Archive for the ‘about me’ Category

Happy Birthday Tyler

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

Of course, I have so many hikes to blog about. A three week trip to Yellowstone NP and¬†Grand Teton NP, a summit of Mt. St. Helens, and many more…but there never seems to be the time.


But today, I only wish my son a Happy 16th Birthday. Last night, just before midnight, the two of us sat together and talked about how big this felt. (to me) I cried a bit. He’s so good. He nods in understanding and tolerates with such sweetness when his mom gets sappy. We laughed about that. He has such a big heart. I feel so fortunate to have gotten to share in his journey. Such a cliche…but the world IS a better place with Tyler in it.

Happy Birthday Tyler.

Exposure and Adventure

Sunday, July 6th, 2008

Tyler and I are up early this morning. We are on our way adventuring again…back from Redwood National Park (which I shall post about soon) and onto John Day Fossil Beds National Monument for a few days of camping and hiking. I asked Tyler to pick a picture to go with this post from our Redwood NP trip and he picked one that he took of me.


When I asked why this picture? Tyler said that people should see all the hard work I’ve been doing. I was going to make him pick a different picture because this one feels to “out there” if you know what I mean.

Here’s where things feel exposed and quite vulnerable….Tyler is referring to the fact that I have lost about 130 pounds. It has taken years and lots of sweat (and I have about 4 pounds to go before I reach my goal) but I’m almost there. (Then I get another tattoo.) ūüôā

Tyler is an awesome young man…always encouraging and celebrating my accomplishments.

Now…off to John Day NM!¬†


Saturday, June 21st, 2008

So here’s a list of things I’m presently celebrating:

1. School’s out for summer

2. I received my Master’s on May 3rd.

3. I completed the requirements for my recertification.

4. Tyler finished his first year of high school.

5. I’m finally caught up posting hikes on the blog.

6. In 6 hours, Tyler and I are going camping/hiking in Redwood NP for a week.

7. Alice Smith’s CD: For Lovers, Dreamers¬†& Me

15 Years Ago…

Friday, November 30th, 2007

I’m taking just a moment (and I really only have a moment) to wish my son Tyler a very Happy Birthday. I’ve set up a projector in our apartment and hooked up the Xbox 360 to it (talk about big screen), rented some games, bought a cake, and cleared the living room out for 6 teenage boys to take over.


I am, of course, secretly remembering his birth so long ago, reminiscing in my head all the years since, and concluding….damn, my son is awesome.

On Our Way Again

Sunday, August 12th, 2007

I had hoped to post all of our Alaska adventure before leaving again…but I didn’t make it. Tyler and I are off in the morning to Mount Rainier National Park for four days of camping and hiking. So, upon return…I shall continue posting about the Alaska trip (I still have so much more) AND post about this trip. Woohoo!

Saving the Salmon

Thursday, August 9th, 2007

July 25, 2007 – Juneau, Alaska

After dinner, we decided to walk along the beach and came to a creek with a large number of eagles and other birds around. Walking up to the creek, it turns out, the salmon runs had begun. Locals had told us the town goes a little haywire when the salmon starts running. For some of the local population, it is their livelihood. The others, it seems, just try to get out of the way. Juneau also receives 800,000 tourists from (mostly) cruise ships that dock in their harbor. And yes, they want salmon too.

Salmon run

The whole concept of the salmon run gets to me. Male and female fish swimming against all odds (fisherman, bears, birds, etc.) to reproduce. Then they die.

Tyler thinks if humans had to reproduce that way there wouldn’t be any children.¬†“Mom, why do they even do it? Why not just swim in the ocean and enjoy life?”

I tried to explain the idea of purpose.¬†“This is what salmon are supposed to do. They don’t think the way you and I do. They are meant to¬†swim and reproduce this way.”

Tyler says, “It shouldn’t be that hard.”

Somewhere inside, something stirs. I sit, watching all of the activity around me. Fascinated¬†(and weirdly, honored) by what I am witnessing. Suddenly Tyler is taking off his shoes and socks. “Mom, those two are stuck! They’re going to die if I don’t help them.” He rolls up his pants, grabs a stick, walks into the water and shoves the salmon into deeper water. He’s thrilled that he’s saved two salmon.

Tyler and salmon   

I’m secretly touched. He proudly talks about his “salmon saving” for quite awhile. In the midst of his blabbering (and Tyler does blab), I hear him say, “I know they will die anyway, but maybe I have helped them reach their purpose.”

Now, sitting in a hotel, writing in my journal, I cry. Tears of joy. Tears of happiness.

Maybe some parents are confident in their relationship with their children. Maybe some parents are positive that their children are okay. Maybe some parents never question whether they are a good mom or dad. Not me. Things¬†have been hard for Tyler and I. That’s a fact. If I didn’t acknowledge that, I’d be an idiot. Most of the time, through all of the hardness, we’ve had a great relationship. In the last few years, some things changed. I was married and then divorced. Tyler blamed me. He was angry. He sided with my ex. For a long time, we struggled to connect. I began to question whether or not we could heal.

