Supplies and Supplying

The cycles of light and dark are different from inside a house. Day and night lose some of their meaning as I push back against both – walls, roofs, curtains all conspiring to darkness in daytime, while switches everywhere await a near-effortless command to bring light in an instant at night. The power’s enough to cause a superiority complex; disconnection, above, beyond, instead of connection, one with, part of. Just one more reason, I think, to get back outside and stay a while.

Still, I’d forgotten how intensive preparing for a hike can be. Continue reading

Interlude: Credit Where Credit is Due

So I’ve got a post-post for you tomorrow, but some things in the meantime:

  • Roy Moore, he who “allegedly” hit on actual children as a grown man, he who is totes cool with slavery as long as America is “great”, he who maybe doesn’t understand the swearing in process enough to explain it to his campaign staff, was narrowly defeated by Doug Jones a lot of determined men and women of color who got out the vote in spite of active voter suppression at the polls. Black men and women made up nearly 30% of the voting population, and overwhelmingly cast votes for Jones (92-ish% and 97-ish%, respectively). Black women in particular showed up, and were 17% of voters on Tuesday. If you want to thank them with more than just words, this article suggests ways you can do so. 
  • The Federal Communications Commission just overturned the net neutrality rules in place to keep a fair and open internet. While there is a slim, slim chance that this could be overturned by Congressional Review – and you should definitely do something to encourage that – there is a preliminary list of all the Congresspeople who 100% sold us out at the very end, and for how much. As a person on the internet who likes writing for y’all, and who can’t afford to pay more than she already is for the privilege of doing so, feel free to contact any of your representatives you find on the list and let them know how you feel about their chances in 2018 and 2020.

More travel-related writing tomorrow; I hope you spend some time talking about these issues today. 

Heart and Matter

I’ve been incredibly sick and warring with myself a lot these days, about what I want the blog to look like while I’m on this hiking-hiatus-turned-driving-extravaganza, about what I want the blog as a whole to accomplish. I’ve been writing and writing the last few months, and I can’t help but feel that, in a sense, I’ve lost my way. It’s not that I don’t feel some connection to place and space and movement through this amazing opportunity I’ve been given; it’s not even that I’m unhappy, or that I don’t want to talk about what I’m doing or how I’m feeling. It’s just that I only have so much energy in a given day, and I think that energy would be better put to use in different ways.

So I’m going to change it up a little bit.

Some weeks, that energy is going to be best used talking about the cool trips I’m taking – for example, we’re going to get the chance to do three nights and four days of hiking on Isle Royale, and that is gonna be epic, and I’m already excited to share the experience. Other weeks – well, you know all those things that I’ve said I want to get back to, but haven’t? I think those things are important, and particularly important to me as a black woman outdoors, and I think that having my documentation of my week take precedence leaves me little and less energy for those important things. So I’m going to talk about being outdoors, and about myself in a tangential way – about what I see in the outdoors world and the outdoors community, and about what these things mean to me as a black female once and future thruhiker who wants everyone to get outdoors and care for our wild spaces.

I’m still going to (try to) post once a week. I’ll still be documenting mileage and talking about the cool stuff that’s happened in a Notable Accomplishments format, one that those of you who’ve joined me on my PCT and CT thruhikes will be familiar with. And of course I’ll still be posting rad pictures from the week, because I hope they speak to you as much as they speak to me. But I’m tired of skimming the surface. This format is going to let me go deeper into issues and events and occurrences that I think are important. It’s going to let me skip the things that are less-formative and cut to the heart of a matter, laugh about happenstance, or show you something awesome that happened.

So here goes. First one up later this weekend.

Miles 3554-4082: Dearth and Excess

Apparently I push my mind too hard on our workday in Fargo, because this evening, after reading something entirely innocuous, I let my brain talk me into terror. It’s quiet out here at Buffalo River State Park, so quiet the wind is a distant whisper, and the creaking of the trees in the wet of the afternoon rain is haunting, otherworldly. I lose my goddamn mind when I hear footsteps in the gravel, see shadows leaning over the tent – I’m in a goddamn horror movie, they’re coming, I don’t wanna die like this. I wake Spesh and we do a sweep of the nearby sites. Nothing. Continue reading

Miles 3333.33-3554: Technically

We’re early into Grand Forks for a scheduled workday, settle into Bully Brew Coffee near enough to the university that I think there should be more people – but then, it’s technically summer. Technically. The weather doesn’t want to seem to cooperate, clouding over and just… staying that way. Not raining, but not clearing off, either. Well. That’s one way to get welcomed back to the Midwest, I guess. Continue reading

Miles 0-312: Training Wheels

One of the first things I learn about my new job – after driving in our new ride for the first time and meeting the other teams for the first time and making a family dinner that, despite the fact that it is the first time, actually feels like a family dinner – is that everyone, across the board, is an early riser. For the returning teams, this seems to be partially a function of the relative earliness of events, and for the other new team, it’s more a function of coming from the East Coast and attempting to maintain a normal-for-them rigorous exercise regime; for Spesh, it seems to be a function of either insomnia or his ability to effortlessly fit in. Aaaand then there’s me.

Continue reading

Start Your Engines

Spesh and I are about to emerge from our training cocoons as Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer butterflies, so I thought I’d just give a bit of an update before the longer updates begin:

  • I’ll be doing updates at least once a week from here on out; rather than labeling these by days/weeks, as is my wont, I’m gonna label them with real-time mileage from our Subaru. So don’t get confused if you see I’ve “hiked” 1000+ miles in a week. I’m not that awesome.
  • Part of the job is to travel cool places and do cool things, so I’ll have plenty of adventures to tell you about, starting tomorrow. I’m going to try to make Thursday publishing day; anything I publish any other day will be bonussssss awww yisss.
  • More information on the job and what it entails, including links and such, can now be found on The Route page; any questions that doesn’t answer you can ask here in the comments, or hit me up through the Contact page.
  • Also Snorkel wrote a book that I (and many others) contributed to; it’s called Backpacker Long Trails, and it’s already been favorably reviewed on Reddit. It’s ENORMOUS and has all sorts of rad information in it for both beginners and folks who’re looking to refine their technique or go ultralight or or or. I think it’s a boss resource that basically mimics my introduction to backpacking – as very straightforward tips from a variety of people with a variety of styles who all want to see you succeed.
  • Also also apparently they named a dinosaur after Zuul. Real life has conspired to bring together my trail name and my trail shenanigans. (That it’s apparently the ‘Destroyer of Shins’ is just a bonus.)

Tomorrow it’s fun fun fun with a post about training and physical sickness and metaphysical sickness – see you then!

Colorado Rockies Ruck: Full Docket

Friday morning, I’m just settling into my to-do list and I get a call – it’s my new employer, wanting to know if I’m available to pick up some more work. Mama need to make dat skrilla, so yes, yes I am available. When I arrive, settle into the scope of the project, I fear I may have bitten off more than I can chew; the work’s certainly entertaining enough, but having picked it up in the middle of doing things it goes a lot more slowly than I would like. 14 hours later, I regret everything – it’s 2:30am, and I’ve got the Rockies Ruck tomorrow. And by tomorrow, I mean I need to be up in four hours. Hoo boy. Here we go. Continue reading