Exploring a gorgeous, remote trail in Idaho’s Salmon-Challis National Forest.

Toolbox Creek Trail is a remote trail in Idaho’s Salmon-Challis National Forest, 4 hours east of Boise past Sun Valley. An out-and-back hike with an 1,800-foot climb, we hiked 8 miles but could have hiked forever. So many other trails connected to this one, we wanted to keep exploring. This hike gave us peace and quiet with a murmuring creek, a lush forest, and magnificent views at 9,200 feet of elevation. There was almost no one else on the trail.

On a fine June day, we found the trailhead off…


Exploring an alpine lake in Idaho’s Pioneer Mountain Range

Kane Lake Trail is a stunning 8-mile out-and-back hike to Kane Lake, an alpine lake with waterfalls and a backdrop of the Pioneer Mountain Range. The trail is in the Salmon-Challis National Forest in central Idaho, part of the Lost River Ranger District. With almost 2,000 feet of elevation, the hike is not only pretty but challenging.

You’ll need a 4×4 vehicle with decent clearance to navigate the rocky, rugged dirt road to the trailhead. There is a small parking lot at the trailhead and no facilities. …


Strawberry Park Natural Hot Springs

Summertime was burning a hole in our pockets. Trudi and I had a free night and didn’t want to waste it. Steamboat Springs sounded like the perfect place to go camping, but it was 3 hours away from Denver. Was it worth the drive for just one night? After pondering the question for maybe 30 seconds, we decided the answer was clearly “Yes!” Turns out we were right. Here’s Trudi and Michelle’s guaranteed 5-step recipe for a fun overnight trip to Steamboat Springs.

1. Skip the Campground


But you can choose to get out of the mud

Photo by Igor Rodrigues on Unsplash

Being the daughter of a toxic mother is like being in a lifelong Tough Mudder obstacle course. Except the course has been designed by the minions of hell. And you’re stuck in one part of the course, perpetually army crawling through the mud, under electric barbed wire.

You’ve been in the mud battling for your sanity from the second you were born. Your entire life.

The mud is freezing cold. It saps your strength and you can’t stop shivering. And yet you slog on, your hands, knees, feet, heart, every part of your body and soul fighting through the course…


Finding soul-healing sunshine on a Boise, Idaho hike

And there was a glow across the land

It’s Sunday late afternoon. I watch you walk into the airport with your bags. You’ll only be gone a few days. But as I drive away, I’m taken aback at how much I already miss you. It’s been a while since we’ve been apart.

Sundays are weirdly melancholy anyway and no time for goodbyes at airports, even short-term ones.

I drive away and head to Polecat Gulch in the Boise, Idaho foothills. It’s a sunny day in February and just above freezing and so, as always, the trail calls me. …


Get out of your head and get outside

Boise Foothills

Lately, I’ve been inside my head. Dwelling on past hurts and thinking I need to fix me. Maybe the Idaho clouds are to blame. It’s been a gloomy winter.

Today, I told my brain to give it a rest and take a hike. I threw on my backpack and hit the trail with my favorite person. It was cold, windy, and muddy. Snow and dark clouds hit us and we wondered why we hadn’t checked the weatherfirst . Still, the wild weather and solitude hit the spot. …


No means no, Facebook. I deleted the Facebook app and started getting text messages I never signed up for. Here’s what I’m doing about it.

Photo by Taskin Ashiq on Unsplash

Today I deleted my Facebook account. It all started when I decided to kick off 2020 with a “clear out the stuff that doesn’t bring me joy” approach. But Facebook did not go down without a fight and pursued me like a toxic ex-boyfriend.

The Good Times

I remember being very excited to join Facebook. I went all in, connecting with schoolmates, relatives, and friends in a mad frenzy. There was the initial giddy rush of exchanging messages…


Coronado Butte

It’s no exaggeration to say that hiking out of the Grand Canyon was one of the most challenging and strenuous things I’ve ever done. We took three days to hike to the bottom. And we took one day to hike out, climbing 4,422' vertical feet in 7.5 miles in an all-day scramble fest. By the end of the day, I looked and felt like my ass had been kicked.

And I loved it. I had a blast. I’d do it all again tomorrow.

About New Hance Trail

John Hance built New Hance Trail to replace Old Hance Trail in 1894. The trail is not…


A thrilling trek to the bottom of the Grand Canyon

On the bank of the Colorado River, deep in the Grand Canyon

Standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon, you can see the Colorado River at the bottom. The river seems impossibly far away, surrounded by the vast, wild beauty of canyon walls.

I never imagined I’d stand on the bank of the Colorado River looking out of the Grand Canyon instead of in. On day three of our REI Adventures trip, that’s just what we did.

Leaving Hance Creek

We drank coffee and ate breakfast while we broke camp just after sunrise. The group wanted to get to the day’s destination, the Colorado…


How clearing toxicity from my life is helping me express myself

I don’t have time for negativity! (Photo by author)

Over the last several years, I’ve been in an intense search for authenticity and self-discovery. It appears that I’m on the right path. One by one, people and situations with unhealthy energy have been evacuating my life. The more I listen to my gut, the more I deflect toxicity and draw positive energy.

Best of all, I’ve getting to know the real me. And the key has been listening to a persistent voice.

Just write.

Excuses, Excuses

For many years, I used all kinds of excuses for not writing:

  • My (then)…

Michelle Parsons

Writer, musician, hiker. Searching for the real me and writing all about it. https://michelleloveshiking.wordpress.com/

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