Photo by Elizabeth Halt
Photo by Elizabeth Halt

Entries organized under travel

baby feet are the sweetest

August 7, 2014 | baby feet are the sweetest

aren’t they?

atlas is 11!

March 19, 2014

on saturday, atlas turned 11, so i thought it would be fun to wander through his life in pictures.

and so it begins. | atlas in 2003

2003: i have a new puppy! this is a year that includes surgery (for me), parvo (for him), and the love + fun + adventure + growing pains of our new life together. | atlas in 2004

2004: this is a year that includes training, daily adventures, trips to sheep dung estates & san diego, and a move from sacramento to folsom. | atlas in 2005

2005: this is a year that includes more training, more daily adventures, and the pleasure + pain of both a jackrabbit chase & a squirrel catch. | atlas in 2006

2006: this is a year that includes a move to oregon, a road trip to seattle, camping, hikes, time at the oregon coast, and the beginning of an annual corn maze tradition. | atlas in 2007

2007: this is a year that includes a road trip to seattle, a road trip to michigan, an adventure in colorado, and fun dog + person classes. | atlas in 2008

2008: this is a year that includes lots of time at the oregon coast, an autumn trip to detroit lake, the first kitty-friend for a kitty-obsessed puppy, and many more daily adventures. | atlas in 2009

2009: this is a year that includes the call of the wild dog camp, lots of hiking, more fun dog + person classes, and more daily adventures. | atlas in 2010

2010: this is a year that includes a new dog-friendly work environment (meaning: i leave my job to be my own employer) and a road trip to the central oregon coast. | atlas in 2011

2011: this is a year that includes a road trip to the olympic peninsula and many many many daily adventures. | atlas in 2012

2012: this is a year that includes hikes, adventures, and three months on the couch due to a fractured puppy toe. | atlas in 2013

2013: this is a year that includes a move to michigan, an adventure in north dakota, a hike up a mountain, encounters with deer + bear poop + foxes + partridge, an arctic-like winter, a household that always seems to have meat + gravy, and many many daily adventures.

happy birthday, atlas!

i love you more than all the stars in the sky & all the fish in the sea, and i am beyond grateful for every single one of our years together.

theodore roosevelt national park

November 2, 2013

on our drive from oregon to michigan, atlas and i stopped in north dakota for a day to visit my sister and brother-in-law and little savannah.

we went to the theodore roosevelt national park for a hike and a picnic. isn’t it gorgeous! i love the hills and the valleys and the different shades of green and yellow. it reminds me of the badlands of south dakota, which makes sense, because i think these are considered the badlands of north dakota.

if i were a giant, i would pretend the hills were rocks and the valleys were a river and that i had to get across the river on the rocks without falling in.

the bison was standing by the guardrail when we drove by. i’m pretty sure he wanted to say hello because he stood there so nicely while i took photos. (if you were here, i’d have you watch me flip back and forth through the other photos i have of him because you can see his eyes opening and closing.) (and in case you are like me and are wondering how you can tell the difference between a bison and a buffalo, apparently buffalo have longer horns and are only found in africa and south asia.)

it was beyond wonderful to see savannah again. she took atlas for a walk (with my help) and ordered him around (not that he listened). it was pretty cute. after our picnic, she wanted me to take pictures of her. she ran to a spot above the river, stood still for a moment, ran back to me, looked at the picture and said, “a cute one!!!” she repeated this over and over and over. she was a delightful change from my usual and not-so-agreeable photo subject atlas.

from oregon to michigan, day 2

September 17, 2013

i drove through coeur d’alene in the early morning. the lake was perfectly still and a glassy black, in a way that made the water look solid instead of liquid, like you could walk on it.

i don’t know why i didn’t take any pictures of idaho and western montana. they were both gorgeous. the hills and mountains were clustered thickly with evergreens that cascaded down to the water and there was often a crystal clear river on one side of me.

that second day, there was a lot of driving.

i stopped for gas in montana and found an interesting coffee concoction with strawberry and almond.

i stopped again at a rest stop in montana and found a way to get to the water so i could take a few pictures, though i was a little sorry i did so when atlas walked happily into the river and splashed about and then i had to put a wet dog in the car with me. that was also the rest stop where a man was walking his bengal cat on a leash back and forth in front of our car, and atlas was trying desperately to convince me to let him out so he could say hello.

montana is a very long state.

to break up my drive, i stopped in bozeman, since it has always been on my short list of places i think i could live.

unfortunately, the day was hotter than i anticipated, even though it was late in the day, and atlas looked miserable while walking and couldn’t stay in the car, so we wandered the main street for a short while and then continued on again.

