Last summer my sister Rachel had her own Alaskan adventure, backpacking  in the Talkeetna Mountains. She carried a 50-pound backpack and hiked through mud and rivers, in cold rains and under gray skies.  Although the trekking was challenging, she came home energized and happy. I loved that she was able to experience the Alaska that I know and love—an Alaska that offers up tranquilly alongside hardship, and teaches the beauty of simplicity.

This summer Rachel is taking a 22-day trek across Papua New Guinea. She and my dad will walk from south to north across the peninsula, from a village on the coast called Gabagaba to Buna on the north coast. They will set up camp in the jungle or sleep in small villages while crossing the Owen Stanley Mountains, eat strange new foods, and speak Tok Pisin with villagers.

Rachel is 15 years old and on her way to becoming one serious gritty gal. She is a natural in so much that she does. My family calls her the Can-do kid because she likes to lead,  is full of confidence, and is strong as hell.IMG_1057

Rachel has done me the honor of borrowing a little grit from and started her own blog called

Please check it out and consider following her. I know I am looking forward to seeing more of her posts and photos once she returns in late August.


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