to disappear

"Do you need to call someone? Let them know where you are and what happened?" The guy in the driver's seat asks. The darkness is nearly finished settling and the snowy peaks in the distance are quickly disappearing. A truck drives by every 10 minutes or so, but the road is fairly empty."No, I'm good," …

once more

Same Adirondack campsite, three different memories. I It is the final evening of our summer training hike. The previous night, we were deep in the Upper Works wilderness, camped out at a lean-to where we'd made too much fiesta rice and had to backpack it all out. It had drizzled the whole evening and because …

9 Things I Learned Working at a Gear Store

You don't really need all that stuff. From my perspective, gear store shoppers fall into three categories: dirtbags, stablizers, and over-the-mooners. I myself am a dirtbag. I am thrifty. I stretch my money and my gear as far as it will go. Duct tape for patches? You betcha. Breathable layers purchased at secondhand stores? Oooh …

First Steps

I camped by myself for the first time when I was 23. It was in Phoenicia, NY, nestled in the Catskill Mountains, the closest one can get to New York City and still feel connected to threads of wildness. My plan was this: leave work early, drive three hours, camp, summit three mountains, and then …

Three Moments

One I have a group of eight students. It is their first week of school. We're going to do some get-to-know-you games, I say. To start, let's go around the circle and say our name and favorite holiday. You can go first. I gesture to my left. The boy shakes his head as he looks up at me. …

A Year

One year ago, I was sitting at a desk. It was a nice desk. The chair was padded and it swiveled; I had an entire drawer dedicated to colored paper, glue sticks, and craft foam; a painted alligator made of egg cartons and cardboard boxes watched me work. It was a lovely desk. Fifty-two weeks …

To Disappear

Last summer I thru-hiked the Northville Placid Trail with my father. It was 133 miles of mud and mosquitoes, storm-ravaged bridges and swollen lakes. The trail only crossed four major roads (except for a several mile road walk at the end), and my dad and I could walk an entire day without seeing another soul. …

Leaving/Left/Gone

Bilbo: I'll be alright. Just let me sit quietly for a moment. Gandalf: You've been sitting quietly for far too long! Tell me, when did doilies and your mother's dishes become so important to you? I remember a young hobbit who was always running off in search of Elves in the woods. He'd stay out …

Memories Are Stronger Than Bone

I met a guy in Moab, and I can't remember his name. He told me about how he was airlifted off Mount Whitney  along with the body of a dead girl, a girl who went hiking with her fiancé and came down with AMS, but instead of following her down, her fiancé chased the summit …

Women of the Wild

"Where's your boyfriend?" a man asked me on the summit of Slide Mountain, the highest peak in the Catskills. It'd been a bad week, so I'd left work early that Friday and escaped to the mountains, my go-to move when the world's feeling extra heavy. This was my third summit of the day, and I …

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