Hiking Up Sleeping Indian

A few weekends ago I hiked up Sheep Mountain, more commonly known as Sleeping Indian. I’ve never heard anyone call it Sheep Mountain, actually. According to Wikipedia, Sleeping Indian is 11, 239 feet above sea level, and is located in the state of Wyoming. It is in the Gros Ventre Range, which is in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, which is the 3rd largest national forest outside of Alaska, which I think is cool. Continue reading

A Hike to Taggart Lake

On Sunday last week I decided to go for a short hike.

First though, I slept in til 8 a.m. (that’s super late for a bird bander, we normally wake up around 4 a.m.), then spent a leisurely morning over my coffee and Annie Proulx’s book Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories 2.

Annie Proulx


“They made a trip out to scout around. Mitchell was stunned by the beauty of the place, not the overphotographed jagsof  the Grand Tetons but the high prairie and the luminous yellow distance, which peased his sense of spatial arrangement. He felt as though he had stumbled into a landscape never before seen on the earth and at the same time that h had been transported to the ur-landscape before human beginnings. The mountains crouched at every horizon like dark sleeping animals, their backs whitened by snow. He trod on wildflowers, glistening quartz crystals, on agate and jade, brilliant lichens. The unfamiliar grasses vibrated with light, their incandescent stalks lighting the huge ground. Distance reduced a herd of cattle to a handful of tossed cloves. HIs heart squeezed in, and he wished for a celestial eraser to remove the fences, the crude houses, the one he bought included, from this place. Even the sinewy, braided currents of the wind, which made Eugenie irritable, pleased him.”


Man Crawling Out of Trees, in Bad Dirt by Annie Proulx

 (I apologize for the massive paragraph, but that’s how it was written in the book.)


After my coffee and reading, I headed out to Grand Teton National Park and the Taggart Lake Trailhead.


At first, the trail looked like this:


Grand Teton National Park Taggart Lake trail

Blue skies, sunny warm day, trail meandering through the aspens along a babbling stream, birds singing… eh, I guess it was okay.


I wore my usual hiking shoes:


Wyoming Grand Teton National Park

My trusty orange Crocs haven’t failed me yet!


I saw some flowers:


Grand Teton National Park Wyoming


Then, the trail looked like this:


Grand Teton National Park Wyoming


And then I was there:


Grand Teton National Park Wyoming


Taggart Lake Grand Teton National Park Wyoming

Taggart Lake, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.


It was such a nice day, I decided to hike on the mile and a half to Bradley Lake.

On the way, I saw a pine cone and some moss:


Grand Teton National Park Wyoming

I might have taken a number of moss/pine cone pictures. I also might have taken a number of fungi pictures, but unfortunately they didn’t end up looking nearly as cool on my computer as they did in real life. So if anyone wants a bad picture of a cool fungi on a tree, let me know. 


And I saw another pretty flower:


Grand Teton National Park Wyoming


However, after a short while the trail started to look like this:


Grand Teton National Park Wyoming


Good thing I wore my postholing Crocs:


Grand Teton National Park Wyoming Crocs


The view through the trees of Bradley Lake looked like this:

Wyoming Grand Teton National Park


I wasn’t that impressed, and the trail was knee-deep in snow in some places, so I turned around.

And then I saw a marmot:


Grand Teton National Park marmot

I actually almost stepped on the marmot, who was about 2 inches off the trail. He/she/it was not at all concerned.


After the marmot excitement, I braved my way back through the snow to Taggart Lake, where I could kick back, snack on some carrots, and take in the view.


Grand Teton National Park Wyoming


It was a pretty good day.


Jackson Wyoming

To commemorate the day, I took a selfie in front of this giant log. Definitely wasn’t trying to get the mountains in the background. Because who wants a picture in front of the Tetons when you can take your picture with this awesome log?



Why I Hate Hiking with Boys

Blue River Oregon Oregon State University

 a few reasons why I hate hiking with boys

* disclaimer:

I have quite a number of close friends who are male, and, for the most part, I really enjoy hiking with them. This list isn’t pointing fingers at any one person (okay, maybe it is a little bit– or a lot a bit. I’m sure some of you can probably figure out who I’m talking about here…).  But I’m not naming any names. 

I know some girls who are guilty of a number of these as well.

You are also annoying to hike with. 

Jackson Hole Wyoming

I know just how you feel, Eric.
Hiking around in the mountains at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Wyoming.

  • They walk too fast.

They have longer legs and therefore a slightly bigger stride, which is annoying. I’m a tall gal, and I still can’t keep up. Maybe I need to find some shorter hiking companions. Or just more people like me who like to shift into first gear and stay there. What’s the rush anyway?

