Tuesday, December 6, 2011


The healing process never ceases to unveil a person's character. For better or worse. My recovery with Jared has been exhausting. It's damn near taken everything out of me at times. I don't regret falling for Jared. He uncovered parts of my soul that I never knew I had. Scars I carried over from my previous relationship seemed to fade. He taught me that I was not broken, and not damaged goods, despite my beliefs. He made me feel beautiful again. He challenged me. He took the time to care. How could I not have fallen?

I wasn't supposed to fall though. He told me not too. He warned me.

About 6 months ago though, I fessed up, and I told him that I cared a lot for him. The feelings were not returned. Did I really not expect that? We made it work, and even tried it again off and on occasionally. This was not helping the healing process at all though. I was still in the game, almost hoping that he would realize what was right in front of him. A woman who cares, respects, and supports him unconditionally. He never realized it. Still living together, we split into two separate bedrooms about 2 months ago, and stopped sleeping together. I stood by the quote "Never apologize for showing feelings. When you do so, you apologize for the truth." Regardless, I feel into a deep state of depression trying to figure out where I went wrong. I gave it my all. I mean I really gave it my all. Why didn't he want me? Why was I not good enough? His response to my depression was always "I told you not to fall for me". After weeks of sulking, I pulled myself back up. My previous post "Winter" was my announcement to myself that I was back on top. I didn't do everything wrong. This was his loss. At least we were able to save a friendship out of this mess.

Things were going well. I got myself back on track. Even applied for a job in Colorado. My friends rallied with support, peppering me with motivation. I even devoted more time to learning about my Dharma Code---And then I slipped. I got jealous.

I have known for months now, that I didn't have his heart or mind. We were living side by side, and he was mentally with someone else. After his last trip home he came home different. Distant. I could slowly feel the sadness coming back, but I continued to suppress it, desperate to distract myself so I wouldn't have to admit my bigger fear: that not only was I not enough, someone could emotionally give him more than I could.

He leaves again in a week, and his excitement to go meet up with his friends is through the roof. His excitement to be with her is through the roof. I broke. I lost it. The thought of him with her killed me. It stole every last ounce of my happiness. He called me out, and uncomfortably I told him that this was a topic of conversation that I was not comfortable sharing with him, it was just too personal. He pried, because that's what friends do. I was honest and told me that his excitement for her killed me because I would have done anything for him to still have that sense of excitement towards me. I remember his excitement well. It was electric. By pouring out my heart to him and telling him that I was just sad because I see how happy she makes him, I put him in a no win response situation. He couldn't say "Nothing will happen" because it would be an empty lie, but he couldn't say "Yes, I want to be with her", because he would dig the dagger even deeper into my now lonely and scared soul.

It is time for him to go home. Or go somewhere else. I can't live side by side with him anymore. It just hurts.

It hurts so bad.

So that was the talk we had last night. I approached the conversation that we both needed to work together so he could create an exit strategy, and in the mean time, I was going to stay with friends until his flight out next Monday. All of the words and energy that I courageously built up, seemed to warp in mid air. I felt the room get tighter as I felt his soul prepare for war. He turned.

He resorted to anger and defeat. I became the bad guy. The one who would have given everything.--became the bad guy. I want him to leave my home because he is miserable and is depressed because his heart is somewhere else. As always, I want the best for him, so of course, I want him to go. How was this getting turned on me?

 I got accused of kicking him out with no resources. His argument was that he didn't have the money, or the reliable car to get him and Marley somewhere new. But he does. If he doesn't feel that the car is reliable, I would drive him to Colorado, or Kansas City for gods sake--and he knows that. I have done it before. I pitch the idea and he tells me that he no longer needs my help, because "I am no longer there for him."

He quit. He gave up.

His ability to just give up without a fight made me enraged. I don't understand how people won't fight for their own happiness. I questioned him about what he meant when he said that I was no longer there for him, and he told me that our friendship is no longer there, and that when he leaves, there will be no reason to text or keep the friendship going. I was furious. He called moving out to Oregon a mistake and went on about how he had no friends closer than 1,000 miles. Weird--cause I thought there was one two feet from him, but I guess that was no longer good enough. I never gave up on Jared. I still care for him, but he gave up on himself. Attempting to pull him out of his lump-like state, I challenged him, and pushed him, trying every last resort to get him to fight for his own happiness. He told me that there was no happiness, and that "I was trying to find something positive, and some silver-lining out of a shitty situation when there isn't one to be found, and to keep looking would only make me naive."

