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

    Yellowstone, Part II: Pillow Fights, Horde Evasion & Camping Cats

    In the immediate aftermath of a loss, you may find that you wake without remembering. Maybe it hits you within seconds, maybe it takes whole minutes. Either way, grief will strike. It might hit you like a wayward wave, bowling you over, ripping the air from your lungs. Maybe it’s a quick strike, less cinematic, more like a gut punch, a face slap, a snake bite. Or maybe it’s a slow swell, starting with a distant thunderclap of remembering, a realization that incites your hair follicles and slowly, relentlessly floods your consciousness. Maybe it’s not like any of that. Maybe it just fucking hurts. That first morning at Yellowstone, I…

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

    Yellowstone, Part I: Grief, Gurgling Geysers & Wolf Songs

    I was fresh off the loss of her, hadn’t made it more than 10 hours without a full-body cry and I was probably running from the devastating emptiness of a single-dog house. But, I was there, in Montana. Work sent me there, and I, being an opportunist, added an adventure to the backend of the work. It was a decision I’d made before I lost her, one I kept in the immediate wake of the loss. An escape, I thought, might help with the healing. Work completed, bags packed, grief riding shotgun, I headed south to Yellowstone National Park, a place I’d never been before.

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

    That Time I Fell & Smashed My Face in Desolation Canyon

    On my second day in Death Valley, I tripped over my own feet, landed on my face and left a puddle of blood in Desolation Canyon. Really, I’m a little surprised it took me so long to hurt myself while alone in the wilderness. I am clumsy. I trip often and without reason. Sometimes my ankles roll out from under me, just for fun, as if they have better things to do than keep me upright. I am forever knocking into things, dinging myself lightly on furniture, cabinetry, sun shades and dog paws. I stab myself in the eye with a mascara wand at least once a week, never mind…

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

    Death Valley’s Ubehebe Peak & the Tremendous Power of Solitude

    I found the trail two years ago, back in 2018 when I first visited Death Valley National Park. It wasn’t a planned hike. I didn’t even know there was a trail there, didn’t even know what it was called. As soon as I saw it though, I knew I was meant to take it. I’d followed a long, winding, bumpy, gravel and pit-ridden road for 26 miles to get there, to get to the Racetrack. It’s this far-flung and magical place in Death Valley. It’s a place where stones float themselves across the floor of the desert, gouging a path as they go. It’s a place where you can be…

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

    The Feral Power of Mojave National Preserve

    I wasn’t 10 minutes into the park when I felt the overwhelming need to remove my bra. It wasn’t the right kind of bra for such an adventure. It was a polite society bra, the kind you wear to the grocery store, to dinner, to work, to anywhere but the wild. It wasn’t a bra I could sweat in, and, given my arrival into the desert, it was time to sweat. I could have stopped, sure. I could have pulled over on the side of the road, hopped into the back of my car and completed a quick, modest bra change. I could have waited until getting to the visitor…