In this intensely divided moment, one of the few things everyone still seems to agree on is Dolly Parton—but why? That simple question leads to a deeply personal, historical, and musical rethinking of one of America’s great icons.
One reason I stopped coaching football this year was to open up some fall Oregon outdoor adventures that I’ve had to skip for the past 12 years or so. This allowed me to go fish the Deschutes river and, just two weeks later, backpack around the Three Sisters with Julie.
We did the loop clockwise, parking at Lava Camp Lake trailhead and hiking in from there on a Thursday night to start the loop. The loop hikes all look like a lollipop with the stick depending on where you enter. Lightroom will show a geotagged photo collection set in a map interface, creating a nice top-down view of what the hike path was.
It wasn’t always smiling and roses. We had a decent amount of snow fall on the first two nights of camping. I was a wreck as we entered camp the second night after about 15 miles of hiking, the last 5 or so uphill but not steep at all. Theory is that I (1) didn’t eat enough food that afternoon, (2) may have had mild altitude sickness, and (3) might have had some physical exhaustion resulting from my resumption of hard (for me) weightlifting. In any case I had no appetite and skipped dinner, got the shakes from the cold, and was in bed and asleep by 7pm. Things were much better the next day.
We cut the trip a night short, hiking out on Sunday (another 14-15 miler) instead of spending the night there. We were both tired of the cold nights plus our boots were getting wetter and wetter from all of the snow field hiking we were doing as we came around the northern side of the loop.
Julie and I took a small detour on our way back to Oregon from Keuka Lake. An old friend from high school invited us to join him at a very special place: Lake O’Hara in the Canadian rockies. We had perfect weather and an amazing visit. More Canada is in our future.
So part of what I’ve spent three years working on is a new language we can use to think and talk about our societies and the people inside of them. In typical Wait But Why form, the language is full of new terms and metaphors and, of course, lots and lots of badly drawn pictures. It all amounts to a new lens.