cliff shelf || the road is home

Cliff Shelf || 0.5 miles
Badlands, SoDak

the trail rose 200 feet, up into sandstone peaks that triangled up to the white sky. it faded to the color of dusty blue felt later.

we hiked on a thick, humid morning. we visited a few trail heads, but this was our first. we mostly shot photos and stopped to put our hands on our hips and breathe deep the view that wandered down into the wild valley below.

dad wore a tee with cut off sleeves. abbie was a nautica model. i can't remember what i was wearing.

later we went back with mom and watched a great pink moon roll up over a lavender blue horizon like a sleepy wagon wheel. there was a deer munching in the brush below the summit. black birds couldn't decide where to land.

taillights were hazy red on the ride home. my limbs were heavy and happy tired. my parents talked and we pulled over to watch the sunset through the windshield. kayaks were strapped to our roof in the middle of the desert. abbie aimed her lens like a machine gun at a goat silhouetted on a peak.

i watched as she shot it. and breathed in and out air that was rich with something I don't know how to describe.

so thankful for all you guys. 
you all are beautiful harmonies in this world. 
you make me smile and my heart hum with each of your comments 
and whenever i read your blogs.

 xx || kate

granite canyon || the road is home

Granite Canyon || 12.9 Miles
Teton Village, WY
Trailhead Elevation: 10,450 Feet

we end up stopping at a different trail head than the one we pinpointed on our map back at camp. we have a limited amount of time-- and this trail is closer. Granite Canyon, the sign says, and my dad and I both agree that canyons are cool.

I have a backpack with sunscreen and water and probably some other junk I forgot about. dad has a thermos coffee and bear spray in the side pocket of the drivers side. first we decide that we probably don't need the bear spray, because what are the chances? a sign a hundred yards in sprouts up and tells us in red letters that there are indeed chances.  

so dad walks back for the can with the red pin. I wait. I see a deer. 

the trail cuts through a meadow that looks like something out of the sound of music. the big blue/gray shapes of the rocky tetons crop up around us, laced by ragged pines and a river swollen with melt. the trail loops off into the woods, climbing gradually. there's evidence of bears everywhere; fur tufts, droppings, claw marks on trees. I'm giddy with excitement, though we never catch sight of one. we see something like a woodchuck instead, not wanting to let us by. it eats grass for a long time, dad contemplates and i take it's picture.

we pass a group of hiker dudes who haven't showered or probably seen civilization in awhile; friendly beards wearing bandannas. the light comes in through the trees and the now deep-forest around us looks like a scene out of prince caspian. we ditch our stuff on an embankment and climb some rocks to drink up the views of the foothills, and the rocky giants above. 

we stop at the river and reach down to let the water run through the gaps between our fingers; liquid ice, fresh from the top. on the way back we weave through clusters of wild, fragrant sage and patches of native birches. I feel like this is ages ago, with the golden sunlight on my face; everything is ancient but new, rich, yellow.


what was your greatest adventure this week? and who's pumped for thankgiving and christmas? because, dang am I ever.

night drives in arches || the road is home

arches || moab, utah

we were gone for almost two months, but there was something about that particular night that made it one of the most vivid of the trip for me. I remember that warm Moab, Utah air rushing in through the open backseat windows. Abbs and I were like two newly adopted shelter dogs, hanging our messy heads out the windows. mom was in the passenger seat, dad had his hands on the steering wheel; i could see the wind dancing in his curls.

we rounded a corner and a motorcycle streaked past my window. no helmet; a ripped tank top filled up like a sail, flapping. he revved his engine and the sound ripped right down the belly of that canyon. the kind of sound you could probably feel in your chest if your feet were attached to that same ground.

"that's like the ultimate freedom" i said. mom reminded me of the dangers of motorcycles, but still got what i meant.

it was so dry. dust bellowed up behind every passing pick up like plumes of smoke. The light played hide and seek with the rock formations, and the shadows of the sandstone walls swallowed us in and out of lower temperatures, looming like giants. we got out at park ave's trail head, and it was twilight and silent. and we were staring down the wash at purples and reds.

and i stood there like the wee, starry-eyed child i be, staring up up up at so much big big big.


there's something about late night drives, isn't there? (and late night cereal eating... but that's beside the point...sorta.) when was the last time you went on one? solo, or with sibs/pals/a dog hanging his head out the window? what's your idea of a fun late night adventure? 

gold bones

I pull and nothing happens. I pull again and nothing happens.

“Yo. Open up.”

I watch the little black lock-indicator relent through the passenger glass. In a brash motion I fling the door to its hinge's extent and fall in. I balance two coffees stacked on top of each other. The straws are inconvenient.

 “Soymilk,” I extend it.

His hand is bone and milk white as it comes and wraps around the plastic cup.  “Thank you.”