Naive for caring? Naive for trying to make the best of every day? I'm the bad guy for trying to help him pursue his happiness and fight for the good days? If that's the reason that our "non-relationship, relationship" and friendship died, then I can find peace in that I suppose. I wasn't a good friend because I pushed him to find his energy again and wanted him to be happy....okay.


I can do this.

"True happiness means forging a strong spirit that is undefeated, no matter how trying our circumstances."- Daisaku Ikeda

Monday, November 7, 2011


Hello Again, Creativity. I've missed you too.

It got very dark there for awhile didn't it? Ah but the winter is near. 
The brisk air snaps your cheeks awake and warms them with their blushing.
Your eyes seem a bit whiter these days, the red is finally fading.
Your inner-sensuality is back I hear. Good for you.
Inspiration is everywhere again.
Your eagerness to create is expanding, igniting, erupting.
You are beautiful again.

::welcome back::

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


 Fuck the status quo.
Own your own happiness.
If you wanna cigarette, smoke one. If you want to dance mid meeting, do it.
Nothing is stopping you from being who you are, and who you are meant to be. 
You are only limited when you start reading into what others want you to be.
Everyone deserves a break.
There is no shame on taking a timeout.
 Treat yourself. 
If your weakness is a daily tea. Drink every damn drop.
Stop adding up the expense of this guilty pleasure. 
If this is the one thing in the morning you can get down on, then isn't that worth more?
 Sleep in.
Lay in bed reading with your partner. 
You don't need to talk.
Just lie there with them and your book.
It's amazing how your souls will talk to each other.
"What is your process of growth?
The physical body obviously develops from childhood, 
but if you reflect on your life you will also see that you have grown in understanding, 
in intelligence, 
in accepting the world around you.
You have grown in the use of your senses.
Your body of knowledge to this point includes all that you have grown into, 
whether or not you have consciously entered a particular spiritual path."
Enjoy your spiritual path.
Enjoy your self.

Friday, July 8, 2011

It's all coming together.

"Never be afraid to pack up and leave. Don't get so set in your ways that you can't find the means or the reasons to get away. The status quo can always be changed."

This past week I hit the road. Oregon to Missouri--Missouri to Oregon. 30 hours each way. Best friend as my co-pilot, the Wiz Kalifa CD playing on repeat, sun roof open, camera out. It was a perfect week.

As we traveled across through the states and cities, I began to ask myself in every town "can I see myself living here?".  There were cities such as Boise, where I was like "yea, I could totally do this", and cities such as Dinosaur, Colorado or Gothenburg, Nebraska where I wanted to scream "Oh hell no." But there was one place this trip that caught me off guard, and I actually felt that not only could I see myself living there, but man--I wanted to live there. Pack up, move out, start over. 

I have discovered Boulder, Colorado.

The atmosphere.
The obscene amount of bikes, and kayaks strapped to the tops of Subarus.
The camping.
The life.
The energy.
The excitement to be active.

So now that I am back here in the "Dirty", I feel anxious, confused, and excited for something new. Our fiscal year just ended and I should be organizing and planning for next year, but I can't seem to motivate myself. My job no longer stimulates me. In fact, it stresses me out. I no longer work for the love of my alma mater, I work for the love of the money. I work to pay off debt. Please don't misunderstand--I love who I work with, and I believe that this institution has a lot of marvelous room for growth, but I think I am simply outgrowing it. As I told my friend Adrienne,  I want to be in an atmosphere and workplace where I can challenge myself and be challenged without feeling like I am day dreaming. Right now, I am having a hard time motivating myself for this new year ahead because I feel like I am constantly brainstorming and day dreaming because I don't feel confident that our best practices are being followed anymore.

I had an "ah-ha" moment while walking around the wonderful city of Boulder:
I love fundraising.
I don't belong in Monmouth anymore
Just because I work for Higher Ed now, doesn't mean I always have to. 
I could be an AGD at a museum, or a theater, or a grassroots org.
It's time I start looking around.
It's time to start again in a new city, or state for that matter.

And, as the gears were turning in my head, I began to get excited again. Excited about work, excited about philanthropy, excited about being excited.

