Still Going Strong!

(Why the title of this post? Well, that’s what the young guy working at the airport said when I picked up my own duffel bag! Yeah, he figured I was ‘still going strong’ just to be able to DO that! Poor kid, you can imagine the reaction I gave him?!)

We left Allora in Neiafu, Tonga on a mooring (always a bit disconcerting), and dashed to San Francisco for my brother’s wedding! After that three day, joyous whirlwind, we shot over to Bozeman, Montana for a couple weeks of catching up with friends. We had two indulgent stays: at the Lawson’s whimsical loft and Katy Hood’s historic Southside home (giant thank you’s to both of you) and soaked up some much needed love with our dear ones. I wasn’t quite in the photo mode, so there are only a few here and much else is left tucked in a corner of our hearts. Thanks to Lori (and maybe others?) for a few of the family/wedding shots.


The Land of Plenty (Canada/Montana)

Other Place

take three steps into the forest,
there’s a mythic creature
somewhere here. I first saw it when I
walked through the douglas firs,
fresh snow and a silent doe.
I heard it was clear, as a blue-sky-day
but I couldn’t find it there either. I checked with the mosses,
shoved in the cracks and soddy spaces
and they told me I must be looking too low.
I went back to the books to ask again
I asked and they told me it was far
far, far away and
when I saw it I would know—
the Sublime, venerate, wouldn’t cower away from me
or the trails that led me there.
once though, when I found it perched neatly on
a rocky precipice at the peak of a
mountain, I looked to see its outline,
tried to gauge the colors of its fur,
I must’ve blinked or tried too hard.
so when I turned,
It flew away like a skittish bird
left me staring, dumbly, at the telephone poles
and old country roads, dusted trails and highways
that mapped out our places,
grid-like carways, lined with neat rows of
bushy trees that’d lost their space
stood tall and straight, sized to fit in our
self-made-image of Cultivator
creator, and perpetrator
of our own extrication.
built palaces and started lying about
the names of our neighbors, calling them gardens instead of wilds
they say it’s only ‘Wilderness,’ without us in it.
building ourselves enclosures, instead of greeting exposure.
where is it? I looked
everyday and I swore I could see
it everywhere. as a child does
I found it in every leafy green and blinking
crow, yes that one eating garbage,
does it start when I can’t hear the cars?
they tend to travel really far in valleys and tunnels.
does it stop when lights turn bright blue, because I’ve
seen, there’s creatures in the deep that do that too
maybe it’s when I start to see the stars
maybe it’s when I start to see
the stars for what they really are,
scale for a model that should
make us realize we’re smaller
than we think we are.
when did it start? I think
we stopped counting ourselves
in the trees, starting using names
that made us and Them
so we didn’t have to look in the mirror and see
ourselves mixed-up
with the world we had cut-up and conquered
mixed-in with our own muddy refuse.
we eschew our homes in nature
so it’s easier to ignore our neighbors.
out of sight, our minds hold
the history of the Wild
as myth, but treat the fiction
We wrote, like it was writ
in the stone of the mountains.
~Wyatt Stevens (from his Keystone/Quest U.)

Stand Tall

each day above

watch with eyes of

shadowed time

what stops the bear

from dancing on your

streaked and weathered face

gilded scars of passersby

shake storied shackles

held tight to stone

slick and salted winds

warp with ice the

tracks of snakes

brush with trees

the balding peaks

the palid sky

stand tall to

tales as to

the moon

~WS (From his Keystone/Quest U.)

It was a surreal 5 weeks back in the civilization we once knew so intimately. Now, after 3 years on the boat, this trip (our 2nd) was more challenging because we were rather hurried, our time was split between Canada and Montana and we were tasked with boat jobs and a battery of regular medical checks. Nevertheless, we miss our loved ones mightily and however brief and chaotic, we feel re-invigorated now out at sea again, having immersed in that pot of gold called home.

I try not to be a slave to the camera on these trips, but consequently, the pic representation is spotty and the shots I do have, in many cases, are pretty weak. If we shared some joy and it’s not seen here, know it is being held in our hearts. Miss you already!! 

Montana! August and September, 2016

Whaaaat?! TWO group photos?! Rare moments happen.

Thank you, Cam and JJ, for the gift of being invited to celebrate your LOVE! An incomparable wedding weekend!

Huddle of besties.
Happy Dad – It’s all OVER!!! (So much planning went into this eventful weekend).
Camping at the River Ranch – Bruce sent over mattresses from the cabin, so we were in the lap of luxury!
Mayhem in the morning.
These three told us we were going for a hike, but instead, we were showing up at Erin and Chuck’s for a SURPRISE PARTY!!! Tricksters.
Our perfect Bozeman Cottage Rental on the north side. (Thanks, Shannon, Gar and Nic!)

Backpacking in The Absarokee/Beartooth wilderness – The Beaten Path (crazy name, considering we saw just a couple other ppl.) Astounding splendor! Haley was back in NYC working 🙁


Geology and route discussion. Wyatt was in nirvana mode amidst all this rock.
At their happiest in this environment.
Can you spot Scout?! It was SO good to have him along.
Dubious section of the trail.

I can make this SAT phone WORK!
Die hard fisherman.
It paid off!!! Huckleberries, almonds and dill – oh my!
Happy to be nearing Fossil Lake – just about 10,000 feet.
We awoke to SNOW in August!
Yep, summer in Montana!
Fashionable and maybe warmer?
Day hike route planning.


Close up of our impromptu ‘mosaic.’

Brrrrr ….

Truffle popcorn, anyone?

Love these hours in camp.

Time to go back out. 17 miles in one shot!
We could hardly gain forward momentum with huckleberries flanking the trail!


Glacial gorgeous green.

Endless fascination with these crags.
Encountered this guy WAY too close on the trail. He politely watched as we scurried backward.
Truly magical place in the world.

Quick trip to Philly to be with my beloved Uncle for his birthday.

Sunday Spaghetti team: Marcus, Mom, Maddi and Di @ Aunt Carol and Uncle Tommy’s, September 2016.
Mom, Di and Uncle Tommy on September 17th, his birthday, in Philadelphia.
Uncle Tommy created some Ukemonsters! EVERYONE had to get one!

Ringing Rocks, (aka ‘Pipestone’), Montana

Explanation necessary: The acoustics in this rock fall are quite unique and different pitches can be heard when you tap on various rocks – so we all bring hammers and traipse around making ‘music.’ One of our favorite haunts.
Great spot to play.
This ain’t NYC!
Love this guy.
He likes rocks a lot.
Not your typical leaping environment.
Petting some trees.
Hammer in one hand, Haley in the other.
The caves are cavernous!
Wyatt disappears down below the rocks and I never know when/where he’ll emerge! One time he found a geocache here at Ringing Rocks.
Great to be back under the Montana night sky again.
Warm drinks on a cool, Fall night in MT.

Thank you, Maddi, for snagging these night shots!

More Montana moments:

Beehive Basin hike with Doug, Carmen and Maddi.
Skylar’s going away party @ Blackbird. Wilder danced till she dropped. Didn’t want to say ‘bye’ to Sky, but we had a blast.
Dinner with these ridiculously OLD Rainey kiddos!
Drone play. It’s going to be a bigger challenge flying it from a moving sailboat!
Maddi’s birthday, September 1st., 2016. Best cake EVER (Skylar).

Our time in Bozeman was a blissful couple of months; we lived big under the big sky with friends/family time and wilderness play, our two main objectives. While it was SO crazy sweet to be in Montana again, we both agreed that Allora verily feels like real ‘home’ and it was time to get back to Mexico!