Canyon of Compromise: A Parable

Canyon of Compromise

Two backpackers met for coffee to discuss their next backcountry excursion. One backpacker was a father. A blue backpack rested by his dusty hiking boots. The other backpacker was a daughter. Her red backpack was bulging with gear.

Father laid his map on the table between their mugs and directed their route to the top of the mountain. Daughter rolled her eyes and pointed to an alternate route.

Father said, “No. This one.”

Daughter exclaimed, “No! This way!” Continue reading

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Life: Who’s Got the Map?

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We had been paddling all day. I sat in the front of the canoe, slick with sweat from exerting myself beneath the Florida sun. I was hot and tired, and where is a lady to use the bathroom while paddling in a canoe for hours around the thousand island region of Everglades National Park? I could hear my friend’s paddle splash behind me. She possessed the map and compass, humming as we navigated through the salty water. Continue reading

The Key to Thanksgiving Happiness

The Giving Tree

Once there was a tree.

Well, multiple trees.

The trees around my childhood home were alive in a sense of mysticism and imagination.

They each displayed a personality and a sense of responsibility. Continue reading

When the Mountain is in Control

Mount Washington 4

The mountain is small, comparatively speaking, but it’s weather patterns rival those of the harshest in the world making it one of the United States’ most dangerous mountains.

I was aware of this and many other facts about Mount Washington in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  I was aware that in 1934, the weather station built atop the mountain captured the highest wind velocity ever recorded. An astounding 231 mph. I knew that there have been nearly 150 deaths recorded since 1849 and about 25 reported injuries on the mountain each year. I was aware of all of these statistics when my friend and I pulled into the Appalachian Mountain Club Lodge parking lot late that autumn.  Continue reading

Seasons of Change

Seasons of Change

My hands were red and raw.

I had chosen to discard the heavy work gloves an hour ago. The autumn day was brisk, but the sun was full and heavy on our shoulders as we worked. I looked back across the freshly raked field. Continue reading

The Lost Trail of Self-Doubt

The Lost Trail of Self-Doubt

You are hiking. With each step, your boots crunch over a layer of freshly fallen leaves strewn about the forest. The leaves are orange, yellow, and red, and they shine in the sunlight all around you. The autumn air is brisk and clean. Continue reading

Are You Listening?

Young Man2

There is one solitary canoe upon the lake’s open waters. There is one solitary young man within that canoe upon the lake’s open waters. He paddles alone steadily cutting through the water.

Why is he alone?  Continue reading

What is Wilderness Therapy? And Does it Work?

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Let me paint you a picture of wilderness therapy. We are sitting in the forest along a mountain trail. The sun is high in the sky, casting golden beams through the green foliage. Within one of those beams sits a young man of 16 years. He sits by himself atop his backpack, boots placed firmly on the ground, elbows on his knees, and his gaze pours out upon the horizon. We walk up and take a seat in the dry dirt beside him.

“Are you alright?” Continue reading

Travel Blunders Got You Down?

Travel Blunders3

The night before, I felt as though I was suffocating beneath a thick blanket of Northern Australian atmosphere. Sweat pooled without conviction beneath my corpse-still body, and moisture was so thick in my lungs, I thought black mold might be the ultimate cause of my suffocation. Continue reading

Australia Will Kill You: and other life lessons

Australia Will Kill You

Ever since I was very young I wanted to visit Australia. I’m not sure why, out of all the places in the world I became fascinated with this destination, though I suspect it had quite a bit to do with the wildlife. I love animals. I especially love wild, exotic, and strange animals. Australia is filled with wild, exotic, and strange animals. Continue reading