Mother Earth: Give a Damn


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imageI like this quote because it reminds me to not give up on what I care about. If I’m not going to make a difference, then who will? If you care about the earth then act like it.




Afternoon check-in


Obsessing over: Ted talks and learning from other creative intelligent people that have figured out how to get across important messages.

Working on: Developing a plan and setting a self deadline to get my shop open for business

Thinking about: Calling Gortex because my Arc’teryx Active Shell jacket smells horrible, and even though I’m not the cleanest person in the world, I don’t think I smell that bad. I’ve only had it for 4 months.

Drinking: Seattle Audubon Shade Grown Coffee! I volunteered at the gift shop last Wednesday and regained my love for some good (bird safe) coffee.



The 10 essentials for (mostly) day hikes

Thinking about going hiking this weekend?

The 10 essentials, according to me

1.Water, water is #1 always.

I learned this the hard way while hiking in Sedona. The hike turned out to be 8 miles when I thought it was only going to be 5. I only had 3/4 of a bottle. Don’t do this, always be prepared and bring more than you think you will need, or a filter for longer treks.

2.Good shoes

If you don’t have good shoes you will be more likely to get some pretty gnarly blisters, or even sprain your ankle. I love my Danner 6″ Cloud Cap GTX boots. They are gortex so good in the winter and summer.  Mid rise over my ankles and have never given me trouble. I found them at half price almost 2 years ago and they are the best I’ve had.

3.The right partner

If you’re going on a long hike/overnight hike, you want to make sure you are going with people you trust. When I go on long hikes sometimes I get a bit hangry (hungry/angry) and I want someone there that isn’t going to judge me or leave me behind. I also like knowing the person I’m with isn’t going to give up and will know what to do in case of emergency. On a shorter hike it’s cool to go with people you might not know as well, or even someone new. Hikes provide a great opportunity for conversation and learning lots about someone. Maybe you’ll even make a new friend. If you’re going to hike by yourself, make sure you let someone know where you are and when you’ll be back. Make sure you know it’s a safe area so you don’t put yourself in danger. Hiking alone is an entirely different experience and you really get the chance to learn about yourself and spend some quiet time in nature.

4. A rain jacket 

A rain jacket and extra layers are always good to have. Whether it’s raining, cold or really sunny, an extra layer provides protection from the elements, and you have an opportunity to look pretty sweet.

5. A banana

Banana’s provide a needed boost for me on the way down. I usually get tired after summiting or hiking for 5+ miles and a snack can help you when you truly need it.

6. A positive mental attitude

Hiking is a very mental sport along with the physical, and if you tell yourself you are going to give up, that’s exactly what you will do. Keep going even when it is hard because the rewards from pushing yourself are greater than anything you could imagine in my experience.

7. Hiking poles

Hiking poles are good for lots of different reasons. Knee and ankle support on rugged terrain, they provide extra energy forward for going uphills, they can be used for a form of protection and could be turned into a splint or crutch if someone hurts themselves and still has awhile to walk.

8. A good sense of where you’re going and when the sun will go down

You don’t want to get lost, pretty obvious. You also don’t want to be out on a trail when the sun goes down if that isn’t what you planned for. Knowing when the sun will go down and how long the round trip will take can also prevent you from turning around too early and missing out completing your route.

9. A camera 

I love taking pictures of things I see along the way and love looking back over my different hikes.

10. What’s something you always bring on your hikes with you?


The 10 essentials, according to the WTA (you should have these things too)

  1. Map –
  2. Compass 
  3. Water and a Way to Purify It 
  4. Extra Food
  5. Rain Gear and Extra Clothing
  6. Firestarter and Matches
  7. First Aid Kit
  8. Knife or Multi-Purpose Tool
  9. Flashlight and extra batteries
  10. Sun screen and sun glasses

And a few other items you should consider:  insect repellent, whistle, watch,  emergency blanket, mirror (for signaling), duct tape (great for repairing anything), gloves, extra socks, and an orange vest (during hunting season).

Long Way: From the Arizona desert to the temperate Washington rainforest

This post is dedicated to, or inspired by my favorite singer/songwriter Antje Duvekot. I’ve seen her both in Michigan and Washington and she is so brilliant, she’s a beautiful singer and also pretty funny. Check her out if she’s playing near you

I drove across the country 4 times between 2011 and 2013 for different seasonal jobs, this trip being the second and taking about 7 days. I listened to the song Long Way each trip, and cried every damn time.  I learned that it is truly a long way, to (Michigan) and back. This particular trip I drove from Phoenix, AZ up Pacific Highway 1 to Orcas Island, Wa

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“In the Arizona desert, the sky goes on forever, you’ve never seen a thing as grand”P1010314 P1010315

My first stop along the way was in Fullerton, CA. I met up with my friend Jenny who I had met previously on a European adventure. This girl is so unique, hilarious and another inspiring beautiful musician. She even took me to Disney Land, well, we stood in front of the signs. Good enough for me to count it on the old list.P1010339

“Out in California, we touched the other ocean, and I still have that jar of sand”

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Elephant Seals are the babes of the beaches without a doubt. They were so funny to watch and would move every 3 or 4 minutes with all of their effort and then collapse sprawled out, just catching some rays.P1010513 

At my original hostel in San Louis Obispo, I met this lady, Sara. She was from Switzerland and traveling all over the country by bus or train and had asked to hitch a ride with me up the coast. It was the best thing that could’ve happened for both of us, by bus she would’ve missed all of the coast ride and I wouldn’t have had anyone to talk to or makes stops with through the 90 mile stretch of Big Sur views and photo opportunities.


