Once I wandered

my wanderings from here to there.

Category: Photography

Coming Closer!

Ok so my goal this year is to hike a one trip total of almost 37 miles on the CDT (Continental Divide Trail) and spend 7 days cooking for a totally generous group of people who come in from all over to volunteer to build a network of trails that connect with other states. When completely finished this trail will span from Canada to Mexico. But it’s already being used so it’s important the CDT shine, Just like The Pacific Northwest trail and the Appalachian Trail. It will take work, but this trail has AMAZING potential.

Anyway, Since April I have been hiking/backpacking and photographing to get in shape and raise the items I need to join this group. And while I have a month and 2 weeks left before the hike, Today I woke up near the Bob Marshall and I took my first hike on the Continental Divide Trail. Oddly, enough while I was intending on getting some hiking in, I wasn’t planning on going up to Benchmark for that purpose. I had known that my Thru-hiker, Train and the other Southbounders (These hikers are all walking to Mexico from Canada, consider that 3500 miles and 6 months of walking!) were to be at the guest ranch yesterday, I was hoping to catch them and hand out some goodies they could enjoy and pack out the waste for them and maybe even take their excess weight ahead for them so they could enjoy the next few days…I missed them by a few hours, but Crystal and I stayed and enjoyed the woods.

When I got up this morning the birds were singing and the sun greeted me as I slipped out of my sleeping bag. I pulled a bear Grylls and used 1 smoldering coal to build a fire (For real!) and then I started shooting (photo and video) the sounds of a morning in the woods. Crystal and I drove out to the South Fork Sun Campground and there it was, the CDT. We loaded up the tri-pod and cameras and of course the backpack and headed out. It was a bright shining hour for me, I was so excited to be on it. Not because I was going far, we had a long way back to the city and other stops to hike at. But because, it finally felt real! I’m going to be hiking it this year. And one day I’ll be hiking ALL of it!

Thanks to some Amazing people and their donations and through some hard work, I’ve managed to wrangle up my camping seat, backpack, some wicking shirts, sleeping bag, headlamp and a few other supplies. I still need a few trail items badly and am working towards those goals!

If you would like to own a print from my gallery you can purchase one here
The price goes towards printing fees, shipping and helping me toward my goal off volunteering. If you would prefer to just donate an item, I have a wishlist at Amazon! We are getting closer!










Thunderstorms, rainbows and tiny shoes.


ahhhhh, almost to the end of the trail.

I’m one of those people that tend to do that graceful people would have a hard time understanding. You would think that being 5 foot tall and oh, so close to the ground that I would have maybe a little better balance. But I don’t and I roll with it, sometimes literally. Thankfully, I didn’t trip once on today’s hike. I did get a little wet, but I won’t put the cart before the horse.

I had completely intended on getting out of the house by noon today and being home by 6. This did not in any way, shape or form occur.  I packed my backpack with 20 pounds today and 2 liters of water in my water bladder. Added a little more weight by adding my wallet, cell phone, and a few trail snacks. went to go grab my old hiking boots, I was so not going to do the whole running shoe thing again. And low and behold my boots somehow have rid themselves of their laces. Now it’s a known fact hiking boots do not have arms, but it’s also a known fact I have 3 children of the boy variety. I didn’t even bother asking. Off to the shoe store for some new laces. At this moment, I am incredibly thankful that the shoe laces found their way off of my boots, because when we pulled into the trail head and I slipped on my boots, I realize one feels tight. In fact one is a different shade of brown, wait…..One is a total different boot! AGH. Same brand, same style, wrong size! I decide in all my wisdom that I will just try the trail, I mean they are technically the same shoes right? So I shove my old fur lined slip ons into my pack adding roughly 1 pound more.

About a mile into the hike, a storm that looked like it would stay over the mountains, decided to take a sharp left and headed right for us. Thankfully I had my rain fly for my pack with me and covered it up. We took shelter under  the edge of an Alder stand and talked while the storm passed. By this point, I was losing feeling in my second toe from the toe box on the wrong boot squeezing on my foot. So I decided to crack & stretch the leather a bit. This seemed to work for the next half mile but I could feel a blister rubbing on the back of my foot. I finally had to give in and admit I would have to make the rest of this 5 mile  in slip ons. Agh!

