mountain time…

10 Sep

It’s been a crazy few weeks up in the high country. Between attending weddings, working weddings, managing a restaurant, managing a hotel, “recruiting” in the Tetons (ok…you caught me…adventuring in the Tetons :) ), moving to a new ‘hood and dodging rainy days to bask in the sunshine of beautiful days, I feel like I blinked and it was September 10th.

It seems that the older I get, the faster time flies.

It’s like I am starring in my own movie and someone hit fast forward.

Anyway, albeit a bit busier than I’d like to admit, it’s been a good few weeks.

Here, catch a glimpse.

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Lenawee Trail, Montezuma, CO

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Lenawee Trail, Montezuma, CO

 

 

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Lenawee Trail, Montezuma, CO

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Lenawee Trail, Montezuma, CO

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Celebrating Mr. and Mrs. Brockhoff, Ivanhoe Country Club

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Celebrating Mr. and Mrs. Brockhoff, Ivanhoe Country Club

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The Tetons from Leeks Pizza, Teton National Park

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Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park

 

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Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park

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The Tetons from Jackson Lake Lodge, Teton National Park

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Gillson Dog Beach, Wilmette, IL

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Snow on Red Mountain, September 10, 2014

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oh hai.

26 Aug

abbs

shut up legs.

25 Aug

Despite rain, wind and unusually chilly temperatures (fall seems to have arrived early this year…), the USA Pro Challenge has been making its way up and down and all around the great state of Colorado. The race began in Aspen on August 18 and snaked its way through the rocky outcrops and green valleys of Crested Butte and Breckenridge, up and over Monarch Pass and down Kebler Pass before coming to a close in Denver on August 24  with Colorado Native, Tejay van Garderen collecting the yellow jersey for an overall win.

Mr. A and I made our way down “the hill” yesterday to watch the pros make their final climb of the Pro Challenge. We have some friends that live in Golden so we parked the Jeep at their place, hopped on our bikes and staked out a spot on top of Lookout Mountain to watch the peloton serpentine their way from Boulder, up Lookout Mountain Road and then back down into Denver.

We perched ourselves on our own little rocky outcrop and had a perfect view of the riders as they cranked their way up the hill, speeding around corners, quads bulging as they tackled the four mile climb. As they rounded the final bend in the climb, we clambered our way through the crowds and laid claim to a front seat view as the riders came flying by.

Beads of sweat flew off foreheads wrinkled in concentration, the hum from the rotation of their wheels mingled with cow bells and excited shouts creating an orchestra of sounds and a strong breeze blew spectators out-of-the-way as the riders barreled after each other up the last pitch of the climb, before launching themselves down the hill, one after another.

Congrats to Tejay on the win and way to go out with a bang Jens!

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on the cusp.

15 Aug
The wind blows through my sun-drenched hair, tickling my scalp and sending chills spidering down my spine. 
 
Unlike the hot summer wind, full of water and the chirps of birds, this wind is crisp, cool. Full of the heady scents of grass and dirt and leaves. 
 
I shiver, thankful for the oversized Slapshot sweatshirt and black leggings that have become my after work, before bed, uniform as of late. 
 
The wind blows again, sending the freshly fallen leaves swirling around me as though I was stuck in a snow globe, and I am transported back in time. 
 
Back to high school as I dash down the turf, skirt flying and sticks clashing, at a field hockey game against Lake Forest, our biggest rival.
 
Cool evening walks to The Noodle, under a canopy of leaves tinged with the briefest hint of yellow.
 
Reclined and wrapped up in a blanket watching the city lights twinkle and sway to the motion of the boat as the last fireworks of the season thunder and sparkle off of Navy Pier.
 
Bobbing for apples, carving pumpkins and drinking spiced rum and hot apple cider at “Fall fest” with the people that shaped my adult life.
 
And Saturday morning marathon training runs on the lake with the strongest girl I’ve ever known, the dreamsicle orange sunrise illuminating the skyscrapers so they mimic the yellows and ruby reds of the oak leaves.
  
And for a second I’m there.
 
Home. 
 
Chicago.
 
Fall. 
 
fall

twenty-eight.

12 Aug

28

Donuts with PINK sprinkles.

Furry, pink boot covers.

Columbines galore.

VEUVE.

EPIC cornice line shredding.

Silly photo ops.

Brothers.

Boyfriend.

DOGS.

Prost.

28, you’re looking GOOD. 

the peruvian chronicles, machu picchu

10 Aug
It was 6:30 on the dot when out of nowhere El Gato, our Machu Picchu expert, appeared in the breakfast room, nonchalantly perusing the assortment of breads while impatiently urging the Garbage Bag Brigade to finish eating, lest we miss our 30 minute bus ride up to Machu Picchu, the crux of our trek up the Salkantay Trail.
 
At 6:30am the heat and humidity of the day were starting to beat down on the tops of our heads, baking into our sunburnt shoulders. As we waited to load the bus, newly purchased bottles of water were passed among us, now a group of 13.
 
