Friday, May 08, 2015

Western Lemonade

Sometimes life doesn't even throw you lemons.
Sometimes the sweetest, coolest lemonade pours straight from the sky and quenches the thirst of your soul. 

We left Kentucky for a little vacation time only 4 days ago. 

Sure, it's beautiful. Land of bourbon and bluegrass and equine champions. But we were craving some mountains; the kind of the west, the kind that make you wonder. A wonder so deep that you feel like you just shot up with Monet and Van Gogh and have beauty pulsing in your veins.

So powerful and vast and wild. 
Just seeing these makes my head spin.


We rented a car for convenience, hit up an REI for supplies and a groceries for foods and lunch. Dried fruits, nuts, and an array of dehydrated meals lined our packs: onward to Yosemite.

We arrived in the afternoon around 4pm on Tuesday. Having been up since 3am Pacific time, we were not pleased to find throngs of people lining every roadway and sidewalk throughout the valley. Shards of rock and peaks of magnificence caved in around us as we waded through tourists to sort out backpacking logistics. This was the Disney World of Nature and apparently everyone and their mom wants to stand below the falls and take a picture. Arabians stood with their arms out atop their bright yellow hummer posing for a photo. A teenager runs to catch up with her group, selfie stick extended. A young set of lovers gaze out into a field while 3 photographers attempt to capture their personal "moment". A school bus unloads 20 pimply, loud adolescents... And we soon found ourselves off trail in a little green woods near a river: a moment of silence. The clearest water gushing over the smoothest rocks and I am reminded of Oregon. God, I love the West.
"Let's get out of here!"
We arrived to our backpackers camp and finally found some quiet. We decided against hiking out that night (having only 3 hours of daylight to hike 4 miles straight up didn't seem very appealing). We pitched tent and dined on meat, cheese, and wine while warding off the raccoons out for their evening meal. Sleep came early since we'd had so little since leaving the bluegrass. 

We woke up when we woke up.
That's what you do when you're on vacation.

This is what I had to tell Kenton, who wanted to set five alarms so we could climb out of our tent before any other mammal was alive. We still woke up with the sun and began our climb out of the valley in the cool of the morning. 

Mosquitos pelted us anytime we slowed for the first couple miles, so stopping was out of the question. Thankfully, as we rose in altitude and sunshine, the vampires let up and soon our only enemy was the steep of the climb. In ~3 miles we gained 3,000 ft of elevation. The sun was hot and wonderful. The hardest part of the trip: that's what we kept telling ourselves. (Later we found out we were each caring about 10lbs more than what is considered safe; my pack weighing in at around 40lbs and Kenton's was about 50.) Silly humans. 

Maybe halfway up, we heard a commotion at our feet and, to our terror, we saw a rattlesnake; his tail tremoring only a few feet from our ankles. My lord, did we fast as you can run uphill and with over a third of your body weight clamped to your back. We saw the second rattler not a half hour later and even closer than the last. This, with us deciding to be vigilant. After that I was pretty sure we were going to die.

We had lunch at the top of the switchbacks next to a river. More wine, cheese and meat. For being in the wild, we were dining rather glamorous. 

Our path continued on through the woods: A smooth walk on the soft forest floor lined with towering pines occasionally sprinkled with a neon green moss. The sunlight sliced through spattering our world with brilliant greens and golds. After a few hours I heard a rustle and maybe 50 feet from our trail I saw a black bear hop onto a fallen log. I gasped, shocked, then hooted and clapped. He looked as surprised as I was when he saw us and then clambered back into the forest in response to my ruckus. Thank goodness!!

Our trail eventually led us to one of the most spectacular views of my life... Which I failed to photograph with my camera, but Kenton captured with his. 

We decided not to camp there, which ended up being a massively great decision on our part. Snow was on the forecast so we chose to hike til the near end before setting up camp.

As we hiked through more woods, I scanned our surroundings as had become our habit and there, only 20 feet away, was an even larger blackbear. She sat on her butt and stared.
"Holy shit"
I yelled at her. Clapped my hands. Hooted. She didn't move. I stomped my feet. Behind her a much smaller cub shot up a tree (don't even think about climbing a tree to avoid these guys). Kenton, behind me, "hold on while I take a picture!" 
Finally, she turned and lumbered off into the bushes. I said a few more curse words as my heart throbbed through my chest wall and we continued on our trek. 

