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ON THE ROAD WITH TOTTO Posts

Treasure hunters

Today is my birthday. I’m sitting at our campground beside the Arkansas River, having a beer and some black licorice (my indulgence) before we head into town for dinner. The river here is low—it’s late in the season and all the snow has already melted and emptied down from the…

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Hiker smell

Courtney was driving Ben and me across the Bridge of the Gods from Oregon over the Columbia River into Washington, when we came upon a bearded man with a large backpack and his thumb out, and we pulled over. The man tossed his bag in the truck bed, climbed inside…

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The Warrior

The hot water came out of the hillside scalding and ran down a narrow crevice in a domed hill of rock. It branched into smaller rivulets, cooled to bathtub temperature in the open air, and finally dribbled over a rounded ledge into a series of crude stone and mud pools…

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Softball questions

I was in a booth by the front window of Pete’s Candy Store in Brooklyn, and the photo round of pub trivia night had just been passed around. We identified almost all of the famous faces printed on the sheet pretty easily, but a few were giving us trouble, including…

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No more laundry

The cab turned from Greenpoint Ave onto Franklin Street, and I instinctively looked to the right toward Kent Street and the apartment where Courtney and I had lived our last year as New Yorkers. I could see the lights were on behind drawn curtains in our old bedroom, which was…

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Fall of a fire tree

Sequoia trees are born in fire: their cones only open in extreme heat, and their seeds need soil enriched in ash to germinate. They have thick, fluffy bark that insulates them from the numerous wildfires they will certainly withstand throughout their long lives, and when flames do penetrate that armor…

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Sierra cup

I woke up early in our tent in Kings Canyon, before Courtney, before the RV across from us started up their generator and all the kids started biking around hollering at each other. I made a campfire and heated water for coffee in our stainless steel Sierra cup. I had…

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City of Angels

In LA, with the assistance of a ski lift, three friends and I hiked to the peak of Mount Baldy, the highest point in Los Angeles county. From the summit I could see to the south the sprawling city of Los Angeles and the ocean beyond it. To the north…

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