Page 1

mutterhood Hey, what’s the mutter?

Trek Vol. I, Issue 2 - June/July 2013


- June/July 2013

I remember the first time I had to find my way somewhere by myself. It was summer,

I was 11, and I was bored. I wanted to go to the library, but there were two problems: My

parents both worked so getting a ride was out, and I had no idea where it was. I mean really, what kid pays attention to things like that?

I studied the map my mom taped to the inside of our pantry door, then hopped on my

bike and set out. I rode up my street, followed the road to the main drag through town, and

kept going. I made a couple of wrong turns, but you know what? I figured it out. When I saw

the two white columns that marked the entrance to the library, I felt like I could do anything.

“It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” It might be a cliché, but in putting together

this issue, we found it to be true. In “The Power of Place”, seven contributors share their most memorable trips with photographs and personal essays. There are emotional journeys as well, though grief and illness, and an amazing story of relief and recovery.

Of course, you can take a trip without leaving home. Inside, we’ve got reviews and

recommendations of books, online resources and a movie or two that might satisfy any wanderlust that strikes after that third rainy day in a row.

We do have one regret, which is that we couldn’t find a place for the most obvious

Welcome to Trek.

trek of all. So I’ll include it here: As Mr. Spock would say, "live long and prosper."


Heading somewhere fun for the weekend? Check out The New York Times 36 Hours series before you go. These best of the newspaper’s “36 Hours” columns offer sample itineraries for short trips to places around the world. Volumes for the United States and Canada, and Europe, have been published; new ones for Latin America and The Caribbean, and Asia and Oceania, are coming in December.

Ellen Fowler Hummel: Co-Founder & Managing Editor - Editorial Cathi Kern Borushek: Co-Founder & Managing Editor - Creative

Trek — 2


- June/July 2013

In this issue The Gelt Trip describes one family's journey through grief and acceptance. Page 8 Seven writers and photographers tell mutterhood about the places they've been that hold special meaning in

The Power of Place.

Page 10

Relief Flight

is an eyewitness account of one of the first evacuation flights out of New Orleans, La., four days after Hurricane Katrina. Page 20 Two books about two very different hikes: Trailways examines Wild by Cheryl Strayed and Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods. Page 24

Like Freckles, or Blue Eyes follows the path of dementia as it travels through a family. Page 28

Regular features: What's the mutter? Trek Page 4 Words & Pictures profiles Callan McLoudrey, a writer and photographer, whose goal is to visit all 50 states by the time he turns 10. Page 22

By the Book: Growing up with National Geographic magazine. Page 30

Riding the trail down the Grand Canyon National Park, circa 1941. To read about about two National Park hikers on vastly different journeys, read "Trailways," page 24.

Unless otherwise indicated, all content in mutterhood magazine and on is the express property of f/k media and cannot be reproduced without permission. Cover Photo: “Sight Seeing” © Cathi Kern Borushek Table of Contents: Grand Canyon Trail – courtesy of the Kern family Pages4-8 – “What’s the mutter?”: p. 4 - "Trike" © Cathi Kern Borushek; p.8 – Digital Public Library of America images Pages 9-10 – “The Gelt Trip” – story and photos © Cathi Kern Borushek Pages 10-19 – “The Power of Place”: p.10 – photo & story © Laura Luce; p.11 – photo & story © Donna Ascher; p.12 – photo & story © Gary Fowler; p. 14 – photo & story © Sara Berry McLoudrey; p.15 – photo & story ©the Borushek family; p.16 – photo & story © Ellen Fowler Hummel; p.18 – photo & story © Jody Magrady Pages 20-21 – “Relief Flight”: p.20 – photo © Sharon VanDivier; story © Pages 24-25 – “Trailways”: maps © United States Park Services; story © Pages 26-27 – “Words & Pictures”: all photos & story © the McLoudrey family Pages 28-30 – “Like Freckles, or Blue Eyes” – story © Ellen Fowler Hummel Pages 32-33 – “By the Book”: essay © Ellen Fowler Hummel; images courtesy the National Geographic Association Back Cover – “Spin” © Cathi Kern Borushek

Trek — 3


- June/July 2013

What’s the mutter? From bicycles to books to in-your-face reporting, here's just a taste of what folks are talking about that has to do with TREK.

A Race with a View

Whether you know the difference between a yellow jersey and a green one, or a

peleton from a PED, the Tour de France has everything for serious cycling fans: speeds up to 70 mph; collisions and crashes; millions of fans with scary-close access to riders on the course. But you don’t have to be a cyclist to enjoy the Tour thanks to cable TV and a host of mobile apps that provide a high-definition seat for the racing and a stunning tour of France.

The most prestigious and grueling event in professional cycling, the Tour covers close to 3,200 kilometers (that’s 2,000 miles) over 23 days, with just two days of rest. Upwards of 200 riders start the race, but far fewer actually finish. Along the way, the racers careen through stunning seaside towns, glide along fields of lavendar and sunflowers, climb the Alps and the Pyrenees, passing through layers of sun, fog, rain and even snow at the highest elevations, where the landscape turns almost lunar.

The aerial photography provided by NBC Sports, which broadcasts

the tour live, is breathtaking. Swooping shots of chateaus, farmland, cities and the crazy-costumed, flag-waving crowds paint a backdrop for the announcers, who take the time to relate some of the history of the region while breathlessly providing play-by-play of each day’s race.

The 100th Tour de France begins Sat., June 29 and ends in Paris on Sunday, July 21.

It’s televised on NBC Sports Network; you can also download the official Tour de France app for mobile devices and tablets.

WATCH: Breaking Away It's not the Tour de France but you'll be rooting for Dave Stohler and his crew of Cutters as they navigate post high school life in their hometown, Bloomington, Ind. Stohler's loyalties are put to the test as he and his buddies set out to beat the frat boys in Indiana University's Little 500 bike race..