I also started to worry about the kind of man I wanted Tyler to be. Was he going to grow up to be a good man? If we couldn’t find our way back, how could I help him be that man? Slowly, over time, we began to reconnect. We began to heal. We talked again, we laughed again, we went to the movies, took trips, and had birthday parties where I tried to pretend I was cool (which I’m not).

And here today I find a nugget. Is Tyler going to¬†grow up to be a¬†good man?¬†Well…if he helps them reach their purpose.

Exploring and the Labyrinth

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

July 25, 2007

Juneau, Alaska

Today has been a day of contrasts. I set out to explore Juneau. Luckily for me, that began as a straight-forward task. Egan Drive is the main highway that runs through town. (Although calling it a highway is a major stretch.) It heads approximately forty miles north from downtown and then dead-ends. Pretty straight-forward. I had forty miles of scenery to explore.

Drive to Echo Cove

At about mile 23 we came upon the Shrine of St. Therese, a Catholic chapel built in 1939. We had heard this was a not-to-miss spot and it was easy to see why. The small, cobblestone chapel was built on an island connected to the mainland by a 400-foot causeway. The island was completed secluded and the chapel was invisible until you walked across the causeway and came upon it. It was beautiful, whether or not you are Catholic.

But my favorite part? There was a prayer labyrinth! Suddenly the explorations of the day were no longer straight-forward. Things were curvy. If I walked the labyrinth, what problem would I seek to settle? What question can I gnaw at? What struggle am I willing to wrestle with?


Is there a God? Does Jesus exist? How do you make yourself believe something? Is saying it enough?

The truth is, I’m not a believer. I used to be. Some days, I want to be.¬†Most days, if I search myself, I can drum up fear. I want to believe on the off chance that I might live in hell for the rest of eternity. Then, if I search deeper, I find…it’s not there. The other truth…my biggest fear…I don’t want to live forever. No matter where it is.

I had a therapist once who said if you repeat something to yourself enough you will believe it. Should I wake up every morning and tell myself I believe in Jesus? Why?

The labyrinth didn’t provide any answers for me. So I continue to explore.

Waiting for the whales

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

The strong, bold bluffs of the interior passages now give way to gentler elevations along the Pacific seaboard, but the country gradually rises from the coast until but a few miles back the same old cloud-capped, snow-covered peaks recur, and as we stand well out to sea they look as abrupt as ever. – Frederick Schwatka “The Inside Passage” 1886

humpback whale

July 21, 2007

I’m on the ferry now. Traveling through the inside passage, with a couple hundred other people on a boat, I feel odd. I can’t quite figure out what it is.

July 22, 2007

Yesterday, I saw a whale. My first whale. It was a humpback whale…breaching¬†repeatedly as if welcoming me to it’s home. It was so close I could feel the splash on my face. People around me were snapping pictures, but I couldn’t. I was too stunned, too mesmerized. I know it sounds silly.

There were more whales yesterday. Over and over, they would reveal themselves by the spray from their blowhole visible from a mile away. I was in heaven.

So as I sit here, perched at the ready, waiting for the whales…my thoughts wonder. I am in my element. This is what I wanted my life to be like. I was going to be a marine biologist and live on boat, working with whales or dolphins. But I’m not. I became pregnant. I had a baby by myself¬†instead. I became a teacher so I could be a mom. Am I okay with it? Do I have regrets?

For a moment, I’m afraid of the answer. I search inside, crawling through the dark recesses. I turn over the ugly spots.¬†I sit with that odd, weird feeling. It doesn’t take as long as I anticipate. I thought it was a harder question. I am okay. I have no regrets.¬†

Hearing Tyler next to me, ” Mom, I have to go to the bathroom, but if I leave I might miss another whale.” I laugh. We’ve both refused to eat or leave our perch. We’re afraid to miss anything.¬†This is¬†my element. I’m a mom. Sharing moment after moment with her son, while the whales dance by.



Sunday, August 5th, 2007

In his novel, “Looking for Alaska”, John Green writes of “seeking The Great Perhaps”. Sitting on an airplane, flying home, I find myself seeking words to describe my travels…and those are the ones that seem most fitting. Maybe the very nature of travel lends itself to the search…the exploration, the opportunity for new experiences, the unfolding of worlds never before seen. Yet there are those other “Great Perhaps” that come along with travel – or at least my travel – those inside explorations, however dangerous, also seeking an unfolding of something new, of something to take back. I’d like to think I am always in search of The Great Perhaps…but travel sets a ripe stage.

I am home now. I am tired and worn from my explorations. I am breaking from chickadventure routine in the coming posts…posting not only hike information but various other travel experiences from my journals (and pictures) that I kept during the trip. Although, it’ll take me some time to get things organized…and I need some sleep.

Tyler and I in Denali NP

Tyler and I in Denali National Park.

alaska awaits

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

tyler and i are on our way to alaska. we’ll be back in about three weeks. i’ll post hiking adventures when i return.