I need to remind myself that there is no shame in leaving. I am leaving because I need more in my life. I need something new. I am not leaving on foul terms, I am leaving in order to grow. This isn't a deal where I one day walk into my job and say I quit. I most likely have another year here, but if another opportunity presents itself, I don't want to turn my shoulder to it, like I have this past year.

Monmouth, you have been very good to me, and I love you, but I think it's time to start seeing other people.

"Change and growth take place when a person has risked himself and dares to become involved with experimenting with his own life"

Monday, June 27, 2011

Inspire Me

Yesterday I escaped. To the Museum.

In 2005, the Portland Art Museum opened the Jubitz Center for Modern and Contemporary Art, and yesterday, I fell in love. Below are some exhibits and paintings that inspired me. All for different reasons, and all on different mediums. Enjoy.

The writing that reads on this piece is quoted from Carlito's Way (A classic 1993 Al Pacino and Sean Penn film) and is as follows:

Sorry, boys, all the stitches in the world can’t sew me together again... 
Lay down. Lay down. 
Gonna stretch me out in Fernandez Funeral Home on 109th street... 
Always knew I’d make a stop there, but a lot later than a whole gang of people thought. 
Last of the Mo-Rican’s. 
Well, maybe not the last. 

Gail’s gonna be a good mom. 
New, improved Carlito Brigante. 
Hope she uses the money to get out. No room in this city for big hearts like hers... 

Sorry, baby, I tried the best I could. 
Can’t come with me on this trip, though... 
Gettin’ the shakes now. Last call for drinks. 
Bar’s closin’ down. Sun’s out. 
Where we goin’ for breakfast? Don’t wanna go far... 
Rough night. 
Tired, baby... Tired...

Thursday, June 2, 2011


What is your passion? What do you live for? What are your goals?

These past few days I have been really struggling. I asked my friend what his goals were and he locked up and ended the conversation all together. I couldn't understand what the hell I had done wrong. To me the question "what are your goals?" is both exciting and beautiful. It is a question that I am always eager to answer. Unable to wrap my head around his reaction, I figured that I had just caught him off guard, so me being me, with little or no boundaries, I readdressed the same question the next day. Even more mad and irritated by the question, he ended the conversation once again.

His reaction turned me off. It made me sad for him. It also made me question whether or not I was able to share my goals and dreams with him. The idea of not being able to talk and day dream in any kind of relationship, whether it be with a stranger on the streets, a close friend, a partner, or a parent, makes my anxiety skyrocket.

His hesitation to the question made my stomach churn simply because it is the very same question that I base my actions and spirit off of. I had to address the situation one final time. I had to know if I now suddenly  needed to guard myself and use my "filter" with him (a task that seemed daunting because never had I once used my filter with him). I then learned that his goals were something very personal to him, and he told me that he was uncomfortable sharing them with me because 'we were not at that "level" of sharing yet'. (this thought was completely beyond me.) He finished in turn by telling me that he never wants me to feel the need to filter my dreams and goals to him, because there will never be any judgment on his account. I will admit right now though, that I don't know if I will ever be able to be completely unfiltered again to him, because I now know that he is holding back.

A little panicked, and a little pissed off, I apologized. It dawned on me as I sat there on my own couch with him (with a look on my face that I am sure only conveyed confusion and repulsion) that he was the first person who had never answered my favorite question.

He taught me something about myself today. Despite the fact that he is an incredible friend who I still plan on spending time with, I learned that for my mental and energetic health, I need to invest my time in people who are excited to share their stories, and their hopes, and their goals. I need to feel their energy and in turn feel them feed off of my energy. If the energy is one sided, a true friendship cannot be established.

Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive... and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Start over.
Begin Again.
"Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little coarse, and you may get your coat soiled and torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice? Up again; you shall never be so afraid of a tumble."
Day dream.

This weekend I bought a car. I bought a car knowing that someday I would be living out of it. I bought a car to escape. I bought a new car that is as unstoppable as me.

Not everyone understands why I want to do this so badly. Then again, not everyone respects my lifestyle. Now when I say lifestyle, you have to understand that I am talking about living my life through energy, and adventure. Though I wish I could break away from the office job, I understand that my salary pays my way for adventure. I am very fortunate in that regard. 

But I want more.
I want the highway.
I want the red rock of Utah. 
I want the simplicity of Montana.
I want the brew of the mid-west.
I want the love of New Jersey.
I want to sleep under the stars.
I want to speed my way though the back country.
I want to enjoy the simplicity of living on the road. 