TREK - To travel or migrate, especially slowly or with difficulty

Trek — 4


- June/July 2013

Off the Beaten Path


The second season of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown begins in September on CNN.

riter, chef and modern-day Renaissance man Anthony Bourdain is known for bringing a unique perspective to world travel. His new show for CNN, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, showcases that style. It's part travelogue, part documentary and completely riveting in how it uncovers the history of a place and its relation to the rest of the world. Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown showcases Bourdain and his crew at their best: introducing their audience to the people and customs of generally unknown places in the world. Whether he’s traveling close to home - in one recent episode he stuck to three square miles of Koreatown in Los Angeles - or hiking the Andes to find a tree that grows rare cocoa beans, along the way Bourdain is invited into people’s homes to share their food and to hear their stories. The reason he chose to visit the Congo, for example, was that he wanted to see for himself the place Joseph Conrad wrote about in Heart of Darkness and where Francis Ford Coppola filmed Apocalypse Now. With stunning videography that focuses on the people, and music from the region that helps to pace the action, Bourdain and his crew offer an often poetic narration that gets to the heart of the culture. Bourdain asks the hard questions too, as he did in Peru. “I wonder if this is a good thing for the world or exploitative opportunism?” There’s humor, as well. To explore the Congo River, he and his crew hire a boat, but without refrigeration they have to bring live chickens. Bourdain decides that everyone has to kill their own chicken or they don’t eat. When a crew member finally wrings his chicken’s neck, Bourdain says “Good, now you can join our treehouse.” In Peru, Bourdain sums up a visit to a local shaman this way: “My aura is now cleaner than Gwyneth Paltrow’s colon after a three-month juice cleanse.” There’s an element of danger in some of the locations, as Bourdain and his crew find when they travel to post-revolution Libya, Myanmar and Morocco. It’s that dramatic tension that makes for fascinating television.

READ: Kitchen Confidential While you're waiting for Parts Unknown to return in September, spend some time reading Bourdain's best-selling memoir of life in the culinary trenches. Be forewarned though: You may never look at your restaurant meal the same way again. But you will appreciate the work that went into making it.

TREK - A journey or trip, especially one involving difficulty or hardship

Trek — 5


- June/July 2013

Literary Field Trips

Not So Literary Field Trips

For travelers with a literary bent, Poets &

Writers magazine debuted a new feature this year that lets you find writerly spots in almost any city in the United States. "Literary Places" is a database of bookstores, historical sites, writing centers and spaces, literary archives, and reading venues for dozens of U.S. cities and states. Say you’re attending a conference in Atlanta, you’ve got some free time and you want to do something other than visit the World of Coca-Cola. Go to, type in Atlanta, Ga., and there’s a link to Casa Genotta in Sea Island, the home of playwright Eugene O’Neill and his wife. The link provides the address of the house, a Google map to help you find it, and a list of other literary places nearby, including writer Flannery O’Connor’s childhood home in Savannah, The Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians in Columbus, and Jack Keroac’s House in Orlando, Fla. On the other hand, if you’re headed to Nebraska for a wedding, just tap into the database and you’ll find out that Willa Cather’s childhood home in Red Cloud, Neb., is a very doable day trip. Major cities such as New York, Boston and Chicago also include city guides written by P&W editors; a list of upcoming conferences and readings in the area; job listings; a directory of local writers and writing contests; and recent articles about the city.

READ: An Arsonist's Guide to Writer's Homes in New England

Brock Clarke's book begins with the main character accidently burning down Emily Dickinson's house. After serving time for the crime, a copycat starts torching other famous writers' homes in this funny and entertaining read.


If you know more about Carroll O'Connor than Flannery O'Connor, we've got an app for you. "Reel Estate" has over 500 addresses of homes and buildings made famous in your favorite TV shows and movies. The above-mentioned Carroll O'Connor starred in All In The Family as Archie Bunker. Want to know where the Bunkers lived? You'll get their real address, the address of the actual house shown in the opening credits, directions and trivia. Heading out for a day of sightseeing? You can build your own route. The app lets you look up famous buildings and add them to a personalized tour, complete with directions. Using the GPS functions of your iPhone or iPad, "Reel Estate" lets you know what TV and movie buildings are nearest your current location. At this moment I'm close enough to jog over to the home of Samantha Baker, the famously ignored birthday girl in Sixteen Candles. It stands to reason that you'll find most of the homes near major metropolitan areas, particularly Los Angeles and New York. But that doesn't mean you have to travel to a big city to gawk. Looking for some Breaking Bad exteriors? New Mexico. Fan of Grumpy Old Men? (You are? Really?) Well, you'll want to head to Minnesota. When you download the app, they ask you to confirm that you understand these are private homes and you shouldn't be pestering the people who live in them. But even if you aren't traveling to The Brady Bunch house, this under-a-dollar app makes cyberwandering fun too. READ: Pulphead: Essays Start with "Peyton's Place," an essay about the writer's experience renting out his home to the TV show One Tree Hill, then stay for the other amazing works by John Jeremiah Sullivan, New York Times writer and master of his craft.

The world is a book and those who don’t travel only read one page. --St. Augustine

Trek — 6


Digital Photo Library Features National Parks

A current exhibit at the Digital Public

Library of America (DPLA) takes a closer look at the

relationship Americans have with their national parks.

The exhibition, “This Land is Your Land: Parks

and Public Spaces” uses photos collected by the

DPLA from libraries, archives and museums around

the country to highlight America’s unique relationship with nature, and how we preserve and protect our public lands. It

traces the history of the public land movement, from the designation

of Yellowstone National Park as the nation’s first public park in 1872, to the founding of the National

Park Service in 1916. The images are categorized according to six

themes: building the parks; interpretation of the parks; landscapes; protecting the parks; stewards of the parks; and wildlife and people.

Be a Junior Ranger

Kids who visit a national park in the United States can earn

something for their travels: a shiny new badge or certificate proclaiming them a Junior Ranger. The National Park Service sponsors the Junior Ranger program, a hands-on program of activities that helps kids learn about a park’s history, its natural landscape, and how to protect the area. Each park has an activity guide that kids complete as they tour the park. When they leave, they take the completed guide to a park ranger and share their answers with the ranger in order to receive the official junior ranger badge (or patch or certificate). Children who want to take part in the program but can’t visit a specific park can complete the WebRanger program online. It’s not just the big parks like Yellowstone or Rocky Mountain National Park that participate. At the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for example, kids follow the adventures of Scratchy the Squirrel through the monuments, learning their history and that of the people and events they’re named for. At Joshua Tree National Forest, kids pretend they’re a lizard and write a story about what they see, and on the Appalachian National Scenic Trail kids plan a hike by estimating mileage, describing the trail markers, and noting conditions along certain sections of the trail. The Junior Ranger program is designed to let kids interact with the parks at their own pace, and to get them interested in possible ways to become involved in the National Park Service. Find out more at

Watch: Yogi Bear

It’s worth a look to discover the history of

our national park movement, and to understand the

American landscape. The digital exhibition is available online at

- June/July 2013

Access is free, as are many of the images.

Any Junior Ranger (or their parents) will enjoy a romp through Jellystone Park with Yogi, Boo-Boo and Ranger Smith. If you can't find Yogi on your tube, there's plenty of park life on DVD and Blu-Ray.