I do have to give giant kudos to Osprey, the people who made my backpack and to Bighorn Supplies in Great Falls, for talking me into it. The more weight I added the more comfortable it was, because I flung an additional  2 pounds in with those shoes.

At the end of the trail, we watched the thunderstorm move to the north and a vivid rainbow appeared at it’s base. The air again full of whatever fragrant flower that was in bloom. We walked carefully back to the Jeep, taking in the beauty of the area around us. On the way out and back in we noticed a Heron hanging out in a farmers field that is adjacent to the trail, he kept calling out loudly for whoever it is Herons call out to.  We spied a few White tails in the woodlands, standing like statues hoping not to be seen and then bounding away tails like flags as their cover was blown. We heard a chorus of frogs in the low areas singing joyfully for the rain that had fallen and again spied bald eagles circling high over it’s next meal.

A soft golden light had begin to cover the land in the suns evening descent, Rod found a lovely tree in a green meadow, by now the sky was a shade of vivid blue. I spread a blanket from my pack and we sat and ate a snack and rehydrating and laughing. I do feel lucky to have such an encouraging person in my life. He really is the light in my life.  We chose a new path to take back to the Jeep, one closer to the woodlands and it was a lovely view in general.
I love the fact that even the days that begin badly, can be changed with just a few hours on a trail. Everyday I feel fuller and more enriched. I feel closer to nature and I feel a sense of adventure reawakening in my soul. Thank God for that. I though I had begun to lose sight of the amazing life I actually do live.


A bright place


The guy who encourages me to keep going when I feel like quitting. The guy who taught me to open my heart and spread my wings.


on blustery shore


Storm moving off.


beauty in the beast,


Missouri River @ Ulm, MT


over the rainbow





Falling into place. And making dreams realities.

As I mentioned in my last post, I have signed up to cook on the CDT (Continental divide trail) this summer. Lets face it, I'm a very eager person, but I'm also a resilient and driven one. So I'm rising to the challenge. I've started setting goals for myself. It started simple just 12 days ago I was at a mile, very much feeling defeated by my own goals. But, I pushed through and tonight I met 2 goals. 1. To walk 4 miles (my daily goal) and a longer goal of hitting a mile in 15 minutes, I beat that goal by 7 seconds. So I'm incredibly excited about that

I have  really enjoyed walking, this week I have been walking with my husband. It’s been like dating all over again, the two of us learning to talk on a more adult level without the kids influencing the conversation. So for an hour each evening we’ve been getting to learn each other again. After 15 years together, that’s pretty exciting. Each evening is a new adventure, the sun never looks the same twice, as it slips down from it’s journey in the clouds to begin it’s journey somewhere else behind the mountains. We’ve climbed steep hills and seen deer feeding  along the sides of our path. We’ve crossed rivers , streams and dry creek beds and it’s like the world is awakening before my eyes. I guess you see so much when your driving, but you miss the opportunity to really drink those things in.  Like the grass breaking through the asphalt on the roads or  city trails. It’s almost inspiring to see such a thing. A little blade of grass can break through something so hard. Which makes me realize, someone like me can do great things too. Keep going, keep trying until you get there. And when you do…there is still more to see, more mountains to climb. I can’t wait.

On Mothers day, my family took me for a two part hike in the little belt mountains. First of all, I was crazy excited to get off man made trails and get back to nature. I was a little daunted at the first trail. I stood below a 184 foot incline the 177  feet of that in the first .25 miles. starting off with a 35% grade. But my kids took it like champs, so I figured I should probably do the same. It took about 20 minutes to arrive at the top of the trail, in which it completely petered out. Not to be put off we followed a deer trail, Road in sight far below us. And took turns calling out “Yo Bear”, since it is spring in the mountains it’s best to be safe then sorry. We followed the path, bushwhacking a time or two until we met up with a second, more substantial trail, where we began our descent to the valley floor, we let the kids play in the creek for a bit, then it was time to head out to trail number two. Substantially easier and much more frequented, this was a walk in the literal park after the Hughesville grade. Even with the addition of early nettles and patchy dense alder growth. The hubby picked me some wild bitteroot to adorn my bandanna head wrap, I think I married very well.