The day before we said our goodbyes to Richi, one of our ever-faithful guides during our time on the trail. The goodbye was surprisingly touching. Although we’d only known each other 10 days, it felt like we were a family. Hugs and handshakes were shared, kisses on cheeks, slaps on the back and promises to keep in touch echoed through the train station.
 
During our time on the trail, Richi tried to explain the feeling that overtakes visitors upon arriving at Machu Picchu and each time he struggled to find the words that would allow him to verbalize the emotion. It was as if the feelings were not tangible, like Machu Picchu and all that it enveloped were surreal, unbelievable.
 
As Richi was boarding the train back to his hometown of Cuzco, he gave me one last hug, whispering in my ear “feel it with your heart, not your head”.
 
“Feel it with your heart, not your head”
 
The next morning, Richi’s words bounced around my brain as our chariot chugged and lurched up the winding road that leads up to the most celebrated Inca site in the world.
 
“Feel it with your heart, not your head”
 
30 minutes and 10 switchbacks later, we arrived at the entrance gates of Machu Picchu. We disembarked and El Gato fought to create a path through the throngs of tourists loitering outside the gates.
 
“Feel it with your heart, not your head”
 
Finally. After a week of trekking through the Peruvian Flats, the Cloud Forest, coffee plantations and along the rushing waters of glacier fed rivers, we had made it to our destination.
 
Unfortunately, so had what seemed to be the rest of the world.
 
“Feel it with your heart, not your head”
 
Like a superhero whose powers consisted of warding off other tourists, El Gato toured us around the site, brushing off “hanger-oners” and clearing paths with a wave of his hand, providing the GBB a precedence in the learnings of our final “Inca class”. El Gato pointed out the imaculately carved irrigation lines created by Inca architects, the perfectly layered grassy green terraces, the smooth stones and the notches in each wall that held the stones so tightly that “not even a knife” could slice through the seams in the rock.
 
“Feel it with your heart, not your head”
 
As we finished the tour, El Gato thanked us for visiting his country and left us almost as abruptly as he joined us at promptly 6:30 that morning.
 
Wayna Picchu was our last climb of the trek. A winding, terraced climb of about a mile of carved “steps”, Wayna Picchu, rises up above Machu Picchu like a soldier laying claim to a conquered territory.
 
“Feel it with your heart, not your head”
 
As we climbed up and up and up, clambering over slick gray stones cut into shallow steps, the Urubamba River winked and laughed as it looped around the peaks like a coiled snake, the tangled greenery of the jungle taunting the most adventurous of the Machu Picchu visitors to follow one of the numerous trails into its depths.
 
“Feel it with your heart, not your head”
 
Suddenly, as we rounded our final bend in the switch-backed terrain the Earth dropped away and Machu Picchu appeared below as if a mirage, the morning sun creating a halo that crowned the ancient stones and grassy terraces.
 
“Feel it with your heart, not your head”
 
As I pulled myself up those last few steps, the events of the last several days unfolded in front of me.
 
A slideshow of moments flashed through my brain. The stories that had been told each night during “Inca class”, the relationships that had budded and evolved into true friendships, the breathtaking scenery that did more than delight the eye, that touched each and everyone of us deep within our souls, the incredibly rich culture of Peru and its people and the brilliant history of the Inca people.
 
As the memories washed over me, my heart swelled with emotion and I came to realize that for me, the culmination of my trip, the heart and soul of it all, wasn’t all about visiting one of the Seven World Wonders, no matter how incredible the history. No, for me the experience of meeting the people that breathe life into Peru, the sumptuous flavors of the food that awakens your taste buds, feeling my soul open at the wonders of glaciers that scrape the heavens at a dazzling elevation of 20,574 feet, the happy chatter of what was once 14 strangers and the greens and yellows and pinks of the jungle mingling with the grays of the stately rocks of the Peruvian Flats.
 
For me, the culmination of this adventure did not begin and end with Machu Picchu. For me, my heart started feeling when I woke in Cuzco to the sound of the ancient city coming alive outside my window.
 
Peru, you had me at Haku.

mp

city girl’s guide to the wild west, aspen edition

3 Aug

We did it.

We finally did it.

We finally made it to Aspen for a glitzy girls weekend away from Summit.

It only took a year to put our grand plan in motion, and while it was only 48 hours away from home, Mercedes and I came back rejuvenated and ready to kick off the second half of the summer conference/wedding season. Just in time too because it’s been non-stop since we’ve been back!

We ooohed and ahhhhed at some of the most iconic sights of the Rocky Mountains, put on make-up (GASP!!!) and hobnobbed with the well-to-do, passed on a nice dinner in exchange for a huge plate of pad thai and crispy gyoza, witnessed the “vomit comet” in full force, and strolled down Main Street in search of antiques and other tchotchkes.

It was glorious and the best part was that the following weekend, Mercedes and I participated in the Rugged Maniac…aka we spent the better part of Saturday flouncing through pools of mud and jumping over fire.

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