The Mountains are Calling…

…and I must go.

It’s an appropriate time to quote John Muir. In just a few days, my husband and I will get on a plane and fly to San Francisco, then drive down to Yosemite National Park and Emigrant Wilderness Area for an adventure. We will spend 2 weeks camping, hiking, backpacking, exploring, and getting incredibly dirty and smelly.  I am greatly looking forward to this trip. I need this trip. It’s been a long time since I’ve fully immersed myself in nature, and this will be the longest time we’ve spent “off the grid” together yet. After months of devouring hiker blogs online, I’m finally going on my own hiking trip! It will be a far cry from a 5-month long thru-hike, but you’ve gotta start somewhere.

My backpack holds: one bear canister full of snacks and dehydrated meals, one quick-drying t-shirt, one sports bra and pair of underwear, two pairs of socks and sock liners, one pair of long underwear, one nano-puff jacket, one set of trekking poles, a headlamp, travel toothbrush, two empty water bottles, a water filter, rain jacket and pants, a sleeping bag and sleeping pad, tent, pocket knife, hat and gloves, a solar charger, a small journal, and a paperback copy of Outlander (because who doesn’t love reading trashy novels in the wilderness?). Kurt’s backpack is similar, plus or minus a few odds & ends we split up between the two of us (he’s reading The Martian). Other than the clothes on our backs, that’s all that we’ll have for 2 weeks.

There may be bears, fires, and plague. We may have to improvise our plans at times, or deal with rough weather. We may want to strangle each other. We may give up after 3 days and get a hotel room in Reno. Who knows?! I can’t wait to find out.





I Heart Vegas

It can be hard to come back from vacation. Initially, it’s nice–the long plane ride is over with, I get to kiss my husband and hug my dog and cats and sleep in my own bed. But after a few days, the vacation hangover kicks in. Regular life is boring! You want to be back in vacation life, away from overflowing inboxes, dirty dishes, and piles of laundry. Vacation is a fantasy where none of those things exist, and no vacation is more pure fantasy than Las Vegas.

Sure I go out to bars in normal non-Vegas life, but not nearly as often or as late as I used to. Most Friday nights, a bottle of red on the couch with some Netflix cued up is my number one jam. In Vegas life, however, I’d look at my phone and suddenly realize it was past 4 am (6 am Chicago time),  I had a comped beer and a pile of chips sitting in front of me on the roulette table, and I barely felt tired. In Vegas life, I can fit the following into a 48-hour period: drink from a margarita tower during dinner, swap my jeans for my sister’s skirt in a casino bathroom so she could zip line several stories above Fremont Street,  lose track of time in the Flamingo pit, nearly barf up a Johnny Rocket’s BLT, hang out at the sprawling MGM sports book and cash in our aunt’s winning ticket for OSU taking the National Championship, drink a Bloody Mary in the shower, drink champagne and eat chocolate-covered strawberries while 5 girls sharing one hotel bathroom get ready for a big night out, eat dinner at a restaurant called Yolo’s, see Britney Spears in concert and watch her walk a man on a leash across stage and sing along to every single song amongst women dressed in Catholic school girl skirts or wearing plush snakes around their necks, go to a bar and ride a mechanical bull (each girl taking turns swapping out the same pair of bike shorts under our fancy going-out skirts and dresses), gamble alongside a bachelor party, see a woman sitting on a curb having a hissy fit crying “I HATE being sober!”, order a 4 am slice of pepperoni pizza and stuff it into my face while boarding the elevator as a stranger smiles at me, get one last boozy brunch with rounds of Bloody Marys and hilarious stories from the night before, hit the Britney store to drop any winnings on themed merchandise like panties that say “Work Bitch” on the butt, give goodbye hugs to the great group of girls I spent the whole weekend with, cab to the airport and finally, slump into a seat on the airplane and get some sleep.

That’s a pretty epic weekend, and pretty typical Vegas. Sorry Netflix, but you’re paling in comparison at the moment. But at least I’m wearing a t-shirt that says “Britney, bitch” while I watch.