Over the course of the last month, I’ve had the luck to visit some really amazing places. Crystal had me a long on a road trip to Whitefish and we took a little time to walk on the shores of White fish lake, Hungry Horse reservoir and Lake Mcdonald, in Glacier National park. I saw a wolf for the first time in my life on the way home, I had never realized how big they actually are. We looked for bear but saw none.

I never set out to lose weight on this journey, and I’m not shedding the pounds quickly, but I can see a difference in muscle tone especially in my legs and rear. and today I stepped on the scale (oddly to weigh my cat, not myself..I check my weight first then add the cat, he’s 13 pounds in case you are wondering) and I note that I have lost 6 pounds. That’s a seriously awesome side effect of this whole thing!

While the month was amazing, I have to say the highlight was finally, FINALLY getting my pack! I guess, putting it on and wearing it, really hit home. I’m doing this, it’s real. Last year I was a housewife (I still am, and I happen to be a photographer too!) But now I feel like I am so much closer to achieving my goals. That’s a really amazing feeling when you know you are that much closer to doing so. I ended up with an Osprey Via 65, it’s a womens pack, so it fits my shortness perfectly, I love internal frame packs and the way they sit on your hips, I’ll be adjusting to weight over the next month, So it’s a good thing that I got a quality bag. Thanks to those who donated or purchased from my Amazon Wish list. It really takes the edge off. Some of the items I am to use will need to be replaced along the way (for longer trips) and it’s good to have extras.

I’ll leave you  and some images from the last month or so. Some of these are available for sale, all the proceeds of my sales go to funding my volunteer adventure, you can learn more in the fundraising section of my site. There are also portrait sessions in there for a substantial discount! Thanks so much for all your faith in me and helping me to get to each goal!

Training trail clips. (Video)


Missouri river at Ulm Montana 3 mile hike.


That’s right! The Pack! I’m so stinking excited!


Doesn’t look all that impressive but that’s 174 feet over .74 miles.


Whitefish lake at night. (Available for purchase)


The beginning of the Hughesville grade hike.


A Peak in Glacier National Park


Alpha Falls @ Hungry Horse, Available for purchase.


Waterfall at Lake Mcdonald in Glacier National Park. Available for purchase.


Cooking on the CDT. The learning curve. And a mixed bag.

When I think of hiking or backpacking, I think of me and maybe a friend or two. I have not ever considered packing food for a group. Cool, a challenge! I’m not sure if I have posted my summer intents this year. But I signed up to cook for a trail crew on the CDT (Continental Divide Trail- Montana) in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. It’s an 18 mile hike each way and 7 days in the back country. I am more then excited about it.

Anyway, I’ve been doing my homework and the one thing I haven’t found is anything on how to pack for a trail crew. But I have found that you can exist on much more creative meals then peanut butter, noodles and pop tarts…THANK GOD!
I’ve found possibilities such as Pad Thai, Mountain man soup, Tuna casserole and so forth. Lots of calories to keep the workers in energy as well as proteins and vitamins. It also means I’ll be able to cook for Vegetarians and Vegans if there are any. I would like to dehydrate as much as I can here at home so that is going to be another challenge. I have dehydrated all sorts of foods and barks for my kids and I. From the typical jerky to fruit trail mixes and even pasta sauce, However this will be a larger scale. I’m definitely up for a challenge.

I totally feel it’s worth every minute. Montana is so full of amazing trails and back country and I really feel it could be utilized more with maintained trails. That’s what this group is setting out to do. Clear up and fix up those trails for the adventurers. Montana Wilderness Association (CDT Montana) is so awesome, because everyone going on this trip is volunteers. I am also acquainted with a guy who will be hiking the CDT this year, so it will be pretty awesome to know I played a part in his journey. Cool, huh?
In case you’d like to take a peek at his adventure, Check out 26. He finished the PCT last year and now takes his interesting twist to the Continental Divide.  Ron puts a spin on hiking by debuting wedding attire, yes, I said it, wedding attire on his hikes. You have to love a guy who will sport tuxes & Kilts while being a sport on the trail! You can also check out his website hiking26.com.

