Long before I became a mother, I believed in the pursuit of exciting experiences in both new and familiar places. Whether it was hiking or fishing our home landscapes and waters or venturing to new places in search or new experiences, my desire was always to just “go”.
Throughout my pregnancy, I maintained that perspective on life – that we are on this earth for a finite (yet unknown) amount of time so we should live this one life that we were given to the Fullest. This meant constantly going, being on the move, needing/wanting/craving constant movement/road trips/ski/hike/fishing outings. Luckily, my husband was (and still is, relatively) on board 🙂
Not surprisingly, when Forest arrived, my goal was to now take him Everywhere; for him to experience the world and land and all it has to offer and (hopefully) be inspired to lead a life of constant learning, seeking, exploring….
Most recently, we ventured to Flagstaff, AZ with stops at Navajo National Monument and Grand Canyon National Park. We went hard. We camped, we hiked, we laughed, we cried, we ate ice cream on the canyon rim and felt the dry desert wind on our faces, and although this trip ended in all of us getting one nasty stomach bug, I still call it an absolute success.
Life throws curveballs. My husband and I agree on a lot of things and disagree on others, so there were ups and there were downs. Forest loves playing in the grass, dirt, sand, and water some days and wants nothing to do with them other days – we all ebb and flow, even the smallest of us. I feel inspired to document adventures at times, yet want to keep some of them more intimate and just for our family other times.
It is all about balance. And I am slowly learning this and integrating the lesson into every day I walk this earth.
For now, here are some smiles, curmudgeon moments, and amazing views from my most recent learning experience…enjoy ♡
It’s that time of year again…fishing, paddling, floating, hiking, camping, and most importantly: mountain biking and trail running! We’re gearing up for our big Del Norte Trail Showcase and I’m reaching out to donors all across Colorado – I’m also reaching out to YOU! The Riders!!
The San Luis Valley has some amazing mountain biking and trail running opportunities and our annual Del Norte Trail Showcase was created to get the word out about this the hidden gems that are our trails. This year, the event takes place on June 4th-6th and we have a lot going on: Featured Runs & Rides, Movies and Beer/Food in Del Norte Town Park, and Music & Silent Auction at the Windsor Hotel & Restaurant.
I have two goals for this year’s event and I need your help to make them happen…
Get more women on the trails!! Last year, Laura Haefeli rocked the female representation on the trail running side and this inspired me to get more women out and about on bikes. If you’re interested in riding at the event (or even riding before and after!) email me!
Raise money for our local trails – I’m coordinating a silent auction and would love to feature your bike and/or running-related items to help raise fund to maintain our local trails. Are you an artist? Do you work for a company that loves to support trail building? Does your business make bike and/or running products? If you’re interested in donating an item to the silent auction, give me a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SO get stoked and I’ll look forward to seeing you on the trails and at this great event!!
I take a lot of pictures. I mean…A LOT of pictures. Cards fill up, cards get emptied, and cards fill up again, and again, and again, and…you get the picture.
But so rarely do I actually print my own work with the intent of framing it and hanging it on my own walls. That is, until I found out old barn wood was being used to build frames a half mile from my home..
Here’s a math equation for you: What happens when you take a retired Marine/flyfish addict/photographer/Colorado transplant and mix him with a passion for building something uniquely Coloradan? You get Reclaimed Colorado – a custom frame building gig that uses reclaimed materials from around the Centennial State (especially the San Luis Valley) to build one-of-a-kind frames.
I met Ray by way of the child care center my little guy attends and when I found out he was a spey and flyfisher guy based out of Washington state, we decided conversation should be shared over some beers and wood-fired pizza at the local brewery.
A few months later, I get a call from Ray – he wanted to show me something. That next Monday, I walked into the daycare center to see the start of something beautiful.
Ray and his business partner Nathan build frames from the ground up.
The search: From working with local ranch and landowners to salvage wood from their old barns, to visiting local mills in search of pieces with some soul left to them, these guys keep their boots on the ground and personally pick the beams, remnants, and pieces that go into each frame.
The build: Saws, routers, nails, precision. Each piece of wood used to build a frame is unique – it’s story, location of origin, size, rawness. From what I saw in their inventory, it was like no two pieces were alike, meaning the creativity opportunity is endless and each frame (and piece within that frame) is one of a kind. I appreciated this aspect. No cookie-cutter or run-of-the-mill product here; there’s a story behind each and every piece.
The product speaks for itself. Rugged, unique, the list goes on. Mine hangs proudly in our home with a family photo from the annual ski trip – but I bet a big ol’ trout or some other great shot would look just as great.
