Innocence of a Child

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“He sat with the innocence of a child while the sky around him parted and spoke of his emergence from the shadows. The edge of darkness lingered below as the sun shown its warmth upon his back as if it was tenderly teasing the blackness from the comforts of trembling heights. These are the days where you carelessly let your feet dangle on the borders of past and present. Reflection now wears the armor of healing rather than the familar loincloth of culpability. Beams of light bathe your body in a gentle embrace of freedom while your echoed voice etches the walls of history with the retrospection of your youth. Red and orange dust swirls around the narrow bends of the steep walls below. There it remains, sanding down your rough edges until all that stands is a silky sillouette radiating the vitality of the clear skies overhead. The past is a building block of which to evolve and grow. You are who you become, not who you’ve been. The unknown is a dangerous place to reside but nothing makes us feel more alive than a life lived on the crumbling sandstone ledge of mystery. Let the sun illuminate the dark canyons of yesterday. There is truth in adventure and darling the purity we find ourselves in soars with open wings above.” – Sara C Fry

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Home Sweet Home

“The way she looked at the mountains said everything. Her body positioned directly in front of their towering peaks as if whispering, “take all of me.” No other love would come close to the bond she had forged upon their snow covered ridges. Any man who wished to compete would surely face the unrelenting granite fortress which tenderly held the key to her heart. No, this was not a competition. This was a proving ground. For the fresh air of the wilderness cocooned her body with the purity of clear flowing water. If he wished to remain, he knew he must let her go. Falling in love with her meant that she would always yearn for the unpredictable nature of the outdoors to nurture her soul. She was born without ties to the suffocating man-made cities of despair. The very stands of her DNA were rooted deep in the soil like the tallest trees of the forest. She belonged to the land and in return it loved her dearly. When mother nature sweetly called her name, she answered with a resounding yes which echoed off the canyon walls with glee, bouncing with the joy of a child. She was forged with the same searing heat that formed the tallest peaks and the lowest valleys. Her passion for the Earth and it’s familiar untamed beauty sang ballads which the soaring birds tried to replicate. No, this was not a competition. All he could do was love her fiercely with the same enthusiasm that she bled for her mountains. And all the while, as he let her disappear among the dancing wildflowers, he knew she’d come back into his arms. And with her she brought a passion that was so raw and primal that he loved her all the more. For as much as she loved the land, she needed the strong grasp which could only be found in his embrace. And when she stared deep into his eyes they perfectly reflected the infinity of those billion star nights that she had been cradled in… and she knew she was home.” – Sara C Fry 12371205_10205422664067550_8088757970581510021_o

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Standing In A Masterpiece

“They drove, on washboard roads, wearing the finest sweatstained hiking clothes two weeks in the backcountry could fashion. The duo sat, side by side, each donning a smile that would out shine even the brightest of stars. They continued down a seemingly endless dirt road and each knew they were holding tickets to the real  happiest place on earth. The price of admission? A tank of gas and the desire to experience life to its fullest. The memories they were creating would be rooted deep in their core for the rest of days. Between each awkward bump, temporarily making them airborne, bursts of laughter could be heard in the distance. Onwards they drove. His foot on the gas and her hands clutching her chest for support. The setting sun was unlike any she had seen and she seared the vibrant canvas of the sky into her memory. Like a fine wine, nature was painting them a rich and bold sunset that only seemed to get better with time. Pinks, reds, yellows and blues came in ribbons overhead and the further they drove the more they unwrapped. As far as they could see, from the silhouetted mountains of the West to the contoured canyons of the East, the vibrant nature of the evening cloaked everything underneath in an almost surreal disbelief. The pastel pallet of Dusk was thrown to the wind. For this evening was about dramatic effect and nature seemed to be on a trip that would make even a sober person second guess their eyes. The hues of the evening eventually stopped them in their tracks as the trusty green Ranger skidded to a stop. They both stepped onto the gravel road. Dust circled them as if gingerly hugging their sandblasted bodies in appreciation. They stood in the middle of a masterpiece, each transfixed by the beauty of the dying day. Nothing could dampen the energy surging through the landscape. These are the moments we live for with the people we love…when words fall short, emotions run high, and the only sound was the rhythmic joy of their beating hearts pounding the song of the night.”20150921_193142