While I am out here promoting people, places and locations (Proper nouns) I figure, I’ll put a thanks out to Bighorn Outdoor Specialists as well. After a whirlwind winter I realized that I had totally spaced my Oboz , I had put on layaway with them. My husband was awesome enough to remember for me and Bighorn was super cool and is letting me pick up where I left off! Whew, because they really are the most awesome shoe I put on my foot!

Ok done, with the pimping and promoting.  I think I’ll finish off tonight’s blog, completely and utterly off topic, because really, that’s pretty much who I am, consistently off topic, doing my own thing. I spent the last 2 days down in Billing with a friend and she treated me with a trip to the zoo. I’m not really one who gets a giant thrill of seeing animals in cages , though I do appreciate the conservation factor. But I found myself feeling much like I did the first time I went to the Portland Zoo as a child. I fixated….I want to see the Tigers, I want to see the bears and the Otters ! Much to my chagrin the bear had decided he would only show us his rear  while he snoozed. The Otters were away..But the Tiger was there. So here is an image of Koosaka, Zoo Montana’s Siberian Tiger. Also, a random image of a Bald Eagle. 🙂

Love, peace and Naked lil’ Bunnies. 🙂

A Bald Eagle stares curiously through a pine tree.

A Bald Eagle stares curiously through a pine tree.

Koosaka, 1 of 300 Siberians left in captivity. There are roughly 100 Amur (Siberian Tigers) left in the wild, with the densest population being in Eastern Russia and Asia. They are mercilessly hunted for their pelts and for traditional medicines.

Koosaka, 1 of 300 Siberians left in captivity. There are roughly 100 Amur (Siberian Tigers) left in the wild, with the densest population being in Eastern Russia and Asia. They are mercilessly hunted for their pelts and for traditional medicines.

P.S. If you would like to help me save up for my own trail hikes and photographic adventures and volunteer trips, just click the link at the top!

A great start to a new year of adventures!

It’s been a wonderful start to the year! And I want to say thank you to those who have participated with such love and kindness thus far! Already we have  visited Washington and Idaho and I’ve been out with one of my closest friends discovering the back roads of Montana. There will be a lot of Back Country Photography this year as I am volunteering with the Montana Wilderness Association which requires hiking 18-20 miles to get to our destination. I will also be training for other hiking endeavors as the season wears on to get into tip top shape for that hike as well as a possible 2 day on the CDT.  So let’s get started with some of this seasons images already!  Please remember some of these images can be purchased to help me continue with my travels and Volunteer work. I will no be accepting cash donations but I would love it if  you took at the link above to see ways you can help me continue on! Thank you! Now, on with the show!

In March we (my family and I) decided to take a break from the stresses of real life and visit my favorite place. Washington! But since I had my kids I wanted to take a look at the more educational side of the journey. So we traveled all the way from the agricultural state of Montana, to a tiny little farm on Bainbridge Island in Washington. This may seem counter productive, but this wasn’t about educating the brain, this was about educating the heart.


Blakely Hill Farms.

I think I can safely compare this farm to Montana as in saying, it’s a “Last Best Place”. You see, Blakely Hill Farms is not your typical farm. Sure, it’s got horses, goats , cats , dogs, pigs and Llamas. But it’s the one thing these animals have in common that really make it such. They are all rescues. Martha and Shelby Vaughan are truly a new inspiration in my life. While it’s unlikely I will be taking in more rescues then the cats that we have taken in from the fields. They inspire me in many other ways as well. It is their compassion and true love of these animals and the caring way they treated us (who were complete strangers to them) that had me thinking, there really are still amazing people in this world.


My Son Matthew meets with one of the farm residents , both seem just as curious as the other,


The horse name “Jake” peaks around the corner of the farm house. Jake is a Slaughter house rescue.


A resident of the feline variety peers out into the light. Shelby and Martha located this little guy in a forest when they found him they realized that his tail had been split in two.


Love can heal in so many ways, the one thing I did not see a lack of here was love, so much healing!