Interested in getting your own? Ray is doing a lot of fishing these days, but I hear rumor of a local storefront that he’ll be managing to showcase his frames and photography is in the works. In the meantime, if you’d like to custom order yours, hit him up before the line gets too long 😉
We drove west from Keystone, passed through small towns and “big” cities, over canyons with turbid rivers below, and as the sun sank below the horizon, we entered into an arid landscape of silhouettes and stars.
It was my first time in Moab and I woke up in a friend of a friend’s upstairs twin bed half out of my sleeping bag. We arrived under the cover of a billion stars and woke to a hazy blue sky – it was already feeling like someone turned the oven on preheat.
We packed up quickly – harnesses, rope, water, packs, camera – grabbed some burritos at a joint I can’t recall the name of today, and made our way out of town and into Arches National Park. At this point, I was in awe. I had no idea we were going to a National Park, let alone, my first western park. Prior to that day, I had only visited parks back east – and worked in one for 4 years prior to my internship in Colorado.
The windows were down, the heat was steadily increasing and as I sat in the passenger seat with my hand out the window of an old Subaru Outback, my mind was trying as best it could to process the landscape in front of me: stunning, foreign, and speaking to my soul.
We pulled to the side of the road, loaded up, and began walking through an open expanse. No trail, no signs, no sign of anything more than a vast desert landscape. I recall asking where we were going to only get a finger pointing in the direction we were walking as a response.
To this day, much of that quick trip is a blur. I remember the feeling of August heat in the desert, the shock I felt when I realized we were going canyoneering – which wasn’t apparent until a break in the landscape revealed a slot canyon with deep murky pools full of life (beetles, lizards, other insects) – and the pure joy I felt as the canyon’s cottonwoods seemed to applaud our arrival.
Though, the most powerful thing I remember was the feeling of knowing that I was pushing myself – pushing the boundaries I have held for so long, and breaking through my self-imposed limitations. I repelled a ~130ft cliff/canyon wall, I swam through the murkiest potholes, I stood near quicksand, I ate wild prickly pear cactus, I pushed through the boundaries that defined me and opened up a new chapter of my life.
Today, I go back to that place because it still speaks to my soul and, dare I say, might even define a part of me.
Though, this most recent trip was quite different than the excursions of the past, it was one that quenched my thirst. Here’s a small view at a big world that lies to my west and deep in my appreciation…
It’s been a busy month full of my day job, skiing, biking, fishing, and yes, the FLU! It has officially run its course through our home, and it is SO nice to be back on my feet.
Speaking of feet…with toes flying free in Chacos and the river starting to thaw out, I’m am excited to share some news:
Today is the day! Denver Outfitters published my Tips & Tricks write up on taking kids fishing!I reached out to this great company for a number of gear reviews and demos, and was invited to be a regular contributor to their online blog. I send them a thousand thanks for this opportunity!
If you all are thinking about taking little ones fishing, you should check out my write up – visit the Denver Outfitters Blog to read and see more!
Photography is my passion. Can you tell? And as such, there are few things more enjoyable to me than when I get an opportunity to share my passion with others and capture images that individuals, organizations and businesses find useful.
Recently, I was granted the amazing the opportunity to do some work for Wolf Creek Ski Area in southern Colorado. This is my home mountain – the place that (outside of exploring in the backcountry) I love making turns at. So to get a chance to ski with several of their instructors and capture some photos doing what they do best was almost a dream come true!
If you haven’t skied Wolf Creek, you’re missing out! Sure, other places in Colorado have high-dollar shopping opportunities and that big city feel with resort accommodations and fancy 5-star restaurants, but they don’t have the best Green Chili Bacon Cheeseburger this side of the Continental Divide or fresh-made pizza at treeline. And those “other” places are also lacking the view of a skiable ~12,000 ft peak while you sip Bloody Marys in some warm Colorado sunshine.
Fear not. We’ll welcome you to the mountain any day. Just come on up and get ready to ski the most snow in Colorado. For now, enjoy some snapshots from the past few weeks…
What better way to start a new year than skiing in the backcountry with amazing family and friends?!
Well, first, let’s start it with a very large cup of black coffee, but then with a ski trip 🙂
After a delicious 5 course meal at Kip’s Grill in Creede the night before, the last night of 2016 was an early one (yep, I fell asleep way before midnight), but I woke up still sore from the yurt trip and in desperate need of caffeine.
