I did my first interview! Big yikes.
It was a little weird to talk about myself (in writing I do it all the time, but to a stranger?! On the phone?!). It was a lot of fun though, and it has really given me the impetus to get movin' again in terms of posts.
Big shout-out to "The Healthy" for the feature, and Alyssa Sybertz, the author! The title of the article is, "My Severe Back Pain Turned Out To Be A Hip Misalignment."
Read the full article here.
I know I haven't posted in a while, life just got in the way! Remember that time I decided to redo my kitchen myself? Greeeeat idea.
But seriously, I'm happy they featured my journey to get a diagnosis. Don't ever stop looking for a solution! It can be awful, and hard, but you are so worth it.
*Misfit Showcase!* Misfit Showcase features stories, highlights, art, etc. of individuals who have a love of outdoor adventuring, but may not fit the "typical" outdoor mold. Read on to see how we're changing the outdoor narrative, one story at a time!
I grew up very involved with the outdoors. I was in scouting and became an Eagle Scout. I enjoyed hiking, hunting, and anything that kept me outside. I even joined the Army and went into the Infantry.
When I transitioned it was amazing to be able to live life as my authentic self but I was so worried that it would come with giving up so much that I loved. There still isn’t a ton of visibility of trans women, and when we are visible it’s usually not in an outdoor setting. It took me a little time to rediscover my passion for the outdoors but I’m so glad I did. -Chloe (@cenderton)
Chloe would like to give a shout-out to the @VentureOutProject, where she'll be attending this fall to attend training to lead hikes with them!
Please feel free to share, and check out the blog (link in bio or linktr.ee/misfithikers) to read past showcases!
[Image Description: Chloe stands in front of a waterfall, against a railing, smiling, one arm outstretched and the other holding a little blond-haired girl, whose arms are also outstretched. Chloe wears sunglasses and a dark coat laced in hot pink, and the little girl wears a pink tutu and dark leggings, with an animal hat.]
A Milestone At West Branch
It was at West Branch State Park, which has two large loops. This is good for avoiding folks during the pandemic. I'll do a full review of the trail later, but it was a lovely one.
The first six or so miles followed closely to the reservoir, which was beautiful. This will sound weird, but I actually had a dream the previous week about hiking a longer trail. I hadn't planned to, I was going to stick to my normal 10 mile weekend one. But on Saturday morning, as I was driving to my normal loop, I went to put on the directions from All Trails and this one - literally across the street from the one I normally do - popped up. It said 11 miles and I figured, "PERFECT." Of COURSE with All Trails, I should of figured it would be longer.
Lucy and I even set up the camp stove for lunch at the turn around point. I wish I could say I sat there, looking out over the water, thinking deep thoughts, but truthfully I just pet Lulu, ate some food, and listened to my book on tape.
I didn't see anyone on the first leg, but I did on the second - two rabbit hunters running their dogs, who were in the wild life portion. The dogs eventually found us on the trail but were VERY nice. The second gentleman I encountered was also very nice - and carrying a pistol - which was a little unnerving.
I walked through the pines.
I walked through the trail that meandered up a creek bed.
I saw the view of the water and trees across the way.
I saw fields.
I saw many a fallen tree.
I saw the old rock wall in the quarry.
I heard the haunting sound of baying hounds as the wind carried it to me.
It was amazing.
I did it.
I didn't have anxiety about it.
And truthfully, while I was tired and ready for a real break, I wasn't exhausted. I even went out the next day for another hike on Easter.
My back held up.
Lucy held up.
We did it. It's taken a long time to get there, but we did it.
Even in dark times, there are spots of light.
What adventure did you get in to this weekend? Comment below or feel free to email me here!
How is COVID-19 affecting National Parks and those that make them their livelihoods? My good friends Jeremy and Emily were in Wyoming, visiting Grand Teton and Yellowstone. Jeremy offered this perspective on what it takes to maintain nature:
"A moment to reflect as we leave this wintery wonderland and return back to the reality of a COVID-19 world. We may be facing unprecedented challenges with social systems, with our supply chains and economy. In Jackson Hole we met many people whose lives are about to fundamentally change. Being in the tourism / hospitality industry they are facing massive layoffs with no hope of alternative employment or unemployment compensation. Many are leaving, as the rent prices are close to that of Seattle. The Commercial properties are closing permanently as they cannot afford $60k a month leases.
