• Adventure,  Travel

    Cuba: Day 3

    There is so much to do in La Habana. There are old buildings to gawk at, street art to discover, museums-that-are-also-working-pharmacies to wander through. This post is only covering the morning of Day 3 because DUDE. The Colon Cemetery. So much. Ahem. So, the morning of our 3rd day, we took the time-honored traditional tourist excursion: the hop-on, hop-off bus. This red double decker bus makes a loop around some of the farther out sites and then returns back to Central Parque. The one thing I wish we had known ahead of time: The bus follows the same route away from Habana Viejo as it does returning. We would have stayed on top…

  • Adventure,  Travel

    Cuba: Day One

    Oh, Cuba. Even preparing for Cuba, I was at a loss. What to pack? I’d read many personal accounts and had friends who’d been there, but Cuba seemed to change daily. What was one person’s experience, was not at all how another experienced the trip. There were some things I wish I had known beforehand, such as the rapidly changing circumstances. Travel We took the first flight out of Jacksonville, FL to Miami, and then what appeared to be the earliest flight from Miami to Havana. We bought our visas at the gate, amidst a crowd of people from many different countries. Still, this step, which some airlines seemed happy…

  • Adventure,  Lifestyle,  Travel,  Writing

    2016 in review

    I had some big goals for 2016. Most of the goals were reasonable, but still some entirely unreasonable ones snuck in. These were the goals I wasn’t going to hold myself to because I had no control over other people’s actions, but I couldn’t help but keep these outlandish expectations as a yardstick. Maybe I watched too much Parks & Rec because I made a binder for my Writing Year, made quarterly goals, and decorated it with stickers. Some of my goals I now see as unrealistic (like blog 4 times a week. Who has time for that?), and some of them I forgot to write down, because I didn’t…

  • Romanian Rib
    Adventure,  Travel,  Writing

    Romanian Rib – Red Rocks

    There are many sports metaphors that equate to struggle. Marathons, extra innings, overtime: all of these immediately conjure up the physical struggle of a human being. But perhaps we need a sports metaphor for the less demanding endurance trail. Romanian Rib could be just such a metaphor for patience. Romanian Rib is a specific route near Red Rocks National Park. The climb itself is about 1000 feet of vertical. There is a parking lot on the side of the road, and a marked, maintained trail for about half of the 1.5 mile hike-in to the base of Romanian Rib. That morning we got started a little later than usual, despite our promises…

  • Red Rocks
    Adventure,  Lifestyle,  Travel

    Red Rocks

    Red Rocks is an incredible formation of sandstone 15 miles outside of Las Vegas. One of the best things about a trip to Red Rocks is that all of the gambling and drinking of Vegas tourists subsidize the inevitably less expensive food and lodging of a climbing trip. We stayed at an AirBnB on the West side of Vegas, near Red Rocks, big enough to have plenty of room for four people. Though only 15-20 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip, we were also 15 minutes from the garage to touching sandstone rock. The first day we arrived, Andy ran up Mount Wilson (I do not use the word “run” in…

  • Adventure,  Lifestyle,  Travel,  Writing

    Big Climb Prep

    In a few weeks, we are going to Red Rocks outside Las Vegas to climb. Not much for gambling, we will be subsidized by all the people do: cheap flights, cheap places to stay, easy food. I have to admit something too–I am not a great climber. Nor particularly good. Aaaaand I don’t really climb very often. (There is a sincere dearth of elevation near Savannah). For the past week or so we’ve been practicing for my benefit. I have my own rope length to practice my knots, and while I watch TV or listen to podcasts, I tie and untie my handful of knots.   I keep all of my…

  • hiking and camping
    Adventure,  Lifestyle,  Travel,  Writing

    3 Sisters: Day 6

    I had not slept well. The first few nights of sleeping on the ground were great, straightening out my back in ways I didn’t know it was crooked, but the last night was painful. My side of the tent was on a gentle slope, so I tended to slide to the edge of the tent, waking every few hours, pressed against the canvas. My right shoulder hurt from my fall, so I couldn’t put my arm over my head if I laid on my stomach, and I certainly couldn’t lay on my right side. Andy got out of his bag first that day. The next water wasn’t for another two and…

  • Obsidian Limited Use Area
    Adventure,  Lifestyle,  Travel,  Writing

    Three Sisters: Day Five-Part The SECOND

    ***Continued from yesterday’s blog, where Katie and Andy had made it through the Wickiup Plains, Katie had fallen with her pack on, and they had encountered a pixie-ish couple from Seattle who had lost some clogs… Leaving Team Seattle behind us, we continued our slow but steady pace outstripping a few other hiking teams. I was proud of us, even though I know it wasn’t a competition. There was a small, unnamed lake that we were on the lookout for, a site we had thought to camp yesterday if we had energy after summiting South Sister (no.). So far, my knee was holding steady. We blew past the lake, small and filled with debris. Satchel…

  • 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…

  • South Sister
    Writing

    3 Sisters: Day Four

    We woke early, this time on purpose. The campsite would remain intact, as we would only summit South Sister and return that same day. Full of hubris from our previous days, we discussed the possibility of striking camp after the summit and continuing on another five miles until the next available water. But we would wait to see how it felt when we returned to camp. Of the Three Sisters, South Sister is the tallest at 10,358 feet. Nicknamed Charity, it is the most climbed of the three volcanoes, probably because it has the least amount of erosion and the most glaciation. The Middle Sister is noted to be “unremarkable,” both…

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