New Year’s Resolution

New Year’s Resolution

This was originally posted on Instagram. For more frequent updates on my adventures, follow me on social media.

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Like most American children — especially those of us who grew up in small, rural white towns and went to public school — I was raised to be a “patriot.” I’m not sure I ever fit that mold, and I don’t identify with it now. What I understand American patriotism to be is a fierce, blind love that rejects any criticism, even if it’s warranted. It’s the attitude that you can’t down-talk the military because you would be insulting veterans, you can’t stand up against environmentally destructive development because you’re interfering with good American “progress,” and Kaepernick is a douchebag because he cares more about justice than the national anthem. Continue reading “New Year’s Resolution”

Throwback to Theodore

Throwback to Theodore

Before spending a month at the Standing Rock protest encampment near Cannon Ball, ND, I explored quite a bit of the Dakotas. In South Dakota, my girlfriend and I toured Badlands and Wind Cave National Parks, Custer State Park, and Jewel Cave National Monument. Our last stop before we parted ways — her to Colorado and I to Standing Rock — was Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota’s only national park.

With all the hoopla at Standing Rock, I wasn’t able to find time to write about TRNP. But now that I’m in Colorado with some down time, I want to share this incredible place. Continue reading “Throwback to Theodore”

With love from Standing Rock

With love from Standing Rock

The cold has a way of seeping all the way into your bone marrow. Any exposed skin immediately starts to ache, and is numb in fifteen seconds. Slick tracks of ice make it difficult to walk without cleats. At night, the floodlights on the hills from the construction operation block out the stars and defeat the need for headlamps. Despite the harsh climate and the intense situation, I often have the thought that the Standing Rock resistance encampment is the most beautiful place in the world.

I feel it when I stand atop “Facebook Hill” and look out across the sprawl of Oceti Sakowin, the main camp north of the Cannonball River. I feel it when the sun sets and the sky and hills turn to fire and the river a rose-tinted mirror. I feel it in the heartbeat of the drum thumping at the sacred fire, reverberating through Oceti and across the river to where I’m sleeping in the Rosebud Camp. I feel it in the laughter of the children sledding down the hill and the horses galloping through the hodge-podge of teepees and army tents and RVs.

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The view of Oceti Sakowin from “Facebook Hill.” Oceti is comprised of many smaller camps, and is located north of the Cannon Ball River on disputed land. FAITH MECKLEY

Continue reading “With love from Standing Rock”

Ranking California’s National Parks

Ranking California’s National Parks

With nine national parks inside its boundaries, California has the most national parks in any one state. Alaska comes in at a close second with eight parks. I was in California for about three months, and I have had the pleasure of touring eight of its nine parks. I missed out on Channel Islands National Park, which is off the mainland and requires a pricey boat ticket.

This was quite difficult to do because all eight of these parks are incredible, but I have ranked them. Even though some were better than others, the are all absolutely worth visiting. And of course, this is just my opinion, not a definitive ranking. Depending on what kind of environments you prefer and what outdoor activities you enjoy, your favorites list could be completely different.

Continue reading “Ranking California’s National Parks”