What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

The Knees VS The Heart March 6, 2018

It’s official. I’m old.

Not that old, but too old to do things like this:


Recently, touring with The Wizard of Oz delivered the husband and me to Saint Louis, and, of course, we had to take a trip to the City Museum.


The place is amazing. It’s like an adult got day drunk, stumbled by a kids’ park, and was like, “Damn. Kids have all the fun. I’m going to build something better where adults can climb stuff. And there’s going to be a bar inside the jungle gyms. No! Multiple bars. Yeah.” (more…)


Stuck Between a Bear and Some Sharp Teeth August 20, 2015

So… Megan and I (yeah, she’s letting me write this one. She’s afraid it’ll get blown even more out of proportion by her than it was by the fact that it actually freakin’ happened!) took a hike in the park yesterday. We went early, which is why we’re posting today as opposed to the regularly scheduled Wednesday post. Anyway, we decided that we wanted to hike Cathedral Mountain again. Do you remember that one? That’s where I half-ran after the retreating caribou last year, trying to capture the perfect shot, which eluded me despite my attempts. Have we not told you that story? We’ll save that for another time.

Well, this time, the creek that you have to cross before you get to the actual social trail around the mountain was too high to cross without submerging our hiking boots in freezing cold water (keep in mind that most rivers and streams in Denali are glacially fed, so I mean freezing). We tried for about an hour to find a way to cross, but it was to no avail. So, dejected, we decided to head up to Park Road and decide what to do from there. We had heard that hiking along the actual Park Road was supposed to be lovely, so we chose to hike back towards the park entrance along the narrow dirt road.

We were actually having a lovely time for a while. Seeing the park from that perspective was fascinating. We heard the rumbling of a bus far behind us and turned to see it, stopped with its flashers on, in the spot we had been not five minutes ago.

“What are they looking at?” Megan asked.

We both searched for a few seconds before she spotted this:


You may have to click on the image and zoom in to see what we were seeing.

I took that photo and zoomed in to see a four-legged canine-looking creature. We were certain that a wolf had just wandered onto the road, and it was walking toward us. We decided it was time to keep heading east toward the park entrance.

We walked along for another ten minutes or so, looking behind frequently to see where the wolf had gone, and then we saw more buses stopped, this time ahead of us.

“What now?” I asked, feeling more than a little apprehensive.

And then we saw it. Less than 200 yards away from us, a grizzly was foraging for berries on the mountain that we had just tried to circumnavigate.


We didn’t know what to do. There was a wolf behind and a bear in front. We walked back the way we had come, hoping that the bear hadn’t spotted us and hoping that the wolf wasn’t too close. We anxiously awaited a green bus to pull up. We didn’t care which direction it was going, we just needed to get out of the open.

A driver going into the park pulled up, and I flagged him down, telling him that I knew it wasn’t the practice of the park buses to pick up people going into the park but that there was a wolf behind us and a bear in front and we needed on now!

We got on, and not ten seconds later, this came gallivanting around the corner:


So, it wasn’t a wolf. It was a coyote. Of course we should have known that, because, as one of the incredibly astute passengers next to Megan said, “Wolves never travel alone.” *insert facepalm here* I didn’t care what the hell it was, to be frank. I’m just glad we got on the bus in time to avoid contact with it.

We took the bus up just a little bit and then hitched a ride back to the park entrance on an outbound bus. Upon our exit of the park, we discovered that had we somehow made it past the first bear, there would have been a second grizzly awaiting us just a half-a-mile down the road, so I guess our predicament could have been much worse.

Here’s to the next hike being a bit less eventful. Cheers!


Fjords for Me August 15, 2015

My husband is the best! My amazing surprise birthday trip was actually amazing! He took me to Seward, Alaska to see the Kenai Fjords! I didn’t even know what a fjord actually was. I had to Google it! Then we went on an all day cruise to see glaciers up close and saw wonderful wildlife to boot!

But since I seem incapable of staying away from exclamation points and I don’t want to write a 20,000 word blog post to tell you have fantastic the day was, I’ll just leave these pictures here.

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IMG_9442                                                     IMG_9638

IMG_9585                                                    IMG_9805

It was just breathtaking and perfect.

Best Birthday Ever!


The End of Denali as We Know It August 8, 2015

It’s the Denali apocalypse! No, really, I think it truly might be!

I went hiking in Denali National Park on Wednesday, and we summited Mount Margaret. It was glorious! Most hikes around here you spend hours busting your butt to climb to the top of something, which really turns out to be a sketchy ridge that’s overrun with bugs. You stay long enough to take a triumphant picture and get a cliff bar out of your pack, then skirt your butt back down the mountain before you’re eaten alive or fall to your death.


But on top of Margaret was a beautiful field! There were neat rock formations, Dall sheep, ptarmigan, and ice that never thaws.

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We walked through flowers, found a cave. It was fantastic. Then we crossed the ridge line, frolicking through the field to hike down the other side of the mountain. I looked back and saw something funny off in the distance. At first, I thought it was a part of the outline of Mount McKinley (Denali), which is often covered in clouds. But then I looked back a minute later, and it had moved.


Funnel Cloud on Top of Mountain (Look really closely)

“Hey, that cloud looks like a tornado!” I said, pointing at the pretty thing. Luckily, I was with two people from Tennessee, who both immediately recognized it as a funnel cloud! A funnel cloud in the middle of Denali, touching a mountain ridge in the distance. And it was like a really, really far way away, so naturally, I sat down and had a snack while watching the cloud until it disappeared.

Then I stood up, saying what a neat hike it was. Then thunder shook everything. So the nice walk on the mountain became a game of get off the mountain as quickly as possible pretty darn quick. It involved bushwhacking and a lot of rain. My face bled a little, but we made it to the bus out of the park. We got on the bus, and an emergency radio call came in.

There had been a landslide on park road. Now, for those of you who don’t know, there is only one ninety-two-mile-long road that goes into Denali park. It that road is blocked, it’s either a helicopter or walking to get out of the park.

Luckily, we were far away from the landslide and really close to the park entrance, so our bus was unaffected. But still, I’ll give it a modest estimate that hundreds of park visitors were stuck on the far side of the landslide. I would have hated to be one of their bus drivers, trying to entertain bored tourists, but I’m sure everyone was fine.

I thought the strangeness in Denali was over until I woke up Thursday morning to smoke everywhere. There was a fire on the other side of the park entrance from us. You couldn’t see anything outside. At this point, we are just some raining frogs away from the end of Denali as we know it, people.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.


New Choices January 17, 2015

What do you do when making important life choices? I mean, you could talk about it with a life coach, go on a long meaningful walk through the desert, or if you’re like me, you could chop off all your hair.


I’ve always had long hair. Not that you can usually see it since it’s nearly always under a wig for shows.


And I’ve always been afraid to cut off all my hair. I was afraid I wouldn’t know what to do with it.  I was afraid I would look like a man. I was afraid I would look like a mushroom. But I did it anyway.

I now have no hair. Nearly none at all. It’s short.


I still don’t know how I feel about it.  I freak out when I touch it.  But it’s time for some changes. And we shall begin with my hair.