Yurt in Talkeetna, Alaska (July, 2015)

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While You Are There: Try not to get eaten by a bear while you are taking care of business in the doorless outhouse. I mean, isn’t that the dream, to be able to watch the birds flying around and the rain splashing on the ground while you are getting rid of the non-nutritious parts of last night’s dinner? Well, you can also take in nature while sitting on the covered porch. Less adventuresome, but still pleasant. Also, take the Hurricane Turn Train. This is the perfect place to stay the night before and after that journey.

Why It’s On My List: Because it’s a yurt. Because it has everything you need inside. Because it’s not anywhere near as remote as it looks. Because it’s romantic. Because of the outhouse.

For this year’s A-Z Blog Challenge, I’ve decided to showcase 26 of my favorite places in the world. I’ve only been to 22 of the 196 countries, so I’ve got some more travelling to do, but these places are well worth a visit.

Kachemak Bay State Park, Alaska (July, 2015)

While You Are There: Hike. And try not to get eaten by a bear. And if you make it back to Homer, enjoy the restaurants on the spit.

Why It’s On My List: Everything I saw in Alaska was stunning, but this park has the added bonuses of having to take a water taxi (or plane) to get there and having to a use a hand tram, which is really heavy and difficult to pull, to get across parts of trails. The water taxi driver dumped me off at the trail head and basically said “Good luck, I’ll meet you at the pickup point at 5pm.” And then I was off into the wilderness. You have to figure out where the pickup point is and how much time you are going to need to get there. And, of course, the glacier views were magnificent.

For this year’s A-Z Blog Challenge, I’ve decided to showcase 26 of my favorite places in the world. I’ve only been to 22 of the 196 countries, so I’ve got some more travelling to do, but these places are well worth a visit.

441 Days in Mountains: The (Long and Winding) Road

No, this post has nothing to do with Cormac McCarthy or the Beatles. It has to do with the impending winter and the requirements of living on a private, barely legal road. If you, like most of the sane and rational population of the United States, live on a paved road that is cleaned, plowed, and maintained by your town or county, you probably only consider the effort that goes into keeping your road pleasantly usable when it becomes unpleasantly usable, such as when a large pothole appears in the middle of it. My road, however, is a constant occupier of thoughts. Here’s what it means to live where I do:

  • Discovering your snow tires are useless and spending the whole winter creeping down the hill at two miles per hour, which was still too fast, terrified of plummeting over the edge and ending up like these guys

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Tanka, July 8, Seward

toes in frigid stream

respite from the humid trail

we tread with others

unseen but present in grass

trampled, just recently quit

 

Memories of a trip to Alaska, told in tanka. Tanka follow a syllable pattern of 5-7-5-7-7. The middle line serves as a turning point, so that if you read just the first three lines, there is a different tone than if you read just the last three lines.

Week Three in the Mountains: Things That Go Grrr in the Night…and in the Daytime

So in my last installment of life at the Sanctuary, I wrote about how wonderful it is to no longer have to worry about noises from neighbors bothering me or my terrible singing bothering them. All the noise pollution of city life is a thing of the past. But that’s not to say there aren’t plenty of noises up here. Plenty of scary, misleading buzzes, grunts, rumbles, and knocks. Insects, gusts of wind, and birds masquerading as wild beasts beating and clawing at the door. And the coffee maker. You’d be surprised at how easily, with the right acoustics, coffee brewing in the same coffee maker you’ve had for years can be mistaken for the grumblings of a ravenous, evil, monster in the woods.

The gastro-intestinal workings of my animals are the worst offenders. Allie Brosh’s dogs best exemplify what happens to my dog each time we move, which is unfortunate for him because we’ve moved six times since I adopted him. You would think by now he would have figured out it’s all going to be OK, but I guess dogs aren’t known for their reasoning skills. Well, there he was one night shortly after we moved in, suffering the ill effects of his anxiety while I sat above on the back deck. Dusk had fallen and while Trotsky was still visible, the depths of the woods behind him were not.  And suddenly, there it was. A low grumbling. Not even a few days in and a bear was about to come roaring out of the woods to devour my dog, diarrhea and all. I yelled for Trotsky to run toward me but the only response I got was the half-embarrassed, half-annoyed look that all dogs give you when they are hunched up, paws together, butt out, taking care of business and they see that you are watching them. And that’s when I realized that the terrible bear growl was just Trotsky’s drawn-out fart. Continue reading →

6 Years and 346 Days Later…So Long, Denver!

Between the ages of 18 and 33, this was my life: start college, drop out of college, get my first apartment, start a new college, study abroad in Australia, study abroad in India, study abroad in Germany, graduate, work in Mexico, work in South Korea, work in Russia, work in Honduras, work in Russia (again!), work in Spain, work in Russia (again!), move back to America, get married, move to Denver, go to grad school, finish grad school, get a real job, get divorced, get serious with a new guy, become a freelancer, move in with the new guy, find a new job.

Now, what’s word best describes those 15 years? CHANGE. And plenty of it!

But then suddenly, there wasn’t. I had it all. I had the guy, I had the job, I had swank accommodations downtown, and I had the world’s best dog. I was firmly on the young urban professional treadmill. Tragic, I know. Continue reading →