moving to Alaska

Happy Travels, life

I’m on the road to Alaska. Sort of, I’m pit-stopped in Idaho for another night then I’ll make the big drive to Washington tomorrow and board the ferry for Alaska Friday afternoon.

It’s weird to think this is happening. I’ve been planning and thinking about this whole thing for months and here it’s actually happening. It’s kind of strange for me.

I’m breaking the almost 13-hour drive into two days, stopping in Spokane tomorrow. I haven’t taken a long drive through Washington before and I’m excited for the scenery.

Ellie has enjoyed the visit at my sister’s. The kids are always quick to oblige a belly rub and Ellie couldn’t ask for better company. Plus there is an acre of lawn for her to romp and roll and chase birds.

I finally packed and put everything in the car that would fit on Monday, it was pretty intense process, deciding what would go to Alaska and what would say. I thought my possessions were pretty minimal before but this trip has added a new meaning.

I’ve heard stories of my sisters packing cars and trucks for a move but haven’t really had to do it myself to that extent until now. While there is plenty of stuff I parted with and will have mailed to the destination, I certainly got a ton of stuff in my car. I’ve earned my Clark stripes now I think.

moving to Alaska

moving to Alaska

moving to Alaska

moving to Alaska

i went to alaska

Happy Travels, I went outside, life

“I shouldn't have been surprised that all I could see of the of the airplane window above the northwest was clouds. But they were beautiful clouds.”


“Snow capped mountains give way to dark bottomless valleys shadowed from the sun by endless clouds and all I can see are tiny lakes reflecting back at me.”


“Suddenly the cabin air smelled of coffee and gin and tonic and I was reminded of everything I had come from and felt a little homesick for the familiar. I was headed into the unknown, magnified by the book telling me tales of the Utah desert while knowing I was headed to the Alaskan forest.” 


These are a few thoughts I recorded while visiting Alaska a couple weekends ago. As it turns out, I am trading in my Utah shorts and sunglasses for Alaksa's fleece jackets and rain boots. And what an adventure it will be. Every day I look forward to it more and more.


No worries, my hammock and fly rod are coming along for the adventure.


the narrows and dreams 15 years old

backpacking, camping, Happy Travels, hiking, I went outside, photography, Temple of Sinawava, The Narrows, Utah, Wall Street, Zion National Park

Preface: This is way more sentimental than usual but I dedicate this hike to my dear friend Eileen. For dreaming with me when we were teenagers about the adventures we would have, and for introducing me to Zion National Park in the first place.


I write this as we travel the five hours back to Salt Lake City.  My shoulders, back and hips are tired and sore. So sore. As my body chills out and begins to relax into the seat, other spots on my legs and arms become the focus, finally speaking up to complain about their bumps and scrapes.

I have a distinct memory of standing in the Temple of Sinawava at 13 years old looking down the paved trail to the entrance of The Narrows.

“It's really hard,” I remember Eileen saying. “My dad said you stay overnight and camp. Carry everything with you. That's where you come out,” she said, pointing up the river to the people walking around in the water.


We were in awe of the challenge of it all.  The thought of trooping through the canyons, seeing the mystery that was held from two teenage girls who just wanted to grow up and have some adventure.

My thoughts continued to flash back 15 years during the 1.5 hour van ride to the trail head.  I was finally doing this.  Five months of planning, 15 years in the making, only hours to go.


There were so many beautiful sights and I could not take enough pictures. I was constantly coming around a bend or seeing a new beam of light that I wanted a picture of. But I am grateful to have the pictures I did take, knowing that some of the most beautiful sights were not captured on a memory card in a camera, but are reserved for only me to remember.

The first day we hiked 11 miles to our designated camp site. About mile 8 or 9 I had experienced enough and was quite done. But with a few miles to go I switched into putting one foot in front of the other and just going. Trudging along, I realized that I would have followed Lauren and Josh right to the end if they decided to keep going. But I'm glad they didn't, it would have been an additional five miles past the campsite.

There was a specific moment when I was far enough behind them that I would catch a glimpse of them just before they rounded a corner or went behind a rock out of sight. I had a funny thought. Y'know that part in Lord of the Rings when Gollum is following Frodo and Sam-Wise into Mordor and he just close enough to make them feel like they're being followed but far enough away to stay out of sight? Yeah, I was Gollum.  And I was so tired at that moment that I had to stop walking mid-stream so I wouldn't fall down with laughter.


When we reached camp all 12 of us peeled off wet boots and socks. Everyone moved a bit slower, more deliberately, conserving energy. There wasn't much conversation since everyone was so focused on their reconstituted meals. Exhausted and with food in our bellies we all called it a day before it was dark.

Curled in my tent listening to the river below and the crickets above I slept as sound as I did when I was a teenager and could fall asleep anywhere.