Ioka is another slaughter house rescue, who before coming to the farm could barely stand. The inside of her hooves had collapsed causing it to be very very painful for her to walk. On the day she came to rescue, she shook as she took her steps into the trailer. Now, while still in some pain she is able to walk slowly about the property!


Cactus:: Sometimes, opening your heart to animals in need, means that you will experience loss as well. Cactus passed on shortly after this image was taken. Shelby and Martha not only invest time and finances into the rescue of these amazing animals but the heart and emotions to keep going.

I will be posting a full photography blog on the goings on at Blakely Hill Farms as soon as my schedule allows, I have already been delayed and I do so want to tell the whole story of this amazing place. !




Blossoms opening in Meadowdale park, Lynnwood Wa.


2 of my favorite things about Washington, Rain and Moss. Sure it’s probably the locals annoyance, but to me it’s memories of my childhood. I love it!


One of the new additions to the Pier in Seattle is a Millenium Wheel! Kinda awesome!


Pikes Place Market


Pikes place Market , a must if you’re on a tourist styled agenda!


We have to thank Rob for taking us down to Golden Gardens Beach in Ballard. My kids LOVED the water and the boats and of course the sand. I’m sure it will take forever to go through all the images!


A tribute to our friend Rob! 🙂 Froggy!





Back Country Montana


The Rocky Mountains Near Augusta Montana


Nilan Reservoir


Sweet Montana sunsets


I’m ppositive I have seen the gates to heaven and this is it. Near Augusta Montana

Welcome to California “Such a Lovely Place”. (California Desert)

When I think of California, My mind doesn’t drift off into some lovely desert scene of palm trees meeting a crystal blue ocean shoreline. usually it’s of sand and pigeons. Well, and The Loma Prieta quake AKA The quake of ’89.  That could be for several reasons, I was young when I moved there and we left rather quickly. Or well, some stories are left better in the mind of the writer.

What I do know is driving through the desert at night a hundred miles from anything, does very much become like the lyrics of an Eagles song. Minus the “Colitas” and well all the interesting things that occur in “Hotel California”. However, your mind will travel and the road will go on and on. It’s inevitable.  The very first thing I saw when arriving in Southern California ( Besides the border check) was the gas prices. There may have been a moment where my spleen jumped through a hula hoop and did the Twist, when I saw the sign….Really!? I have very suddenly, if not forcefully come to the realization of WHY the smart car was invented.

Because a hundred miles of desert and sand and nothing wasn't enough.

Because a hundred miles of desert and sand and nothing wasn’t enough.


And so the road went on and on, it had been since July since I had seen my sister who I was riding with at that moment and our conversation (as well as my exceedingly terrific knowledge of google directions reading *sarcasm*) carried us through to Lancaster, California. It was the day after Thanksgiving and the roads were surprisingly quiet and easily navigable, for those who were driving of course.
It should be known, that when I am with family or close friends in cars, I am the worlds WORST side seat driver. I come equip with passenger brake, gas ,  “oh shit bar” and short term GPS. As in, Turn here, you’re not going to park here?, Why are you so close to the middle or alternatively, why are you so close to the shoulder. If you ever want to take a trip with me, save yourself the headache, let me drive.

Being a small town girl, I guess there are things that are simple that still blow your mind, from time to time. Like the Dollar Tree has a freezer section. THAT really blew my mind. I mean what could be sold at the dollar tree that is perishable but still edible!? I know my store here in Great Falls is chock full of items you will probably never need, or if you do count it broken or gone in less then a week.



I’m discounting the desert far too much. We spent an afternoon in the downtown area of Lancaster called the Boulevard, a lovely street packed with little trendy shops and antique stores. And while I did not buy much, I did find many things at reasonable prices that I had considered purchasing and shipping home. But alas, I’m too lazy for all of that and passed by the items. I do wish my town could have a little place like the Boulevard, I believe I would spend much of my time getting lost among the trifles of yesteryear.






On our little stroll someone had suggested we eat at the Chinese place on The Boulevard, but we decided to pick up another relative and head over to another place. While the sushi was good (Except for the ones with roe, I hate roe) I believe I can speak for all 6 of us when I say at least each of us found something bad on their plate. YUCK!



