Red Necks and Rednecks

It’s about half-way through Roommate’s visit to the Far North. We’ve hiked, we’ve fished, we’ve gone to several local restaurants, we’ve visited tourist shops, we’ve seen one of the crazier towns in the area, and we’ve laughed a lot. I think we’re making good progress. However, she tells me that no amount of magic is going to induce her to move here. And I unfortunately think I believe her…

Yesterday, we were going to go up through a beautiful mountain pass in the area, both to see the view and to get to the other side, where the local… charm…is abundant. However, I apparently temporarily forgot that I live in the Far North. And that even though it is late May, the snow has not melted from the entire area. Especially mountain passes. So, while we had planned on driving across, we were prevented by park service fences and gates. Stupid park service. Protecting us from icy mountain cliffs and snow drifts three feet deep. Those guys are just raining on our parade.

Anyway, we had planned on doing one of the easier hikes at the top of the pass, where there’s a recreation area. Unfortunately, it wasn’t just the road across that was snowed in. The recreation area was also closed. So hiking wasn’t really an option. Disappointed (and annoyed at my lack of research), we turned around, drove down the mountain, and then around the base of the mountain to our original destination.

Let me tell you about the Far North for a second. It is a strange place. We have very strange customs, like jumping into frozen lakes in just underwear in order to prove some sort of machismo I have never fully understood. And we have strange people. I mean, some of the people I share this beautiful land with are out of their flipping birds. They collect moose poop to make arts and crafts. They have conspiracy theories that make Area 51 seem like a cute bedtime story. They are ridiculous and I love them. We also have strange weather… At the top of the mountain, there was ample snow on the ground. At the bottom of the mountain, it was 84 degrees.

This temperature is unusual for both the area and the time of year.  And while I don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth or anything, it was actually kind of uncomfortable. And I was wearing an ill-advised (ahem… Roommate’s advice… ahem…) tube-top, which was cute but completely impractical for someone of English-German-Danish descent. What I’m trying to say here is that I’m very fair skinned. And cannot be bothered to remember sunscreen (and even if I do, I hate it so much that I “forget” to reapply). And it was 84 degrees out with direct sunlight. Not a cloud in the sky. You can imagine the results.

I’m not the most crispy I have ever been, but I’m pretty red. And I am afraid of getting skin cancer and/or looking like I’m made of leather by the time I’m thirty, but I just seem to constantly burn. Yes, a lot of it is preventable. But sometimes, I do everything I’m supposed to do and I still end up with aloe vera slathered on my aching skin. So sometimes I don’t bother slathering myself with the SPF—it doesn’t always work and it feels really gross.

I went to bed last night without a shirt on to avoid straps, since I hadn’t worn straps when I burned. I woke up this morning, wondering if I was going to be cracked and peeling or blistered and screaming, but it was just a slight blush. I heaved a sigh of relief, put on a high necked t-shirt, grabbed the SPF 55, and headed out for another day of adventure, figuring I better not push the envelope too far in one week. We went hiking in another part of town today and conquered a mountain. A very small, butte-like mountain, but a mountain. That we conquered. And I’m happy to report that I received no new burns today. A few scrapes, lots of sore muscles, and about a ton of dirt in my lungs, but no burns… So there’s that.

Tomorrow is church and then teaching Roommate how to shoot a gun. Despite what her father says about rednecks, there is no irony in that previous statement. Knowing how to shoot a gun to protect oneself and learning to be safe around guns in general does not run counter-intuitive to what Jesus taught us. And while my neck may be temporarily red, I am not a redneck. I just happen to live very close to a lot of them…


  1. The tube-top was absolutely NOT Roommate's idea nor did she encourage the wearing of such an impractical article of clothing. In fact, I seem to remember commenting that Roommate didn't have cute clothes in which to go hiking so you shouldn't wear them. Also, I encouraged multiple times the application and re-application of sunscreen...

  2. This is the problem with telling Roommate I have a blog: she tells the other (possibly more accurate) side of the story... And you said it was cute, which is encouragement enough to be advice. ;)

    Also, the sunscreen comment was uncalled for. Didn't I admit I'm terrible at sunscreen?