Hiking is a big love of mine. As I have mentioned before it has always been a dream of mine to through hike the AT (Appalachian Trail) which runs from Georgia to Maine. It takes about six months to do and I have read about a dozen books written by hikers who have made the journey. I read these books and dream about “someday”. I want to know as much as I can about what it takes mentally and physically to do these long distance hikes. I also love reading about the adventures of others.
Despite all my reading about the AT ( and my obsession with long distance hiking) I had never once picked up a book about the infamous long distance hike on the other side of the country. It is called The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and it also takes six months to hike, running from Mexico to Canada (2,663 miles). Last week though I made the leap and read a wonderful book about one woman’s journey on the PCT. It is called I Promise Not to Suffer by Gail Storey. The author and her husband did the hike together after he quit his job as a hospice doctor. Gail insisted upon joining him and their journey is touching, inspiring, and funny. The chapter that addressed the issue of sex on the trail had me smiling. I have always dreamed about my husband and I doing one of these long distance hikes and the issue of sex has never been addressed in my reading, that I recall. Does one even want to go there after hiking 20+ miles every day? Ditto for the sweat and caked dirt. Finally I have my answers, LOL. Though it has its share of serious too… exhaustion, animal encounters, grumpiness with each other, trail injuries, etc. The author also has to deal with dangerous weight loss and her mother’s prolonged illness back home.
Just before reading this book I wondered why I had never read a memoir about the PCT before, since I have read so very many about the Appalachian Trail and I think I figured it out after the first couple chapters. The thought of hiking any trail that includes a huge portion of desert…kinda freaks me out. I was raised in the Southwest (Arizona) and I spent years hiking and camping all over that beautiful state. I know desert and I know how wondrous and terrifying it is. I know how the sun beats down on you until you feel as though you are literally cooking on a skillet. I know heat exhaustion and how hard it can be to find water. I know how it can be blazing hot during the day and freezing at night, in the spring and fall. I know how prevalent and dangerous the rattlesnakes and mountain lions are. I lived on a property that had both in abundance. So yeah…I think that is why I chose to ignore the PCT because the desert part is kinda “been there, done that”!
Still this book has me longing to give it a go. I want to ford a river in the Mohave desert, see the mountains of the High Sierra, and travel through the lava fields of Oregon. Mostly I want to know if I have what it takes to get though a hike such as this. So far I have been unable to get my husband excited about the notion but I still dream of the day when he and I can attempt it together. We CrossFit together…can we hike from Mexico to Canada together?
If you love travel and adventure memoirs or you love hiking I highly reccomend this book. I know it has now spurred me to look for other books about the Pacific Crest Trail.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
The bundle of the week for this week is all about homemaking. This is actually one of my favorite topics and not because I just love homemaking that much (because I don’t) but because it is one of those parts of life that are a given. I need to take care of my home and the more mundane aspects of family care and doing everything as efficiently as I can just means more time carved out for the stuff I do love. I am all for tips, advice, and printables that help me keep the home ship sailing smooth and make tasks like cooking, laundry, and cleaning easier and more efficient.
In this bundle you get:
Planner Perfect – Helps you become a master manager and play to your strengths and weakness to find ways to stay organized.
Plan a Fabulous Party – Step by step preparation.
10 Steps to Organized Paper – Boy do I need this one right about now. I am spending less time at home this summer and that means the mail and papers I need to act on or organize in some way are getting away from me. Looking forward to reading up on how create a system I can easily keep up with.
Homestead Simplicity – How to cook from scratch, use homemade cleaners, and use more homesteading skills without sacrificing family time or sanity.
Life Your Way Printable Packs – Over 300 home management printables, cheat sheets, holiday planners and more, plus free monthly updates with new printables. Some great stuff here!
The ebook bundle of the week is right up my alley and I am fairly excited about it. The theme is gluten and grain free and it includes 5 wonderful ebooks. For only $7.40 you get the following: Against the Grain, Beyond Grain & Dairy, The Grain-Free Snacker, Best of the Grain Free Meal Plans, Gluten Free and Good for You.
If you are curious about going grain free or want to try and eat fewer grains and gluten then these books are an excellent resource. I like to download these books to my Dropbox and then read them on my tablet in the evenings. Plus I can take the books with me “virtually” if I have to go sit in a line at the DMV. I didn’t use to be a big ebook person but I am officially converted! Enjoy!