it worked out well, since another storm had been following us, and it caught up to us a short while down the road, in livingston. i stopped at a tiny rest stop to wait out the rain, and entertained myself by taking pictures.

we drove until it was dark, and then stopped at a rest stop to sleep for a few hours.

i got out a treat for atlas and peanut butter and crackers for me. atlas likes to eat his treats on the grass, and i was afraid to let his leash go, so i found a picnic bench by the road where there was a patch of grass right next to it.

i was sitting on the bench when my eye was caught by a two foot long snake that was wriggling its way toward me on the asphalt. it was very close. poor atlas did not get to finish his treat that night. we both went in the car immediately.

i used to be deathly afraid of snakes, and i cured it, but i am still not entirely comfortable around them when i am not sure whether they are poisonous or not. i will confess that my sleep that night was not entirely restful. i could not help wondering whether snakes could crawl up the side of a car and through an open window and that is not really the sort of thought that helps one fall asleep.

from oregon to michigan, day 1

September 15, 2013

we left oregon last thursday morning.

after making one last run to the storage unit, i began to put everything else into the car. (when i saw the piles on my living room floor, i was worried i had over-estimated my car’s capacity, but everything fit nicely, with the exception of atlas’s giant dog crate.)

usually, when i am making multiple trips back and forth, atlas wanders back and forth with me, or else he explores the bushes behind the apartment. this time, he walked out with me, then he stood like a statue next to the car, his eyes fixed upon me. many many trips later, he still hadn’t moved.

part-way through, i brought all my pillows and blankets out to the car to make a comfy bed for atlas. i arranged everything nicely, then i asked him to get in and test it for me, so i could see if it needed any adjustments. he jumped up onto his bed and then he refused to get out. his face clearly said, “i am not leaving this car. you might forget me.” it was pretty cute. he never did get out. instead, he enjoyed his bed while i finished packing.

when i left, i was exhausted and excited and had pickle juice on my feet.

there must have been a jar of pickle juice in the garbage with a lid that was ajar because when i carried the last bag of garbage to the trash bin, pickle juice began to drip onto my toes and then the bag broke and everything spilled onto the ground. i had already locked the apartment for the last time, so i improvised and cleaned my sandals and feet with a jug of water and a towel that i pulled back out of the trash bin.

that first day, there was a lot of driving, and the drive was uneventful.

we stopped at multnomah falls so i could say a proper photographic goodbye to my beloved portland/oregon.

we stopped again at a rest stop in eastern oregon, where i found some lovely weeds along a fence line and atlas found a snake draped on a fence post.

we stopped again in cornell, washington, to meet a bloggy friend for dinner. we took subs to a park and ate them there, a few wasps as our companions, so atlas could lie on the grass and eat a treat.

after dinner, we raced a storm all the way to spokane.

the sky was black behind us, thunder crashed overhead, and lightning split the sky in front of us.

my general plan for the trip was to either camp for the night or stop at a rest stop for a few hours of sleep.

we couldn’t camp that first night because there were flash flood warnings in effect. i stopped at a rest stop near coeur d’alene to sleep for a bit, but the storm caught up with us and the rain was so heavy that i couldn’t leave the windows open. atlas kept panting, so i got back on the road, thinking i’d drive to the next rest stop and see if we left the storm behind.

it was raining so hard that i didn’t feel safe driving, so i took the very next exit.

guess what we found there?

the first thing we found was a hotel that allowed dogs. not only that, when i went inside, there was a picture of a weimaraner next to their desk. when i told the clerk that i had a weimaraner in the car, she introduced me to dodger, their guest services manager, who just so happened to be a weimaraner. (that’s him in the bandana.)

finding dodger on that rainy night felt like the loveliest example of serendipitous magic, and i went to bed happily.

hello, hello

September 11, 2013

i am just popping in to say that atlas and i are in michigan! it was a long journey, especially the second to last day, but we are here and we made it safe and sound.

i will tell you some stories and share some photos once i get my computer set up. also once i rest a bit; i woke up this morning and realized that i am exhausted. hopefully soon.

atlas was an angelic traveler. i appreciate him immensely.

he is exhausted too. he is not getting much sleep, what with the kitty-related excitement and the need to keep me under constant surveillance. i suspect he will crash at some point.

(in unrelated news, apparently atlas likes beets, because i just had to stop writing this to see what he was nibbling on in the kitchen. he had taken some beet ends out of the garbage and was enjoying a snack.)

there are a few photos of atlas the traveler on his facebook page.

happy wednesday!

michigan, the water wonderland

September 1, 2013

atlas and i are leaving for michigan this week. most likely on thursday or friday.

isn’t it pretty!

i have always thought that the upper peninsula is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and i am excited to share it with you.