Some of us prefer to walk downhill, not Buzz Lightyear it, aka ‘falling, with style:’ a combination of running/controlled falling down the trail. I hurt myself when I go that fast. Slow down!

Utah leaping

Well, that’s one way to get across that gap.
Dead Horse State Park, Utah.

  • They wait, but not really.

You know that thing where they get way ahead of you on the trail, eventually stop and wait until you catch up, and then as soon as you reach them they take off again?


I’d punch you if I had the breath, and if you stopped long enough for me to catch you. Just because it took me more time to get to where you are doesn’t mean it was less effort. Maybe I’d like a break too. And if I stop to take a breather while you keep going there will still be a gap between us on the trail. That gap will not go away the more you do this, either. But let’s keep trying it, shall we?

southern Utah Paria area

See that black spot that’s not a fence post? That would be my hiking companion.
Paria Canyon area, Utah.

  • Peeing. It’s just so easy for you.

Some males don’t understand that for women, peeing involves more than just standing to the side of the trail for two seconds. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come up on my hiking partner, about to ask what he was looking at, and then realised he was peeing. For girls, it’s a process: taking your pack off, searching out a discreet place, positioning so you don’t pee on your shoes/pants.

So hearing “you take forever” is not helpful. I can’t just whip it out, so take a chill pill.

Also, I’m amazed at how small their bladders can be. Maybe I’m just really good at holding it, but still. Five times in two hours– you might want to get that checked out.

southern Utah, Castleton Tower

On the way back down from Castleton Tower, Utah. He’s actually eating lunch, not peeing. I’m not that perverted that I take pictures of people urinating. Geesh. That’s gross.

  • They really know how to enhance any spectacular vista.

“Wow, look at that view of the Himalayas. It’s breathtaking. I can’t believe we’re actually standing up here at Annapurna Base Camp.”


“Nice. You’re really enhancing my experience here. Wait. Oh God. Was that you? Dude, my nose hairs are burning. You really need to take some Beano or something, your farts are potent. Holy crap, I think I’m gonna pass out. Man, I think your farts are 10 times worse at altitude.”

Nepal trek Annapurna Base Camp

Luckily, this picture only captures the view, not the stench.
Annapurna Base Camp, Nepal.

  • In general, they smell funky.

Sometimes it’s a semi-pleasing funky, other times not so much. There is something to be said for pheromones, but there comes a point where the B.O. is overpowering.

There are two parts to this.


1. They don’t sweat at all, which makes you feel way out of shape, and like a nasty, disgusting slob of goop. Whoever said “Girls don’t sweat, they glisten” has obviously never hiked to Annapurna Base Camp. Or done field work in South Carolina in the summer.


2. They sweat too much, and then you feel weird for not being as gross as they are. As I generally seem to only go hiking with boys who are in much better shape than I am, I get distrustful when they’re sweatier than I am. Why is this not as strenuous for me?

Also, the sweat increases the funk smell. Like dogs, most boys tend to smell worse when wet. Deodorant is not a bad thing, just sayin. If you’re worried about the aluminum, get some Tom’s of Maine. They make super-fancy natural aluminum-free stuff. USE IT.

use deodorant smelly

To modify a phrase my mother likes to use:
“And that’s why God invented deodorant.”

  • No, I don’t want to look at your poop.

I don’t want to see your poo when we’re indoors, what makes you think that I’d be interested now that we’re outside?

And heck no am I ever ever EVER doing this with you, so stop asking:

how to poop in the woods positions

And there are more: check out this link–>  Here are the best positions for pooping in the woods

Not only is it gross, but I don’t think there is anyone on this planet I trust enough to link arms with while I poop in the woods. There are just too many things that could go wrong with that picture. Especially if one person doesn’t have the greatest balance…

I enjoy my privacy and alone time, thank you very much.

Nova Scotia national park hiking trail

I go to the woods to be alone. Not to watch you poo.
Cape Breton National Park, Nova Scotia.

  • Blowing snot rockets is disgusting.

I don’t care that we’re outside, it’s still gross. Especially because you’re so far ahead of me that I get to walk past all of them. Nasty.

Alexander Graham Bell and Mrs. Bell statue Nova Scotia

I’ll bet Mrs. Graham Bell didn’t put up with any of that nastiness.
Statue of Alexander Graham Bell and his wife in Baddeck, Nova Scotia.

And now, to leave you with a joke:

From the website The Trailmaster

How to Cross a River

One day three men were hiking along and came upon a wide, raging river. They needed to get to the other side, but it looked impossible to ford, and they had no idea how to do it.

