The Making of an Outdoor Sister

My journal:  August 4, 2000
Kayak Trip – British Columbia, Canada.

[Things you should know:  Lacey is my sister, and Ed is my uncle, and Shane is a friend]…

Last night we camped up the road from the Chilliwack (river in BC that tried to eat me alive). We found a nice little spot up on a ledge in a clear cut just past mile marker 96. We had a great view from up there, but the campsite itself was a mess. There’s a reason it quickly became known as “Camp Serote“. We got there near dark, and were totally worn out from the days river run. We chatted a bit, then decided to head off to bed.  Lacey and Shane set up camp on the ground, I took the back of the truck, while Ed crawled off to bed in his tent.

As we were drifting off to sleep we started hearing strange noises. It was like a flying frog/bear/bird thing. It was really creepy, and kinda freaked us out because we could NOT tell what it was. We figured it was some strange bird swooping around and went to sleep.

Awhile later Lacey woke up to the sound of rocks rolling down the mountain behind us. She freaked. She litterally jumped out of her sleeping bag, directly on top of Shane. She was screaming. Hysterically.

You can imagine what it’s like being woken up to something like this. I thought Freddy Kruger was roaming around camp with a silencer on his chainsaw. I was terrified. I’d never seen Lacey in such distress. She was the tough one, and she was bonkers.

My first instinct was to hide. The first thing I saw was Ed’s tent. I must have realized the tent was zipped shut, so in a split second decision I decided to burrow UNDER the tent. With Lacey screaming “somethings oooouuuuttt tthhheeereeee” combined with that “something” crawling under his tent sent Ed flying out into the middle of camp. He looked around. Lacey was crying (a detail that is still debatable), still on top of Shane and I was behind his tent (because I couldn’t quite fit under it) huddled in a ball. Ed grabbed his big cop sized maglite,  pointed out I was lucky he didn’t have it in the tent with him (or he would have beaten me), told Lacey (rather impatiently) that she was crazy, and preceded to search camp for signs of an impostor. Nothing.

Then came the laughter. Lacey joined me the back of the truck, Shane moved his bed under the tailgate (to sleep as sentinel). More laughter. We laughed till we cried. There were a few more odd, but non-disruptive noises. Then sleep.

If you were to ask a psychologist, growing up, my sister Lacey and I were polar opposites. She was a red personality. I was a white. She had dark skin and dark hair. I was just about as pale as the day I was born. She was the big sister. I was the little. We’re only 20 months apart. Close enough to be friends. Far enough for me to feel like I spent the first 30 years of my life trying to keep up with her.

When she suggested we buy mountain bikes, it was more like a commandment. When she mentioned she was planning a trip to Washington so my Uncle could teach her to kayak, she asked me when WE could leave.

Spring break in Moab? Let me pack my cutoff jeans and tevas.
You think we can drive to Jackson, climb the Grand and be back in time for work on Monday? Sweet.
Oh we can just drag our boats up Coyote Gulch after we run the Escalante River? Well, why not?
You want to practice bleaching someone’s hair? I have hair…

Thankfully I was living over 500 miles away when she decided to run her first marathon.

While my parents are to blame for my love of nature, my sister is primarily to blame for my love of adventure.  After I graduated from high school I somehow, thankfully, became her adventure buddy. I haven’t always been one to push myself physically, to leave my comfort zone, or to follow through on crazy adventure plans I dream up. Those are all skills I learned from Lacey.

She married six months before me. Chad (her husband) and Joe changed our daring duo to a fearless foursome. Then we had kids. Each two boys. The adventure that is parenthood isn’t so easily shared, and our death-defying endeavors have become fewer. The 1,049 miles between us don’t help.

I’m biding my time.

Ten years from now when our boys are old enough, I’m going to call her up:  “I’m thinking to take my sons to run the Grand Canyon section of the Colorado River.  You guys in?”  I already know what her answer will be.

Til then, I’ve got ten years of adventuring memories to think on, relive, and brag about to my sons. Maybe they’ll get the idea of what siblings are for. Maybe they’ll be inspired to make their own grand adventures.


Happy Birthday Lacey.

13 Comments so far

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  1. Well Happy Birthday A Little Late to one incredible sister! Glad you turned out the way you did, and it sounds like Lacey is partly to blame. =) I only wonder which traits of yours rubbed off on her…

    • Liv – Well, she doesn’t “plan” as well as she use too. Pretty sure that could be from me ;)

      • Lacey

        Lindsey that’s funny you say Im not as good at planning anymore, because as I pondered on what I have learned from you that is one of the first things that came to mind. How to relax and let things just happen, sometimes my red personality wants to plan, plan, plan, but between you and Chad I have learned to mellow and go with the flow.

  2. Lacey

    Wow Lindsey, a birthday tribute…now that is an unbeatable gift. Thanks! I only hope the great canyon is not really 10 years away, in-fact uncle Ed mentioned he and Candy have put in for permits that should come due in 3-4 years. Of course the boys can’t go but I’m going to need a raft buddy. :)

    • Lacey – YOur welcome! And yes. I’m 100% in on the Grand Canyon trip!

  3. maren topham clark

    Lindsey that was the best birthday present idea EVER! I had no idea that Lacey is the one that inspired your love for adventure. I guess being so much younger than you both I wasn’t able to join in. Hopefully now that i am older I will get to get in on the fun! Hopefully it won’t matter that I have two GIRLS. :)

    • Maren – I know! I had a paragraph in there about how my only regret was not being able to take you. How you feel prey to boys and something called “mac make-up” but then I realized I was getting long winded! LOL. Oh, you’ll defiantly be joining in. In fact, Lacey and I were scheming just the other day about how to get you on a river trip… There is still time to save you, and your girls;)

  4. Katie

    It is true. Lacey is a good friend to have because she always gets me out of the house. And I know she’s always game for anything I come up with. Too bad she lives so far away.

    • Katie – I agree. It’s one thing to have friends who says they like to get out and do stuff. But it’s a whole new wonderful ball game to have friends who actually follow through. Lacey is good for that!

  5. What a wonderful post. I love how you describe the sound– “flying frog/bear/bird thing”. HaHa!

  6. […] around the baby, adjust as needed and place it inside the carrier. (look at this pic of how cozy my sister’s baby looks in her […]


    I'm Lindsey. I'm an environmental educator, my husband's a biologist. The outdoors is infused into everything we do; which explains why I'm better at mud pies than home decorating. More About Me

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