Mother Nature

Her breath courses through my long brown hair,

causing it to blow across my cheek.

In gentle whistles through branches and rustling of leaves,

She whispers secrets in my ear.

Her light beams down on me from the sky,

warming my skin and illuminating my heart.

At night, She twinkles and glows,

reminding me that I am not alone.

Once again, She exhales.

I feel Her breath embrace me.

I inhale and feel my lungs expand.

I pause, startled.

I exhale and inhale again.

I realize that Her breath is not separate from mine.

Her and I are one.

She wanted to FLY
Painting by Sandi Nypaver

A New Chapter (Blog)

Yesterday, I was sitting with a friend at an Outlaw Yoga class, ready to get into my first downward dog of the day but patiently awaiting as Mark, our large, bearded, motorcycle riding instructor delivered his inspirational message of the day.

His message was about leaving what we no longer needed behind, turning the page, picking up the pen, and writing our next chapter.  I smiled, knowing that my plan for that afternoon was to work on this blog.

As Mark spoke, I also realized that my own turning of the page had taken nearly one, beautifully devastating year.  Essentially, I had been on a journey to re-define myself, never losing the core of who I am, but changing the outward expression of my being.

Letting go was hard.  There were tears and prayers to the heavens.  Most of all, there were many long hikes with Pacer.

Then I got the idea for this blog.  I felt my energy excite with this new creative pursuit.  There was just one hitch; I knew I’d have to give up my blog since undergrad, Valley Girl Adventures.  Over the years, I had put a lot of myself into that blog.  It chronicled my running adventures, several 100 mile races, performance tips, and book lists.  But in the last year my posts had been changing, growing more intimate and thoughtful and less about the lesson I learned while running. Alas, it sunk in that I was no longer that young twenty-something girl running 20 miles on weekend like it was nothing, winning races, or even competing as all.   I didn’t want to let go of her.

In actuality, I know that she is still part of me.  Because of the foundation she has created, I am able to turn the page and begin this next chapter.  With the lessons she learned on the trail, I can now look past the running, the extreme, and get to the heart of the matter. Of course, the wilderness and trail will always be a large topic of my writing.  Mother Nature will always be guiding me with every step.  She is no longer separate from me, but with in me.

I wonder what adventures this new chapter will bring?

Smiles and Light,

Ray & Pacer ❤



Home is wherever I’m with Pacer…

(Okay, the Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes’ song “Home” may now be a bit cliche, but I reserve the right to be a little cliche if I want!)

In the past two years, Pacer and I have lived in four different places.  Five, if I extend the timeline to four years.

First was from a medium-large house in Hudson, OH to an obnoxiously large house in Hudson.  A year later was the 2,000+ mile move to an obnoxiously expensive house in Boulder, CO.  Once I split ways with my boyfriend, it was to a small room in South Boulder for a few months before sharing a condo with my sister and her boyfriend.

Now, a year later, it is to another room, now equipped with a small office area and mini fridge, in a shared house in Boulder.

Of all the places Pacer and I have lived, the only one close to feeling like “home” was the 500 mile Colorado Trail, which we hiked within the first few months of our initial move to Boulder.

Pacer tent
Pacer making herself “at home” in our “dog and a petite girl” sized tent.

The second closest place to feeling like “home” was our shared condo with my sister and her boyfriend.  There, Pacer and I always had a loving family to come back to.

Unfortunately, that situation was temporary, though they are still only a few miles away.

Now, I write in a room with walls that are still undecorated.  And yet, I am home.

Pacer is sleeping soundly beside me, as she did in our last three places (she wasn’t allowed in the bed before that), four if you include our mobile tent house.

As long as mine and Pacer’s heartbeats reside in the same room (or nylon walls), I am home.

Women of the Wild; Part One: Reclaiming our Place

Women of the Wild (Part 1: Reclaiming Our Place)

“I am woman, hear me roar.”

This famous lyric was written in 1971 and sung by Helen Reddy, an Australian born singer.  For women all over the country, this lyric became their mantra. It was a lyric meant to take take back women’s power in the world, to reclaim our place.

And now, I am singing it as women in the U.S. and all over the world reclaim our place in nature.



Admittedly, my original title for this article was “Women in the Wild.”  After giving it more thought though, I realized that the title had no power to it.  It ignored exactly what I wanted to convey: that women not only belong in wild, but are part of it.


How did this change come about? I’m sure books like A Silent Spring, Wild, and Becoming Odyssa have helped light a spark for many women and that athletes like ultra-runner Ann Trason, climber Lynn Hill, and mountaineer Lhakpa Sherpa have fueled the fire, but I also think we’ve heard the call of Mother Nature.  In addition, “Women in the Wild” wouldn’t do justice to all the women out there now, getting down and dirty by backpacking, rock climbing, kayaking, and trail running. It wouldn’t do justice for all the women who fought for the U.S. Mountain Running Championships to race equal distances for both men and women, or organizations like Women’s Wilderness and Trail Sisters, both located in Boulder, CO, who are creating a sisterhood of powerful women reclaiming our natural place in the wild. Finally, it wouldn’t do justice to you, my dear wild woman.  You, who just by reading this and delving back to your true nature (pun intended) are at the forefront of helping women to reclaim their place in the wild.   In ages 18-24, women actually lead men in outdoor recreational activities.  And while there is still a discrepancy between men and women in the wild across the board, the last decade has shown a movement of women getting outside. We may have grown up watching our brothers go on camping trips with dads, told not get dirty, and that the wild is not safe for women, but we no longer believe the lies that a woman’s place is inside.

Truly, we are all daughters of Mother Nature, birthed from her core and meant to shine her beauty, our beauty, all over the world.  We have even inherited Her curves, Her valleys, Her rivers, Her mountains.  In us, we have inherited Her storms, as well as Her glowing stars and radiating sunlight.  Mother Nature is the place where life springs, creativity explodes, and nurturing is found.  I would give a similar description to any strong woman. I claim this definition for myself, and for you as well.

Yes, we are truly women of the wild.

My beautiful sister, running wild and free.


I would like to slightly elongate Helen Reddy’s famous lyric to encompass all of our rights:  I am woman, hear me roar…or chirp, or growl, or neigh or howl. As women of the wild, we have a right to roar with power, to chirp love songs as the sun rises, to growl when our boundaries are crossed, to neigh with freedom, to howl with strength and pleasure at the moon. We harness all of these energies to use and share at our will.

Who will you share this power with? As women, we are both the change-makers of the world.  If it the world is going to grow and bear fruit, it needs our nurturing.  But my guess is, you have friends who haven’t yet found their roar, watch as young girls get told to not to get their dress dirty, and witnessed mothers adhere to the old adage that a woman’s place is in the kitchen. Now I’m not saying that kitchens are bad (I love cooking up new vegan dishes!) or that there isn’t a time to stay clean, but simply that these views are stigmas that are keeping women from experiencing their strength and connecting with nature. Let us share the wild with other women and reclaim our throne.
Together, let us roar, chirp, growl, neigh, and howl.