The first man prayed: “Please God, give me the strength to cross this river.”

Poof! God gave him big strong arms and legs and he was able to swim across the river, though it took him two hours to do it.

Seeing this, the second man prayed: “Please God, give me the strength and ability to cross this river.”

Poof! God gave him a rowboat and he was able to row across the river, though it took him three hours to do it.

The third man had observed how this had worked out for his two hiking buddies, so he also prayed, saying, “Please God, give me the strength, ability and intelligence to cross this river.”

Poof! God turned him into a woman. He looked at the trail map, and in a minute walked across the bridge.


Or unless I got hungry.

Things My Brother Says

In honor of my little brother’s birthday yesterday (22, you’re making me feel old here Eric!), here are of some of his more recent quotes– as in, these are the only ones I can remember off the top of my head. I could write a pretty good series of Things Eric Says, and I’m fairly certain one of these days that will probably happen. So perhaps consider this a preview of epic works to come. They say that as a writer you should mine your family life for material. Pretty sure I’m set for writing material for the rest of my life. For a kid with selective mutism he sure has a lot to say when no one else is around, and most of it is hilarious.

Selective mutism is defined (by Wikipedia) as “… a psychiatric disorder in which a person who is normally capable of speech is unable to speak in given situations or to specific people. …. Children and adults with selective mutism are fully capable of speech and understanding language but fail to speak in certain situations, though speech is expected of them. The behaviour may be perceived as shyness or rudeness by others. A child with selective mutism may be completely silent at school for years but speak quite freely or even excessively at home.” This describes Eric to a T. It can be a challenge, but hey, we’ve all got our issues. Some are just more obvious than others. I’m sure some of his teachers, who I don’t think he ever spoke to during his 4 years of high school, would be astounded at at the Chatty Cathy he turns into as soon as he gets home. One never knows exactly what will emit from his vocal cords, so it’s never boring (see below).


Things My Brother Says


  • “I’ll bet this metal pole would float.”


The King of Drama hiking in Death Canyon.

The King of Drama after a mile or two of hiking in Death Canyon.



Dad: “Are you in shape yet?”
Eric: “No.”
Dad: “Well then we better keep biking until you are.”







  • “Don’t make me turn on my synthetic lightning.”


Bison at Yellowstone

Bison in Yellowstone National Park, July 2013, just chillin’ like a villin.



Mom: “The bison like those dry spots to hang out in.”

Eric: “They should try my lips, they’re pretty dry.”





  • “Look at that wad of goats over there.”


  • After farting in the kitchen directly in front of me, just before leaving the room: “Here’s your gift of Christmas stench.”


  • As we approach a waterfall on a hike: “I hear the pitter-patter of falling water. Or 100 mountain goats peeing at the same time.”
Castle Geyser, Yellowstone National Park.

Castle Geyser, Yellowstone National Park.

  • “I think my ass geyser just exploded.”


Happy Birthday Eric! You’re the best little brother I’ve ever had, and I can’t imagine how boringly-normal my life would be without you. You are one of the most righteous dudes I’ve ever met, and I’m so proud of you.

Rock on, bro.


“Life is already too short to waste on speed.”

“Walking takes longer… than any other known form of locomotion except crawling.  Thus it stretches time and prolongs life.  Life is already too short to waste on speed.”

Edward Abbey

Hiking to Phelps Lake, on the trail to Devil's Canyon.

Hiking to Phelps Lake, on the trail to Death Canyon in Grand Teton National Park. That’s Keegan in front, and Stephanie behind him (there were seven of us total, the others were up around the bend). As the slowest hiker ever, I bring up the rear. And take pictures of everyone else hiking from behind.

Looking back Devil's Canyon toward Phelps Lake.

Looking back Death Canyon toward Phelps Lake, which is probably named for Michael Phelps (I couldn’t find anything online that said otherwise, so that’s my theory). I’ll bet (though not any of my own money) he did all his training for the Olympics there. The water is freezing, it’d toughen you up real quick.

June 8th, and we're hiking through snow. Good thing  Keegan has that awesome walking staff.

June 8th, and we’re hiking through snow. Good thing Keegan has that awesome walking staff. We were all slightly jealous.


Death Canyon. No one died there, at least not from our party. Lots of wildlife, including a moose, quite a few birds, and a number of plants I couldn’t identify. All in all, a fantastic hike in Grand Teton National Park, and one I highly recommend to anyone. And any fellow life-enjoyers (aka those who hike slow) who would like a companion, let me know. We can meander and enjoy life to the fullest together while those other fast life-wasters hike on ahead and scare up all the bears and moose, which I’d prefer to observe from a distance anyway.