I am not going to feed my soul by sitting behind this very desk.

I will feed my soul through coffee gatherings. surrounding myself with people with like minded ideals. brainstorms. day-dreams. energy. culture. giving. creating. going.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Do It To It

This weekend while climbing I learned the beauty of "hand jamming". Hand jamming is when you use your hand to gain purchase in a crack by twisting, squeezing or spreading the palm, pulling your thumb down, making a fist, stacking both hands, etc. in order to continue your vertical ascent. It's essentially shoving your hand in a crack and rolling your thumb, in turn creating a grip to hold your entire body weight. Your security lies in the strength of your thumbs and palms.

As one of the tests of this weekend, I had to hand jam my way up a crack the width of three of my fingers. The task seemed daunting, and damn near impossible.
Yea, follow the arrows. 

I treat every climb as a puzzle, or a problem, eager to be solved. Maybe that's the "fixer" in me. I can't walk away without solving the problem. And for this climb, I had to get up to the top, no doubt about it. I just had to mentally figure out which way I was going to tackle it. So I geared up and began.
While going though the easy stretch as you see above, I was not only getting my morale up, but was also getting my mind spinning, preparing for the challenge ahead. The balance of this game was familiar and comfortable.
Before I knew it, the challenge was in full force. It was paralyzing. My body ached, and my hands bled as I jammed my hands into place, rolling my thumbs and praying that they could hold all 140 lbs of me, meanwhile smearing my toes against the face of the rock creating a shelf of support. Literally inching my body through the crux.
Though persistence and the cheers from my friends, I was able to turn my adrenaline onto overdrive and drop all thoughts and just go balls-to-the-wall. In fact, I think I even turned around and said "Shit just got real." to my friends below. And I was off. I was fully invested, and there was no going back. The puzzle, the game, it had to be carried out. Sure enough, with enough "elvis legs", laughing, and grunting, I got myself to a small shelf that I could grab onto, allowing me to power through towards the top.
And sure enough. I made it to the top where I was washed over with the greatest feeling of accomplishment. Rarely do I ever sit back and say "damn, I am proud of myself". But as I sat there, trying to catch my breath, looking over Smith Rock State Park, that was EXACTLY what I was saying to myself.

I couldn't help but chuckle at lifes metaphor while I was sitting up there catching my breath. Daily, we all invest in our puzzles. We work our way though the mazes and figure out how we are going to get though what seems impossible.We invest everything we have and are left relying on trust. Blind trust. With enough support, drive, and excitement we can find the beauty in the game and own it.

Own it.
Do it to it.
Rock it.

Make lifes puzzle your bitch and always remember to smile.
You would be amazed at what you can overcome.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Incident

New apartment, new decorations, new ideas....New troubles. After I moved into my new 2 bedroom apartment and got all settled in, there was still one big project left to conquer. The second bedroom. It was so empty, so clean, so perfect. Ideas for what to do with the extra room ranged from poker room, to giant fort castle, but in the end I settled for a perfectly organized gear room. I now know why men crave "man rooms" and "man caves"--cause they're awesome. And I needed one.

My vision:
So picture this, a completely organized gear room. I would mount my skis on the wall, along side my bikes, and then have shelving and racks to organize my backpacking gear/climbing gear/hiking gear, and it would be so all of my adventure toys were at my fingertips, and almost displayed in an artsy fashion. I could throw a smaller futon or couch in the room, and best part----collage the ceiling with pages/pictures from adventure magazines, and expeditions almost as a bold statement, reminding myself to never stop exploring. In my head, this looked perfect.

Problem Number One: Confidence
The next day, I went to REI and Storables and got everything I was going to need for this new project of mine. When I got home, I mounted up my ski rack with no problems. Easy sailin', looked great. The confidence was rockin. Something you need to know, which most likely will come as no surprise, but I have always taken pride in the fact that I live by a 'I don't need a man type of mentality', and as I jumped head first into the new project of mounting the bike racks to my wall, I eventually quickly realized that I had taken off more than I could chew.

Take One: The beginning
Yes, unfortunately there are multiple "takes" for this project. After putting up the ski mounts, I was feeling super tool savvy and busted out my stud finder and was measuring out all my 16" gaps in between studs, and marking where they hit, lining my bikes up with it and getting ready for the drilling stage.