This past weekend I had the pleasure of curling up in bed with the sun streaming through my southern facing windows and a good book to read. I chose Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life. The author, Renee Peterson Trudeau previously wrote a book about self-renewal for moms and that is something I care very deeply about. I feel as though we cannot reach our full potential in life…as moms, wives, friends, philanthropists, etc unless we nurture and take care of ourselves first. This book is also very much about that but it extends to the whole family and how we can create that atmosphere of self renewal and soul nurturing for everyone in the family. The idea is to view your family as a sacred tribe…a collective of people who are together to support one another’s collective growth.
When you start to view the family dynamic in just such a way then you find that it changes the way you see things and people and it changes the way in which you react and relate to them. There are ten different ways in which we are called to awaken and change our thinking in the book. Some of them include:
Self Care – Taking care of yourself is needed before you can take care of someone else. This is why airplane disaster cards tell you to put your oxygen mask on first… you are no good to yourself, or anyone if you don’t see to your own needs first.
Healing – Many people have issues they need to work out and a past that haunts them in some way. I loved reading the chapter on this because I would have thought I had no issues from childhood that need to be sussed out but this chapter got me to thinking that maybe I do.
Unplugging – Getting rid of the disconnect we may be experiencing due to technology running our lives.
Using Nature as an Antidepressant – I think it is very important to have a relationship with nature and to find strength and renewal in the outdoors.
Spiritual Renewal – I enjoyed reading about cultivating spirituality even if you aren’t religious. Mixing and matching stuff from different faiths and cultures was even mentioned and I have long loved that idea.
Building Your Tribe – Making it your mission to find those around you (in your community, online) that make you feel connected and loved. This is often something so lacking in modern life but we all need our tribe!
I think this book is a real gem and I can see myself reading it a couple times a year when I want to reconnect to my family and see them, and my life, through a different lens. We all get bogged down and forget the important things. It’s nice to have a reminder.
For more info on the book click the link above or visit the author’s web site. Happy reading!
This is the time of year when garden plans start to come together. You may already have seedlings growing indoors so that they will be ready for transplant when the threat of snow and frost has finally passed. You might be itching to get outside and start digging in the dirt. I know I am! It is important to me to grow at least some of my own food, even if it just keeps me in tomatoes or bell peppers all summer, that is a step towards sustainability and self sufficiency. It is important to me personally and it is important to me that I show my children by example that we can and should grow our own food. Just because I cannot do it on the scale I want to (not enough space) doesn’t mean I can’t use every bit of space that I have to show them the importance of growing their own food to the extent they can.
Kids typically love to spend time outside when they are young but as they get older nowadays and the digital world calls to them they start to enjoy that outdoors time less. It is important for parents to keep motivating them to get outside and getting them excited about gardening will help. You can start early by reading to them or providing them with books to read themselves that have gardening as the central theme. There are some really, really good ones out there! Here are a few that I like…
Our Community Garden – This books brings gardening and different ethnic communities into focus. It is all about a community garden in San Francisco where the children play among the garden beds, giant sunflowers, and compost piles right in the heart of the city. They also grow food together with other members of their community and gather together for a pot luck using local foods.
In the Garden: Who’s Been Here? – Christina and Jeremy are on a mission to gather vegetables from the garden for their evening supper. On the way they discover that they are not the only ones who have been in the garden on this day. Who else has been there??? They take a scientific journey to discover why there is a slimy trail on a leaf in the cucumber patch and some corn kernels have been pecked off the cob. Christina and Jeremy follow the clues to discover which birds, animals, and insects have been in their garden why the garden is vital to all manner of life.
The Forgiveness Garden – This book is about so much more than gardening. When a boy from one village throws a rock across the river and injures a girl on the other side, their two villages Vayam and Gamte, become mortal enemies. The villagers become consumed with getting revenge upon each other until a young girl comes up with an idea to help bring peace to all involved, a forgiveness garden. It is a parable inspired by the original Garden of Forgiveness in Beirut, Lebanon, created as a tribute to the lost lives in the fifteen-year civil war that claimed 300,000 lives. Great story and very educational!
The Curious Garden – This book is one of my personal favorites and tells the story of a little boy named Liam who lives in a very urban, factory town where little to no greenery exists. One day when he is exploring, he is run under the railroad bridge by rain and he discovers a door with stairs that goes up to the tracks. There among the broken tracks he sees a spot where a little moss and a small tree are growing and he falls in love with this tiny little garden. Liam becomes the city “gardener” and helps this little spot to grow. What happens after that is amazing…