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9 Years…Strong

11056103_10204370902574170_7873115496043401010_o June 25th 2006. Nine years ago, I sustainable a life-altering deliberate elbow to the temple while playing in a water-polo tournament. I was 15. Little did I know how much that single event would change the course of my entire life. I wound up in a coma. I had to attend intensive rehab for cognitive, occupational, speech, and physical therapies. Among MANY things I lost my ability to read, memorize, and my cognitive functions tumbled drastically downhill. Those would become the least of my worries. Since this day 9 years ago I’ve been in pain 24/7. There has not been a single moment where I’ve been pain-free since the blow to my head. I’ve been to every specialist in the US and I’ve tried every drug to try and alleviate my symptoms from my Traumatic Brain Injury all to no avail. After about 3 years immediately following the injury I was tired of merely existing. I had 1 of 2 choices. I could commit suicide in hopes of getting away from pain, or I could battle every day to “fake it till you make it.” With unsuccessful attempts at my first option I began reclaiming my life in hopes of actually LIVING. It’s been the absolute hardest thing I’ve ever had to face. Every day is a struggle but the fight is more than worth it. Living with Traumatic Brain Injury is incredibly difficult. The invisibility of this injury makes it unique in the respect that its “survivors” appear normal on the outside. It’s both a blessing and a curse to look “normal.” Sometimes it would be 110% easier if my outsides reflected the battle that’s constantly raging internally. My injury forced me from a very early age to constantly adapt. Living moment by moment I live the life I am currently blessed with. The gift of planning is something most TBI-ers learn to live without. Our bodies dictate our current abilities and those change drastically day by day and hour by hour. I taught myself, with the tools given to me by UCLA’s Chronic Pediatric Pain Clinic, to appreciate the little things in life. To focus on the small beauties of this world because sometimes that’s all we have. Over the past 9 years I’ve gotten tremendously good at hiding my ailments in hopes of simulating a semi-normal life. Sometimes I cannot hide my symptoms and others look at me with the utmost concern. I spent the first 3 years after my injury 100% reliant on another individual. I needed help eating, bathing, walking, etc. When I first embraced the mentality of “fake it till you make it” I vowed to myself that as long as I was able, I would be self-reliant. Losing your independence is perhaps the worst thing to endure as a teenager. Once I was able to function independently I took it and ran. Many of my friends will speak of my absurd stubbornness, but there’s a reason for it. As much as I hate to admit, my entire life is ruled by my TBI. From seizures and double vision, vertigo and headaches that make you want to shoot yourself, from sharp stabbing pains throughout your body and getting sick at the drop of a hat I’ve learned to fully LIVE my life while I have the ability to. I never thought my life would be the beautiful adventure it is today, but I wouldn’t change a single thing. I’ve met some of the most incredible individuals and I truly value this precious gift we’ve been given. I try my absolute hardest to fully LIVE and be present in the moment. I appreciate the little gifts nature so freely spreads. I hope with all my heart to show others that they can accomplish their wildest dreams despite their disabilities or hiccups. The only constant is change and if these past 9 years have taught me anything it’s that love is the most important gift we all possess. Within ourselves lies the ability to change and focus on positivity. Sometimes it’s easier to see than others but hope and faith will carry you through the hardest of times. Live the life of your dreams, for nothing is ever guaranteed. The happiness of your life is directly related to the quality of your thoughts. Live with purpose and meaning… and don’t ever let ANYTHING hold you back from your dreams. I owe so much to the people in my life that have stayed by my side and help to make this crazy journey better than I ever could have imagined. I’ve accomplished more than I (or anyone else for that matter) ever thought was possible… and that’s a trend I’m going to uphold until the very end. Traumatic Brain Injury is a life-long battle. Raising awareness is key to helping others successfully maneuver their way through their new world. Stay positive and cherish every moment as if it were your last… and above all else don’t ever let others tell YOU what YOU ARE capable of. Defy the odds kids… it’s much more fun

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Video Trip Report from S. Fork Camp Ground to Mt. Whitney

Folks, here’s the newest Video Trip Report with live footage of Sierra Mapping Project’s first trip from South Fork Campground to Mt. Whitney. As of today there is only 7 days left in the Kickstarter Campaign. This wholesome Non-Profit is badly needed. If the base goal of $2,500 is not reached than none of the pledged funds will be received.

Sierra Mapping Project benefits everyone. Free accurate mileages, elevation profiles, and water sources will be available to download for everyone. EVERY trail in the HIGH Sierra will be mapped and available to YOU free of charge. If you can spare a few dollars (roughly the price of a map) I highly encourage you to donate.

Please enjoy and share! PS- if you click directly on the Vimeo link the video quality is MUCH better!

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Trip Report: South Fork Campground to Mt. Whitney

“From the very beginning I knew I’d be hiking into a weather system. I was supposed to leave for my starting point at South Fork Campground on Tuesday May 12th, but I ended up holding off  until Friday in hopes of bypassing some of the larger storm systems which were scheduled to hit the Sierra.

My Mom drove me the hour and a half to the beginning of Sierra Mapping Project’s first leg at South Fork Campground roughly 45 mins outside of Visalia, CA. Every pothole and bump in the dirt road was felt as her white Camry tried it’s best to avoid major divots. We arrived at a the same spot I’d rung in the New Year with. A fitting location to begin the first of many new trips.

My mom and I got out of the car, took a short walk down to the river, packed up the rest of my belongings and then said our goodbyes. Without hesitation my mother insisted one last time… “Are you sure there’s no one that can go with you? What about that girl hiking the Theodore Salomons Trail? I just wished you would be going with other people.” With difficulty I tried to refrain from telling her for the umpteenth time that most all of my miles have been logged solo. I would love to have others out with me, but it’s easier said than done. My mom and I embraced for one last hug before she took my photo and I began the first stretch of trail to be GPS’d for Sierra Mapping Project. “

Click on the link to read the full article!

http://www.sierramappingproject.org/blog/2015/5/29/south-fork-campground-mt-whitney-trip-report

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