Once in awhile, you try to find where you came from you search your soul, your memories and your heart for that place where you, the person you are now, stemmed from. I can’t say how many times I have done so. I rode through the warm California air, even in November it was in the 60’s at night and we drove past the places that had somehow been locked away in our memories. I’m not sure I never knew what being haunted by memories meant until that moment. Surrounded by stagnant air as the headlights focused on an empty lot that was once the home of a friend. To know that while we lived in our own despair she was living in a nightmare. I guess you never really know and when you do, you tuck those secrets away in to some secret spot, that even you forget about.  The moment passes, but you’ll never forget that air, that empty space and the sudden realization of it all coming back.

The next evening, My father and I drove the same old road, Joshua tree’s zipping by in the purple sunset. In distance the sand was whipping up and clouds began to boil over the mountains. Just one shot is all I wanted of the old church, another connection to a place within myself , a more real, physical place that very much aligned with the emotional.  My feet crunched down on the sand, I tip toed past scorpion holes and other desert worries , it takes moments to remember my footing, to become more graceful about watching my feet and I stand there before this place and stare at it like I am taking down an old foe.

Sometimes, travel is about the experience of the moment, but sometimes it’s bringing the experience to the moment.




All I wanted was a cactus {Montana- Arizona}

I’m not a morning person, so of course as the fates would deem it , the only flight I could find was at 7 am. You know the drill, be at the airport 1-2 hours early and then wait for a man/woman with rubber gloves to go through your current worldly possessions, only to realize a dime has wedged it’s way down into the deepest recess’s of your pocket, turn around do it again. Thank God I had grabbed a little caffeine (with an obligatory immodium) before the flight.

I had figured I’d best be on the ball, so I had checked in via the internet the night before my flight, where I was able to print out my ticket, along with a tree killing amount of ad’s, weather forecasts and games. The next morning I’m standing in line and I begin to feel inferior about my ticket, it’s folded and not near as classy as the ones printed out at the station, it looks like a child left to play in mud puddles after rolling in dirt, compared to all the other tickets. But it’s legit and after some ho-hum security stuff, I’m walking down the Jetway to my plane. AND, coincidentally my father who somehow ended up on the same flight as me on his way from Helena to LAX. Nothing like an early breakfast with your dad 30000 feet up, While the peaks it’s morning rays over the horizon.

I had a 3 hour layover in Seattle, the weather was…..Well. it was Seattle, I decided to step outside after my dad made his way to his connection. I needed air. There is only so much a person can take at 9AM and 20 screaming children, 5 angry passengers and 2 gossip queens speaking into their phones like it was a loudspeaker isn’t on that list. I made my way to the terminal doors and out onto the street. Ahhh Rain, hello! After a awhile I got caught up in a conversation with a airport personnel and the next thing I knew it was time to go in. The guy I was talking to walked with me as our conversation was pretty interesting and when I got to security I almost screamed. There were at least 100 people in that line. I was sooo going to miss my flight. My new found friend, however, had other plans and beckoned for me to follow him around the edge of the line to a sign that said premiere passengers. Alright, Aunt Tawny here we are he said with a wink, and asked if I could go in. The security guard did his thing and I was through security in 5 minutes! YES!!!

After about 2 hours in the sky I was treated to a wonderful sight. The Grand Canyon from the air. Now I have been to the Grand Canyon before and I have seen it’s splendor, but to see as you are descending from the sky, is magnificent, like the earth made a heavy sight and exposing her ribs and that moment was frozen. The plane descended into Phoenix and As always I was nervous, the pilot did an exceptionally sloppy job of landing to the point where the older lady next to me grabbed my hand with both of hers. And there you are caught in a moment that was somehow comforting and frightening and not in the least bit awkward, though it should have been.

I found myself stripping off layers as I crossed the Jetway into the terminal and down into the baggage area, 85 degrees and desert air got me before I ever hit the doors. I saw my sisters smiling face and that was it! ROAD TRIP! Since the flight ran out of food before me, I was famished, we bought up as much junk food as possible and hit the highway. All I expected out of the Arizona desert was a picture of me with a cactus, that’s it. I don’t think that was too much to ask being as there were only a billion of them lining the highway. Every rest area we stopped at seemed to be void of this Arizona icon. I found myself giving a mental “finger” to the ones that lined the highway later. Just one damn cactus close enough to the road where we can stop.Just one…….Nope, not going to happen!