There is nothing so American as our national parks. - Franklin D. Roosevelt

Trek — 7


- June/July 2013


Gelt Trip

Cathi Kern Borushek


y in-laws were insatiable travelers. At home on the road, they were immigrants from Argentina with a past just a generation removed from the mass Jewish European exodus to safer ground. Their last few trips had been at a breakneck pace for people in their 70s: a month in India; a trip to Israel; then a tour of Eastern Europe that was cut short due to exhaustion. It was as if they knew trouble was around the bend and they were trying to outrun it with stamps in their overcrowded passports. Six months after their return my father-in-law was gone from brain cancer. My mother-in-law mourned her loss for six weeks before dying from a self-diagnosed broken heart. My husband was crushed by their passing, filled with guilt from past regrets and trying to imagine a future without them. Still reeling from our winter horriblus, we understood the allure of the road and couldn’t get out of town fast enough. Emotionally, physically and mentally spent, we cashed in their miles and used some inheritance money to flee to Europe. What we thought would be a welcome escape from our winter of discontent proved instead to be a constant reminder. We embarked on an historical death march with a decidedly pilgrimage air, following a path my in-laws took years ago through London, Paris and Rome. It started innocently enough. Europe is all about history and royalty and rulers, oh my! Here’s where they chopped off Anne Boleyn’s head. And this suit of armor with an abnormally large steel private part belonged to her dead husband, Henry VIII. The kids, still shell-shocked from their first major losses, gamely tried to absorb all the historical importance while searching for effective Wi-Fi.

My husband, never a religious man, was on a different sort of search. He dragged us to every church, cathedral, prayer house and temple he could find. And for those of you who have been to Europe you know that there are plenty. We followed him on this spiritual ghost hunt, marveling at his resourcefulness. After days of trudging through the cold and damp London streets, we landed at Westminster Abbey, Britain's walk of fame for the rich and famously deceased. There, while the rest of us strolled through the tombs filled with English history, he wrangled a private prayer service with the Abbey’s head dean. We were led behind velvet ropes to an off-limits sanctuary and held

© Cathi Kern Borushek

Trek — 8


- June/July 2013

© Cathi Kern Borushek

hands as we prayed around Edward the Confessor’s chair. “Our father in heaven, hallowed be your name . . .” Having been raised "free range" on the religious spectrum my boys were at a loss. They didn’t know whether to snicker or join their father in silent weeping. In the City of Lights the great cathedral of Notre Dame beckoned. While we guarded our purses and electronics from the omnipresent pickpockets and beggars, he embraced all the gothic wonders and read each plaque with martyred intent. As we made our way through Europe he spread money like fairy dust, donating to every house of worship regardless of denomination. Alms as a cure. His personal gelt trip. It wasn’t until Rome that my own demons began chasing me. In the cradle of Catholicism I struggled to remain supportive. From our damp and rainy beginnings in London to the spreading warmth of Rome, his cloud began to lift while my mood darkened. Long estranged

from the religion of my upbringing, at odds with their edicts on nearly everything, I dragged my personal baggage through church after church. The art. The opulence. The hypocrisy. But in Vatican Square for Palm Sunday mass, as thousands of believers shouted “Il Papa,” we were both swept away by the collective joy and celebration. Surrounded by people from around the world releasing their own demons, we reveled in the pageantry and embraced the hopeful spirit. That was the day we stopped tripping over history and began to look forward. Our voyage through Europe’s great cathedrals had served as a spiritual exorcism for us both. On our last night in Italy a powerful earthquake struck Abruzzo. Its shockwaves flew east to Rome, shaking us out of our sleep. It was our final wake-up call. Time to go home.

Trek — 9


- June/July 2013

The Power of Place We gathered a group of seven photographers and writers from around the world to explain why it's not the destination that matters, it's the journey.

Š Laura Luce


Laura Luce 2012

Our adventure in India celebrating my best friend's 50th birthday began in Delhi. Our first site was The Red Fort built by Shah Jahan, the 5th Mughal Emperor, who also built the Taj Mahal. We saw school children at all the sites we visited and they were always smiling and curious - most tried to engage us and were anxious to pose for our cameras.

Trek — 10


- June/July 2013

© Donna Ascher

South Africa Donna Ascher 2008

I took this photograph at the Waterford Estate Vineyard in the Stellenbosch region outside Cape Town at the end of a safari that my husband Rick and I took in the spring. Our trip started in the Okavango Delta in Botswana where we awoke every morning at 4:30 in order to observe and photograph what we had made the long and exciting journey to see: lions, elephants, giraffes, leopards, water buffalo, hyena, zebras, and so many other exotic creatures.   We ended our trip with a tour of Cape Town and the surrounding wine regions. Our guide suggested that we try what they called the Chocolate Experience, which paired wine and chocolate. Wine and chocolate? What’s not to like?

Trek — 11


- June/July 2013


Gary Fowler 1964

© Gary L. Fowler

Trek — 12


- June/July 2013

We left Constantine, Algeria about 8:00 that morning for a 200-mile drive and a border crossing into Tunisia. We hoped to be in Gafsa, an oasis in southern Tunisia, for the night. The first leg of the trip was to Tébessa, near the Algerian-Tunisian border. We were still in the region of French agricultural colonization and passed through several rural settlements that gradually disappeared as we crossed a line of hills into a valley rimmed by low-lying mountains. For the first time since leaving southern Tunisia, we saw nomadic peoples living in tents and caring for large herds of goats, sheep and camels. We soon came to Tébessa, where we bought some bread, and then proceeded on our way. The Algerian frontier police offices were also in Tébessa, not 30 miles further at the border as the map led us to believe. We found this out when we turned back to the edge of town to buy gasoline and were stopped by two policemen, who suggested that if we were going to Tunisia we should check through customs. We agreed. After buying gas, we were led to the customs office where I declared our money and other things and found that knowing Arabic was a great help. The police car again appeared to lead us to the passport section. We wondered if they treated every tourist this way. Perhaps, although a year had passed since the last Americans were there. We drove south toward a range of pine-covered hills, through which the Algerian-Tunisian border passed. We stopped briefly for lunch and coffee under the pines and then drove toward the border. At one point we passed through a narrow gate with massive barbed-wire fortifications that stretched as far as we could see. Clearing Tunisian customs was a long, drawn-out affair as several Tunisians headed toward Algeria apparently did not have their papers in order and were sent back to Tunisia. I only needed to convince the customs officials that I had the proper automobile insurance to drive in Tunisia (insurance companies wrote temporary extensions for travel in other countries) and we were on our way to Gafsa. We paused at the Tunisian side of the mountains to get warm and to welcome the vast plain that stretched out before us - and to collect pine cones. We also had some yellow and red leaves that my wife had picked from trees in the Grand Kabylie as proof that some places in North Africa have an autumn season. We breathed a sigh of relief at once again being in Tunisia and welcomed the neat, white farmhouses that dotted the plain. The road was straight as an arrow and before long we saw Gafsa, our stop for the night.