[Side note. I have never drilled alone. But I figured that I was smart enough to figure it out. Which I was--go me. BUT, it didn't take long for me to screw this process up. Other side note here: I was home doing this all on my lunch hour, which was at 4 pm because I was covering Kyrstens call center shift. Time was with out a question a prominent component of this project.]

And so the drilling began. Hit a stud. I was doin' it! And then the screws started to strip. Nooo, no no no no. So I slowed it down, and jumped to the other screw. Made it about an 1/2" in and it too began to strip. Not caring, I took a hammer to it and tried it that way. Eh. Kinda worked. But here is the one of the 8,432 dilemmas of this project--there are two screws that go into the studs, and then two screws that are hanging out in the land of drywall nothing-ness.

Upon this discovery, I decided to pull out the mount and half drilled in screws from the wall, and start the process over in a less rushed manner, using the provided screw condoms (I don't know their actual name, but its the little cap things that you back your screws into.)

Take Two: Breathe
Still 30 minutes to go before my lunch break was up, I tried again. Stripped all the screws, hammers are out, f-bombs are flying out of my mouth, and no luck. It has gotten to the point where the mount has fallen out the of the wall completely. The screw condoms sucked and only bent in half, one went completely through the wall....whoops.... Now with 8 holes the size of dimes in my wall, I decided to scream and quit for the day and go back to work.

Take Three: The Mafia Came to My House
Meanwhile, I am at work and my co-worker Scott starts listening to my sob story about how I suck, and he gave me tips on using "molly bolts", or drywall hangers or what ever, completely restoring this dangerous mentality that I could do it. So I come home from work around 9:15 and I sit on the couch and all I can think about is how in the other bedroom there are drill bits, tools, bikes,covering every inch of my floor and holes and pen marks covering my walls. I can't take it. It looks like the mafia came, and shot someone 8 times and then left a mess of tools to taunt me.
"You live in Monmouth now, Melissa. Nothing is open"
"Ah yes, but I can drive to Salem"
"Why waste the gas money, and instead wait for Bi-Mart to open tomorrow"
"Because I want the problem to be fixed now"
"You're a freak."
"I know."
And this folks, was my mental conversation I had with myself before I jumped in the car and drove to the North Salem Fred Meyers. And by "drove" I mean rocketed down hwy 99, going like 85, The Mars Volta blaring, windows down, and fully preparing to get a ticket--which I didn't--awesome. Meanwhile, I looked down only to see that I had no gas. Not wanting to give my business to Shell, I drove into Independence to go to the Chevron. They were closed. CLOSED. It was an awful awful omen. In a starvation panic, I drove across the street to Mac Dons and ate basically everything that was not WW approved. Drove BACK into Monmouth and filled up at the 76, still boycotting the Shell, and then carried on my way down 99. I finally made it alive to Fred Meyers, where no one assisted me, so I was left guessing on every purchase. Surprisingly, I am a good guesser and got everything I needed. I left the store with the peace of mind that I could putty up the holes, before going to sleep. Which is exactly what I did along side the company of my new neighbor Lisa.

The next morning
Take Four: I Quit
With holes patched, I started with a clean slate. But I learned the hard way that morning that Molly Bolts are a bitch to use, even though they are "no drill", yea right, I had to hammer those suckers in. Didn't realize that you couldn't use them on the studs, which makes perfect sense now. The whole thing was just a hot, discouraging mess. I went to the office that morning (I started drilling before work, yes, I do get project obsessed) just flat out admitting defeat. I had it all planned out that I would take the bike mounts home and just return them while I was in Tualatin for Mothers Day. I was completely accepting this loss, until  co-worker Scott offered to just come over after work on Monday and do it for me. Feeling awful, I bribed him with cookies for life, and took his offer.

