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

Hiking = Fundraising

I’ve spoken on this before, but I think hiking a long trail is an ultimately selfish endeavor. While I do my best to share my hikes and experience with y’all – on this platform as well as on Instagram/via email through the Contact form/in person at events – ultimately I’m opting out of most daily stressors, even if I can never really escape the implications of history, my gender, or the color of my skin. To offset this privilege somewhat, I like to raise money while I hike in support of a non-profit organization doing important outdoors work.

So this year, while hiking the Grand Enchantment Trail, I’m raising money for Earthjustice.

Earthjustice is a legal non-profit focused on litigation that preserves the existence and quality of our outdoor spaces. This non-profit come highly recommended by several of my environmental esquire friends, both those who are practicing lawyers and those who aren’t practicing at present – plus some of their colleagues, who have worked for the organization before1. They work on everything from clean water to preserving wild space to challenging oil and gas intrusions both on public lands and in places where it impacts everyday life. They also work to right the wrongs of environmental racism. I’m hoping they can use the law to do what all my phone calls and heated letters to representatives haven’t managed to do.

While over the last two hikes, I’ve raised over $3100 for Big City Mountaineers – a very worthy organization that gets underprivileged urban (and mostly brown) youth into the outdoors for a day or a week at a time – I’ve begun to worry that by the time this administration is finished, there won’t be an outdoors for them or anyone else to be in. You should totally donate to Big City Mountaineers as well, if you have the means – and if you’re interested in me starting an open-ended fundraiser for them too, let me know in the comments – but I’m focusing my efforts on Earthjustice for this particular hike.

I’m attempting to raise $770, a dollar for each mile of the hike. I don’t see any of this money – it gets to Earthjustice through an organization set up for such funds distribution. As in years past, any donation will get you thanks in a “Thank You” post on this here website after the hike’s completion, but those who donate $25 or more will get a hand-written postcard from yours truly. Due to the more remote nature of the Grand Enchantment Trail and my potential inability to actually find postcards along the way, I’ll be sending said postcards after I finish the hike. Each postcard will feature a photo from the hike, and be postmarked no later than June 20th.

So help me help Earthjustice. Because the earth *does* need a good lawyer.


[1] I’m finding this to be more and more important in organizations I support. No sense supporting an organization that doesn’t support the people who make the mission happen.

Miles 6888-8071: Under Over

It’s working all day and into the evening again – I’m beginning to have some severe misgivings about my ability to compartmentalize. At least this evening’s work consists mostly of trying to wrestle my camera into compliance. I’ve had this DSLR for years, and it’s large and bulky and inconvenient for carrying on foot many miles but produces some pretty great photos. Or would, if I could figure out how to get it to override the settings that stick with it even in “manual” mode. After about an hour of futzing, I call it done enough. Night shots aren’t this machine’s forte. Continue reading

Interlude: New Year’s Presents

It’s 2017, folks! Another trip around the sun, another hiking season just a few measly months away. I’ve been working on a lot of things, including, as promised, New Year’s postcards for everyone who both donated to my fundraiser and said they wanted a postcard. Said postcards are 5’x 7′ glossy prints of photos from my PCT hike this summer – including some not yet seen on the blog!

If you donated to the fundraiser, and, for whatever reason, you did not opt in to the postcard, but this news makes you want to opt in to the postcard, go ahead and throw me a line via the Contact link. I made sure to order a couple of extra, so I should be able to cover you this run.

If you did not donate to the fundraiser, and you’re interested in a postcard, please consider donating here or slipping me a couple bucks here to help with the next run. I’m doing this out of pocket to give a big “Thank You!” to my donors, but if there’s enough interest I’ll do another run and/or an exclusive run, if an individual donates enough.

Thanks for hanging with me last year, and I hope you hang around to see what this year has in store! A proper update later today, for your patience.

Interlude: BCM is Hiring!

Big City Mountaineers – whose mission is to get urban youth from around the country outdoors, and who I did fundraising for on the Pacific Crest Trail and Colorado Trail – is hiring for the summer of 2017! So if you’re looking for a way to get outside and help the younglings get outside while still making money (saving up for a trail in 2018?), take a look and see if your resume and their requirements are a match! Their employment page is here, and, if last year is any indication, they’ll start doing volunteer info sessions in a few months, too.

(Also, that fundraising page is still open – think we can get to a nice, round $2000 for them by the end of the year?)

Next post is a’comin!

Last-Minute Necessities

It’s nearly a week from my departure date, and my apartment has exploded in gear and resupply food and ziplocs, more ziplocs than any human should ever need. I’ve spent evenings surrounded by the pages of Yogi’s Guide, figuring out where to stop, where to shop, where to mail and when; squinting to interpret the initially-arcane PCT Water Report; making sure I’ve got maps in both hard copy and soft copy. I’ve also tended to a dozen more real-world things than I’ve cared to – what are taxes and car registrations and employer meetings in comparison to hiking? – but I’m not there yet, I’m here, and even though I’ve taken care of business in every instance that’s come up, I still feel as though I’m forgetting something.

Like, after getting this amazing, entirely-unexpected opportunity, paying it forward.

So I’ve decided to fundraise for Big City Mountaineers again. Big City Mountaineers is an organization devoted to mentoring under-served urban youth in the outdoors, offering over 1,000 teens per year the opportunity to participate in single day, overnight, and week-long expeditions in the backcountry. These trips are given free of charge to participants in hopes they will foster new connections with themselves, with their peers, with volunteer mentors, and with the environment. As urban youth are preponderantly youth of color, I thought it appropriate that a hiker encouraging folks of all colors to get outside support an organization with a similar cause.

So if you’d like to help me spread the outdoorsy love, please consider donating. Even a $5 donation supports a teen’s full day in the backcountry; every little effort counts. And to sweeten the pot a little, any donation of $30 or more will see a postcard from the trail in return!

…starting in about a week.

So it’ s buying smartwater bottles for their lids and buying a pack of trash compactor bags for a single one and turning local places upside down for leukotape, and then… walking.

And hoping that, with your help, I can help others experience the challenge, the escape, and the solace there is to be found in exploring the great outdoors.