Trek — 13


- June/July 2013

Puerto Rico

Sara Berry McLoudrey 2008

I had the pleasure of going to Puerto Rico with a friend who won a trip from The Ellen Show. We had booked the trip in January of 2008 to go that October. My father had just been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer when we booked the trip. I felt that by the fall either my Dad would be healthy enough for me to travel, or he'd no longer be with us. Sadly the second thought was the correct one. He died about a month before my trip and I had never needed to get away so badly by the time the trip came. I remember sitting on the wall of Castillo San Cristóbal. I watched the ocean crash against the walls and then fade out into a sky that was a shade of blue I had never seen before. Sitting there I felt at any moment my Dad would walk through one of those doors to ask what I was photographing. I knew I was photographing him, for him, for me, for my son. © Sara Berry McLoudrey

Trek — 14


- June/July 2013

© Borushek Family

Galapagos Islands Joseph Wyatt 2007

My grandparents took my brother, my two cousins and me on a trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands during summer break before I went into third grade. I took this picture when we were off the ship and on a shore expedition. You could do one or two every day. My grandparents made me go with them because I was only eight. The rest of the boys got to do what they wanted. These were called the split rocks and are part of the Galapagos chain of islands. Other expeditions were to see the giant turtles and sea lions. My favorite part of the trip was running around the ship with the guys. There were a bunch of different restaurants and we could order pop or milkshakes at the bars. I wasn’t as homesick as my older brother. The giant turtles were really amazing. The last day on the ship the other guys blamed me for losing a pair of binoculars. Even so, it was a once in a lifetime trip that I will always remember and I know I was really lucky to spend that time with my grandparents.

Trek — 15


- June/July 2013


Ellen Fowler Hummel 1989

My friend and I had heard that the thing to do on Rhodes was to ride a donkey to the top of the cliffs to see the

ruins. So early the next morning, we did just that. A group of men greeted us, pointing to a cluster of about 10 donkeys drinking out of what looked like a rain barrel about 20 feet away. The donkey minder walked over to the herd and slapped one of the mules on the rear end. The donkey brayed, and started to back away from the others. He grabbed the bridle, and brought it over to where I stood.

“Yours,” he said.

I paid him, then he

lifted me up and threw me on the donkey’s back.

And then we

were off.

The path was

narrow, less than two feet across, with the side of the cliff on my right and nothing but a sheer drop off to the left. I held the reins in my hands, my Le Sportsac bag stretched across my chest and my thighs gripping tight to the donkey.

It was clear he

was the one in charge. Oblivious to anything I did - pulling the reins, saying whoa - he trotted up the path, kicking pebbles off the left side, not slowing down when we came to a twist or a turn. At one point about halfway up, his left hind leg slipped down

Trek — 16

© Ellen Fowler Hummel


- June/July 2013

the side; he pulled himself up as I immediately laid forward,

neck as he sprinted into the herd of donkeys circled

gripping his neck. The donkey paused while he righted him-

around another water barrel, just like the one below.

self, then shook me off his head and trotted on. I gripped the

I pulled on the reins, but he paid no attention. As he

saddle horn with both hands and continued to bounce in the

pushed forward, my legs spread-eagled next to me,

saddle like a drunk cowboy on a

then behind me, until I was horizontal on my stom-

mechanical bull. The only control

ach on top of my donkey, in the middle of the herd.

I had was luck and balance, nei-

ther of which I felt I could count

donkey next to me out of the way with my feet. My


skin scraped against the donkey's dusty, stiff hair.

I held on to the saddle and

I slid off sideways to the left, pushing the

The muscles in my thighs felt like they’d snapped;

tried to stay centered, my thighs

pain seared through my legs as I pushed my way

squeezing as tight as they could.

to the ground. I grabbed my bag from the donkey’s

I have no idea how long it took;

back and pushed against more coarse hair and wool

we were in shade on one side of

blankets and leather saddle buckles, trying to free

the cliff, then bright sunlight on

myself. The donkeys immediately filled in the space

the other. Shade then sun, shade

where I’d just been, like water as you wade through

then sun. Finally, the donkey

a stream.

sprinted up a particularly steep

slope, kicking rocks behind him

to elbow my way out. With one final shove I freed

as his hooves took hold on the

myself and fell on the ground on all fours, pebbles

dirt path.

and dry dirt embedded in my hands and knees.

We’d arrived at the top.

At some point my sun-

me, nor on the donkey minders who watched the

I pushed my way through, using both arms

The irony of my position wasn’t lost on

glasses had fallen off my face (I

whole thing from the snack truck 10 feet away. They

realized I was holding them in my

laughed as I stood up. “God DAMN it” I said, teeth

hand), so I squinted in the sun-

clenched, brushing off my knees and hands. My legs

light at the flat ground and Greek

shook and red scratches started to pop up where my

columns and sun sparkling off the

shins had scraped against the fur.

sea, which was all around us. It

was beautiful. Even the donkey

cart, where a young boy sold water, orange Fanta

seemed to pause to take it all in.

and Amstel. I pointed to the beer and paid him.

Just as I relaxed the donkey

saw his friends. I grabbed his

I fixed my bag and headed over to the food

It was 10:00 in the morning, and the donkey

and I both needed a drink.

Trek — 17


- June/July 2013


Jody Magrady 2008

© Jody Magrady

Trek — 18


- June/July 2013

I love Paris, and when I’m there I like to find and visit photographers, see their places and exhibitions, as well as to take photographs myself. Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the most important street photographers, lived in Paris, and the foundation honoring his work is in the Montparnasse District of the city. I went there one day to see an exhibition of his work, and that of Walker Evans, an important American photographer. After touring the exhibits, I wandered a few blocks over to the Montparnasse Cemetery, which is near the train station, to see the graves of a few other of my favorite photographers. When I entered the cemetery I met Eric, a young French man in his 20s, who was spending some time there before his train left. He spoke a little English and I spoke a little French. He was looking for Serge Gainsbourg’s grave, and I offered to help him. He was very surprised that I even knew who Gainsbourg, a popular French singer, was. Eric and I were lucky enough to come across the grave when this gentleman was standing next to it. I loved the way the man looked like he could be related to Gainsbourg - he looked like he was standing watch. I also loved the way the curve of the man’s head echoed the curve of the gravestone behind him. I like that the photo shows how crowded the cemetery was and how the grave captured the celebration of Gainsbourg’s life. The light that day was lovely, too. It was a shot I couldn’t resist. Later, with a cemetery map and some help from a local, Eric and I were able to find the grave of another photographer, Man Ray, which I was happy about. I was also hoping to find the grave of Brassaï, but even with the map and instructions, we never did - the plots were so crowded and the terrain so convoluted. I made an hour-long friend in Eric that day. We had so much fun laughing, walking and trying to communicate, telling each other about our lives and countries. It was a great day.