Monday Night
Take Five: Success!
Mother of god, Scott did it!!! Yea, I take full blame for the failure. I was doing almost everything wrong. He helped my by showing me where I had gone astray. He had more knowledge and WAY better power tools (time for a new drill dad...). I learned how to scale out drill bits with your eye versus a scale, taught me a million reasons why his drill was way better and way cooler, he told me that I blew out the drywall when I tried to use the drywall hangers, and then showed me how to fix it. Scott and I worked together for about an hour, and we were done!
I am so thrilled! Now I can't wait to start putting my gear racks together and getting the rest of the room done!! Pics of the final project will come later.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Then We Will Not Relate

In honor of their album release I bring to you,

a year from now we'll all be gone
all our friends will move away
and they're going to better places
but our friends will be gone away

nothing is as it has been
and i miss your face like hell
and i guess it's just as well
but i miss your face like hell

been talking bout the way things change
and my family lives in a different state
and if you don't know what to make of this
then we will not relate

so if you don't know what to make of this
then we will not relate

rivers and roads
rivers and roads
rivers 'til i reach you

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Video for Thought

Outdoor Research: The Love Letter
Still clinging to young man’s dreams, a 30-something professional revives his youthful vision of summits and faint trails and abandons work and the city. The Love Letter follows a pair of climbers in search of new and classic climbing routes across the spine of the Sierra, into difficult to reach stretches of the range. In the clutter of the modern world, can wilderness restore the human spirit?

23 Feet is film about a community of people who make the conscious choice to live simply to do what they love in the great outdoors. Three women set out across the west in their 23 foot, 1970 Airstream to search for the stories of people who have turned their backs on the creature comforts of society to live in school buses, vans, and other small spaces. From an inspiring campfire chat with legendary Yosemite climber Ron Kauk, to hearing the powerful story of a woman who changed her whole life for surfing, 23 Feet gives an intimate look at the ups and downs of dedicating your life to your outdoor passion.

What happens to an impoverished developing nation town when you flood it with 20,000 bicycles? You lift three times that number of people out of poverty. Pedals for Progress and founder David Schweidenback have been shipping used American bicycles to Rivas, Nicaragua for the last two decades and the transformation has been incredible.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Sorry guys, but this post is mine. If you have seen my apartment (or wallet) it is filled with hiking trail maps, and lists of places trails that I have hit, and trails that I have yet to tackle. I decided it was time to get organized and list out all of the trails here in an organized fashion and just add to it and edit as I discover and complete.

Yet to Blaze:
(backpacking in yellow, hikes in blue)

--Mt. Defiance--
Where: The Gorge
Hike up Mt. Defiance Ridge to the summit and hike down Mt. Defiance Trail.
Total Mileage: 11 Miles
Elevation Gain: 4,900+ Feet
Difficulty Rating: Difficult

--Pacific Crest Trail: Columbia Ricer to California: First Leg--
Where: Columbia River to Timberline Lodge
Total Mileage: 52 Miles
Difficulty: Moderate

--Nasty Rock #3356--
Where: Gates, Clackamas Co.
Total Mileage: 5
Elevation: 4,500+
Difficulty: Difficult

--Netarts Spit--
Where: Netarts
Total Mileage: 10 Miles
Difficulty: Moderate

--Larch Mountain Trail--
Where: Bridal Veil
Total Mileage: 14 Miles
Elevation: 4,300+
Difficulty: Strenuous

--Ruckel Ridge Loop--
Where: Gorge
Total Mileage: 9 miles
Elevation: 3,700
Difficulty: Difficult

--Cooper Spur Trail--
Where: Hood River
Start Point: Cloud Cap Trailhead. Ending Point: Cooper Spur
Total Mileage: 7 Miles
Elevation: 2,800+
Difficulty: Moderate
Backpackable: Connects to Timberline Trail
Seasons: July - November

--South Sister--
Where: Sisters/Bend
Total Mileage: 10 Miles
Elevation: 10,300+
Difficulty: Moderate. A hike most can do, but it's a work out for sure.
Season: August to Mid-Oct

--Hells Canyon Bench "High" Trail--
Where: Imnaha
Total Mileage: 63 Miles
Elevation Gain: 14,900+ Feet
Season:Usually open April to November; best early to mid-May
--Saddle Mountain--
Where: Cannon Beach
Total Mileage: 5.5 Miles
Elevation: 1,600+
Difficulty: Moderate
Season: April-November

--Bear Creek Loop--
Where: Wallowa
Total Mileage: 39 Miles
Elevation: 6,300+
Difficulty: Difficult
Season: Usually open July to October; best Mid-July

--Blacklock Point--
Where: Bandon
Total Miles: 8 Miles
Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

Zig Zag Mountain Loop
Silver Star Loop

--Eagle Creek--
Where: Gorge
Total Miles: 26 Miles
A classic 2- to 3-day backpacking trip continues to Wahtum Lake. Snow closes this 26.8-mile loop from mid-November until June. Start by hiking up the Eagle Creek Trail 13.3 miles to Wahtum Lake. Then veer left on the Pacific Crest Trail for 6.3 miles to the Benson Plateau and turn left to descend the Ruckel Creek Trail back to your car.

