Choosing an Adventurous Life

Two Octobers ago, I paused on the bank of the Gardner River and wondered just exactly why I would choose to be standing there in a swimsuit in twelve-degree air. We’d been there before–at least, my husband, two older kids, and I had. At that particular stretch of the Gardner, runoff from a distant thermal feature flows in, creating a pocket of warm water known as Boiling River. People come, year-round, to soak in the warmed, mineral-laden waters. The kids were small and we were just taking a short little hike to check it out. While I enjoyed watching steam {Continue Reading}

How to Guard Your Heart

A long, long time ago—forty years last month—my parents took my little brother and me to Yellowstone. If you’ve read around here long, you know my life has never been the same. (Thank you, Mom and Dad.) One of the sights I most remember from that first visit is Morning Glory Pool. Even at twelve, I saw the resemblance between the thermal feature and the old-time flower that gave it its name.  It was mesmerizing. Lovely though it was and still remains, the years have not been kind to Morning Glory. More specifically, people have not been kind to Morning {Continue Reading}

Why Do We Keep Going?

My husband and I set off into the woods at a brisker than usual clip. Sooner than I hoped, the trail made good on its short-but-steep reputation. After a short lag, my steps slowed because there was no way I could keep that pace at that grade all the way to the top. We’d tried this trail before, when we were inexperienced and unprepared for May’s unmelted snow. We hadn’t gone far before we gave up—shoes sodden and pants soaked to the knees. Twenty years later we were back, on a quest to complete what we’d started all those years {Continue Reading}

How to Get Moving Again

“Time to get going,” Dad said as he thumped on the tent I shared with my husband.  Going? I could barely move.  I freed my beleaguered body from my sleeping bag and crawled from our tent out into the morning chill. Stiff and sore from the previous day’s ride, I picked my way across the dewy grass, looking for a dry place to put on my shoes. Before long, I would face the most painful moment of the morning: sitting down on the seat of my bike.  We—my husband, my parents, my brother, and his wife—were on RAGBRAI, otherwise known {Continue Reading}

Thriving in an Unfamiliar Life

My great-grandma was a woman of summer. She kept a garden. She grew the flowers and vegetables that graced her table. She picked the berries that topped our ice cream. Every once in a while, I helped her in the garden or the berry patch and it always shocked me when she showed up wearing pants. The garden was the only place I ever saw her dressed that way and even there she wore a dress over them, with a long-sleeved shirt and a wide-brimmed hat. She was dressed to work. Right here are four important lessons Great-grandma taught with {Continue Reading}

What We Already Know About Navigating by Faith

Leaving the comforting bustle of the crowd, I stepped off the boardwalk onto the geyserite-strewn path. This was my first solo hike. I was leaving from the Old Faithful area, where I lived and worked, to make a six-mile round trip journey to a backcountry waterfall. The first section of the trail skirted the edge of the Upper Geyser Basin before crossing a highway, passing through another geyser basin, and entering deep forest. I breathed deep, inhaling the strong scents of sulfur and pine mingling in the crisp morning air. Just beyond the boardwalk, I stopped at the trailhead sign, {Continue Reading}

Walking by Faith Through New Things

We set off, my family and I, into the high desert. Unfamiliar territory, it was marked by slot canyons and stark terrain. We were mountain hikers, more accustomed to treading over soft, tree-lined paths than through stony expanses. Trailhead signs warned that heat kills, admonishing all who dared pass to carry two liters of water. Both seemed overzealous in the cool autumn morning—until I remembered: deserts change with the seasons. Spring rains and summer heat would transform this temperate landscape into something searing and tumultuous. Parched though it is, Utah’s slick rock is not dry and thirsty ground ready to {Continue Reading}

Walking by Faith Through Tough Terrain

The first trail—as in, an unpeopled, into the wilderness, marked-by-blazes-instead-of-a-worn-path trail—I remember taking was to the petrified forest in Yellowstone. I was fourteen, with my family, on our second visit to the park, and we’d finally stopped believing that we would be consumed by a bear if we left the crowded boardwalks and entered the quiet woods. It was not an easy hike. Oh, the walking part was fine. It was the finding the destination part that was the problem. Some trails through the wilderness are worn dirt paths, threadbare lines leading from where you’ve been to where you want {Continue Reading}

Sparkling in an Unfamiliar Life

My great-grandma was a woman of summer. She kept a garden. She grew the flowers and vegetables that graced her table. She picked the berries that topped our ice cream. Once in a while I helped her in the garden or the berry patch and it always shocked me when she showed up wearing slacks. The garden was the only place I ever saw her dressed that way and even there she wore a dress over them, with a long-sleeved shirt and a wide-brimmed hat. She was dressed to work. Right there are four important lessons she taught with her life: {Continue Reading}