Trek — 19


- June/July 2013

Relief Flight At its peak two days after Hurricane Katrina hit on Aug. 29, 2005, the Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans housed approximately 30,000 people without electricity or running water. The FAA rushed to reopen one runway for relief flights, which were being organized by the Air Transport Association, an airline trade group, with cooperation from major US commercial carriers, among them United Airlines.

United flew into New Orleans on Friday morning, Sept. 2. Arriving just after 10:00 a.m., the flight carried a full crew, as well as screeners from the Transportation Safety Administration, several air marshalls, additional fire and medical personnel, and thousands of pounds of food and water. It returned to Chicago that evening with close to 200 evacuees. Sharon VanDivier, a United flight attendant, was on that first flight. I was on reserve in Chicago, and I saw a posting looking for volunteers to take the flight, and I thought to myself, no way, no how am I going to volunteer for that. I just wasn’t sure I could deal with it. Then, at 8:00 the night before, the crew desk called and asked me to be on the crew. So I said yes. I called my husband and said guess where I’m going, and he said 'I know it’s not New Orleans,' and I said well, that’s where you’re wrong. We wanted to leave Chicago early because the airport in New Orleans had no electricity and we needed to have enough time to get everyone on board and take off before it got dark. Check-in was at 5:45 a.m. We had an extensive briefing about what to expect, and how the flight was going to run. United would fly the evacuees from New Orleans to Chicago, and then from Chicago they had a free ticket to wherever they wanted to go in the United States. We’d help them with flight arrangements once they got to O'Hare. We boarded tons of snack boxes, and hot dinners for as many people as we had seats. We also had extra water and bananas. They told us that the passengers could have anything they wanted, and we tried to anticipate any need they could have

Trek — 20

© Sharon VanDivier

during the flight. We flew a 757, and I worked in the back of the plane with one other flight attendant. We flew low into New Orleans, and looking out the windows you just saw the devastation. There was water everywhere, and everyplace you looked you could see collapsed buildings, and debris - wood, cans and trash, it was all just floating. The flight landed, and within an hour began loading passengers using air stairs to bring them up to the plane. VanDivier and the other flight attendants met the passengers at the first-class entrance. The first people on the plane were the ones who needed medical treatment, they were in first-class. After that, there were just so many people, whole families, and 13 kids, I remember because we had to count them. Some people didn’t want to get on once they got to the plane, because they didn’t want to leave someone behind, or they changed their minds and wanted to stay.


- June/July 2013

❝ So many people

weren’t focused on

couldn’t believe they were being fed. A lot of people had animals what they’d been One of them asked me very quietly with them, and we let them bring through, they were if there was anything else, and I told them on board. When we took her yes, after we take off we’ll serve off and landed, we stacked the just so thankful for them a hot chicken dinner, with mashed cages in the bathrooms to keep the whatever you did potatoes and gravy, corn and an apple animals safe. I remember one little for them. dessert. After I told her each thing, she dachsund was going berserk kept asking, ‘really?’, and I said yes, in there, so we let it sit with its that’s exactly what we’re having. She owner. just looked at me, then broke down crying. She made me Most of the people had never been on a plane cry too. before, and a lot of them were afraid to fly. We When we got to O’Hare, you could see a lot of let them sit wherever they wanted, and we gave people thinking oh my god, what now. It was almost a them water and snack boxes right away. United haunted look that they had. A lot of them looked relieved, had told us to do whatever we needed so that they and a lot were just scared, you could see it. They were were comfortable. They were all just so grateful for scared about what they’d lost, and about what they were anything we did. going to do next. It was kind of loud on the plane, and people We had United folks at the gate to meet us, and had a lot of questions. Most didn’t even know where they took people to the showers in the airport, helped them they were going until we told them after they got on with their animals, and made flight arrangements for people board. We answered a lot of questions about how who were going someplace else. Everyone got a change of long the flight was, how we heat up the food, a lot clothes, and a $100 voucher. about the plane and flying. A lot of them were afraid United also had counselors at the airport to help to fly. You could see the panic on their faces, but the crew members, and it was a big help. It was the we talked to them and answered their questions, proudest I’ve ever been of United. and just tried to treat them like normal. Mostly they The thing I regret is that I didn’t have time to get needed a smile and a laugh. phone numbers of some of the people so I could follow The hardest part was hearing their stories. up with them to see if they were okay, or to find out what So many people had so many sad stories about what happened to them. they’d lost, or worse, who they’d lost, that it was hard to I keep dreaming about them. Did they ever go back listen to them all. Some didn’t know where their family to New Orleans? Did that one family make it in time to say members were, or their houses were gone, and they goodbye to their dad and husband, or what happened to had nowhere to go. One man told us the water came the two ladies who were so thankful for that chicken dinner. up and they were on their roof, and someone came in a Their family didn’t even know they were coming. I had such boat to get them, and then someone else brought them a good time with them, and I wish I knew what happened to to the airport, and now they were on the plane. them when they got to where they wanted to go. I remember a mother and her two young kids, This was something that really makes you stop and maybe 10 and 12. The father had been away at cancer think about what’s important. and I’m very happy I did it. It treatment outside of Louisiana, and their goal was to get makes you a different person knowing that people can to him before he died. I just remember her trying to be go through something like that and come out of it. So so strong for her kids. many of them weren’t focused on what they’d been I also remember two sisters, both in their through, they were just so thankful for whatever you early 70s, who were going on from Chicago to family did for them. members in Atlanta. They’d never flown before. I gave It was a good flight. them snack boxes when they got seated, and they


Trek — 21


- June/July 2013

Words & Pictures Mutterhood profiles one writer or photographer in each issue to peek into the creative process and find out what influences and inspires them. This issue we're featuring a young man who is making his mark as a writer, photographer and adventurer.

Callan McLoudrey

Tell us about your blog, 50by10.