He is in messy hair and faded skin. I am in high-waisted shorts and a starchy new tee shirt. There is space in his skinny jeans but he's still breathing. There’s no pretty scenery but there’s some trees going out the windshield.

There’s a minute where nothing happens. The car is off so there’s no air conditioner noises and no bastille noises because the key it out of the mouth of the key receiver and the music died like don mclean said it would when I opened the passenger. a car door somewhere else opens and closes and I watch him pull the paper tip off of his straw with his teeth.

“you want to go for a ride?” I ask. “somewhere
where we can drink these. And look at

he shakes his mess. this is the first time he has been out in a week. his eyes aren't ready for the pretty yet, but they are ok with the parking lot. 

"okay," i say. sipping.

"its pretty
he says, moving some bones toward the glass separating us from the coffee shop.

"i'm looking"

"you see those

"i see them."

he leans back,
putting the
into his fist.

i move my eyes to the windshield and look at the trees. i sip the coffee in my hand. this  the first time i've
seen him
in a

i wonder when he's last eaten.

"man," he says. "look at those trees though..."

i say nothing for a minute.

"what do you see
when you look at those trees?"

he thinks.

i think about putting the music back on for him. would it make him feel safer to have the noise? should i give him the noise? 

"i see
tree skin." he says and moves the straw past his thin
tree tumors."

"i saw a bowl made out of a tree tumor at a museum once." 


"yeah, i don't know."

he swallows and then
leans his head back on the rest.
he is so tall that it just kinda drapes there, letting some of the
reddish blonde fall over the back;
coaxing his adam's apple to the surface of the skin wrapping his gullet. 


i agree.

he swallows and it's noticeable with the way his head is. the bump in his throat drifts up and down.
his eyes laze shut.

"you want me to put the key in so
so you can have the

he shakes his head
or tries

and then just says "mmm"

less energy spent in the murmurings than in the movements.
the movements are

"mmm" sounds like yes but i know him well enough to know it means the opposite. 

"i'm ok."

"you sure?"

"i'm ok."


he sits back up again and sips the drink in his hands, swallows some substance this time.
he laughs without parting his lips. the noise catches in the space between his teeth and skin.

the laugh is a swan
covered in oil;

pretty once
but half dead now. 

"why, you want the music on? i thought you liked talking." he says. "the quiet."

"i do." i say.
"i do like
talking but i
want you to be


he stops being
himself for a
second, looking.

"but you know..." he says. "like,

i feel like maybe i'm too

i'm too comfortable in a

bad way.

because my comfort zones... I don't know...

i didn't make them in good places.
so when i'm
in them, i'm

i'm in a not good place."

in a good place." 

"stop with your english," he moans. 

i laugh "i'm sorry,
i'm sorry."

he thinks, but i can tell it's about something else. 

"you know what's so weird though?" he asks, then goes on. "i
those places. the comfortable places. i
made that

head space."

"you can always make new ones, you know." i said.
"new head spaces."

"i don't
know how."

"you say
you don't know how, but
but you won't let anyone show you how." i said

casual but
but wanting to tear him
apart to

to get to the 

"it would start with
thing you
so much.

it would start with something light, like a croissant. maybe some soup. then a drive into the mountains. some clean air
in your lungs--
fresh air.
pretty views.

the trees here, yes. they're pretty.
but the walls in your bedroom can be pretty too
until you make them your
the coffee is good until it just becomes another
hunger killer.
the problem is, you're too
knotted up

in yourself to start building that new place to live in. you still obsess over what other people will think of you, or what your sick mind might say about you.
well listen, pretty eyes,
you're slow dancing death into a
and you're not letting anyone
cut in."

"it's hard to let her go." he says. "i... i don't know. i just..."

"what?" i ask. "you what?"

his tongue touches his lips. he shakes his head. 
so much space in those skinny jeans.

"i feel like i deserve her."
he tells me.

he tells me because he can't see
what i see.

behind those


i missed writing. i missed it a lot


notch || the road is home

Notch Trail || 1.5 miles
Badlands, SoDak

of all the places in this world i've been, the badlands are one of my most beloved. it's so quiet there, so quiet. i'll never forget the quiet. it's the kind of quiet like what the moon would probably have, i think. it feels moon-quiet to me; broken every oft by a cellphone voice or family of four. or seven.

i woke up early for this one, and put on gym shorts. momma had coffee going and i drank some and abbie put on her wide angle. my dad was scruffy faced and talking about the heat probably. the sky was opaque white over top of us as we drove to the trail head. it would shed its skin to a robin's egg blue later on.

we hiked, climbed ladders and rocks, and sweat some. i took pictures of abbie taking pictures, and at the end of it there was what looked like an ancient cave of bats that were birds instead. birds that swam up and dove down again like the thick air was water; messing up the silence with those heaven soaked voices.


where was the last place you adventured like an over-caffeinated fiend?