This all puts into perspective what it takes to keep wild areas wild, even in the current commercialized world where you can visit national parks on a whim. This may not be the case in the future, or there won't be as big of an industry around it.
Enjoy nature as you can. Stay safe as you do, and if we end up with quarantines of course follow them, but until that happens - you'll find us in the woods."
Pronouns: He/Him and She/Her
Wyoming - This land originally held in stewardship by the Arapaho, Arikara, Bannock, Blackfeet, Cheyenne, Crow, Gros Ventre, Kiowa, Nez Perce, Sheep Eater, Sioux, Shoshone and Ute tribes (and possibly others).
Pics Courtesy of Jeremy.
Have you noticed changes in the outdoors and outdoor spaces due to COVID-19?
“I am overweight. I have had 13 surgeries in the past 15 years. I struggle with bipolar, borderline personality disorder and social anxiety. The trails have saved me from myself, they have brought me closer to my husband and pups, and I’m starting to be more comfortable being in social situations. I still take meds, but less of them thanks to nature. And I’m not ashamed of that. I am a misfit hiker who has been saved by the trails and the trees.” – Nicole (@cardinalroots)
📣Nicole would like to give a shout-out to: Hiker Babes Central Oregon! (@hiker_babes_oregon, #hikerbabesoregon)
Click here to be showcased!
[Image Description: Pic 1 – Nicole, smiling in a black long-sleeved v neck shirt with a black string necklace and medallion, stands looking towards the sky with puffy white and golden clouds behind her, mountains in the distance. The sun gleams in the right corner. Pic 2: Nicole grins at the camera, wearing a white t-shirt and black-strapped backpack, in a sepia/black and pic, shot on a wooden-railed bridge, with water below in a canyon, trees and shrubs all around.]
What do rock stacks have to do with Leave No Trace? Apparently, a lot. More scientists, conversationists, and park rangers are requesting that folks stop rock stacking when they're out and about on the trail. Why's it a big deal? Is it actually a big deal?
Where the heck does rock stacking even come from? Well, according to my Cairn Terriers, Lucy and Charlie, rock stacks aren't real "Cairns," which are dedicated memorials or landmarks. These rock stacks that are cropping up throughout the wild woods are done more for artistic or "fun" reasons. Sometimes, for meditation - and the popularity of them may have sprung up from a 1987 new age movement called the Harmonic Convergence.
I belong to a number of hiking groups on FB (imagine that) - and I've seen this topic crop up a number of times recently. And it's always incredibly and unnecessarily tense. The counter-arguments usually focus on how extreme it is to target things like rock stacks as part of Leave No Trace, and if the environment survives hikers, kayakers, etc. it can survive a couple of rocks stacked up.
It isn't always just one or two rocks - many beaches in the Northwest and other areas are completely covered with rocks stacks and a lot of them. (Please click links for slideshow pic credits).
Parks have specific guidelines, as well as the Leave No Trace Principles, that help to curtail the impact humans have in those areas. It's important to abide by them, even if they don't make sense at the moment. Like the rock stacks, or staying on the path.
Moving rocks can impact the natural habitat for those critters that call it home. It can disrupt waterways. It affects game trails. When you move a rock, you might also be unknowingly moving critters, fungus, bacteria, seeds, etc. to another area that didn't have those types before. For example, someone on Insta gathered rocks from five different state parks they visited and in the final one made a rock stack. Cool idea, except they most likely brought in seeds, etc. from other states that may not have been present.
Also, safety, first! A lot of National Parks and hiking areas use stacked rocks (actual cairns) to mark paths - such as Dolly Sods in P.A. Hikers can easily get lost when you start adding your own directional markers.
Rock stacks can be beautiful - they really are art - and made of "natural" bits, so it's easy to forget that just because it's pretty, doesn't mean it doesn't have a negative effect. And that when you're in the great wild, that it doesn't belong to you - it isn't your backyard. You're a steward of the land you visit. So remember, leave it how you found it or with as little impact as possible.
