Everyone Should Just Chill Out

As a wave of Giant House Spiders migrates across our tiny house, the ever-present marmots have gone missing, and wildfire smoke chokes the mountains and rivers, it’s easy to think that we are all royally screwed. We usually see the spiders at night, a shadow of long black legs in our peripheral vision, as they make their way across the bedroom carpet. The leg span of one of them fills the bottom of a large Mason jar (which is how

The view of Strawberry Mountain.

Lessons Learned on Strawberry Mountain

RK and I have perfected our style of adventure in many parts of the west. We have finely honed our navigational skills to find solitude, open space and clean air. But we have a new home base. The people are a little different, the landscape is not the same, and we need to learn how to navigate the public land here. Verify the Source One thing about moving to a new place is you have to learn whose advice to

marmot in Redmond, OR

There is a marmot at my house

There is a marmot living under my front porch. I also heard it on the roof (hopefully the roof and not the attic), perhaps having a scuffle with a jay. Most days he/she is lounging on the front step or eating things in the field next door. It’s a little scruffy, the fur not as immaculately fluffed as the marmots on Wikipedia. But aside from being a little brazen, it seems nice enough. It has probably lived here longer than

Paulina Peak

Research & Discovery

There is a lot of jagged, very striking rock in Central Oregon. A lot of volcanos in the distance, white-capped with snow, and boatloads of buttes. Last week RK was here delivering bikes and plants and we walked around a bit in the Ochocos (stay tuned for more visits to the Ochocos!!), a small mountain range that is not volcanic. But mostly there is a lot of lava. I’m still working on my internal compass. It’s hard to find trails

fishing the Deschutes

Pivot

I never really wanted to live in Utah. For at least 6 years I claimed to be on the “one year plan.” My problem was with Utah’s urban areas, but the surrounding landscapes turned out to be a huge exploration opportunity. We made a loose household rule to not spend more than 2 weekends in a row in SLC. This was one of the smarter things we have ever done. Salt Lake City is an excellent pivot point for the

Mack and the balsam root.

Tearing

Yesterday my shoulder surgeon told me I was “stiff, but nice.” I struggled to figure out what nice meant in terms of healing, but then he added, “Most people aren’t very happy with me when their shoulder is still stiff at 12 weeks.” Ugh. The way to become un-stiff is to tear apart the scar tissue. I do daily exercises and stretches with ski poles and yoga straps to get my shoulder un-stuck. My physical therapist measures my angles of

tumbleweeds near smithsonian butte

Tumbleweeds

Actually the desiccated carcasses of an invasive species, commonly known as Russian Thistle, tumbleweeds rolling across the open desert are as iconic as it gets. But those weeds can’t tumble forever! Years ago I thought it would be an amazing fake business to offer Tumbleweed Tours. Tourists could travel to the most impressive gathering spots of tumbleweeds in the west, and marvel at the spectacle that is the tumbleweed en masse. We would travel the dirt roads where they have crashed up against fences

Along the Blitzen River

Road Trip

Do you know that anxiety that creeps back into your belly as a trip comes close to the end? This is especially noticeable with trips that require airplanes. You give your friend a big hug goodbye and then they drive off to resume their life while you navigate the shuttle, the airport, the security lines. Do you have enough time to grab coffee or go to the bathroom or make your flight? And then, safely at the gate, checking emails,

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