The closest I could get to a cactus in Arizona….Across the rest area fence line…grrrr




All for a reason.

We are often told that everything happens for a reason, and while sometimes it is unclear as to why or what that reason is while it’s happening, it can become abundantly clear later.

For example; Spring of the year I had been looking forward to fund raising for a volunteer stay in Guatemala, where I would be able to teach and share a new skill with the indigenous people of a western region there. I had set my goal arrival date from October 21st-November 15 th of this year , if I had arrived in Guatemala on time, I  would have been volunteering the time of this weeks big quake, within that same region.

It’s been a VERY  intense month with my family, My son turned 16 and well, he turned 16, I think that’s enough said. Meanwhile, I learned that a family member has an illness which will require surgery and to that end my family is traveling to be with her during that time. My father lives in another “metro” area to the southwest of here and my sister is driving from El Paso to California. I decided to fly halfway and then ride with my sister the other half of the way. Last night I learned I will actually be flying with my dad to Seattle, so I will spend my morning with my dad, my afternoon/evening with my sister! Sounds good to me!


I am especially looking forward to the drive across the Sonoran and Mojave deserts. I’m one who is more for the trees and mountains and cold air, but there are times when even the desolate space becomes a curiosity.

I’m knee deep in training for a walk across the Pacific Northwest trail in July and maybe this respite from the cold Montana “almost” Winter season that replaces Autumn for us will be a good thing!






Where were you?

It’s hard not to get caught up in the emotion of a memory. Especially when you share that same moment with millions of people. As adults or even older teens, we can remember that day 11 years ago, without opening up a youtube window. We can say, “I was at so and so’s” or “I remember I was at work” and inevitably we all spent the next day or even more glued to our televisions as hour after hour new scenes filled our brains with terror, sadness and such a confusion that left us in a state of shock.
We watched as the towers collapsed, we heard the voice of a man on a plane yell “Let’s Roll” as the passengers took back the plane and faced their own mortality. Our hearts were filled as Hero’s were made, history was created and children cried for their parents who would never come home.

Here is a blog I wrote in 2008 (4 years ago) remembering the moment, as my memory of that day has not changed.


“It was dark in my room as I laid there and considered rolling out of bed and taking a shower. The basement bedroom kept me in sort of a perpetual sleep until I was motivated enough to go upstairs..This was not a motivated moment. 

  • I heard Rod make his way down the stairs, I closed my eyes and rolled over, pulling the blankets up to my chin. Rod sat on the bed. “Honey, you have to get up. They just flew a plane into the pentagon.” I sat up straight and looked at him. “No Way!” he nodded and a look of panic crossed his face. It hadn’t sunk in yet to the fullest and he headed out to work as I sat down on the sofa and watched the smoke pour from the pentagon building via ABC. It was then that they switched back to New York and then the plane cruising right through one of the towers.

    The images, were not yet real, how could something so terrible ever be real? I could not wrap my brain around, how such monstrosities could be played outside of a movie.
    My heart sunk, and the pit of my stomach lifted. Images pulled from some sort of hell, rolled before my eyes. My spine rigid and pin pricks upon my arms, I began to cry. What other emotion is appropriate?

    I couldn’t stand to sit alone in my house any longer, so I wandered over to my Best friend who lived next door. Her husband sat watching a fishing show on cable TV. “did you hear about the twin towers?” Yeah, he said, but I think it was the pentagon” ” Yeah, that was hit too, Both towers, the pentagon and a plane somewhere else.” I said, he turned the Tv to the local station and we all watched as “the world” came crashing down.

    Later, when the monotony of the images played in our minds, I went outside to smoke a cigarette. The air seemed thick, like everyone was breathing a little bit harder and worry clung to it, pulling all the sounds closer to the ground. What sounds that there were , which was not many. A silence had crept beneath the thick air. Shock has an awful way of traveling to the smallest cracks in the tiniest places and that is what this was, pure shock. I saw the people, they came forth from their homes looking to the sky, maybe for an answer, maybe for hope, whatever reason was answered by 2 jets speeding across the sky. Back and forth they went and the people watched like their steel bodies were the hands of god, protecting them in their hour of need, truly they were.

