Minneapolis

I loved Minneapolis. On the two and a half hour drive from Minneapolis to Winona, I tried to decide exactly why I liked Minneapolis so much. There was no one thing that really swept me off my feet- no one neighborhood that I fell in love with, no particular perk of the city that won me over. Still, there wasn’t much I didn’t like about it.

The overall vibe of the city was just really good. It was really cool but didn’t feel at all pretentious or overly full of itself. Each little neighborhood has a sort of central gathering place- an ice cream shop, antique store, and a corner store – or some other pairing of a couple interesting little shops grouped together. I loved the community vibe that created- which isn’t always easy to do in a bigger city. I loved that the downtown was a real downtown- big buildings, lots of people bustling around, a little intimidating. All the things a big city downtown should be. I liked that even in the summer, the nights are cool. I liked the lakes. I liked the people, the coffee shops I visited, the selection of independent bookstores- it all just felt very comfortable to me. I’m not sure how long it’ll be before I am there again, but I feel like I’ll definitely be back.

Now that I’m looking at my pictures, I took almost no pictures in Minneapolis for some reason. Oh well, enjoy a couple random pictures anyway.

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I promise there’s coffee beneath all that whipped cream.

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A cute little alleyway.

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Feelin traveler-y

 

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a road trippers response to the Stanford Rape case

The thing about the deer strewn across dashed white of the two lane highway is that you don’t really see it.

the deer with its head cocked at a snobbish angle as if to ask, “how do I look for two days dead?”

the deer with tire tracks through its thin neck, bits of entrail spread down the length of highway on display.

The deer with its tongue drooping out the left corner of its mouth to acknowledge the heat of the day, the deer with one eye rolled back and the other bulging, the deer with splintered hooves and a body that will never be whole again.

The deer who wasn’t born fearing cars, but had to be careful walking alone at night.

If only the deer had been more afraid, if only the deer hadn’t gone off on its own, if only the poor, poor dear had been more responsible.

The dear – with her knees parted and tongue drooping out the corner of her mouth, tucked behind a dumpster – is told she should be glad she is not strewn across the highway.

The dear with bits of her body open to air, spread down the length of lacking consent, mouth and finger tracks on her cocked neck. The dotted lines of a ripped zipper.

The poor, poor dear who wasn’t born fearing men, but should have learned to be more careful alone at night.

Snippets

These are two Little snippets of writing from the past few days – clearly unfinished, just wanting to put everything out there.

The two of them walked into the Dairy Queen I was treating as a cafe – curled with a book in a booth – it’s the closest thing to a cafe in Rapid City, South Dakota. Their skin coated in tattoo, the kind that seem to be ripped pages from poorly done comic books glued to their arms. Their bodies bounced strangely, as if they have too much electricity in them to limit their movements to the horizontal. The man had a large bleeding spot behind his ear, and as he ordered some oversized blizzard he dug his fingernails into it, trying to reach inside his skull-

 

The rain hung from the clouds like loose threads- the sky itself unraveling Beneath the weight of the water-

Denver & South Dakota

I hadn’t been to Denver for probably ten years, and the last (and first) time I went was with my Grandmother. The experience this time was a little bit different. I got into Denver in the early afternoon, and spent some time roaming around different neighborhoods. that afternoon was not particularly fun, but I think it had more to do with me than it did the city.

Traveling, especially less luxurious traveling alone, requires a certain kind of mindset. It requires you to be flexible, to be creative in your exploring, and it requires you to be positive. For that afternoon, I sort of fell out of that traveling mindset. I was tired, Denver felt bland and uninteresting, and I was craving private space. It was a little frustrating, but luckily I woke up the next morning with my head in a better place.

the second day in Denver was fun. I wandered the 16th street mall, people watched, and then ended up at a Colorado Rockies baseball game at Coor’s Field. The baseball game was a lot of fun- and the Rockies won, so that made it even more satisfying.

The next day I headed up to South Dakota, where I visited the Crazy Horse monument (which is still in the process of being built), and Mount Rushmore. The idea of carving people’s faces into mountains is a strange one to me, but I appreciated the historical significance of both places. After a touristy morning, I decided to get away from everything for a little bit. I hung out by the water on Horse Thief Lake – reading my book, taking a little nap. It was very quiet and peaceful, and made me much happier than being surrounded by tourists with cameras clutching at their overpriced souvenirs.

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I stayed just outside of a Rapid City, so the next day I was tasked with driving across South Dakota to Minnesota. It was an uninteresting drive for the most part. I stopped at this place called Wall Drug – supposedly a semi-famous place in Wall, SD? It was incredibly touristy, but still nice to look around. They had everything from gold panning go fresh house made donuts and five cent coffee. And they had a cute door, so I was won over despite the touristy feel.

