I double-checked my hiking bag for signs of water in my bladder pouch, my lunch, a second lunch, and lots of snacks. I grabbed my hiking shoes and headed out of my apartment and into the early morning darkness. It was still cool when I hopped out of my car at Vincent Gap. The sun was barely rising over the mountain that we were about to summit, and the moon was gently sinking behind the adjacent rocks. I let out an occasional yawn as I readied my hiking poles and greeted the group of friends who decided to climb to the top of Mount Baden-Powell with me. Continue reading “Pack of Peaks: Mount Baden Powell”→
There are moments in life when you feel like you’re climbing a never-ending mountain. Stressed—you feel like you will never get a break. I occasionally fall into this trap, and I forget that the most important thing you need to do in order to overcome nearly any obstacle is to take a step back and breathe. Continue reading “Your Breath Conquers Mountains”→
My shoes, already slightly soggy from the receding river sunk further into the marshy mud of the Los Angeles River. I took my free hand that was wrapped carefully in a spare plastic bag and dug at the discolored plastic that was half buried in the dirt and pulled out a destroyed to-go cup and plastic utensils. I added my find to another plastic bag that had expanded to accommodate a few pounds of nothing but trash that I found in the middle of the river.
I spent Earth Day weekend cleaning up a few well-trafficked nature areas in Southern California. The hiking group that I was with, Black Girls Trekkin’ and I carried bags of trash out of these areas and had to leave knowing that there were more pounds of trash still sitting on the sides of these trails. However, it’s not just hiking trails where I found trash.
As I looked down at the new shoes on my feet, I let my mind wander to think of the past ten years out on the trails. The old pair of shoes that I had stuffed into the trunk of a car had carried me through the cool woods of the northern forests of California, had allowed me to cross the sweltering hot deserts in the south, moved me up the jagged rocks that adorned the face of mountains in the east, and near the beautiful blue ocean on that splashed up against the sand on the west coast. For the past ten years, I met new friends, saw jaw-dropping sights, and transformed my life from a nervous small-town teen to a young adult moving forward and growing more confident as the future progressed further. Continue reading “The Ten-Year Trek”→
The look of shock and horror had crept up on her face. I sensed jolts of confusion from her as I spoke the words. “I would like the number four without meat.”
Her eyes went blank in expression before she refocused them again on me as I stood patiently at the cash register. “Did you want another type of meat?” she asked hoping quietly to herself that I had just misspoken.
“No, just the sandwich without any meat.”
She turned around for a second to look for help and asked another cook behind her, “Do we have sprouts?” She turned to face me again. “Did you want sprouts? We can put sprouts in it.”
After a trip to the restroom and a gulp of water, I lined up at the back of one of the final waves of the 2018 Surf City Half Marathon race. I was a little nervous about finishing the whole thing knowing that I hadn’t hit my mileage target. The words, I just might die, kept swirling around my head until the race announcer cued the sound for the start of the race.
I slowly inched out over the start line and followed the crowd of runners swiftly kicking their way down Huntington Beach’s stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway. I jogged amongst the pack of people for several miles until the crowd began to thin out. The sounds of chatter began to wane as gasps of breath fell in their place, and you can hear, just off in the distance, the cool ocean waves crashing on top of each other trying to taunt the sweaty runners nearby. Continue reading “When Inspiration Comes From Pavement”→
“Oh, YOU like hiking and camping? I didn’t think that you would be into that?”
The comment came from a friend after hearing about one of my latest camping trips. It was around the time that I had joined a club for adventure seekers in college. There were no other black people in the group, and there were fewer women in the club than there were men. The club was a reflection of what I commonly saw when I laced up my boots and went hiking. Unless I was in the mountains of the diverse multi-cultural melting pot that was Los Angeles, California, I was almost always the only black female hiking in a sea of paler faces out in the woods. Continue reading “Promoting Equality In Green Spaces”→
Fingers rest on plastic keys and slightly smudged touchscreens as they slowly scroll down endless pages that exist only in the confines of the Internet or through control channel maps. I can physically feel the conversations emanating from my purse as my smartphone begins to vibrate.
However, I often only hear the interrupted fragments of thoughts via animated-sounding notifications, which let me know that someone on the other side of my screen has reached out.
In the age of the Internet adults and adolescents alike are extending their connections with friends and family from in-person interactions to the digital world. No longer does one longingly gaze into the distance wondering what happened to whats-her-face from high school. Now, you get to “see” her as much as you want on Facebook. Continue reading “Making Adult Friends in the Age of the Internet”→
Rubber soles pounded the warm asphalt creating a steady, but rhythmic, slow-tempo drum beat. They had carried my legs with ease for nine miles on the winding streets of Eugene, Oregon before I felt the slowly creeping soreness of a run that was lasting too damn long spread through my overworked leg muscles. I did my best to breathe in the cool and refreshing air that had been warmed a little more by the bright sun since the start of the race over an hour before. I had enjoyed the run, glancing over at the tall green trees that proudly stood as they decorated the Northwestern track town, for two more miles before thoughts of confusion snuck into my mind.
Why the heck did we pay to do this to ourselves? I thought as I continued to place one increasingly heavy foot in front of the other. Everyone here is absolutely nuts.
“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” –John Muir
A cool breeze that rushed up the mountainside had quelled the sweltering heat that rained down from the California summer sun. We attempted to catch our breath, while sitting on top of large gray flat-topped rocks embedded into the rich brown dirt, as the wind moved the few trees decorating the top of the mountain and the tall grass, sunflowers, and dried brush. It felt as though we were the only ones left on the planet as we looked down in to the green canyons while sitting on top of the world.
The picturesque mountainscape had become a wonderful excuse for a long nature hike miles away from any road flooded with cars. I did my best to capture all of the beauty that I had seen that day inside of the digital folders of my camera. Upon returning from weekend hiking into the tall mountains I picked up a call and greeted a familiar voice. Continue reading “Keep Close To Nature”→