In October my beautiful jet-setting friend Sara got married to her man Travis. The wedding was fun, gorgeous and a perfect expression of such a hip couple. The venue was a great gallery on 14th St NW in DC with an amazing roof top deck. Plus they had the most delicious ALL VEGETARIAN food. It was great not having to interrogate the waiters about ingredients!
In Sept we jet-set it to small town Iowa for our thru-hiking friends Tim & Nina’s wedding. We’d first met Nina as Silverfox on the PCT in ’09. Then we’d gotten to know her properly as Kombucha when she hiked the CDT with her boyfriend Tim (Hawkeye). We hiked with Tim & Nina on and off during the entire CDT. And afterwords, they continued vagabonding it – they bought a VW Van an toured all over the US before ending up back in Tim’s hometown of Decorah.
photo by Nina
And Decorah – wow, what a surprise! The town itself is charming, with a great main street that includes a local food co-op, yoga studio, outdoor store and some great bars & cafes. The hills in the distance were already blazing with autumn color and there’s acres of wild prairie, trails winding through the woods and a meandering river.
It was a shame we weren’t able to have a true CDT reunion (we are now spread far and wide – Heaps in Australia, Lost in Alaska, Yas in Japan, Found in Cali, Joker in Washington state) but Mike with a Y & Naomi were able to come. It was hard to believe it had been almost a year since we’d seen Tim & Nina and Mike & Naomi. As soon as we were together again, it seemed like we’d only been apart a few days. It was great catching up and also reminiscing about times on the trail.
the beautiful bride
Tim & Nina’s wedding captured their spirit in every detail. The ceremony was held in the dappled sunshine besides a bubbling spring. Since they met in Hawaii (and Tim is half Hawaiian) they exchanged gorgeous leis (and hi-fives) at the beginning of the ceremony. Their beloved dog Rio also donned a lei and severed as flower-dog. The vows they’d written were funny, sincere and lovely. Afterwords we enjoyed dinner and dancing at the historic hotel downtown. Instead of wedding cake, we munched on peanut M&Ms (which was Tim’s sole source of “nourishment” for a 100 mile stretch on CDT) and scotch-a-roos (an amazing chocolatey peanut buttery rice krispy treat that Tim’s mom makes and sent us along the trail).
The only disappointment was that our time in Decorah was much much too short. Reuniting with such kindred spirits was nourishing. We need to find a thru-hiking community in the DC area! And witnessing the union of two beautiful free spirits was such a joy.
Five of us (two of whom were twice the size of Dan), packed into the Prius in August to head 500 miles north to Toronto. My dearest Aunt Kathy was going to wed and we were thrilled… even if it meant enduring a family road trip. There’s something about long car journeys with relatives that makes me revert into a whinny teenager, but we made it! Along the way, we stopped to see Niagara Falls with its halo of rainbows, crashing waters and far below, miniature “Lady of the Midst” boats rocking in the frothy bathwater. It’s unbelievable that some have gone over the falls and survived (those tales and more in the Toronto Globe and Mail article here).
Toronto is such a hip city and sleek high-rise condos are sprouting up like weeds. My brother the architect swooned over the modern glass towers, while I enjoyed the older row houses and retrofitted warehouses. But we both loved William Alsop’s funky chess board meets pick-up sticks creation (above) at the Toronto University of Art and Design.
But the real fun was Kathy’s wedding! Just as we were driving there a torrential downpour began, but as the happy couple emerged after the beautiful ceremony, the sun beamed down on them. I was choking back tears the whole ceremony – Kathy and Alan were so joyful and relaxed. Even though Kathy looks like she’s only a few years older than me, she’s been single for a while. And while others in her situation would have become desperate or bitter, she’s maintained a deep contentment and strong community that I’ve always admired. It was beautiful to see her and Alan make this commitment, not out of fear or loneliness, but out of a pure love, in which two WHOLE beings become one, not two halves looking for completion in the other.
The reception was at the Boulevard Club on the shoes of Lake Ontario and the lighting was my favorite – golden sunlight pouring warmth on a stormy blue horizon. In lieu of kissing when guest clinked their wine glasses, Kathy & Alan requested that guest sing a song that included the word “love.” With such a tough requirement, I thought they’d have to be sneaking kisses, but the lively fête was full of singers! At our table, my other aunt has us practicing our notes for love songs from every era.
As we set off on Monday in the Prius we were bursting with joy, and perhaps a bit too much wedding cake. Sure enough, as we were driving in the left most lane of a 8 lane highway, the front tire blew out. Sammy handled the car expertly, but there was absolutely no way we could cross 4 lanes of traffic to get over to the right shoulder. Instead we squeezed beside the cement barrier on the tiny left shoulder, with a considerable amount of the car still sticking out on the left lane. It was terrifying having cars zoom past us at 70 mph and we were immensely relieved when a police car pulled up behind us, sirens flashing to warn cars of the barrier. In the end 3 police cars came to assist us but AAA was late (as usual). When AAA finally arrived and towed us to the next exit we were elated to discover that there was a Toyota dealership across the road. It was very sobering, though, to hear that just last month a police officer had died after being hit by a car when he was pulled over on the left lane of the same highway. At that point, DnA said, “arividerchi” to the Prius and rented a cute VW bug to drive to West Virginia (mountain mama) for an incredible conference hosted by the Homelessness Resource Center and other groups called “Promoting Wellness: An Integrated Approach to Homeless Service Delivery” – but that’s a whole other story!