© McLoudrey Family

I have a goal to visit all 50 states by the time I am 10. I set this goal when I was five and by then I had only visited 15 states. I started this blog when I was 7.5 years old and I had visited 31 states and the District of Columbia. I have also visited four Canadian provinces. How are you doing? How many states do you have left? We have 10 states left. We are going to Alaska this summer and Utah and New Mexico next summer. I will be 10 in July, 2015 and that's when we will go to the last state, Hawaii as our big final trip. And because it is the 50th state admitted into the Union. What was the first state you visited? It was Virginia, when I was only 11 weeks old. On the same trip we visited Maryland, and my middle name is Ellicott after Elliott City, Md. I also visited Washington, DC, on that trip, and my first national park, Arlington National Cemetery. That’s where I got my National Park Passport Book. What are your favorite places to visit? Our family likes to visit national parks on every trip, if we can. My favorite national park is Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. We went to the Grand Tetons then, and took a boat ride on Jenny Lake. My second favorite is Carl Sandburg’s Home in North Carolina. I always earn Junior Ranger badges at every national park. If you would like to be a Junior Ranger, just go to the front desk at the visitor’s center and ask for the Junior Ranger packet. When you are done give it back to the ranger and you will have to say the Junior Ranger Pledge. It’s not the Pledge of Allegiance, then you will get your Junior Ranger badge. When I was 7.5 years old I had 13 badges. Now, I have 21.

Trek — 22


- June/July 2013

What are some other places you’ve seen? We went to the Grand Canyon in 2011. The SkyWalk is all glass and 4,000 feet above the ground. I got a bumper sticker for my suitcase saying Grand Canyon Sky Walk, I Did It! We also went to Mammoth Cave, Kentucky. Mom and I went on the historical tour, which was a two-hour long tour that was two miles. Back in the day they were allowed to write on the walls but now if you do that you get a front row seat in the big house. In Kentucky we also went to a very unusual place, Jerry’s Junk. This guy Jerry has everything from cars to signs to ear and nose cleaners from Hong Kong. We also visited the Louisville Slugger Museum and Big Mike’s Mystery House, which is on a tilt. In Pennsylvania we visited pnc ballpark for a two hour long tour. On the tour we saw on the dugout for the visitors team the the x-ray room doctors office. This ballpark has been voted for the best ballpark in America. they also hold place number five for food. The team that plays there are the Pittsburgh Pirates. Not to mention the scoreboard is gigantic. It seats 38,362 WOW! In March me and my parents went to Ohio. Why did we go to Ohio? 1) It was a state I needed to visit. 2) My mother’s friend Melissa is there. 3) My dog’s son is there. 4) To go to the Arnold Fencing Classic!

© McLoudrey Family

Who do you travel with? I always travel with Mom, sometimes my dad, and sometimes my grandma. I always take lots of photos. All of the photos on this blog I took. What are your travel plans this year? For Spring Break, we went to five different states: Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas and Oklahoma. To get there we will be taking Southwest Airlines When we do a trip with more than one state, we fly into one state and drive to the other ones. We stay at different hotels, and they all have swimming pools because I always like a pool at the hotel to cool off. We’re also going to Alaska, and maybe Michigan for lunch or dinner. Michigan is close but we’ve never been there, so that's why we’re going. We might even spend the night.

In Callan's own words . . . "In Pittsburgh we went on a train called an Incline. So these cool trains are in the shape of half of a house. A reason why they built a Incline was Pittsburgh was at the bottom of a mountain and houses were at the top. It was built in 1869, OMG! "When we got up to the top we had ice cream. What’s weird is that they call sprinkles jimmies instead of sprinkles! I had chocolate jimmies on my ice cream. It was delicious!"

Visit Callan at his blog: © McLoudrey Family

Trek — 23


- June/July 2013

Trailways Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed, and Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods tell the stories of two people who decide to hike two of America’s wildest natural trails. Each book was read by one of mutterhood’s editors and this is what they had to say. Why did each writer decide to do this? EFH: Strayed was 26 when she decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), prompted by nothing more than a PCT guidebook she found at an REI store. Her mother had died four years previously and Strayed never recovered. By the time she decided to hike the trail, she was divorced, used heroin, slept around, and rarely saw her family. “There, I’d walk and think about my entire life. I’d find my strength again, far from everything that had made my life ridiculous.” CKB: When Bryson returned to the United States after living (and

hiking) in England for 20 years, he saw the trail as something that would “reacquaint myself with the scale and beauty of my native land." The urge to get fit and connect with his manly side are also offered as reasons. Mainly, though, the impetus seems to be because it’s there. “A little voice in my head said: ‘Sounds neat! Let’s do it!’” Stephen Katz, his pseudenonymous walking partner, led a more isolated life and wanted the adventure. The larger, mainly unspoken reason is to highlight the splendor of America’s natural resources and the many ways in which Americans and their government are destroying them through neglect and indifference.

Were they ever afraid? Did anything bad happen to either of them? EFH: The first day she sets out, Strayed decides “Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave.” Said another way, “... the death of my mother was the thing that made me believe the most deeply in my safety: nothing bad could happen to me, I thought. The worst thing already had.” Mostly, her fear was about basic survival: not finding water, getting lost, animals, never having enough money, and falling or hurting herself. Her feet were in really bad shape and at times she was afraid she wasn’t going to be able to finish. CKB: Peppered throughout the book are facts, stories and legends about danger on the

trail. While he encounters animals, the elements, and some unsavory characters, Bryson overcomes these obstacles through perseverance. The real moments of fear and danger are mainly anecdotal, as are weather issues and stranger danger. Crime along the trail is increasing, but Bryson is quick to point out that the trail is much less dangerous than a goodsized American town.

Did either writer carry anything they valued from a spiritual or emotional sense? CKB: Bryson uses a walking stick that his family gave him for the trip. When he leaves it

along the trail, he’s filled with despair. “It was a link with my children, whom I missed more than I can tell you. I felt like weeping.” Katz volunteers to go back the four miles to retrieve it. This gesture makes Bryson even more emotional. In a nearby town he buys an identical stick and rights his emotional ship.

Trek — 24


- June/July 2013

EFH: There’s a ton of emotional baggage that Strayed carries with her, manifested in the grossly overstuffed pack she carries on her back. Some of the hikers she meets give her talismans, among them a Bob Marley T-shirt, a raven feather, and advice and help for the trail. At one point she loses one of her hiking boots. She tells a couple of devastating stories about her mom’s death in flashbacks, and in so doing sheds some of her guilt and grief along the way.

Do they change at all during the trek? CKB:

Bryson and Katz start the journey without much consideration for the fact that they are out of shape, middle-aged men. While they experience hardships along the way and learn about themselves in smaller ways, they don’t really change the core of who they are. The most emotional moments of the hike, reuniting with family or surviving nature, are mostly meant to inspire us to believe that you can accomplish what you set out to do and that a strong support system is the key to personal fulfillment.


It sounds like this may be the core difference between the books. Strayed changes absolutely during her hike, even having an epiphany after which she, and the reader, understand that she’s come to terms with her mother’s death, and that from that moment things will change for the better.