    And yet, though “the gods” graced our skies the silence still held even on to the blare of the jets always, under everything, was the silence. So we returned to our television sets, watching the images, craving more so that we might know more, we might know that our loved ones were ok, that our friends made it out and that a complete stranger was rescued. But we were met only by death and sorrow. Still we watched, television with out happy commercials, people speaking to each other only to break up the silence.

    But then little by little, hope emerged, slowly at first, they appeared as earthly angels, some in rags, some in suits, uniforms and laymen’s clothing and then hope became prevalent, they emerged from nowhere, carrying with them on their shoulders, hope, love, pride and determination. It would be these men and women who would bring us from the silence, who would again teach us to speak from their sorrows, and would teach us to sing from the tragedies.

    September 11th 2008 dawned much like September 11th 2001. The sky was a blue that would rival that of only the oceans, the people hurried about their days. But still the silence could be felt under the normal hustle bustle. Here and there, you could find reminders that we still live that day. Flags Half Mast and today 600 motorcyclists drove down the main thoroughfare to honor the memories of those who were lost.
    We were wounded that day, but like any scar that is ours to bare, we wear it with pride and with a somber bravery, that IF there is ever a next time it will be so much different.

    I hope that everyone took a moment to remember today. Much love to you my friends. “




1200 miles update, getting lost and more!

it has been an interesting last few weeks to say the least.

The first of my updates, was what I announced in my last post, but with some refreshing steps to making it a reality! . First the introduction on my trail mate/ Hiking partner Krista. Krista and I have known each other for about 7 years, she lives in a community about 116 miles from me, but we keep in touch via facebook. Krista and I are “Birthday twins” as in we share the same birthday, if you want to go by horoscopes that pretty much means we enjoy and dislike a lot of the same things. Ironically, while I have been considering a long distance plan of walking the “triple Crown’s (three of the longest trails in the USA) Pacific Crest trail, Krista’s long term goal is the appalachain trail. So, both of us are definitely in the same mind set. I’ll have a link to Krista’s blog up in the near future.

This last week I’ve spent trying on hiking shoes and packs, and while you’d think this a simple feat, I beg to differ. How many different shoes can there be!? And why can’t I find one I like? I’m closer then I was in finding a pair, but still! Backpacks are a whole ‘nother ball game. I’ve tried on womens and mens and universal and ironically so far I find I like the Kelty Scheels classic the most. I guess I’ll keep looking though.
Tomorrow, I pick up a food dehydrator, I intend on making a lot of the meals we plan on taking with us, by dehydrating them so they are light weight. I have a feeling this will take some practice, so I hope I’ll have it down in a year!

Well, Hiking across the Pacific Northwest, isn’t the only thing happening in my life right now, I’m also waiting on prep for Guatemala, October isn’t looking like when I’m going but WHEN I go is not the big deal so long as I do go. I’m still chugging away at donations and funding for the trip including doing extra work to add my own money to the cause.

My husband and I planned a nice evening at a really awesome venue in southern Montana this weekend and while the show ended up amazing, the trip there was a little, erm, uhhh, time consuming. We ended up getting lost in southern Montana. Which is funny because Montana’s state motto is “GET LOST!!…………In Montana” alrighty, check! done and done! LOL! The venue we went to is called Rockin’ the Rivers. and the night we went (it’s a three day event) Candlebox, Sick Puppies and Edward Kowalczyk (of the band Live) played, and the weather behaved appropriately as in at the finish of the song lightning crashes, A thunderstorm began. None the less it was a great break from the 90-100 degree temps we have been having and a beautiful area to watch some great musicians!

On a side note: If you would like to be a sponsor or a trail angel (picking us up from the trail, taking us to town, letting us sleep at your home or just be an encouraging factor) for our hike next year let us know! Sponsors will receive dedicated posts with links and will be featured here and on our Facebook page!

Also, see the fundraising tab if you would like to help me on my own personal journey to volunteer in Guatemala!