Chels Knorr

Gratitude. Wit. Creativity.

Cabin Loop, Clint’s Well, Arizona

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[Written about a backpacking trip taken Labor Day weekend, 2014.]

We hike on a trail lush and shaded, damp with the season’s last remaining runoff. We are at the peak of summer. Murky puddles take the place of streams. Riverbeds are dry. The evidence of winter is nearly diminished. But it is still 30 degrees cooler than Phoenix. At an elevation of 7,500, we traded — for a weekend — dry desert for the smell of mountains and pine needles and cool dirt and something closer to sky.

Feeling fortunate for be outdoors, I am optimistic. At least for the first several miles. When the trek heads uphill, I reconsider.

By the end of the first day, my collarbones are bruised. I am sunburned on the back of my neck and calves. And my hips have carried the weight of survival — food, sleeping arrangements, and water, the heaviest and most essential of the three. My knees are swollen. They feel 20 or 30 years older than the rest of me. This isn’t unique though. These are just the perils of backpacking. Something that comes with the territory. Backpackers know (yes, even the amateur ones) that ten miles carrying a pack makes your body feel like hell the next day. I knew this as I went to sleep, but come morning, as my weight displaced the air in my sleeping mat, my joints brushed the rocky ground. Tight muscles, angry bones and blistered heels all throw a temper tantrum.

But our muscles and bones and blisters can’t win this battle. There is a reckoning of mind over matter. We are only half way there, and are exactly as far from the start as we are from the end.

“Are you drinking water?” my husband asks me from ahead.

“Yes,” I answer.

“Are you ok?” He questions again a few minutes later, as I trail a little farther behind.

“Yes. I’m just slower than you!” His stride is three-fold mine, six-fold the dog’s. I stop at the bottom of a long ascent. I am admittedly tired.

On top of a fire-damaged stump, a stack of rocks balances, one on top of the other, like a woodsy game of Jenga. I’ve seen these displays several times throughout this trek. The code indicates human interference. It whispers, “Someone else has forged this path. You’re on the right track. Keep forward.”

New Beginnings

My site crashed. This means I lost everything between August 15, 2013 to October 12, 2014. Yes, this does have something to do with not backing up said website.

Here’s to new beginnings.


Life Beyond the Keyboard

It’s been busy. School and work have taken over my life — final papers have started, and this well-intentioned blog has been put on the back burner… at least until summer break (yes, they have that in grad school, woo hoo!).

All this craziness means I’ve spent a lot of time at my desk lately. The quote, typed on my rickety typewriter on a brown paper envelope framed next to my keyboard reads: “Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.” – Jack Kerouac.



I am completely invincible with flowers and coffee.


What’s Today?

Today the calendar says it’s Tuesday. My body says it’s Friday.

Times New Roman

At the magazine, we get articles formatted six ways from Sunday.

Some authors like all caps, bold every other word, overuse italics. Some like green text. Some send us articles with the entire text centered, as if it was a poem. We get some in font size 8 and some in size 16, and I swear we translate some out of Dingbats.

Which is what leads me to today’s thank you note:

Dear Black, 12 point, Times New Roman Font,
I remember teachers always telling us we needed to use a readable font for papers. I get it now. I used to think you were boring. But now, your serifs flow making even my worst-written first drafts digestible, and my completed drafts even more satisfying. Your “unbulky” letters give order to chaos. Thank you for being normal. Sometimes you’re the only part of my day that has any semblance of order.


Cheerios with blueberries, blackberries, and soy milk. The last of the coffee. #breakfast

In honor of the sixth anniversary of Twitter, I have decided to tell you about my breakfast.  Today six years ago — March 21, 2006 — founder Jack Dorsey posted his very first Tweet — “just setting up my twttr” — and got the ball rolling for what would launch a few months later as a communication empire.

Honestly, as much as I make fun of Twitter and refuse to do it (save here), I am 100 percent in support of communication. We live in a world where we have snail mail, e-mail, cell phones, text messaging, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, blogs, among a million other things (you might even still have a landline or a fax machine?), and if we’ve bought into the smartphone market, we have it all in the palms of our hands.  Even if it involves Tweeting and posting things called “Twit pics,” (seriously!?) I think our constant exchange of ideas is pretty great.


It was only after I cut up my essay paragraph by paragraph, and organized it on the floor with green Post-it tabs that I realized why people think writers are eccentric…


One day a engineer boy met a writer girl who celebrated pi day despite her ineptitude at math, and it was love.

Happy 3.14! If you haven’t noticed, we really only celebrate holidays involving food.

Advice for Adulthood

Wear sunscreen.
Forgive yourself.
Be polite.
Don’t yell at your children.
Eat your leafy greens.
Work somewhere you enjoy.
Believe in the good in people.
Invest in good running shoes.
Get checked out by the doctor.
Stop to eat.
Practice moderation.
Enjoy the money you work for.
Marvel at the world around you.
Be content.

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