Describe how the book ends. CKB: Bryson and Katz reconnect to finish the trail by hiking through Maine. This stretch is particularly grueling. They have a nasty argument and after an awkward truce they head back to the trail only to find themselves separated. Bryson spends an uneasy night wondering if Katz is still alive or lost along the trail. In the morning, they find each other and agree that they’ve had enough “pretending we were mountain men” and decide to go home. “I was weary of the trail, but still strangely in its thrall; found the endless slog tedious but irresistible; grew tired of the boundless woods but admired their boundlessness; enjoyed the escape from civilization and ached for its comforts; I wanted to quit and do this forever, sleep in a bed and in a tent, see what was over the next hill and never see a hill again.” EFH: Strayed reaches the Bridge of the Gods in Oregon, and has an incredulous whatnow moment before she orders an ice cream cone and sits on a bench, stunned at what she’s done. “It seemed like such a small thing and such a tremendous thing at once, like a secret I’d always tell myself, though I didn’t know the meaning of it just yet.”

Recommend? EFH: She’s a tremendous writer, and the story itself moved along at a quick pace. If

you’re interested in memoir and stories of self-discovery, I’d say yes. I admire her courage in telling her story.

CKB: Bryson writes in a congenial and humorous way that makes this trip seem like something anyone could do, given enough fortitude. The book made me want to hike somewhere, which is not something I'd usually do, so I'd say yes.

Trek — 25


- June/July 2013

Like Freckles, or Blue Eyes Ellen Fowler Hummel


hen he was in his late 30s, my brother ran five Chicago marathons. On those sunny October mornings, our entire family - our parents, my brother’s wife and kids, and us four - got up early, packed up strollers and snacks, bundled up in hats and gloves, and set up camp at the 17.5 mile mark to cheer him on. Waiting for him, we adults held tightly to steaming cups of coffee while the four littles waved signs and high-fived runners of all ages. We clapped when the elite runners sprinted by, and cheered even harder when we saw someone struggling. We played I-Spy, shouting when one of us saw a runner dressed as Kermit the Frog, Superman, Elvis, even a lobster. To this day, the kids still talk about the guy in the pickle suit. One year, my mom, hardly an athlete herself, suddenly jumped off the curb and dashed into a group of women dressed in pink T-shirts, all her age and her same physique. She ran right into the middle of their pack and high-fived every single one of them, shouting ‘you go girl’ the whole time. They laughed and hugged her back, and for that instant, my mother was one of them. She’d found her group, and in that moment, she was running a marathon. Today my mother spends her days quietly traveling through time. Diagnosed three years ago with early-onset dementia, each day she runs her own

Trek — 26

personal marathon, through fog and haze and sharp, clear memory along a path that only she knows. Most of the time she’s here, present; to talk to her, you would never really know that in a few hours she won’t remember you at all, much less that you had a lovely chat, let alone what you’d talked about. It won’t matter to her, unless she knows it matters to you. If she knows that, if she can sense that in some way she’s caused you concern, or frustration, or god forbid, sadness, her easy manner goes away in an instant and she disappears into her own muddled world. So we’ve learned not to let it matter. his journey isn’t new to us. My mom’s father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in his 70s. At the time, I was in college and at 20 wasn’t focused on faraway grandparents. They lived in Florida, and the first time I knew something was wrong was when my friend Georgia and I stayed with them over spring break. On that trip, Georgia and I shared their guest room. The second morning we were there, I woke up to my grandfather screaming at my grandmother. “I will not allow her to share a bedroom with a man!” he yelled. My grandmother tried to explain that my friend’s name was Georgia, not George; I walked into the living room to try to help out.



Grandpa looked straight at me. “Who the hell are you?” My grandmother lit a cigarette for him and led him out to sit by the pool. I went into her bedroom and called my mother, crying. Something’s wrong with Grandpa, I said. Do you know what it is? She did. My grandparents lived this way a few months longer, but when he became threatening, my grandparents moved to Lexington, Ky., where my aunt and her family lived. My mother told us very little about what was happening to him. Out of fear or grief or a combination of the two, she didn’t talk about it and we didn’t ask. Before he died, my aunt enrolled Grandpa in an Alzheimer’s study at the University of Kentucky, where he was poked, prodded and otherwise studied in early attempts to trace the disease through his mind. My guess is that for my mom, the research part of her father’s disease made his death count for more

- June/July 2013

than just Alzheimer’s being something that happened to him. It gave it a name and a reason for it to have happened, but it also put her on notice that this could be her fate, too. Several years after my grandfather died, my uncle - my mom’s older brother - called with the news that he had it too. This time, the decline was faster. As a doctor, my uncle understood the path the disease would likely follow, and rather than fight it he seemed to submit to it. Within a year, he didn’t recognize his wife, and shortly after that he died, surrounded by his family but alone in his own world. His death was harder for my mom, because in watching her brother, her fear sat vigil too. We all felt it. At the funeral, my father grabbed my hand and wouldn’t let go. I remember thinking at the time that it was an odd reaction. I hadn’t realized he and my uncle were that close. I understand it better now. My father was looking ahead, and in reaching for my hand, he was reaching for a lifeline.

❝ Something's wrong with Grandpa, I said. Do you know what it is? She did. ❞

Trek — 27


- June/July 2013

My mother’s grief over her brother quickly turned to resolve. She vowed to fight what seemed inevitable, and so she did. My mother owned her own financial planning business, and spent years helping women - elderly, widowed and newly divorced - take charge of their money. The more confused she started to get, the harder she worked for it all make sense - actuarial tables, tax rates, equity distribution, she was all about taking the long view to maximize return. Making the numbers make sense helped her keep order in her mind, and she and her clients did well. For a time. Janet, her secretary, started noticing things - missed appointments, misplaced papers, phone calls Mom thought she’d returned but actually never made. They agreed to put the day’s paperwork in a folder, which Janet and my mother went through together every morning over coffee. Janet took notes and then went back to her office to make the phone calls my mom was sure she’d handled before. Together, the two of them kept the business going, but it soon became obvious to my parents that it was time to think about doing something else. They had already decided to sell their house

and move closer to us; it just happened sooner than anyone thought. My dad, recently retired, made it his job to sort and paint and pack up the last 35 years. At work, Mom referred her clients to another firm. As her workload slowed down, my mother started to talk about what she should do with the business. For their 50th wedding anniversary, Dad suggested it would be nice to take the same drive through Canada that they’d taken on their honeymoon, and not have to worry about the business. It would, Mom said. So Janet and the family helped her close up shop. We accepted boxes of client files, some of which are still in our basement. My kids played school with the dry-erase board from her conference room; just the other day I found two bags of post-it notes and several boxes of pens that she’d given me from her supply closet. She and my dad sold her business for nothing but the peace of mind it gave them. On her last day, the people on her floor surprised her with champagne. And that was it. Without the imposed order of forms and filings, my mother started to drift. She and my dad did go to Canada for two weeks, but after they got back my mother never really returned. Instead, her mind visited what and where and when it wanted. We’d go shopping, and she wouldn’t remember what she was shopping for. We brought her to baseball games and gymnastics meets to watch a grandchild, but if my father left her

