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2600+ Selfies: Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail From The Mexican Border North

March 26, 2015

“Hold still, there’s a tick on your cheek!”

That was my greeting the first morning backpacking the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada: April 22, 1985.

Getting water from the gutter of the interstate, climbing Mt Whitney a few weeks later, hiking 12 miles on a cough drop and half a bar, wrestling food from a bear in Yosemite, crossing blue-white glacial streams in Oregon, hiding from rain in pit toilets in Oregon and rest areas in Washington: these memories from completing all 2800 miles of the PCT are etched permanently into my synapses to make it an adventure that informs every day of my life.

Can you imagine what it is like to backpack over 2600 miles from one end of the United States to the other?

No, honestly –you can’t. Even if you’ve been backpacking, unless you’ve done the Pacific Crest Trail, the Continental Divide Trail or the AT or similar long distance hike you really can’t imagine what it’s like–it’s not really backpacking.


Many have tried. I tried. I did it. What we can offer you is a tantalizing hint.

Some of us can offer more.. I hope so. In the coming weeks, I will do a 30th anniversary trip on as much of the California section of the PCT.

To get a glimpse of the transformation that occurs, watch Andy’s video. He says “The end of the trail is just the beginning of the story.” Visit to learn more about a new short film, Lost or Found: Life after hiking 2600 miles from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Andy’s personal website is at

Read more…

Grammar on Big Bang Theory: Had will have placed; Had have had brought + semi-colons

March 25, 2015

Am I a member of the Grammar Police? As a college writing teacher, it falls on me Read more…

Burning Man: A Few of My Favorite Things includes Love for Ranger Halston

March 24, 2015

Dr Yes came up with the brilliant idea of doing a parody of the song “Favorite Things” from Sound of Music mashing it up with images from Burning Man. It’s pretty fun, and if you’re feeling bad, just remember a few of your favorite things and then you won’t feel so bad. Lyrics and new video by Dr. Yes with vocals by Jasmine Chloe includes these inspired phrases: “lighting of darktards” “lamplighters on parade Hudson’s illusions”

Yep, it’s pretty fun, but you know what’s not? Getting permanently blinded in one eye and partially blinded in the other when you’re volunteering as a Ranger during the Man Burn.

3701540_1427159875.0746 Because that’s what happened to Kelli aka Ranger Halston Read more…

Chianti Classico Adds “Gran Selezione” + Reviews of 4 levels of Ruffino Wine

March 23, 2015

Gwendolyn Alley aka Art Predator:

Love Italian food? Then you should definitely get to know these Italian wines! Chianti pairs well with pizza and pasta –but also lamb shanks and rib eyes!

Originally posted on wine predator:

“Wine and life…They are as inseparable as the sun
and the warmth it brings.”
—Gabriele Tacconi, Ruffino Winemaker

Recently Que Syrah Sue and I participated in a Ruffino Chianti tasting of four wines hosted by Snooth and with a video chat. The occasion for the tasting was their release of their new top of the line “Ruffino Riserva Ducale Oro Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2010.”

There were four wines in the line-up, and we tasted them in this order. Reviews of each follow.

Ruffino Chianti DOCG 2013
Ruffino Aziano Chianti Classico 2012
Ruffino Riserva Ducale Chianti Classico Riserva 2011

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53 Interesting Facts About The Number 53 #11: 53 is a Sophie Germain Prime Number

March 22, 2015


Here we are the third Sunday in March, and as March is Women’s History Month, it seemed the perfect time to mention that not only is the Number 53 a Prime Number, but it is a Sophie Germain Prime Number. Plus we are coming up on Marie-Sophie Germain’s birthday: she was born April 1, 1776 in Paris, France.

Happy Birthday, Sophie!

Interesting Facts About the Number 53 #11: 53 is a Sophie Germain prime number: 2 x 53 = 106 + 1 = 107 which is also a prime number.

Read more…

Eco-Psych History of Two Trees Ventura, CA

March 21, 2015


Yesterday was the first day of spring, and a new moon with a solar eclipse (photo from Longyearbyen on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, Norway via APOD details here). As I mentioned yesterday, the first new moon of spring is an ideal time to dig in deep–whether in the soil or within yourself. The days before and after an eclipse are a time for reflection on what you find hidden in the shadow; it’s also when Lord Ganesha roams the earth, there to help us remove obstacles. What is the eclipse revealing for you? What will you plant? What will you grow? Where have you been and where are you growing?

Yesterday, we marked the day with a walk up a steep hill above town at sunset and moon set. Locals call the place “Two Trees.” (Note: I originally published this yesterday with the eclipse and moved it to be on its own post this morning.) This place and these trees help me to stay acquainted with my breathing body so that “the perceived world itself begins to shift and transform” (David Abram, Spell of the Sensuous, 1996, p. 63). What follows is a history of Two Trees –a personal, ecopsychological, depth psychological, and historical version based on my own research and the research of others, including my mom, Suzanne Paquette Lawrence. These trees are my inheritance–they teach me “how the cracks in stones and the veins of leaves parallel the lineaments of the human soul” (Chalquist, 2007, p. 12).

When my great grandparents Elmer Ellsworth and Anna Moore Paquette came from Kansas and Colorado as newlyweds in 1905 to San Buenaventura, home of the newly modernized “Mission by the Sea,” like a beacon on the highest hill above town stood a grove of thirteen Blue Gum eucalyptus trees planted by horticulturalist Joseph Sexton just a few years before. To sustain the saplings, he hired his neighbor to haul water up the steep dry hillsides covered in shoulder high mustard, various short grasses, slender stemmed blue dicks, and lupine with its palm shaped leaves in late winter and rattling pea pods in late spring. Dark green, even then the youthful trees would have stood out huddled against the blue sky and tawny hillsides.



The remaining trees were the first landmark that etched onto my consciousness of place, a navigational north star. Read more…

2015’s Total Eclipses: March, April, Sept

March 20, 2015

Today March 20 2015 will go down in history as the day when a super new moon eclipsed the sun on the first day of spring. Because of the remote location of the eclipse, few saw it. But for those who did, as the video shows, it was quite spectacular.

Astronomically, it is an exceptional day: the next will be in August 2017. But for North America, two more total eclipses are on the horizon. As eclipses come in pairs, Read more…


2015 PCT Thru-hike

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