With a slow start in the morning we broke camp and headed out to finish the last five miles.  The trek was long and exhausting. With a tired body and sore feet I finished the 16 miles, walking barefoot for the last stretch on the paved trail. One of the best choices of the whole trip. 

This was my first backpacking trip and I would call it a success.  Not only did I survive, I have minimal bumps and scrapes.  I'm a bit sore but it's the type of sore that I love, a gentle reminder that I used my body, flexed and stretched my muscles and experienced something wonderful. Because of that I feel no pain.

While the trip was amazing, beautiful and totally worth all the planning, anxiety and stress, those won't be the things I will remember the most. I will remember that moment, walking through Wall Street, exhausted, and finally stopping to look around me realizing where I was. Knowing that my 13 year old self was cheering me on because I was actually doing it. Something that I've wanted to do for half my life, I was doing it. And that moment of reconnecting is priceless. That reconnection is what I went to find and I feel lucky that I found it.


And now I have the urge, as I do at the end of all my adventures, to plan the next one. There are so many wonderful places within a half day's drive that I haven't been to. I look forward to exploring them all while I still have the chance.

since spring break…

Happy Travels, life, Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, MLK Jr. Memorial, National Mall, spring break, spring break 2012, Vietnam Veteran's Memorial, washington, washington d.c. Washington D.C.

Sure it's been a… few weeks since vacation, but I have noticed I think about it frequently.  

Like have you noticed that the curbs in D.C. are granite?! And the gutters are brick! Seriously.


And really, there aren't really gutters to speak of, so when you are standing on the curb and the bus goes zooming by watch your toes. Because that bus is only inches away from you.

I already have a list for my second visit, including the National Aquarium (I really like aquariums), the Newseum, and the Museum of Natural History.  


No immediate plans to head back to D.C., but just like NYC, it's in my future. At some point.

I totally enjoyed the metro in D.C. too.  Once I figured out how it works and which way is which, I had a good time getting around.  It's helpful that I wasn't on a schedule and could wait for the next train if I was unsure.

I really enjoyed seeing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr's Memorial and Lincoln's Memorial.  I had pretty significant reactions there and I'd have liked to spend a bit more time. But it's true what they say, I walked my feet off in D.C. So much so that my whole body hurt by the end of the day.








On the flight back I had a layover in Chicago.  It was the first time I've been there, and since I didn't leave the airport I don't really count it.  But I had an awesome view of the waterfront on the way in and I'm totally gonna go there. Someday.

new perspective

comfort, comfortable, Happy Travels, life, neighborhood, privilege, privileged, travel, uncomfortable

Written on the plane while traveling home:

In class a few weeks ago we spent some time talking about privilege. The main point was usually we don't recognize our privilege because we've never been without it.

Until then, I had never thought about being privileged or not privileged. I've just been me, it's just been my life, my experience. I haven't been privileged, only lucky. Or as my mom would say, I've been blessed. But maybe blessedly ignorant.

As I grow older I see the times in my life when my privilege has played it's cards for me, both for better and for worse. When the card is played for worse, I've never been in physical harm, and for that I feel blessed. When the card is played for better, I feel humbled.

The ignorance I've grown up with has been both a blessing and a curse.

School has been quite a help in removing my veil of ignorance. We talk about important topics in class, and then I have the opportunity to go out into the world and have experiences that make the things learned absolutely clear to me.

I have had interesting experiences this week. I navigated the metro, with a few pointers, and walked National Mall by myself. We walked home late through a shady neighborhood. I spent St. Patrick's Day festivities in the hands of an interpreter. I spent more than an afternoon where the color of my skin made me the one who was different.

I became acutely aware of my feelings when we spent time in different neighborhoods. The difference in Georgetown as compared to Trinidad, and Capitol Hill as compared to Georgetown. Being a visitor to the city, oddly enough I felt the most comfort on the Metro, which was no neighborhood at all and neither here nor there.

I have also realized that my feelings of being uncomfortable have been mostly nerves, usually showing themselves when I'm about to embark on something unknown. Now that the nerves are recognizable, it is becoming easier for me to tell the difference between feeling nervous and feeling fight or flight adrenaline. Obviously flight adrenaline causes me to alter my path, but if it's nerves I work it through.

Because fear is the WORST reason not to do something.

I'm on my way home now, thinking about school tomorrow and going back to work. Back to laundry, back to campus, back to my little corn dog who will be so anxious the second I walk in the door, but who I'm sure didn't miss me one bit while I was gone. Back to my quirky little city that is so predictable. Back to the mountains I love and the local brews I know so well.

And now as a good friend prepares for a trip to India, I'll go spend a fun evening out and about and totally in my comfort zone.

But, after experiencing something that was uncomfortable become comfortable, what does that even mean?