Been There, Loved That:
--Tillamook Head to Indian Beach Trailhead: 16 Miles
--Drift Creek Falls: 6 Miles
-Smith Rock: 4 Miles
-Horsetail and Triple Falls: 5 Miles
- Silver Falls Loop: 7 Miles
- Black Butte: 8 Miles
-Bandon Loop: 21 Miles

Side notes to self:
-Backpacking Oregon: Lorain
-Mountain Hardwear women's 20 Switch

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Can I get an amen?

"Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones." - Marcus Aurelius

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Travel :: Peace :: Adventure :: Joy :: Freedom :: Solitude :: Self :: 
Experience :: Beauty :: Gear :: Run :: Escape
Backpack :: Jump :: Hike :: Swim :: Ski :: Climb

Travel to keep your soul awake.
It is only when you truly go for it, that you find overwhelming, beautiful, peace of mind .
There is nothing greater than adventure.
The purest joy is realizing how small you really are in comparison to the natural beauties of the world.
Freedom comes when you take off running towards the unknown.
Societal isolation, solitude, becomes imperative for one to define their own self.

Experience your life. 
This is all you've got. 

The beauty of discovery can not be overlooked.
By doing this we begin to understand and appreciate.

Gear up.
Mentally, Physically, Intellectually.

Run away.
I believe it is one of the healthiest things one can do.

Take a time-out. Escape and recharge.
You will be a better employee, friend, and partner if you do.

Live out of a backpack at least once a season.
Jump head first.
Hike your weekends away.
Don't build mental dams, allow your ideas to swim around up there.
When you ski, remember that its okay to fall. Its how you know you are still trying.
Climb. Always remember to climb.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


"My eyes were glued on life; and they were full of tears."  -Kerouac

Strength is a tricky thing. 
It's terrifying. 
It's unexpected. 
It's mad.
It's unnerving.

It's beautiful.

So what is it that gets us through lifes curve-balls? How is it that our intrinsic self-worth scale escalates while we seem to feel that we are in fact plummeting? Without question there is something beautiful about picking yourself up after a fall. There are things in life that we feel we cannot ever fully recover from. The pain takes over, the discouragement arises, and worst yet, the self loathing consumes you. 

In the end of the pain, we make it out to the other side.
We recover. 

Sometimes life hurts. The important thing to remember though is that it is okay for life to hurt. Its okay to admit "son of a bitch, when I fell, I scraped my knee, and damnit that hurt!" It is up to the individual though to decide what direction they will take after this admittance. Do you fall onto the ground and cry and whine and suffer? Or do you pick yourself up, get some Neosporin and a band-aid and dive into a pint of Ben and Jerrys?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sharing is Caring!

I just wanted to take a minute here to share some of the videos, pages, songs, projects etc. that I have enjoyed this past week or so. Each of them very different, each with very awesome views on life. Enjoy! 
I found this guy through a video that is posted below, and he is an urban historian and photographer. His work is incredible. Check it out.

A great visual diary. Remember children, that fuck you is the new thank you.

Self portraits in Tokyo of Natsumi Hayashi as she levitates through life.

Andrew Wonder [Director/Cinematographer

Thursday, February 10, 2011


1)When you're dead, you're dead.
How do so many people forget this? We are here. We are living, loving, creating, exploring, innovative, bold, individuals. This is the one life that we get. Some believe in reincarnation, or the transfer of energy; and I am supportive of those ideals, but even if your soul or energy goes on to "the next life", you will never again have the chance to be exactly who you are in this life ever again. So why the comfort? Why do so many of us settle for the comfort of our jobs, our homes, our possessions? Why can't more of us just take the hands of our loved ones and GO? Take my hand, Love. Let us go.

