• Life

    But Maybe It Won’t

    Sometimes, when things change, you have to hold a funeral. You have to light some candles, say some words, feel some feels. Sometimes, you just have to say goodbye.  —

  • Adventures,  California,  Featured,  National Parks,  U.S.A.

    Mojave National Preserve: Terra & the Tarantula

    It’s National Park Week! The U.S. National Park Service oversees nearly 425 sites. This includes not just our fabled national parks, but national monuments, preserves, battlefields and historic sites, too. So far, I’ve explored 110 of those sites. I’ve hit a few of the big ones, like Yellowstone, Denali and the Grand Canyon, and lots and lots of little sites in between. Since I can’t get out and explore the parks this week, I’m sharing stories instead, like this one from a visit to Mojave National Preserve back in 2019. Terra & the Tarantula The first time I visited Mojave National Preserve, I was just passing through. It was at…

  • Adventures,  Alaska,  Featured,  Life,  U.S.A.

    The Iditarod: A Different Sort of March Madness

    When five-time Iditarod finisher Jeff Deeter asked me how I got interested in the Iditarod, I blamed Winterdance, Gary Paulson’s 1994 book on his 17-day run to Nome. But really, it seems like at least a small awareness of the Iditarod was always around. Maybe that’s just what happens when you’re raised by wolves.  For the uninitiated, the Iditarod is a 1,000+ mile dog sled race from Anchorage to Nome, dubbed, “The Last Great Race.” Mushers set out alone, with up to 14 dogs, a pile of gear and a dog sled. They stop along the way at checkpoints where previously-packed drop bags refill their supplies. The dogs are the…

  • Life,  Pets

    This is Claude

    In the months after Sadie died, I followed a bunch of dog rescue organizations. Luke, my other dog, has always been part of a pair. He was surrendered to our local SPCA along with a twin sister before I brought him home and then he spent a decade plus with Sadie. He needed a dog, I figured. He needed a buddy. I looked hard for a lady husky mix for him, like Sadie was. But, I realized, what I really wanted was Sadie, and that’s not how this works. Looking at other husky girls felt like I was trying to replace her, as if such a thing were even possible,…

  • Adventures,  National Parks,  Texas,  U.S.A.

    Big Bend National Park in 4 Snarky Parts

    PART I: The Arrival When I pulled into the designated parking spot for my campsite at Big Bend, I became immediately concerned it was, in fact, just a pile of rocks. I couldn’t see any semblance of a campsite from the car. The website said the sites weren’t level, sure, but this seemed excessive. Where was my picnic table? Where was my critter-proof food storage container? Where was any small patch of ground on which to pitch a tent? I sat in the car staring at the rock pile, willing it to make sense. I pulled up the campsite reservation email again, the one I’d already six or seven times…