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making small change

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There are some ideas so brilliant that when you hear about them, you think, dang, why didn’t I think of that? The woman behind Adventures in Thumboles, Erin, (@thumbholes on twitter) has dreamed up just such an idea, and I am so excited to be a part of her movement. Her idea is simple. When racing, give back to the local community that supports the race. Any donation, no matter how small, can have an important impact. Our small actions add up, and collectively, we can really do some good while pursuing our self involved passions. From picking up trash when you’re out on a run to making a donation to a local organization protecting the trails you love, she has […]

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of trees and dreams

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“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.” – Herman Hesse What do trees dream of when they sleep? They do sleep, it seems, or at least their branches relax at night so as to conserve energy until the sun rises. Drawing on poetry (or more likely, the human tendency to anthropomorphize) scientists are calling this sleep. And I, unburdened by science or the need to be logical, imagine that trees must dream during these quiet moments of rest. Scientists have only recently discovered this arboreal slumber, but recognition of […]

patience (5 of 6)

patience

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I am ready for summer backpacking. The maps are out, the permits are in. I dream of the photos I will take – majestic, sun-kissed images, full of mountain lakes and cascading waterfalls. But it is not that time yet. Oregon is a beautiful state, but some days she just doesn’t want to give it up. Today dawned gray, the kind of featureless sky that blows out images and produces less than stellar images. I groaned. I moaned. I had some time to spend with the camera, but what could I possibly find to shoot, I whined. I hemmed and hawed, debating whether or not I should venture out. I reminded myself that you have to shoot thousands of bad photos before […]

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spring is in the air

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“I love, I love them so – my green things growing! And I think that they love me, without false showing; For by many a tender touch, they comfort me so much, With the soft mute comfort of green things growing.” – Dinah Craik Green. It is a shock, almost obnoxious in its intensity. Sneaking in seemingly overnight, the woods are alive with spring, bursting forth in unsightly abandon, throwing colors around without an ounce of care. No concern for conservation in these woods, for tendering a nest egg for when the days grow dusty and brittle – and they will grow dusty and brittle – only life, burgeoning, bold, careless. I cannot help but smile on these days. These […]

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upon us all a little rain must fall

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“Do not be angry with the rain; it simply does not know how to fall upwards.” ― Vladimir Nabokov   The sky has gone out, covered by a blanket of sodden gray, thick with rain.   This is a day for no one. The chickadees that frequent the yard are tucked away in trees somewhere, quietly riding out the day. Even the squirrels, so busy with winter plans, have only scrambled by but once.   It is the rain of destruction. Falling branches, cascading streams, the earth shifting and moving where it will. A day where one loses hope in the blue sky, forgets the sun’s warmth and the way that an unexpected shower renews the earth after the drought. […]

olallie jefferson (18 of 58)

going home

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“It’s a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy.” ~Lucille Ball home | /hōm/ verb “(of an animal) return by instinct to its territory after leaving it”   The burn in my legs is growing fierce. One step, two…slowly I climb the sandy ridge, stumbling over rocks and willing my hands to grow warm. My back, once light, has become an anchor, weighing me to the trail so that each step is a fight against gravity. I am grinning from ear to ear.   Ahead, I can see the clouds circling Mt Jefferson, obscuring the pointed peak that marks her top. Behind me, the volcanic plain opens up to the north, Mt Hood standing sentry in the distance. […]

wallowas 2015 lower res (114 of 126)

on seeking discomfort

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Fourteen miles into a 19 mile day on the trail, 35 soul crushing pounds on my back, I paused, looked at my hiking buddy, and declared emphatically, “I hate suffering.”   And I meant it. Unequivocally.   At that moment, every muscle in my body was screaming in protest. The soles of my feet spiked sharp pains with every step. I was tired, hungry, and ready to stop, but there were still miles to go and hills to climb. The tears burned hot and threatened to flow. Misery and self pity oozed from me like a toxic cloud. Disgust descending, I thought of the shriveled up beans and dehydrated rice that would be my dinner, and I shuddered to think […]

long road (4 of 8)

the long way round

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“And I’m a long way gone Down this wild road I’m on It’s going to take me take me where I’m bound But it’s the long way around.” Jackson Browne   I have never felt like I travel the same roads as everyone else. Always a little bit different, always a little bit too much in my head, I sometimes feel like the odd duck, flying north into the driving rain while the others all head to the sun. And while I used to do my best to fight my inner compass, I have been learning to embrace what makes me different. Only by accepting the truth about who I am can I ever hope to find peace in the […]

wallowas 2015 (23 of 126)

the things i don’t know about backpacking

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“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” – John Muir Need a dose of humility? Head out into nature for a few days. You’ll feel like a babe in the woods in no time. (And no, I most definitely do not mean a babe in the attractive sense. Unwashed hair, scratched up, dirty legs and a wild look in your eye is about as far away from sexy as it gets. But I digress.) Let’s be clear; I do not profess to be an experienced backpacker. I can […]

jefferson backpack (29 of 56)

finding mt jefferson

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  “All the wild world is beautiful, and it matters but little where we go, to highlands or lowlands, woods or plains, on the sea or land or down among the crystals of waves or high in a balloon in the sky; through all the climates, hot or cold, storms and calms, everywhere and always we are in God’s eternal beauty and love. So universally true is this, the spot where we chance to be always seems the best.” – John Muir Beauty is to be found on every trail. Even the most familiar paths through urban landscapes can yield surprise and delight, but some destinations are spun from wilderness magic, and Jefferson Park in the Oregon Cascades is one […]