Nature’s Morning Symphony

It’s morning in a Virginia mountain forest. I’m awake at 6 a.m. listening to the sounds outside my tent. Melodic trills. Whining whistles. Urgent notes increasing from loud to piercing. Hollow pecking. Raucous scolding calls. Buzzing that whooshes past my ear. One propeller in the distance. I can just barely make out the hum of cars on a highway. Sharp Percussive hits rustle leaves on the forest floor. These sounds I recognize. I greet the birds by name whose voices are familiar. I rejoice that i didn’t set up my tarp under the tree that’s dropping nuts. I drift back into half sleep. read more

My Umbrella: A Room with a View

I Love My Gear!

My Umbrella is a Rainy Day Room With a View

Yesterday, I walked on Cold Mountain, VA, in a cloud. Rain drizzled down and visibility was

"My Room with a View"

about 20 feet. Yet, I was enjoying the walk, the view, and a visit to this magical place of beauty.  As I walked, I realized that my umbrella played a big part in my ability to embrace this moment in comfort  and joy.

When I first started backpacking, I thought that an umbrella would be about the dumbest thing I could bring.  Wouldn’t it get caught in branches along the trail?, I thought.  An umbrella is fragile and awkward! Umbrellas are for city streets, not trails!  It’s just not right! An umbrella is bulky and hard to pack. My list of reasons to leave the umbrella at home was long. read more