We camped here that night:
Clouds illuminated by sunlight encircled the valley walls, but the clear sky opened up into the heavens above us. We hydrated our deliscious chickpea curry and southwestern chicken dishes and devoured them, rinsing them down with the last of our Pinot noir.
The universe has opened up her blessings on us. 

We woke up to snow. 
Stuffing an energy bar into our mouths and our tent supplies into our packs, we made way down the mountain. Soon the snow became slush and areas of the trail became gateways to danger. Still, we dropped our packs and took a detour in order to possibly glimpse a close up of the great falls. We held fast to a metal railing with our feet literally inches from the edge of slush covered rock steps overlooking the valley thousands of feet  below. Once at the bottom of the hundred step detour, we saw nothing of what we expected and our actions were deemed "the stupidest thing we have ever done". We risked life and limb to see the edge of a river and I couldn't wait to be out of there. 

Headed back to the main path, the snow had covered the earth. Suddenly we were in a winter wonderland of cliffs and pine trees taller than houses. Silence of snowfall enveloped us.  Ahead we saw a bobcat and Kenton began tiger calling to send him away. Thus began our descent. Snow, sleet, rain. Step by step we made our way down. Around every corner we saw a new view of the falls, which held us, captivated us, and drew us in. How wonderful is this world of erosion and water and earth. What beauty erupts from the performance of time. 

With each downward slope, new sounds reached us: the dump truck beeper, cars, people.. We erupted from the climb back into an unchanged reality as though we had never left: a school bus of children, a girl with her selfie stick, loiterers consuming the few tables of the deli. We consumed some sandwiches and soup and couldn't wait to evacuate this cold and rainy valley. Onward to the west. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014


i never even updated you that i've finished my BSN.

  • Volunteer in Africa : CHECK
  • Move to Oregon : half CHECK
  • Obtain my DTN @ LSHTM: CHECK
  • Finish my BSN: CHECK
  • Two years working in an ER: CHECK
5 year goals ALL (mostly) complete. (If you remember... the move to Oregon ended in my car getting stolen along with everything I owned stuffed inside...tragedy...but not really)

Here I am...STILL in Kentucky. Holed up with a fellow RN in the most beautiful home I've ever lived. Dating a gorgeous mountain man from CO who happens to be an ER rezzie alongside me. Who knew I'd actually find a man who likes vegetables, bikes, and mountains as much as I do.

I'm thinking of writing a novel.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

tomorrow's goals:

wake up and be productive!!

fix flat bike tire
get oil changed
go on bike ride
get haircut
finish laundry
complete online quiz for school
see erica
enjoy the sun

go for a run

...just one more episode of new girl...and one more glass of wine...


i lie my head against you 
and it feels as secure and strong as the earth
after each new conversation
it's as tho my whole soul has given birth
to something fresh and light
brighter than those colorado days you tell me about
clearer than oregon waters
more profound and moving than mountain peaks
you're the height my heart seeks

"i miss you more than the mountains," you say
and yet, to see me you have to wait less than a day
"you make me feel like i know where i'm going"
and i cry because it's true
i'm in love with you

Thursday, March 06, 2014


You know what…
I owe my mom a lot of money
I’ve usually paid it off in a month..
And I’m inlove with this guy
And 3 days is enough to make me explode
All those pent up emotions
from the days my dad failed
to the days of now
sowhat, you feel the same
act like it
and im emptying out what I have
to meet you somewhere
 between there and now
I calm the fuck down
To meet you somethere
And know I want to. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


I think I'm blind, deaf, and dumb when it comes to men:


In light of this new eve
The end of autumn's breeze
Torn from a resting place
Brought to this empty space
Shattered yet strong and new
Eager for life to brew
Must I break mourn so soon
To crumble after a silver moon 
And amidst this winter chill
Can warmth be found still
Warmth, pure, kind and sweet
A shelter from this frozen seat
Stop trying
Stop dying
Rest in the quiet places
Build up those safer spaces
Hide within the good and gold
Seek out the pure and bold
Give in
Give in to the good