• Wickiup Plains
    Adventure,  Lifestyle,  Travel,  Writing

    Three Sisters: Day Five

    For the first time, we slept in. I had doctored my knee as best I could the night before, using anti-inflammatory cream and sleeping in a compression sleeve lined with voodoo. As usual, I was out of my bag first, sweating on the backs of my knees and on my scalp, while Andy looked snugly content in a beanie cap and light fleece tucked into his bag. I made a cup of tea on our camp stove, looking out over Moraine Lake. I watched as a few hikers made their way up to South Sister. After replenishing calories the day before, having a long talk over a card game about…

  • Lake Moraine
    Adventure,  Lifestyle,  Travel,  Writing

    Three Sisters: Day Three

    Again we woke at dawn, the dim light visible through the tent’s screened panels. The wilderness area averaged less than half an inch of rain in the month of August, so we weren’t worried about again leaving the fly off the tent. My sleeping bag was rated to 40 below, and we referred to it as the Thermal Nuclear Blanket because it doesn’t matter the temperature outside, the person inside remained warm. The nights weren’t getting that cold, dropping to temperatures in the fifties, I think. But by the time morning came around, the Thermal Nuclear Blanket had done its work, and I was ready to get out of there. Andy…

  • The Burn
    Adventure,  Lifestyle,  Travel,  Writing

    Three Sisters: Day Two

    Purple twists of light tinted the sky. The sun hadn’t risen yet. In the distance, there was a faint but strange, honking sound. I turned my head to see Andy’s eyes wide open. He was lying still, listening. “Elk,” he whispered. I strained my ears, trying to hear them. The call sounds like the vuvuzela, the South African instrument we all grew to love during the 2010 World Cup. The rest of our morning was silent, birds still quiet. When the sky grew pink with shades of yellow, I got out of my sleeping bag. The ground was soft with black ash and my flip flops were near useless, but I slipped them on…

  • Three Sisters hiking loop
    Adventure,  Lifestyle,  Travel,  Writing

    3 Sisters: Day One

    Hey, let’s go for a hike. We’re a hiking sort, me and Andy. Every year we try to spend at least a week in some mountains, walking around. That’s what they call it in other languages: walking. It takes some of the magic out of it, I think. Hiking is more than walking–it implies at least a small amount of challenge, an ample dose of isolation, and a great deal of scenery. We picked The Three Sisters Wilderness area in central Oregon, west of Bend. The highlight of the area, you may have guessed, are three volcanoes called The Three Sisters. Nicknamed Faith, Charity, and Hope, these three volcanoes have been recently…

  • Adventure,  Inspiration,  Travel,  Writing

    Big 5 Dive: Afterword

    It’s been a week now, since twenty people stayed awake for more than 24 hours, drove over 1000 miles, and dove in all five Great Lakes. We followed the hydrology of the lakes, echoing the natural flow of freshwater, but also mindful not to encourage the spread of invasive species that threaten the balance in the lakes. Thanks to Meaghan, I bought myself a glass water bottle, in the hopes I don’t have to buy another plastic one ever again. Sunday morning, after the dive, I walked around Olcott, NY, a cute town that seemed like a charming place to station oneself and go wine-tasting or visit Niagara Falls. I…

  • Adventure,  Inspiration,  Travel,  Writing

    Big 5 Dive: Dive 5!

    The sun set for the second time on our adventure. We were in New York, driving in our two-van caravan, hoping we were going in the right direction. We had an address and a GPS, and we drove the 250 miles, ending up in a chain of small towns, each smaller than the last, until we finally saw the sign for Olcott. At least there was finally a sign for the town the hosted our last dive. So we drive to the even smaller town of Olcott, and we park at the beach, and we see no one. Calls are made, and we get back into the vehicles, driving around…

  • Adventure,  Inspiration,  Travel,  Writing

    Big 5 Dive: Dive 2

    It was not quite three o’clock in the morning when we arrived at the Headlands Dark Sky Park. I had gushed about this place not long ago, imagining this moment. Our caravan drove down snaking roads, narrowly avoiding some of the Dark Sky Park attendees walking back up to where they had to park their cars. Kyle and I were still in our wetsuits from the first dive. The tarping of the van had seemed like a smart idea, and now that we were in practice, tarps had been nothing short of genius. Both of us kept our feet up on the large blue plastic tub that had become the de…

  • Adventure,  Inspiration,  Lifestyle,  Travel,  Writing

    Big5Dive: Dive 1

    The Big 5 Dive had 15 divers: 14 women of varying dive experiences and ages, and one man who filmed it all.   So how did it go? On PADI Women’s Dive Day, July 16th, I sat on the shores of Lake Superior with Kyle, kitted up and waiting for midnight to hit. Dive 1 was about to get underway. Earlier in the evening, the divers, the production crew, and assorted helpers had caravaned out from Alpena to get some pastis in Mackinac, hit the Mackinac bridge that officially put us in the Upper Peninsula (the UP), and arrived at Whitefish Point Shipwreck Museum, all in preparation for Dive 1.…

  • Adventure,  Inspiration,  Lifestyle,  Travel,  Writing

    Big Five Dive Eve

    Just a few more hours until we head up to Lake Superior for our first dive for Big Five Dive! The Stuff The vans are packed to the gills with dive gear and photography gear (separate, of course, not everything is rated for 100 meters underwater). Steve Plowman of Plowman’s Collision has lent us the vans, and we intend to return them in just as good of a shape as when he sent us off with them. We bought six tarps to make sure.     We’ll be snacking on all of those glorious chips from Bettermade. I. Can’t. Wait.   Jessica is making homemade peanut butter oatmeal energy snacks.…

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