gently graded, and while I know it’s nothing compared to the Colorado Trail, I glow when Special informs me I’ve been setting a 3mph pace.

Last weekend was different – all thunderstorms stutterstepping around mushrooms and a noticeable absence of the appropriate permits, a combination too rich for my blood. We pulled an about-face after about five miles, searched high and low for a camp spot until we were back to the car, making for a ten-mile day. I wasn’t exactly opposed to a day on the couch before another workweek, but still, it was highly disappointing. A week later, rejuvenated stubbornness, and I feel – I am – faster already, covering those five miles in a few steps, only a few mushroom sightings to slow us down. Continue reading

Off the Fence

By April of 2014, I’d been on the fence for a while. Not so much an “if” fence as a “when” fence, which is just a different kind of “if” fence. Anyone who’s hiked before will tell you, and did tell me, that there’s always something standing in the way of such an endeavor: money, work, age, physical condition, prior commitments, life. It’s so easy to put something like this off because it is such a commitment. It helped having a thru-hiker as a partner – having physical proof that it is possible, that the world doesn’t end when you quit your job to go on a six-month adventure; being invited down to Lake Morena for the Annual Day Zero Pacific Crest Trail Kickoff certainly didn’t hurt, either. So after a day of silently watching listening learning at the Wolverines’ Shakedown Shack, of talking to hikers past, present, and future, and a night of waking repeatedly to rain pissing through the giant tree above us onto my soon-to-be-re-burrowed face1, I stood on the pavement in the glare of morning sunshine, drier than I thought I’d be, and told some former strangers I was going to hike the PCT in 2015. Continue reading

Before It Began

Well, 2015 is a bust – at least for the PCT.

I started this site thinking I would be hiking the PCT in a scant few months. I’ve been reading everything I can get my hands on, looking at maps, breaking out the food dehydrator to try out recipes, and feel that, despite a lot of moments of self-doubt and not a few invigorating butterflies, I could be ready to hike. But between fiscal responsibilities and generally wanting to have a life to come back to – given that transitioning back to “normal” is hard enough when you’re coming back to something – I’ve decided to let it go for this year.

To say coming to terms with my ostensibly “adult” decision has been difficult would be an understatement. I’m more irritable these days, more gloomy, more pessimistic than I’d like to be. I’m a mover and a shaker, and when I’m not moving and shaking, I feel defeated. Stuck. Even with a second job incoming and a third, full-time job to get me through the summer, I’m experiencing a bit of cabin fever.

On the upside, the loot from said secondary and tertiary employment is primarily going towards the “Get AmJam off a’Backpacking” fund, and since 9 months is too long long enough to stay in one place for my liking, I’m sating my wanderlust by hitting the Colorado Trail this summer. It’ll be a nice warmup for the longer trek next year, and I’ll still be able to update with fun hiking-related things.

I’m excited to see what the future holds.