And It’s Wednesday

24 02 2010

I know, I know.  I know what you’re thinking.

It’s Wednesday already, and there has been no post from Her Side yet this week.  Well, Her Side is floundering.  Buried under a mountain of work.  Barely having a moment to remember to feed the cat in between finishing work and crashing for a few hours of sleep and then rising to keep working.  Trying desperately to get through the next few days when things should get a lot easier.

And boom.  There it is.  That inevitable thing that happens when you don’t have time to live your life because you’re so busy living your life: you try to skip days.  I swore I would stop doing that, and am ashamed that I’ve gotten myself into that habit again.  I’ve been doing it since the holidays. 

It happened in 2008 as well (most of 2008, in fact, which passed me by like a freight train without brakes), which is why, in 2009, I remembered how much I love hiking and camping and made an effort to make time for it again.  Which is how I realized that neither activity has to be a giant production (despite all of my precautions and warnings).  Which is why I decided to start writing about it so other people could stop living for the weekend, or the end of this crazy project, or whatever is keeping them (you) from living your life the way they (you) want to live it.  So you could take my advice, get yourself in the habit, and take the time to smell the roses.  Or whatever else you find on the trail.

You can do it.  Try something new.  Or old, it doesn’t matter.  Stop putting off your life until you have more time to live it.  Do it now.  Don’t let life pass you by.

And I’ll be back on Friday and try really hard not to miss another day of posting.  Thanks for sticking around!

© Her Side of the Mountain, 2010.

Photo Friday

19 02 2010

I have the mid-winter blahs.  It hits every February.  I miss the sun.  The real sun, the hot one, not the cold crisp one like is shining at the moment.  So today, I’m giving you a photo from a very very hot day in the desert.  Below is a shot from the hike to Delicate Arch at Arches National Park in Moab, UT. 

Happy Friday, everyone!

© Her Side of the Mountain, 2010.

Pinching Dollars

18 02 2010

Check out today’s article on Go Girl, in which I give you some ideas to keep costs down while you travel the open road. 

Click here to read it.

Announcing Contest Winner!

16 02 2010

Well we didn’t get ten entries, but the entries we got were so good I decided to go ahead and award a prize anyway.

In order to be sufficiently fair, I gave the entries to a neutral third party — a fellow hiker/camper who has no idea who any of the entrants are — and asked him to pick the winner.

In the end, Neutral Guy was so impressed he picked not one, but two, insisting that it was a tie.  So, without further ado…drumroll, please…the winners are:

1. Jennifer Floyd, for her tale of triumphing over adversity, conquering the Boundary Waters, and not clocking her father with her oar.  Neutral Guy said, “I like the ‘I f-ing hate this/ok, keep paddling/now I remember this fondly’ tone of this story.”

2. CityGirlWhoRarelyCamps, for her tale of being awed by the night sky while at summer camp as a child.  Neutral Guy said that “there is not much better than being out at night somewhere where the sky lights everything up.”

Congratulations to both of you!  Select your photo, let me know which one you’ve selected, and I will send along your prize!

Thanks to everyone who participated.  I loved hearing your stories, all of them, and they got the juices flowing on some ideas I have of my own.

You can read all of the entries here.

© Her Side of the Mountain, 2010.

Photo Friday

12 02 2010

Today is the last day to enter Her Side’s contest! Winner will be announced next week.

And now, on this Friday before Valentine’s Day, I offer you something Grand:

Grand Canyon

© Her Side of the Mountain, 2010.


10 02 2010

Let’s all watch someone take this crazy hike. El Caminito del Rey (or the “King’s Pathway”) is a walkway along the walls of a gorge in El Chorro, near Álora in Málaga, Spain. Yes, I’m afraid of heights (ironic, isn’t it?), so I won’t be going here anytime soon…


I’m As Free As a Bird Now…

8 02 2010

“Look, I won’t go far, okay?  If the apocalypse comes, beep me.”

— Buffy, BtVS, “Never Kill a Boy on the First Date”

Last summer, I spent a week at a dude ranch in Montana, riding horses, shooting rifles, panning for gold, hiking, incredible wildlife viewing, and generally hanging out.  Montana is a great place to hang out.  That’s because, out on the ranches, even those that are “close to town” by their standards are far away by the standards of us city dwellers.  The ranch where I stayed had a driveway that was over a mile long between the main road and the first ranch buildings (the corral), and that’s considered short.

I mention all of this because, while I was on the ranch for a week, I had no access to email or my cell.  None.  There was simply no signal out there.  You could get a sort of sketchy signal on the main road, so if I was truly desperate, technically I could have walked out there.  Believe me, I considered it.

I’m hyper-connected.  I am checking email constantly, texting, making phone calls, on Facebook, etc.  I’m also one of those people who gets a LOT of incoming communication.  I go a day without checking messages, and I have hundreds to weed through (both work and personal), and that’s mighty overwhelming.

Last week, we talked a little bit about bringing your cell along when you solo hike.  I mentioned the big caveat, which is that it won’t always work out there in the wild (or on a Montana ranch), but I urged you to bring it along anyhow.  I’ve noticed, however, that there is a common reaction to this suggestion: But I’m going out into the wilderness!  Isn’t bringing a cell phone defeating the purpose?

No.  Not at all.  And here’s why:

Your phone has an off button.

Simple, I know, but oh-so-important.  The phone is a safety precaution.  (And, if you’re like me, a way to snap a photo and upload it for everyone’s viewing pleasure, whether at the moment or at a later time.)  I don’t check my email on hikes.  I don’t make calls.  I tend to silence my phone or turn it off entirely.  I have it just in case, but I take the opportunity to completely ignore it, and my hyper-connected life.

It’s good to disconnect every so often.  You can do it at home, too — try going 24 hours without answering the phone, checking your email, or turning on the television.  I call it “going hermit.”  It’s unbelievably serene (if you can find the 24 hours to do it).  All those voices and nagging wonders about what’s going on slowly quiet down, so that even when you get back to the bustle you feel more in control and less rushed.

Hiking and camping is the perfect opportunity to disconnect.  Bring the phone.  Make sure it’s charged.  And then turn it off until you need it.  You won’t be sorry.