We stopped for lunch in Monterey at a place called Crystal Fish. Lawd have mercy, it was the best sushi I have ever had. I always tell Tom we have to go to Monterey, CA because there is word of an otter sanctuary, but secretly I just want to frequent this restaurant and die from a seafood overdose.


Back by myself, had to resort to self timers on top of rocks.


San Francisco was sunny for a few minutes, then the fog took over and the photos I have of the bridge don’t really exist.


So here is a picture of another bridge in California. A sun dial of sorts, makes for a dramatic stormy photo.


The Oregon Sea Lion Caves. A little family owned cave on the coast where you take an elevator down to a dark room with a view of these wild sea lions. They come in on their own and aren’t bothered by onlookers hidden up the rocks. It was a really cool unique experience and the owners were friendly. I left my car lights on and they were kind enough to have someone jump the battery for me out in the rain.

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Multnomah Falls in the rain continuing my Pacific Northwest wet welcome.


My first ferry experience through the San Juans.

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And it’s a long way to Washington and back 

Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans? … A morning check-in

Happy Mardi Gras reader!

new orleans with beads

Listening to: Louis Armstrong, The Definitive Collection. Setting the mood.

Reminiscing about: My trip to New Orleans in 2011 where I did tree planting to help restore Bald Cypress forests, natural buffers, outside of the Levees in the bayou. I also participated in Camp Restore and worked on repairing a woman’s home that had been destroyed in Hurricane Katrina  who had then been taken advantage of by a contractor who did a terrible job. Many people were left with no choice, but to have poor repair jobs and were in need again just a few years later.

We were lucky enough to go the same week as Mardi Gras. The old lady we were working with, Miss Collins, invited us to the parades with her under one condition, we had to get there at 5 am so we could get the perfect seats. This was before I discovered coffee, man I wish I had discovered coffee by that point. We got there and it was still dark, but Miss Collins had her portable grill and was cooking us up a shrimp Jambalaya. Jambalaya is a Louisiana Creole dish of Spanish and French influence originating from the Caribbean Islands. The spice got me through the day. The parades started and we became covered in beads, no flashing necessary. That is a rumor and although we saw a lot of topless women, we were still able to get beads. If you weren’t careful or aware, you would get smacked in the face with a pile of them. Advice: Watch out, but hold onto those lovely beads and feel like a queen. 

Now onto the Fat Tuesday part. Cafe du Monde is a must go. Warm Beignets covered in powdered sugar are dreamy. That is what it means for me to miss New Orleans. They apparently have amazing coffee too, I wouldn’t know. ^^(See earlier where I haven’t yet realized I was a non-coffee drinking loser)

mardi gras

sugar feind This may have been the best day of my life up to that point, and I may have gotten carried away with the leftover powdered sugar.

images The architecture in New Orleans is stunning. I think the fond memories I have of New Orleans is what made me love the architecture in France so much.

“Many historic structures have been threatened with demolition. During Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita, several historic New Orleans neighborhoods were flooded, and numerous historic buildings were severely damaged. However, there is a general notion by both rebuilders and new developers to preserve the architectural integrity of the city.

Creole Townhouses are perhaps the most iconic pieces of architecture in the city of New Orleans, comprising a large portion of the French Quarter and the neighboring Faubourg Marigny. Creole Townhouses were built after the Great New Orleans Fire (1788) until the mid-19th century. The previous wooden buildings were replaced with structures with courtyards, thick walls, arcades, and wrought iron balconies.”

architecture design

Eating: Nothing currently, but thinking about…

  • Beignets.
  • The fact that I ate alligator while I was down there, and I still dont know how I feel about it.
  • Catfish Po-boys. Go to Cafe Reconcile, they provide workforce development for people trying to escape poverty, prejudice and fear.
  • Beignets.

Drinking: Water. In New Orleans you can bring your beverage of choice throughout the streets. Get a little crazy and grab a “Hurricane” (too soon?) on Bourbon Street.

All joking aside, hurricane season begins in June and goes through November. I hope for the best for New Orleans, it is a city full of so much culture and history. If you haven’t done so, watch the film Beasts of the Southern Wild . A beautiful portrayal of life beyond the Levees.