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posted by Sandy Fails Comments: 0 comments

This week would be different, I told myself. I’d write, pay bills, concoct a healthy dinner… and stay the heck away from those seductive trails. But, no, the rain dissolved into sunshine, the wildflowers bloomed, and hiking buddies texted. And I succumbed, guiltily lacing up my dusty hiking boots once again. As the fish spoiled and veggies wilted uncooked in my refrigerator, I had to admit: yes, I am a problem hiker. At least in the Crested Butte summer.

It’s easy enough to justify. Hiking in moderation is good for you. It clears the mind, strengthens the body, and uplifts the spirits, especially in a flower-rich year like this one. If only those afternoon showers would return, I’d also get the oil changed, dust the gritty nightstand and finish that article. The problem isn’t me, it’s this dang relentlessly beautiful weather.

For weeks now, I’ve told myself it’s okay. I mean I’m a social hiker; it’s a great social lubricant. It’s not like I hike alone. Well, only on days when I just want to grab a quick one and my hiking buddies are probably busy.

Really, I HAD to hike every day this week. We had out-of-town company; it would be rude not to hike. And then there was that editorial discussion with a magazine writer. Business meetings just go more smoothly with a little hiking. And lunch with a friend; what’s the harm of a little hiking with lunch? And then when I did force myself to sit down to write, well, sometimes you just need a wee hike to get the old creative juices flowing. 


posted by Sandy Fails Comments: 1 comments

            I just spent a month in Nepal, a destination that towers above all others, literally. My husband Michael and I trekked over Thorung-La, called the highest pass in the world at almost 18,000 feet, after two weeks of hiking in the shadow of the four Annapurna summits. The smallest of those rises above 26,000 feet.

            But before I extol the wonders of Nepal, let me say a word about…vanity.

            I’ve never been a beauty queen. But in my advancing maturity, I’ve become accustomed to my moisturizer, eyeliner and hair dryer with curling attachments. Only with some reluctance did I pack my trekking duffle with no appearance enhancers. Although Michael and I had hired a porter for our foray, I knew I had to heed Maslow’s “needs hierarchy” (e.g. food, safety… clean teeth), and my sleeping bag, blister kit and toothbrush left no room for volumizing hair mousse.

            As it turned out, I found it surprisingly easy to go native on the trekking trail. I learned to slosh a few drops of Dr. Bronner’s all-purpose liquid soap on scalp and armpits beneath a cold-water spigot, then let it all air-dry in its own time. A ponytail band, ball cap and bandana provided coiffure management. Some nights I did little more than smear the sunscreen off my face with a grimy bandana before tumbling into my sleeping bag. The only thing I put on my eyes was my sweat-filmed sunglasses, ever needed for gazing at yaks on distant slopes, mountain eagles floating in the thin air or glaciers hanging from summits so high they made our necks sore.