Posts Tagged ‘Hiking’

By request: My trunk of amazement

April 19, 2010

A couple months ago I had blog requests from two of my biggest fans (not including my mom). One asked for a photo blog and the other requested a “fun and not-so-serious” blog.

Stumped, I did neither. Since I haven’t written here in over a month, I thought I’d honor both requests and share my favorite personal mystery.

This is an expose on what my hiking partner recently tabbed my “trunk of amazement.” The junk in my truck suggests I may run away shortly or I like to be prepared. Since most of this gear has been riding around in my Subaru for years, I am probably not going to r-u-nn-o-f-t.

Items in the Trunk of Amazement:

~ (3) Crazy Creek chairs – must use for next roller derby!
~ Hiking poles – Amanda and I use weekly
~ Two pairs of hiking boots, Keens and Birkenstocks
~ Snow scraper – great to have for our couple of snows a year
~ Yoga mat – for Tuesday night class
~ A lightweight backpacker’s pillow
~ Northface Tadpole tent – birthday present from Dad
~ An Outback oven – bakes awesome food on single burner
~ Backpacker cookware and utensils – you never know
~ Tall snow gators
~ Hand pump water filter
~ Quick-dry towel
~ Sleeping bag pad – but no sleeping bag
~ Gloves, ear warmer and scarf – year round
~ Manual Nikon camera, lenses, film and a tripod – have not pushed film for years
~ Hatchet – used many a camping trip
~ Toiletries: comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, sample-size face soap and lotion, sunscreen
~ Frisbee golf discs – at least two drivers and a putter
~ Softball glove and softball – miss playing on beer league
~ Cop size, black Maglite flashlight – yes, I will smack you with it before you rob me
~ (2) Umbrellas – one came with a free Acura Legend (thanks Roger)
~ Slip-on water shoes with good rubber bottoms
~ Fire shelter and hard hat – in case I drive upon a wildfire?
~ (2) Whistles and (2) ponchos
~ Extra long jumper cables – insert joke about Indian wedding
~ Portland Thomas guide and Oregon rec map (plus a Nav upfront and still get lost)
~ Tool box with several knives, sweetgrass braid end, wine opener, fishing bobber, matches
~ Collapsible 2-gallon water jug
~ Sandler President’s Club CDs and binder – both often in house and front seat
~ Two fanny packs, a water bottle and first aid kit – kit contains all types of Band-Aids, moleskin, Benadryl, OTC painkillers, Swiss Army knife and more
~ At least 5 reusable shopping bags, small to Costco gianormous size
~ Plastic bags for muddy shoes – note to self, add a few more
~ Scraps of garbage, wrappers, file folders from work – good fire starter
~ 10-year-old Spearmint Altoids – still taste okay


Sissors and glue: The impact of our stories

January 5, 2010

Ever met someone you feel you were meant to know, or somehow know already? Possibly a person from a forgotten dream. That happened today when I met Dave Jarecki owner of Breakerboy Communications.

Not only did I immediately feel connected to Dave, he turned out to be someone I’d like to know for a long time. Our discussion lingers.

He seemed to have answers that were intended for me. He also had two killer name ideas.

Yet what’s resounding is our short discussion about stories.

Dave and I both suppose that stories are what separate and unify people. My story makes me different and connects me to the world. Dave and I talked briefly about why this is so important to writers and business owners.

Knowing your story is if utmost importance. I have had time to revive my passions during my eight months of unemployment. I’ve thought about “my story” from the viewpoint of a jobseeker, sales person, networker and wife. I’ve explored ideas, positive and negative, about who I am and what I want. I reconnected with family I haven’t seen for years at my grandma’s funeral.

I still don’t know my story completely because some chapters are buried and some are unwritten. I know that what’s important to me looms over the Columbia River, smiles as we pass and sleeps in my bed. My husband (family), climbing mountains and meeting people are the basis of my story. I love to hear a trickling creek and new story.

When we meet, and meet again, I want to hear a tale of your life. My husband would tell you that I’ll talk with someone in the checkout line 20 minutes.

If you don’t know your story or are not comfortable with the story you know, then you’ll probably never share with me. Maybe you need help discovering your story because it lives in dusty corners of your mind.

That’s why I want to help people – and businesses – find their voices and tell their stories. I thrive on it. It’s a treasure hunt.

This is what drew me to Dave. His work is about “cracking the code of your story.” His personal story of digging (strangely absent from his website) explains why the business is named Breakerboy.

I aspire to do work like Dave’s – call it brand development or storytelling. I’m on the path. When we meet, I hope you are ready and willing to tell me your story.

Thanks Dave. (Where the hell do I know you from?)

Stressed? How about a tromp in the woods?

December 2, 2009
Mt. Hamilton Nov. view

Fall brilliance in Columbia Gorge

Scanning the Internet for a mid-week hike, I wonder if some of Portland’s thousand of unemployed are also capitalizing on misfortune by getting outdoors. A tromp through the woods on a Wednesday is a great way to forget about this tough time for a while.

It’s ironic that my happiness depends on communing with nature often. As a teenager, I resented my parents for dragging me to camp in Glacier Park nearly every weekend. I resented the no electronics rule didn’t want to miss happenings in my dinky hometown (population 750). Camping improved when I brought friends, but it still felt forced.

In college I suffered from ongoing discontent that I couldn’t explain. I carried a loneliness that burrowed deeper than missing my family. Beer could not fill this empty pit. Eventually, I realized I was longing for the outdoors. I jumped at the chance to hunt with my brother, learn about fishing bait from dad or drive half the night to rendezvous with the family for a rafting trip.

My first journalism job at a weekly paper in St. Maries, Idaho was a great blessing.

My suspicion was confirmed. The supplement I needed was a strong dose of the mountains. The lonely pang was replaced by exhilaration for adventures in the Idaho panhandle. Plus, the job required covering outdoors topics and catching the area splendor on film. I initiated the habit of traveling with hiking, fishing and swimming gear at all times. My good friend still traverses this glorious heaven water and mountains for photos like this

Oregon’s diverse landscape is an equally magnificent heaven and the allure to many who move here. Yet I let work, getting married, buying a house, etc. hinder my explorations. My misfortune has provided time to climb mountains and renew my spirit. Regardless of your employment status, it is easy to find groups, activities and networks to help you explore safely. I hope these links help you get outdoors – praise the creation, find peace and brainstorm new ideas.

Whether you walk, bike, hike, ski, kayak or push a stroller, there is a Portland Meetup Group for you –

The Mazamas are locally famous for climbing and their site offers a list of varying groups –

REI ( not only sells gear, but teaches you how to use it and offers presentations by people who travel and push the limits.

Lastly, an interesting source of all types of activities for adults and families is the weekly event calendar from Beyond 50s Radio – I’m not beyond 50 and I love this weekly email.