(in case you saw this post in your email, or are reading it for a second time, the sale has gone away. my sincerest apologies to anyone who was interested and did not sign up. i did not realize how overwhelming the act of adding something new to my plate this close to a move would be, and i had a moment of clarity where i realized that the most congruent thing would be to close the sale and devote my time to the things already on my plate.)

through atlas’s eyes

August 27, 2013

want to see where we’re moving through atlas’s eyes? you can click on the images to see a larger version.

the apple tree is on my grandparents’ old potato farm, not very far away. the rocky beach is eight miles down the road, perfect for a morning run. (there is another beach even closer, though i haven’t been to that one in years.) the sandy beach might be 20 minutes away. the sand dunes might be 20 minutes away. the trail is almost literally a block away.

and in case you’re wondering, that was my beach towel. i always lay a towel out for atlas. he always steals mine. unless someone has an even larger towel or blanket, in which case he will steal that one instead. it’s hilarious.

on morocco and disappointment

June 12, 2013

i spent a few days in morocco last april.

i shared some photos with you, and told you a story about a little old man in a rumpled suit with two peacocks in his bicycle basket, but i haven’t really talked about my time there.

i didn’t tell you about all the beauty i experienced in morocco.

i didn’t tell you how we made friends with the boy who helped us find our hostel on the first night. he took us on a tour of the souks and i bought turquoise blue earrings from him for my sister.

or how we stumbled upon a beautiful oasis of a restaurant that fed our bodies and souls.

or how we made friends with the shopkeeper whose shop i fell into on the first night when a young boy thrust a fake snake at me and i jumped backward. we had a long chat with him that evening and then another one the next evening over delicious sweet tea – about languages and religion and berbers and parents and marrakech.

or how we moved into a single room in the hostel in honor of my birthday and it was two stories with a gorgeous blue bathroom.

or how i stood on a rooftop and looked at the atlas mountains and talked to a canadian political science major about my very own atlas far far away.

or how we made friends with the sweet elderly gentleman in the army green trench coat who sat just outside the alley that led to our hostel. every time we passed, he took out his headphones and we would chat. he told us about living in essaouira and hanging out with jimmy hendrix and bob dylan and before we left, he took us to see a shop with incredibly high ceilings and giant colorful rugs hanging everywhere.

or how i drank the most delicious orange juice ever.

or how the call to prayer with centuries of devotion behind it reverberated through the souks and echoed above the rooftops and filled my heart so full that i thought it might burst.

i didn’t know how to tell you about the beauty because there was a bit of disappointment in it.

i thought morocco would be a place where i would sit quietly and soak in the colors and patterns and inspiration, that it would be a place where i took the sort of photos that i return to again and again.

but then we arrived in marrakech – and were thrown into the chaotic tumultuous sea that is jamaa el fna, the main square – and i discovered that it was not a place where i could sit quietly and soak in inspiration.

it was busy and loud and overwhelming.

i pick up other people’s emotions and energy – and often forget that this is true – so busy and loud and overwhelming is hard for me.

some things take time to simmer, especially things that are hard and beautiful all at once.

i couldn’t write a post about the beauty because it didn’t feel complete. i care about honesty and vulnerability and it felt like i was deliberately leaving something out.

i didn’t want to tell you about my disappointment because i was so appreciative of my adventure and didn’t want to seem like i was complaining.

but i really want to say this: it’s ok to be disappointed.

it’s perfectly ok and perfectly normal to be disappointed if something doesn’t turn out the way that you expect.

even if that something is amazing and wonderful and there is something amazing and wonderful for you in the unexpected.

it’s only in acknowledging and feeling the disappointment that you make room for something else.

i didn’t realize i was disappointed until i returned home. when i explored why i didn’t want to write about my time there, i uncovered it.

when i acknowledged my disappointment and felt it, it left. in its place was a deep appreciation for the beauty and wonder that i experienced there.

i expected one kind of beauty in morocco. what i got was another.

morocco is my reminder that a thing can hold both disappointment and enchantment, joy and overwhelm in it.

morocco is my reminder that sometimes you have to give up how you think a thing will look in order to receive something even greater.

morocco did inspire me, but in a way that was chaotic and messy and unexpected.

it cracked me open and chewed me up and spit out all the pieces.

i have not been the same since.

where is my sun

February 23, 2013

i could really use a warm day on the beach right about now. (definitely not this beach. this beach is in michigan, covered in ice and snow.) fortunately, the sun came out for a while this morning, so atlas and i went for a nice walk.

what do you do when you miss the sun?