February 8, 2021
No Man’s Land
My day began around 4:30 am in La Junta, Colorado. The next two hours involved driving down increasingly spare roadways through the far southeastern plains of the Centennial State. Just 20 miles shy of the border with Oklahoma, I pulled off onto a dirt county road. It started straight but grew winding. It crossed drainage ditches and creeks. I had no cell service. I pleaded with the Universe not to give me a flat tire.
Continue reading “Black Mesa, Oklahoma”
November 27, 2021
I arrived well before dawn at the Mauna Kea visitor’s center, roughly 9200′ above sea level. The complex sits six miles off the “saddle road” between the island’s two main population centers: Hilo and Kona. I parked in the empty lot, donned my backpack, and headed off for the Humu’ula Trail.
Continue reading “Mauna Kea via the Humu’ula Trail”
August 5, 2020, Whitney Portal
A month before this ascent, I had zero intention of summiting Mt Whitney in 2020. Hiking Whitney requires a permit, drawn from a lottery back in March, that I did not possess as of Mid-July. I hadn’t entered said lottery because in March I didn’t even know I’d be living in California, let alone hiking the Sierras.
Continue reading “Mount Whitney in a day”
August 14, 2018, Paradise WA
In summer 2018 I signed up for a guided mountaineering seminar on Mt Rainier, in the gorgeous Cascade Range in Washington. My first trip to Washington, four years earlier, was to visit a friend getting her Ph.D. from U Washington in nearby Seattle. While roaming around town, I caught my first glance of Rainier, towering over the landscape. It was unlike any mountain I had seen before, clearly taller and more isolated than anything in the Rockies, let alone the Northeast. I asked my friend if we could hike it. She looked at me like I had three heads and said “What?! No! You need to like, train for that. And acclimate. It’s like a real mountain.” I decided then and there that the next time I was in Washington, I was climbing Mt Rainier.
Continue reading “Mt Rainier (PNW)”
July 21, 2017, Adirondak Loj
Out of my comfort zone
My very first Adirondack 46er adventure began around 7:00 am, in the parking lot at Heart Lake. It would be a weekend of many firsts. Most obviously, it was my first pair of high peaks: Skylight and Marcy. But beyond that, it would be my first time backpacking and backcountry camping. In fact, it would be my first time pitching a tent in the woods. I’d been “car camping” exactly once before.
Continue reading “Marcy, Skylight, Haystack, and Gray”