❝ My mother's grief quickly turned to resolve . . .She vowed to fight what seemed inevitable, and so she did. ❞

Trek — 28


side she’d start to wring her hands. Mom became fascinated with Sudoku puzzles. She and my daughter spent hours on the couch, Sara curled into her grandmother, pointing to squares and numbers that helped the puzzles make sense. She survived sepsis from gall bladder surgery, but the medication and what we suspect was a small stroke only took her further away from us. These days, she only leaves her apartment if she’s comfortable with where she’s going. My house. My brother’s house. Her cottage in Wisconsin. She loves to do jigsaw puzzles at the table my dad set up in front of the picture window in their living room. She watches the news, and Judge Judy. She can still read her mystery novels, but knitting, her favorite hobby, isn’t possible anymore. Mostly, she’s happy and content, and for that we’re thankful. We live in the present with her, knowing that soon we’ll lose her to the past. People often ask if I’m afraid for myself, or for my brother, as we stare down this family curse. The truth is, I am. I lose my keys a lot and forget words. I joke with my husband about dressing me up in goofy outfits when I won’t know any better. I also do my share of crossword puzzles, try to

- June/July 2013

exercise regularly, and look up advice from experts on how to prevent dementia. I trust, maybe naively, that in my lifetime Alzheimer’s will become something chronic but manageable as research and medications evolve. What I don’t believe is that I can spend the time away from my present life from my husband, my children and, while I still have them, my parents - to worry about what might be my inevitable future. That may be part of my inheritance from my mother, too. As a young girl in upstate New York, Mom spent her summers canoeing and fishing with her grandparents at their camp in the Adirondak Mountains. There’s a picture on her desk of her and her brother when they were about 8 and 9, one sitting at each end of a canoe and both of them smiling so wide you can almost feel the sunshine on their faces and the icecold water my mom’s touching with her hand. My mother spends much of her time these days running the film of her life back to that time, when she was young and full of life. My hope is that on this new journey, she’ll run straight ahead, braids flying behind her, one foot firmly in front of the other. I hope she’ll see us there too, cheering her on. You go, girl.

❝We live in the present knowing that we'll soon lose her to the past. People often ask if I'm afraid for myself as we stare down this family curse.❞

Trek — 29


- June/July 2013

By the Book The World Up Close The iconic yellow border on the cover of National Geographic magazine frames one image, but turn the page and the world leaps at you: a school of irridescent jellyfish, tendrils floating below, bodies opaque against a midnight blue ocean; a cheetah, lunging so close you can see every tensed muscle and even count its spots; orange and yellow flames licking at the edges of a brown, tinder-box-dry forest; a bright green tree frog with orange eyes, its tongue wrapped around some kind of black insect you’ve never seen before. As a reader you feel a little like Dorothy after the tornado, opening the front door to a Technicolor Oz. Where else but in the pages of National Geographic could a young boy living on the Jersey Shore during the 1960s see Antarctica? How many children laughed out loud when they first saw a picture of a Dodo bird? One hears about volcanoes erupting, but National Geograhic made it real to one girl who poured over the photographs in the special issue on Mount St. Helens, fascinated by the tree trunks stacked like toothpicks embedded in the lava slide down the side of the mountain. This year The National Geographic Society marks its 125th anniversary, and from the beginning it, and more importantly its magazine, have been an important part of American culture. In the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”, a young George Bailey boasts about being a member of the National Geographic Society, and holds up a copy of the magazine. No matter that one must join the Society in order to receive the magazine, a subscription has meant an exclusive passport to places that, before you could Google anything, most people could only dream of visiting. The first issue of National Geographic came out in October 1888, nine months after the National Geographic Society was founded. The monthly magazine at first published long articles akin to those typical of scientific journals, accompanied by pen-and-ink drawings and illustrated maps that helped readers follow along. From the beginning, National Geographic championed the visual, understanding its immediacy and the power it had to draw readers into the story. Maps have always been included in supplements, and these proved equally enduring and iconic. What young boy didn’t have the National Geographic map of space taped to his bedroom wall, or the one that traced the history and course of the Alaskan Iditarod? Other maps cover everything from early civilizations to ecosystems to, most recently, Mars. Then there’s the writing. In its 125 years, the magazine has featured a host of big-name writers, from John Jeremiah Sullivan to Sebastian Junger to Jane Goodall. The in-depth stories of places and people help illuminate the issues of science, culture, geography and

Trek — 30


- June/July 2013

current events. During the Cold War, for example, the magazine published stories from inside Russia and other countries behind the Iron Curtain that focused on the history and culture of the region. Today, its coverage of weather and climate issues, written by the world’s leading scientific experts, is helping to put the problem of global warming in context. What National Geographic is known for, however, is photography. A 2006 cover photograph of a young girl from Afghanistan is perhaps its most iconic image, but by no means is it an exception. Open any issue and you’ll find photographs so clear and crisp they’re almost three-dimensional: a photo from a plane shows the wind patterns of the Sahara desert reflected in the sand; an image from across the room hints at the frustration of a government employee in Cuba; a fish-eye lens overwhelms with the abundance of spices in a market in Morocco. Perhaps the magazine’s biggest coup came when it published a picture Neil Armstrong took of Buzz Aldrin planting the flag of the National Geographic Society on the surface of the moon during Apollo 11 mission in 19xx. Walter Cronkite may have taken us to space, but National Geographic let us linger. Of course, much of this changed with the advent of the Internet. And National Geographic changed with the times, expanding its reach through its website and online publications, as well as digitizing archives for subscribers. The print edition, however, still survives.Today, it boasts circulation of more than 8 million subscribers worldwide, five million of which are in the United States. The magazine is printed in 38 languages; it’s also available in an interactive online edition. That yellow border, hinting at the explorer within us all.

READ: National Geographic The National Geographic website features a wealth of information on the world around us and offers opportunities to showcase your own photographs. To subscribe to National Geographic magazine: lp/20121024/nav-rdpg/

Trek — 31

Now it's your turn. Our August/September issue is:


Send us 500 creative nonfiction words about what SPIN means to you. We'll select our favorites for our online journal and for the magazine. Photos are also welcome.

Deadline: July 19, 2013

submit: website:

Trek - Summer 2013  

Trek, mutterhood magazine's Summer 2013 issue, features creative writing and photography that explores many different ways to trek through l...