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I stayed outside of Northfield and got impressively deep sleep for being in the back of my car. It was a cool, cloudy morning which allowed me a few extra minutes of sleep since I wasn’t woken up by the sun or heat. This morning, I walked around downtown Northfield a little bit. It was a very cute little town – very picturesque and old fashioned feeling.

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Today, I’m heading into Minneapolis. I’m incredibly excited to be back in a real city. I definitely thrive on the big-city feel, and Wyoming & South Dakota have definitely made me feel out of my element. Just two more stops before I’m back in Madison, WI.

 

Burial

the women beat their fists against the meat of the earth. The bare skin of their faces has never met the sunlight but their hands are familiar with the gold-sand ground. The scream in a language that has no name, their fingers scraping like animal paws. The hole deepens.

the men carry the body. Wrapped in black their cheeks are dark with desert sun and their shoulders take the weight. The body is too light, there are too many men to carry it.

The edges of the pit are heaped with stone. The men place the body like porcelain. The women’s faces are black cloth, but the grief is imprinted in their palms.

 

Southern Utah & Boulder

I haven’t given an update in a few days because I’ve been pretty much going nonstop. It’s been a pretty amazing few days.

So, the last time I posted I was still in Salt Lake City. The next day, June 5th I believe, I set off for Canyonlands national park. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, but it was incredibly beautiful. I did several small hikes, all of which were incredible. I was in the northern most district of Canyonlands, Island in the Sky.

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Upheaval Dome.

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Initially I had planned to do some more intensive hiking in the national parks, but after the hard hike I did Saturday I just wasn’t up for too much more than a couple 1-2 mile hikes. After spending the majority of the day running around Canyonlands, I decided to drive about 15 minutes up to Arches National Park. Although Canyonlands was beautiful, I actually thought Arches was considerably cooler.

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Unfortunately, after about 2 hours of walking around arches, I started getting a really bad headache and feeling really nauseous. I wasn’t sure what was going on, but I decided to head out as I still had to find a place to sleep for that night. It got even worse in the car, and after a few minutes I realized I might be dehydrated and too hot, give that it was 97 degrees and I don’t handle heat well. After a lot of air conditioning and water, I started to feel better. It definitely made me more aware of how easy it is to get dehydrated and too hot out in the desert.

June 6th, I headed to Boulder , CO. I took a meandering route because I wanted to look around Aspen and drive Independence Pass. The Rocky Mountains were so beautiful. I got up to 12,000+ feet, well above the tree line. Up there, there was still 3+ feet of snow, which was awesome. I made the very poor decision to try and climb up part of a mountain for a better view…in three feet of snow…in Birkenstocks. Not my brightest moment. I ended up with very cold feet.

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On top of independence pass.

I arrived in Boulder in the early evening. I stayed with one of my friends from childhood, Grace. We were best friends when we were younger, but we haven’t seen each other in years. I was nervous, just because it has been so long, but it ended up working out wonderfully. We have always been really goofy when we get together, and this was no different. There were many laugh until you cry moments, lots of catching up on life, and reminiscing on the weird stuff we did as kids. It was a lot of fun.

June 7th, we spent some time wandering around downtown Boulder, having breakfast at an adorable little Cajun-influenced breakfast spot called Lucile’s, and then going on  a hike. The hike we did was about 5 miles long, up in the flat iron mountains surrounding Boulder. The wild flowers were out in full force, and it was a beautiful walk. Plus, even though I didn’t get any pictures of them, we saw two bears! It’s been a while since I’ve seen a bear, so that was pretty exciting. 

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Today is my last full day in Colorado. I’ll be staying in Denver tonight, and then heading North from here tomorrow. It’s starting to feel like I don’t have a ton of this trip left, which is very sad. Trying to focus on continuing to explore instead of jumping too fast into the future.

 

 

 

 

Hikin’ gal

Today’s adventure was a hike up to the top of Mount Olympus, Utah. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it ended up being an incredibly challenging hike. It was around 7.5 miles, which isn’t too bad, but over the course of the way up, I climbed 5,000 feet. It felt a lot more like walking up stairs, except there were no stairs. And it was 90 degrees. And I ran out of water. It was hard. There were a couple times I thought about not finishing the hike, but I am glad that I stuck it out. Now that I got the whining out of the way, I can focus on the good parts.

The hike was so beautiful. Their were some views of the Salt Lake City valley and the Great Salt Lake on the way up, but then at the top it was the views of the other mountains that really were my favorite. I also got to climb some rocks on the way up- including one that was a straight drop on the other side. I am afraid of heights, and was shaking the whole time, but I managed to pull it off.

Some pictures are in order, I think.

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