Leave No Trace isn't about doing it perfectly - and I'll say this again and again and again. But it is about learning, growing, and doing what you can when you can.
What do you think about rock stacking? Leave a comment below or contact me here.
Privilege and Going Green...
Why is it so expensive to "go green"? Cost doesn't just deter folks from getting involved in outdoor activities and adventures, but from going "green." Let's face it, it's a privilege to be able to focus on earth-green instead of money-green. Lots of my friends share articles all the time on things you can easily do, but they almost always cost $$ and sometimes a lot of it - everything from recyclable bamboo toilet paper and installing solar lights, to buying bulk at Whole Paycheck Foods (their food is amazing, just expensive for a lot of folks). It's easy to say not to use one-off plastics when you don't live in Flint, MI and rely on bottled water. Even the blue recycle bags required by many cities cost anywhere from .25 to .40 cents a bag. It adds up, and quickly. Luckily, though, there's lots of things you can do that will help the environment AND not cost you big bucks. Check out some ideas below:
- Cutting down on single use plastics:
- At home:
- Out...or In...with the Old
Obviously, this list is FAR from exhaustive. And it's never about doing it all, or doing it perfectly - it's about doing what you can, when you can. If you can afford the big-ticket green items, go for it, if not, then implement what you're able to without breaking the bank. Going greener doesn't have to be privilege, we just make it seem like that.
What are some ways you've implemented affordable "green" or "sustainable" changes in your life/home?
Comment below or contact me here!
How do you medically advocate for yourself? For those of you that follow along, you know that I went to the Cleveland Clinic main campus ER about a month ago for a severe back pain issue and the experience was less than stellar. It was actually awful, mainly because the doctor failed to adequately manage the pain, attempt to find a diagnosis, or come up with a treatment plan. I did a follow up post regarding the very well documented dismissal of women, people of color, people of size, etc. who complain of pain. So now, the final post - how to medically advocate for yourself.
It's important to be able to do so, especially if you're an adventurer, because even if you don't have chronic pain there's a fairly high likelihood that you'll injure yourself in some way at some point.
So here's a few tips and tricks to make sure that you're diagnosed and treated.
Do not let them shame you. Being fat or old or gay is not a moral issue. YOU ARE A PERSON AND DESERVING OF TREATMENT.
Do not allow yourself to be dismissed - you know your body - insist on care. It could save your (or a loved one's) life.
If you're doctor isn't taking your pain or issue seriously, ask for another doctor. You're having real fucking symptoms, don't let them make you feel bad for having them.
When my grandmother had a stroke, she was definitely not getting the care she needed at the rinky dink hospital she was at. They refused to do any tests to see if she'd had a stroke, etc. In fact, they insisted she was simply dehydrated and refused to do anything at all except IV saline. We insisted she be transferred to another hospital, which took my father and I driving to main and not budging an inch. The doctor was later fired, and my grandmother was transferred to a larger hospital able to get her the care she needed (and responded to).
If you have a chronic issue or long-term disease, carry your medical records with you. You can get a free dropbox account to store them, or email them to yourself. Don't depend on your phone, in case you don't have it when you go.
Next, question, question, question and be sure to communicate concerns and desires. There are some questions you can write out beforehand (and give to a friend), so they're stuck in your mind and ready to go. When in the ER, especially, it can be stressful and overwhelming, making it very easy to get confused/forget to ask the important stuff. Some questions to ask if you go to your regular doc/doc in a box:
- What do you believe the issue is?
- Why do you believe it is xyz?
- Is there a test to confirm that? Why are you/are you not confirming?
- I am in a significant amount of pain - what is the plan to treat it? Why are we treating it in that way?
- Why hasn't my pain been addressed yet?
- If your symptoms persist, do NOT be afraid to go to another doctor, even if you like the one you have. Different doctors have different knowledge bases and experiences.
If you’re in the Hospital or ER, then add these questions on:
I'd like to mention that the Cleveland Clinic is one of the top rated hospitals in the country. I have had wonderful treatment there. However, this ER needs to get its shit together. I still have nightmares about it.
I'm definitely implementing these, so I can be better prepared if there's a next time. Hopefully, they also help you or a loved one. If you have any tips to add, please feel free to comment below or contact me here.