Monday, November 3, 2014

Katahdin to the Kennebec

Come to the woods, for here is rest. There is no repose like that of the green deep woods. Here grow the wallflower and the violet. The squirrel will come and sit upon your knee, the logcock will wake you in the morning. Sleep in forgetfulness of all ill. Of all the upness accessible to mortals, there is no upness comparable to the mountains. 
- John Muir

This recent journey to Maine was bittersweet and beautiful.  Breathtaking and brutal.

I hiked from Mount Katahdin to the Kennebec River, about 150 miles south.  The first few days were absolutely perfect hiking weather days.  Then it rained pretty consistently the rest of the time, creating some pretty hazardous water crossings.  Streams and brooks that would normally be ankle deep or passable by rock hopping were now waist deep or higher with body slamming currents.  The Trail itself was transformed into a meandering waterway with waterfalls in the steep sections and pools of standing water in the level areas.  Everything became wet.

The temperature never dipped below freezing while I was out there, but it never really warmed up once the rain came.  Cold hands and cold feet through and through.

I enjoy the challenges that come with backpacking, and the rewards of the natural world continue to be awe-inspiring.  It was rejuvenating to be back out there even for a short time. 

Come to the woods, for here is rest.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Blood and Rain

The blood trickles down my leg, mixes with the rain, and seeps into my dirty sock.

I pause and reflect for a moment. This is the 100 Mile Wilderness.

This is Maine. 

This is the AT. 

Challenging but fulfilling.

Beautiful but brutal. 

Blood from the fall but rain to wash it away. 


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

ROMO 2014

Another season at Rocky Mountain National Park.

I cannot believe how quickly it went by!  May through September felt like five days rather than five months.  We'll see what the next five months have in store for us.

Thanks to everyone for all the fun and adventure that we shared.  And to Aaron and Ben who were present during my two separate concussions.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Soukkala Life circa 1950

The past few months I've been in the process of transferring all of our family's old home movies to digital format.  It's been such a trip seeing all of this old footage of special occasions and daily life.  I'm so thankful (so, so thankful) for all the footage my parents took just of our daily life.  I find it absolutely fascinating and precious.

The other night I was reviewing some older footage (from my grandparents) while listening to music, and a particular piece of music came on that just seemed to fit so perfectly with what I was watching.  I had to share my experience with you guys.  The following is a snippet of Soukkala (my mom's family) life circa 1950 in Warrenton, Oregon.  There is so much more awesome footage, but I just added the music to this particular clip and left all the original editing alone.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

White Russians & Golden Aspens

Really had a great time with my Mom & Dad last week.

Monday night bowling.
Dark beer.
Onion rings.
Coffee.
Golden aspens.
Frigid alpine water.
Red wine.
Coffee.
Bugling elk.
Pink sunsets.
Kind Coffee breakfast.
Trail Ridge Road.
Alpine tundra.
Sprinting moose.
Coffee.
Waterfalls.
Ice cream.
White Russians while looking for moose.
Movie night with Chinese food.

I'd call it an awesome trip.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sky Pond with the Friddles












"What?!" I shout over the howling wind.
"I said, this is the most adventurous thing I've ever done!" Micah repeats as he clings to the edge of Timberline Falls, wind and rain pounding our faces.  Sarah's poncho flaps uncontrollably as she descends the precarious cliff, step by careful step.
"Awesome!"  I shout back.

Music to my ears.

I'm so happy my sister (Sarah) and brother-in-law (Micah) were able to make it out to Colorado for a few days of adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park.  It was so much fun hanging out with them.  I'm glad they were able experience a slice of the Rocky Mountains.

By the time we made it back to the trailhead, we were all soaked to the bone.  It was definitely time for a hot meal and a cold brew.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Flattop

The stars are the only light as I pull into the Bear Lake parking lot.
I click on my headlamp.
Hiking past the eerily quiet black water of Bear Lake, I begin my ascent to Flattop Mountain.
The rocks and dirt and twigs feel welcome beneath my boots.
A faint orange light begins to appear through the trees on the horizon.
The stars begin to fade away.
I stop for coffee at treeline just as the orange fireball bursts over the horizon.
The squirks of a thousand pikas fight to be heard over the howling wind.
I climb higher into the alpine tundra.
A lone bull elk watches me from afar and trots down the mountainside.
The wind tries to push me over as I approach the top.
There is no other sound but the howling in my ears.
Alone on Flattop with the howling wind.
I pause.
And join in the howling before retreating back down the mountain.