If I’m being honest, I was sitting on the couch with my hot coffee feeling a little nervous for the 6 mile uphill(ish) trek to Tomichi. After such a challenging 1.5 miles to the yurt, I was having some doubts…
Did we pack too much? Would we make it in before nightfall? Should we shell out the $200 for their shuttle service? Will Forest have a meltdown and not want to be in the Chariot the whole time? And if so, what if it’s too cold or windy to carry him in the Ergo? And what about diaper changes along the route?!
So. Many. QUESTIONS?!
I sat and drank my coffee.
Again, if I’m being honest, we were all throwing around the idea of paying to have our gear hauled into Tomichi Lodge for us. There was a snow storm a’brewin and with our experience thus far, we thought it might be the easier option.
Well, “we” as in Matt, Tasha and myself. Sam is a dedicated workhorse. For him hauling the gear is half the journey! But, when Matt and Tasha came downstairs, the thee of us continued brainstorming our idea to veto Sam and pay for the shuttle that morning.
Needless to say, Sam talked some sense into us 🙂
So, we packed up and headed out on a two hour drive north to county road 888. Next stop: Tomichi Lodge.
When we arrived at the trailhead, the skies were overcast but our spirits were high.
I was stoked! We made it. The trip was ACTUALLY happening. Both families, for the third year in a row, would be adventuring together. This time, it was to an amazing lodge in the middle of the National Forest with our amazing husbands, wild 8 and 9 month old boys, and crazy dogs. The anxiousness and doubt melted away as soon as I clipped in.
Though, it also helped that Emma “turtled” herself in the middle of the trailhead as we were packing up. I literally laughed uncontrollably for a bit…
So, at 1030AM on the first day of 2017, we said farewell to cell service and our vehicles (and a couple rather important items we later found out we forgot) and started down the trail for Tomichi Lodge.
The trailhead is actually a winter parking area for CR888. Then, the ski-in follows the road 4 miles to the summer town of White Pine. After that, you follow a rugged and slightly skinnier 4×4 road/trail for 2 more miles to Tomichi Lodge.
Like many mountain towns in Colorado, the area has an extremely rich mining history. In fact, both White Pine and the once-existing town of Tomichi were established during the late 1800s mining boom. Unfortunately for the residents who called those original towns home, the mining camps moved on due to low profits and in 1890, a devastating avalanche came through and destroyed Tomichi.
While you can ski past several nice seasonal homes along the road through White Pine, low angle and tree skiing seem to be the primary activity where Tomichi once stood.
After four surprisingly quick miles, we snacked and hydrated, passed through White Pine and began the slightly steeper 2 miles to Tomichi. Forest was still snoozing, but since Tasha was transitioning Asa to the Ergo, I thought I’d see if he wanted to do the same.
But, when I reached in the back of the Chariot, it was empty. Remember those important items I mentioned that we forgot? Ya, those would include my shell jacket and the Ergo. Make due or do without, right?!
So, just as Forest began to wake and get fussy, I closed up the Chariot, buckled up and hauled my butt up the hill in front of me.
This section of trail has tighter trees lining both sides and really sets the stage for what’s to come near the Lodge. Honestly, it’s my favorite part. It’s tighter, more shaded, a little steeper, and it means only 2 more miles until a hot wood stove and cozy couches. But this isn’t about “glamping” 😉
After we skiied a couple uphill sections and past a few log homes I recognized from our summer trip, I remember saying to Sam “oh, it’s right around the next bend”! Only to find the next long stretch of trail.
Eventually, though, we saw our destination in sight!
We met Eli, the caretaker, and his wonderfully sweet sled dogs, and unloaded the gear while waiting for Tasha, Matt, and Asa.
The lodge was just as I remembered. Warm, inviting, and all to ourselves!
In addition to its mining history, Tomichi also has its roots in Ute culture.
According to the Lodge’s website, Tomichi means “hot water” in the Ute language – a fitting name for an area with natural thermal springs and pools. Though we did not find any hotsprings, when we got out and explored around the lodge, we did find the trail to Tomichi Creek and the Buckhorn Cabin (also available for overnights).
The next two days were nothing but wonderful!
We indulged in Cards Against Humanity, some great backcountry skiing/touring, delicious meals and quality time with our families and good friends. AND! The boys seemed to have a blast (when they weren’t snoozing in the hammock)!
So that’s it…we wrapped up 2016 with one heck of a challenging ski trip and we kicked off 2017 with an even better skiing adventure.
If you’ve been thinking about planning a trip with your little one, don’t hesitate. Plan ahead, prepare yourself/little one/family/adventuring partners, and do it! There will be challenges, but the fun and good times will outweigh any low moments – I promise!
rambling across the mountains of colorado seeking adventure and inspiration…