Looking for a sign

It’s difficult to write when it’s hot. All you can focus on is how stifling you feel. That’s how Caribou is at the moment. Because the weather is kind of temperate, and the place is old, no one messes with the AC. Oh well. I finished submitting my time sheets and I’m heading out for the day.

Last weekend was pretty dismal for me. I was lonely, and depressed. Missing my mom, my family, familiarity in general… I drove up to the top of Mount Pisgah all alone to think about things and ended up sitting there eating my amazing French Onion Soup (go get some) and crying the whole time.

I sat out in the rocking chairs over looking the blue rolling mountains and asked for some sort of sign that I was on the right path. That I’m doing the right thing.

Well flash forward to this week… Dream of dreams came true and I found myself scheduled to work on top of Mount Mitchell. My absolute favorite place ever. It’s partially nostalgic, and partially sheer majesty… I commented to my crew mates that it would be a dream come true to be able to work seasonally at the Mitchell Park.

Our project partner wanted us all to appreciate the work we were doing so he wanted everyone to hike up to the summit for a good view of everything. Because of my pace, I wound up hiking to the top alone, which is fine for me. As I turn one of the corners, there carved into the sand is the word MOM with a heart around it.

I stood there for a moment, staring at the message from the universe with a smile on my face. Thanks for the reassurance… I kind of needed it.

Not quite full yet

I may have had brothers and a sister, but because of our age difference, I grew up as an only child. I didn’t go to college and didn’t really room with other people. 

I  knew that housing here was hostel style, but that didn’t really sink in. For those of you that don’t know, that means cramming as many bunk beds in a room that will fit. 

There are 8 beds in my room. Four people are currently on projects working and four of us just arrived yesterday. I thought it was going to be a big adjustment. But so far none of it is. 

The four girls I’ve met yesterday are extremely nice and easy to get along with.  The shared bathroom IS an adjustment, but will only be a problem if I get up and desperately have to urinate in the morning. 

All in all, being adaptable is a great thing. Stepping outside of your comfort zone… is a good experience. And doing something to better yourself can bee greatly rewarding. 

Coming home

Things I have relearned on this trip.  

My son is super easily amused. He found a rock. It is now his pet rock and he’s teaching it tricks. (Its name is Bob) 

Twinkies are gross. Like the texture is fine, but the cake and filling are so sickeningly sweet I don’t know how people eat them. 

It takes a long time to fill an air mattress. 

I’m thankful for an electric air pump. (But it still takes a long freaking time) 

The wind… is cold. Stand in 20 degree weather in the sun, and you’re fine. Let that wind blow through you and you’ll wish you were still safely tucked away in your mother’s uterus. 

A change of socks can change your whole outlook and give you more energy. 

Sometimes, nostalgia IS as good as you remember it. 

Going down is a LOT easier than going up. 

Be sure to bring yummy snacks for hiking lunches. Picnics are great. 

If you need a helping hand in the Appalachia, the rhodedendron will be there. Respect the plants and they’ll respect you. 

Attaining a long lived dream is amazing, but even better when you can share it with people you love. 

 At the top of Curtis Creek is a waterfall. You can only see this fall from the top of the road. I decided long ago that I wanted a different photo. One of the falls up close. So that’s what we set out to do. 

Save Our Wilds

This last week has felt like a battle. So many things that I love and believe in has come under attack. My future plans and hopes and dreams are hanging in a tenuous balance because some racist, bigoted, business men that would rather make another dollar than listen to people smarter than them.

Maybe that’s the problem. Stupid people don’t like being told they’re wrong. Rich people don’t like to give up their money. And hateful people are happy despising the world.

As many of you know, I’ve been accepted into the American Conservation Experience. Initially I was doing this so I can gain the experience to one day become a Park Ranger. Because of all of these bills and executive orders… it’s looking more and more like that position won’t be available here in the near future and this breaks my heart. This doesn’t just break my heart, it hurts my soul.

I’ve been on the edge of tears all week watching things unfold. Following the brave Rogue Rangers stand up to regime and I can only think perhaps now… now is the best time to follow this dream. And if my job vanishes, then I will join the conservation groups and raise my voice with everyone else to fight back.

It’s all any of us can do. When the government dons their black cloaks and pointy beards… I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one that has a problem with it. Follow these Rogue Rangers on Twitter and Facebook. Look to our scientists and engineers. Listen to voices of reason. It’s not just OUR wilds that are hanging in the balance… but if we run away from the monsters… they’ll take the whole planet down with them. save-our-land

How??

So… today’s the 1st… of December… When the hell did this happen? Time moves far too quickly, which I suppose should be a blessing considering all of the things I’m looking forward to, but it also means I have to get my rear end in gear.

Though for my month’s hiatus… I did accomplish something.

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_winner

For those not familiar with NanoWrimo – November is NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth. You take up the challenge to work on a first draft for a novel and churn out at least 50k words.

Granted, I’m no where near complete, and now I’m bouncing around between three different books at the same time, but isn’t that how the creative process works?

There is no time for slacking off. I MAY be able to finish out a draft of all THREE books before I leave so I can put them in Nikki’s hands and say have a blast tearing them apart over the next six months. I’ll handle any revisions upon my return.

Before the holidays, I WILL get over to the parking garage at USF once a week to tackle the stairs for an hour in the evening. AFTER the holidays my goal is three times a week before heading home. Running just doesn’t seem to be helping, besides, let’s face it, I’m not going to be running on the trails during this outing, I’m going to be climbing and working.

 

Another piece

I’m excited to announce that I have picked up another little bit of my equipment. The Static V sleeping pad. I’m part of a wonderful group on facebook, the Appalachian Trail Women’s Group and I asked for a consensus. about eighty percent of my responses came back to try this one – so I did.

No sale, but not overly expensive to begin with. I’m 5’5″ and was worried about the size. I read the reviews and decided to stick with the medium. It seems to be a great fit. Granted… I’m SO not used to laying so flat. I usually have a pillow between my knees or under them, so I may have to spend the weight and pick up a couple of small pillows.

 

20160921_210727I tested it out with my sleeping bag and they’re pretty comfy together. They both pack down nice and quick. So far, so good. I’ll even be able to use them both on the A.T.20160921_210816

Like my yellow toenail in the pictures? Oops.