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Slumberjack

Concentrating is like an adventure where nothing happens, and the more you do of it the more you want to tell someone about it and the less there is to tell. I guess that’s the difference between an adventure and what Mom calls a "pain in the ass.”

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House of fire and ice

I had never understood why humans collect things just for looking at, but as I looked at the tiny home wearing a hat of rampaging flame, I thought I understood how a building tells the story of the person inside. It’s a little bit like how the desert and mountains tell their story through cliffs, canyons, rocks and rivers both by what is missing and what is left behind.

The Weather Jinx brings a white Christmas

The only way forward was to push through the branches like abominable snowmen. I let Mom go first because when she crashes through the brush, she knocks all the white dirt off the branches and carries it away in her collar, waistband and inside the packpack.

Delicacy

I'm a barefoot runner," I explained. "You should try it. Although sometimes I have to wear hats, and you shouldn't try that if you can avoid it." "Oh no!" she said. "Would you like me to call Sarah McLaughlan for you? She can help, I saw a special all about it on TV."

Foiled me once…

Most people don't know this, but deer are actually very large birds related to chickens and turkeys. Poultry like deer can't fly very far, but they can fly over bushes without breaking stride.

The Icy Era

The white dirt wasn't everywhere, though. In the sunny patches, the rocks made a messy set of stairs that wagged up the mountain. Above our heads the pointy crown of the mountain stuck straight up toward the sky and all around it in a giant skirt was the biggest pile of loose rocks you can possibly imagine.

People math

“Hang on, this morning you wanted to go 10 miles today, but you were frustrated because the trail was too short. And now we’ve gone 10 miles and you’re upset because the trail is too long? Your game is definitely a lousy one if you lose even when you reach the goal…”

Mountain taxonomy

Finally Mom had had it. The trail was under a long stretch of white dirt, and we were practically within view of the top. “This trail may be covered in snow, but there is plenty of open ground if we make our own path,” Mom said. "Let’s see how high up we can get if we go straight up.” I was proud of Mom. I always explore the mountain outside the trail on our adventures, but she’s usually less curious. The West is a land with a history of explorers who had to break their own trail.

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