2)Make love when you can. It's good for you.
Making love can be one of the most uplifting mental escapes (no pun intended for all my male readers). I must admit that I think that the term "making love" is so stupid. You don't make love when you're sleeping with someone. If you are sleeping with someone you deeply care about, well then definitely, sex can in turn bring you closer together both physically, and mentally. It is an opportunity for feelings to flare and chemistry to run. There is no greater feeling than having sex with someone you care immensely about. The connection you have with that partner makes you feel impervious to the rest of the world. But you are not creating love. In comparison to casual sex where you may have your 20 min of fun, there is no chemistry, there is no true connection beyond that of the physical attributes. "making love" with someone you care about, and can laugh with you, and sometimes at you, even when you're in the act with them, is one of the best feelings. Sex is healthy ladies and gents--Enjoy.

3)We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. 
We all do it. We all try to impress. There is a need built into our brains where we feel it is imperative to be liked by everyone. I always noticed this in my own life whenever I would start dating a new partner. For example, for a date Brennan once asked "do you wanna go see [whatever sci-fi movie was out at the time] and flirtatiously, I replied with an enthusiastic "yes". I was into him, therefore I would have said I wanted to go to a ship yard if that was what he wanted to do. Truth is though, science-fiction isn't my thing. Not even in the slightest. Whatever movie we went to that night I'm sure bored me to tears, but I sat there and pretended to enjoy it. I never told him though that I didn't enjoy it, so he assumed I liked them, and then I got trapped into seeing a zillion other dumb science-fiction movies during our relationship. It was awful! But I wasn't honest with myself, and I pretended to be into those films.

If this pretending gets taken to a higher level, one could really get themselves into a pickle. This goes beyond the basic lie though. This pretending can easily transfer into a newly mandated lifestyle change [something larger than just getting suckered into a sci-fi movie pool]. So make sure if you pretend, you aren't pretending. You will not only lose a lot of people you love, but you will eventually lose yourself. Something I continue to work on daily.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


"Don't wake up a woman in love. Let her dream, so that she does not weep when she returns to her bitter reality" 
--Mark Twain

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

"Literature is a luxury; fiction is a necessity"

I find it intriguing  that two of my favorite books that I have read recently are "The Sun Also Rises"(Hemingway) and "The Moon is Down"(Steinbeck). Isn't that the truth with me though? Literature, day in, day out; morning and evening.

While I was stuck writing confined blogs about "who I am" the whole month of January,  in my personal time I was going on a classic literature binge (one of the many privileges of living alone). I read so much modern fiction in college, lots of Piccoult, Gilbert, Gruen, and never even thought about Twain, Steinbeck, Homer, Hemingway, and Wilde.

"Classic' - a book which people praise and don't read." -Mark Twain

It wasn't until I re-read Homers, "The Odyssey" as an adult, that I became enamored with the writing style. Now, I had previously read this book twice; once as a freshman in high school, and then again as a sophomore in college. Both times, I enjoyed the book, but I never appreciated it. But once the classroom setting was gone, and there was no pressure about being tested on the material, I was able to really get into it.  My conclusion? The classroom kills classics.

As much as I love the fictional story of "the classics", I love thinking about the authors mental journey as they wrote the story infused with their own personal experiences. "The Moon is Down" is a perfect example of this: Written in 1942 as a work of propaganda to assist the Allied war effort, Steinbeck came under some criticism for portraying the Germans (the conquerors were not actually identified as German in the book itself) too sympathetically, in contrast to the more virulent and crude propaganda that tried to demonize them. Steinbeck gave the enemies a face. He gave them emotions, and showed them as people, and not monsters.  After the war, the work was more universally praised when it became apparent that it had greatly encouraged the resistance in Nazi-occupied countries. The Moon is Down exhibits Steinbeck's skill in characterization and psychological sensitivity. Without question, its is a work of propaganda, but I think it stands as a substantive piece of literature in its own right. The work leaves readers with an important idea to chew on:  What is the nature of propaganda itself, how can it be defined? Is it a particular genre or is its categorization as propaganda determined by its intent?

I wish I had more "geeky" friends who I could discuss these ideas with. It makes me miss school in that regard. First and foremost, I love literature, but second of all I love discussing literature. This is why I have committed to going back and auditing one literature class a term. I don't care about the credit, I care about the passion. 

Here is a random list of some of the classics I have grown to love more and more every time I read them:

 East of Eden
Pastures of Heaven
The Moon is Down
Travels with Charley
The Winter of Our Discontent

For Whom the Bell Tolls
The Old Man and the Sea
The Sun Also Rises 

Diaries of Adam and Eve
Letters from the Earth
"When you re-read a classic you do not see in the book more than you did before.  You see more in you than there was before."-Clifton Fadiman