Where other hikes have hinted at buds, new beginnings, springs, the coming of my Grand Enchantment Trail start date feels like an ending.
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
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.
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.
 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.
I’ve been hush-hush about it, waiting for all the pieces to fall into place, but it’s finally actually really going to happen:
I’m headed out to attempt the Grand Enchantment Trail in about a month.
The route – not so much a trail this time – runs 770-odd miles from Phoenix to Albuquerque, through mountains and deserts and hot springs(!). It’s also gonna be a bit of a reunion, as I’ll be accompanied by Raging Pineapple, who I hiked over a thousand miles with on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2016. I’ll be blogging(!!) daily(!!!), just like from the PCT, and I’m excited to get back to both of the things I love to do.
I’ll be updating the site over the next few weeks – and updating the blog as I do – to talk gear, the route, and the non-profit fundraiser I’ll inevitably do. Check back or sign up for updates to see all the fun!
We’ve slept inside been doing a lot of sleeping inside in the last couple of weeks. It’s not that we haven’t wanted to enjoy the dregs of summer, but I’ve got friends all over, and given that tomorrow
could apparently bring nuclear war isn’t promised, I’ve been making it a point to see them where I can. I haven’t been too worried about it, mostly because I know that our trip to Isle Royale National Park is fast approaching. This’ll be the second time in as many weeks that I’ll have gotten out to hike, and while we’re trying to do 50-odd miles on this latter trip, any amount of time sucking wind and enjoying the outside feels good these days. Continue reading
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
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
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
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