Tuesday, August 17, 2010

oh wow...

I've been thinking- I've next to abandoned this blog this summer... then I just looked at it and realized the summer is almost over and I haven't posted since spring. I'm adjusting to a new type of life that I've never really experienced. I go to the same office every day and I haven't gotten on a plane in months. I have a garden... a real honest to goodness garden that I can pull tomatoes and basil and squash out of the garden to make dinner. I have traded my digital life for a life of experiences. I have gone on hikes without a single camera or cell phone to record the trip... just moments of memories.

I'm trying to figure out how to reconnect with the friends I finally found when I moved here. Though it's a bit hard to connect and at times I feel abandoned I also realize I just have more time to notice the alone time now that I'm not bouncing around the country from plane to hotel to the next random location. I'm starting to settle in and cook dinner and my daily conversation starts with what I pull from the garden to eat instead of what random restaurant I found in what random town. I go to farmer's markets on the weekend and traipse through the mountains. I've even taken to solo hiking on the days where those in my life are too busy to head out. The experience of hiking for hours and hours through the wilderness on my own (with safety contingencies in place) and seeing only 5 people in over 4 hours was refreshing. So between the becoming domesticated/nesting and adjusting to a new job it's been a crazy summer. The other night I was told I looked content- and if that means that my facebook is updated less, or my blog gets regularly ignored, or my emails have gotten more intermittent and shorter... well I guess for now I'll take that tradeoff as I figure out how to be digitally engaged and still revel in the times to simply experience.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Another Change...

So It's another change in life and yet again if this blog continues it will morph with me... I am changing from the traveling life I have known for around 8 years to working in the same office most days and traveling within the state that just happens to be a relatively new state to me- Colorado.

I have taken on another new job, made a new life, and in reality I'm going to be much more tied to the Rockies than the Sierras. But in the midst of all this change I have had the opportunity to question (yet again)... who am I? what motivates me? and when it comes down to it... what is most important to me?

In the midst of moving through the last year plus where I spent about half my time in Colorado and half the time wandering around the country... well I have been adamant that I try harder to make friends, create contacts, and truly TRY to make a home. And I think that I really have managed to make this place a home. I have friends to call upon to go hiking, I have started to learn cooking- without a recipe, and I have someone to love me at the end of the day.

I planted an urban garden (with help). I actually planted a garden that requires daily watering to survive. Just the thought of that still blows my mind. Want to know something crazier? The seeds have sprouted. I have a garden with beets, chard, broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrots and lettuce that are all popping up through the soil in mostly organized rows.

So my life has changed to something more settled and a job that I am hoping is core to who I am. I am eager for this next phase and as I move forward I will see if I revitalize this blog as I settle into sharing my experiences in a more consistent manner. Regardless this is yet another adventure that I am eager to start and fascinated in where I will end up.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Long delay- travel summary

So it's been awhile... a month or so and a million memories in between and a couple thousand of air miles too... So I would like to mention that in my Buffalo WY adventures I did manage (with a guide and 4WD) to find some petrified trees. The first attempt did not go so well (as I alluded to in my way earlier post).

So here's a true Wyoming experience... I headed out after class to see if I could find the petrified trees (the first time) in my rented not quite 4WD little crossover. The first turn off (following the little sign to public land) ended up being state land and not the BLM land I was looking for. But as a bonus I got to see a dead deer in the parking lot mostly deconstructed but just a few remnants left. Ah- respect for public land is always lovely. Then I headed down the road a bit more to the correct turnoff. So I turned off the "highway" taking a left and heading down the gravel road with snow (and tire tracks in the snow). Note to self... just because there are tire tracks doesn't mean your vehicle will be happy. So I was heading in the tracks when I realized the vehicle was sinking in the snow a bit... and it was deeper than anticipated. So... being that I was by myself, an hour from anywhere, and and so I decided a retreat was in order. As I backed down the road attempting to stick to my tracks apparently a moment of hesitation or blinking or something and suddenly oops- I'm off the road and in the snow... um yeah like a couple feet of snow instead of the few inches it looked like. So I check- jacket, hat, gloves, food, water, cell phone- yup all the essentials.

So I looked- could I drive out- nope. Stuck. Anyone know I'm here- well I told the outdoor rec planner but she won't notice till tomorrow. Could I call a tow truck- yeah but how long will it take? The next best thing... walk to the farm and act like a girl. Yes, I have trained in Southern California on how to be a total girl when you do not want to do heavy work like change a tire (I can... I just don't always want to). So I went to the farm, met the dog, met the guy who lives there and did my best SoCal girl... I am sooooo sorry to put you out is there anyway you can help me get my car out of the snow? I'm from SoCal and messed up driving in the snow . And like most macho men who meet a silly girl- he was happy to help.

So we rode over to the rental in his (of course) diesel 4wd american truck. It ended up requiring digging a bit of snow out from the rear of the rig, wrapping a chain from truck to rental axle, and him driving the truck forward while I drove the rental in reverse onto the road. Then I drove the american manual truck down to the road while he backed the rental down to the road and out of all the snow. By the way I can totally still drive a manual truck in 4wd down a road forward. I think the thing that put it over the top for me was the shotgun (for hunting) sitting in the middle of the truck bench seat during this whole escapade. So less than 30 minutes from stuck to heading back down the road to get dinner. Needless to say this was not a story mentioned to the students the next day.

