Crowded Hikes: The Death of Solitude in the Outdoors. And Are They Beyond Leave No Trace?

It’s finally sunny in Portland again and that means everyone wants to hike in our nearby parks and forests.

Let me emphasize, everyone.

It’s like the city evacuates and piles into Willamette National Forest. My first few hikes of the season had me thinking about Leave No Trace, as I witnessed people who don’t know what’s up.

With the outdoors so accessible from Portland, combined with the drastic increase over the past decade of recreation in national parks and forests, thousands of people traipse into the woods seemingly without a clue about Leave No Trace. Continue reading

Finding My Spirit Animal

coyote3Three summers ago I was on my first solo backpacking trip in Vermont. It was my second night, the sun was setting and I walked down to the stream to filter water. I was tired, out of hiking shape, and feeling a little unsure about the whole trip.Towards the end of the hill, I froze at the sound of an explosive rustle nearby, a sound too big to be a squirrel. My eyes flew in the direction of the noise, and staring at me from across the stream was a coyote. He was young, white, and fluffy, watching me as I watched him. A moment passed and I decided to step back. The second I moved, another coyote jumped from a few feet away – where he stealthily hid – and ran across the stream to his friend. I watched the coyotes play on the other side of the stream, where a third coyote joined. My breath had grown shallow, and I squatted down to watch the three play, unfazed by my presence.
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My New Favorite Garden Plants!

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Wwoofing in North Carolina was my first substantial introduction to farming and gardening. Now that it has come to an end, I’d like to honor some of my favorite plants and herbs I learned about and ate on a regular basis at Blue Heron Farm. The best thing about these plants is they can withstand the cold winters and they love to grow easily in abundance! Read about these beautiful foods, their nutrition benefits, and how to use ’em!
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My New Appreciation for Spinach

Meredith, owner of Granite Springs Farm, took a mesh bag full of spinach out of the washer machine. It’s a common practice among the local farms, to wash vegetables in a bathtub and put them on spin cycle in the washer.

Spinach at Granite Springs grows both outside and in the hoop house. It was the first time I had ever seen spinach before sitting in bags in a grocery store. Growing up, it just appeared in my fridge, and my whole life I never wondered where it came from or what it looked like before that point. Working on a farm, I find myself infantile. My questions of, what’s this? This is broccoli? These are brussel sprouts? THIS is SPINACH?!IMG_1147
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