But I did mention later to the rec planner that the road was a bit impassible and she expressed disbelief. Sooooo Friday morning- take 2! We took a gov rig (she wanted to check on the restrooms and facilities) so it was an american 4WD truck and we headed out to the site again. Apparently I was only a half a mile away and could have just parked the car and walked up to the petrified trees. So off again we went and as we approached the snowy area she noted- jeepers I've never seen the road like this before and let's just say the truck didn't make it quite as far as I did and when we were backing out of the snow I felt redeemed. Now with a 4wd truck you can make it out with just a bit of sliding back and forth. So we hiked up seeing as it was a lovely morning and we'd driven all the way out to the site.

So it was a lovely hike- a fascinating natural spectacle to see trees that were turned into rock. I had my camera and got to take some pictures as the sun rose into the sky with wide open hills, snow sparkling, and sun glinting on the grasslands. So the mission was met and the trees were found and all in all the adventure ended well so I hurried my little self off and went back to Sheridan to hop on the little prop plane and head home to Denver to unpack to pack to unpack to pack.

After Buffalo I ventured home to SoCal with a new tag-along who got to meet some family and friends in a short vacation trip. It was good to take the person who I've gotten to know his life here and show him where I came from. It was good to be back in the land of palm trees, navy ships, beaches, and farmer's markets for 4 days. Hey did you know there are red walnuts- they really do taste the same but man the color is amazing. Oh and no one else can replace the wonders of a California dried apricot and no one else does it quite as well.

After San Diego it was a brief work day and then up to Copper Mountain for a detached weekend with a bit of snow shoeing, a bit of cupcake celebration with a good friend (who turned 7), puzzles lazing through the afternoon, and chilling in the jacuzzi.

A brief time in the office and then off to Summerlin (a suburb of Las Vegas). A week of work, some hiking, some moments just trying to be and all in all spending a couple of weeks ducking, covering, and disengaging with the greater internet and focusing on the minimal of facebook. This past weekend was a day trip to Echo Lake and lots and lots of resting means I'm now re-engaging :-) It's a cyclical thing and I'm happy to be back. Not much work travel scheduled right now but I'll learn more tomorrow.

Take care all and watch out for the depth of the snow :-)

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Occidental Hotel in Buffalo WY

I am sitting amidst the greatest blessing tonight- I am in an honest
to goodness small town America watching a bluegrass gathering
strumming out songs with members varried- a gal with slow food
stickers on her guitar case, an old man on the fiddle, a teenage boy
on a guitar, ranchers and wilderness advocates. There is a darling old
couple dancing- he is bent from age but they shuffle in rhytm near the
pool table.

Hey forget just watching- I danced with the gentleman. Note he must be
80 or 90 but I do remember my 2 step decently. While I am writing to
observe life I also take a moment or 25 to simply revel in
experiencing this wonderous experience surrounded by such vibrant life
(and animal heads mounted on the wall). From the tentative seeming
first time singer to the people who seem to melt into the surroundings
with ease. It's like watching a river flow down through the rocks-
moving, alive, and seeming a million parts while all one organic

So later I will update you on the crazy happenings of the last couple
of nights including snow, a shotgun, a truck, snow, and an attempt to
see a petrified tree... but tonight started with watching a film
festival with some of the field office folks for a local wilderness
society... Big powder telemarking and environmental messages...

Damn I needed this night and the fire queen was right- this town
delivers and is very worth truly experiencing...

Monday, January 11, 2010


So when the major airlines do not fly into an airport it's a hint that I'm in for a different sort of travel. First off- Great Lakes Airline does not appear to go to many places in the Great Lakes but they sure do travel to random places in Wyoming.

Today I boarded a plane with propellers. First note... when flying Great Lakes Airlines you can only have one carry-on. Second note... there is only seat on either side of the aisle which is a bad sign if you like big planes. It was a smooth flight though on the noisy nausea inducing side. We landed in Sheridan Wyoming after a bit. The landing was fine though a bit bouncier than I'm used to.

So Sheridan is officially the smallest airport I've ever been to. Now I know I usually travel to major cities but I have flown into airports with 2 or 4 gates. Nope... this one has only one gate. So when you walk through the doors from the tarmac you are already on the unsecure side. I went to go get my rental car and there were 2 counters with one gal each. When she was giving directions to get the car the instructions startled me... So when you walk outside they are parked there. I mean the rental cars are where people pick-up/drop-off. I am so used to TSA shooing people away from any terminals that I couldn't fathom what I'm being told. Then when I was asking for directions to the freeway I simply said... oh I can just follow the signs to the freeway. She said- oh there are no signs just follow this street...

Then as I was leaving the airport and heading through to get to the town it was illuminated how different of a world I was in... I had to stop for a flock of wild turkeys to cross the road. They cruised without worry or bother or hurry plunking across the road. The weather outside was nice in the 40s but there is still a good deal of snow on the roads.

I drove a half hour south to Buffalo WY where I will be spending this week. The town seems cool with a neat little historic downtown that I will have to investigate one night this week. The office and people seem nice. The restaurants are limited and seem to be centered on steak houses or fast food. I think I'll try the steakhouse tomorrow tonight I just need to find something to munch on and tomorrow will be another day to explore the world and possibly the local forest that this darling town of 3,900 people at 4,600 ft elevation are nestled up against as a gateway towards Yellowstone should be.