kayak.

17 Aug

The longer I live out here, the longer (and pricier!) my list of must-have toys becomes…

Last week, I spent my “Sunday” (hem hem…everyone else’s Friday) on a kayak rented from SUPCo (Stand Up Paddle Colorado). For a cool $35 you get two hours to paddle around the lake and soak up the summer sun.

Being the water baby that I am, I find myself missing my time offshore. I miss the way it smells when you are way out in the middle of the water, the feel of the breeze coming off of the shore and across the lake, and the feel of the sun reflecting off of the water and warming your skin. So on “Sunday” I dragged my rented kayak out to the shore, jumped in, and let the SUPCo dude shove me out into the water. Once I was far enough offshore and tucked back into the scenic Snake River inlet, I turned on some tunes, cracked open my ice cold lemonade, and sat back and let the water rock all my worries away.

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kneeknocker pass, peak c, and bubble lake.

12 Aug

The other day, my buddy Nate, convinced me to join him on a 14 mile hike deep into Central Colorado’s Gore Range. Considering the Gore’s close proximity to Vail and Summit County, it’s amazing just how remote this mountain range really is. Its rugged peaks and rocky trails seclude it from some of the more popular ranges in the area, making it fairly unforgiving and pleasantly serene.

Nate and I began our trek at 5:00am, utilizing the parking area beside the Piney River Ranch just outside Vail. Our goal, though more of guideline as Nate was more interested in using this trip to scout climbing routes along Peak C’s huge granite face, was the summit of Mt. Powell (13, 580ft) and if there was time, a quick jaunt down to Bubble Lake for a high alpine swim.

As we reached the saddle at Kneeknocker Pass, we quickly came to the realization that we were most interested in exploring the adjacent ridge-lines of Peak C and beyond, and explore is what we did.

Truly one of the most epic days of my time in Colorado, I absolutely recommend the hike if you are up for a long and challenging day of scaling pinnacles, glissading down behemoth snow fields, and marveling over the beauty of mother nature and the mighty Rocky Mountains.

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wild2

wild.

10 Aug

I’m surrounded by wildflowers.

The rainbow blooms waving in the wind as though they are swaying to their own personal orchestra, encouraging me to free myself from my heavy pack, to let my body and my soul open up in the midst of their dance.

I catch the scent of the pine needles that blanket the neighboring forest floor and catch the urge to run.

To sprint as fast as my legs, weary from the climb, will carry me.

I hesitate for a moment, not wanting to look silly in the midst of my audience of chirping birds and whistling marmots, and then give in.

I open my lungs and stretch my legs as far as my hips will swing, and I run.

I run fast and I run far.

Through the field of dancing flowers, letting each bloom touch my arms and legs and face; sometimes they caress and sometimes they strike, stinging my skin with the whip of their touch.

The sun penetrates the skin on my face and the hair on my head. I let it soak in and feel my soul burst with warmth.

The leaves of the flowers tangle my hair, tugging a bit as I glide through their field, not stopping, not slowing. Just embracing the feeling of freedom.

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29 going on 9

7 Aug

“Whoever stays up the longest, wins!” shouts Nate over his shoulder as he jumps into the long “ski” down the permanent snow fields that cover the back basins of Kneeknocker Pass.

Giggling, I watch him slide all the way down, gracefully making turns as though his boots were a pair of short skis strapped to his feet.

I wait for him to come to a complete stop, just short of a large boulder field, before squealing and angling my own booted feet down the slope. I stay upright for about three seconds before crashing to the ground and sliding the rest of the way down the hill, the palms of my hands on fire from cold and friction as I grasp at the snow frantically try to slow my speeding body down.

As I reach the bottom of the pitch, I come to a stop, my stomach aching from the peals of laughter that came bursting out of me as I hurled myself down the snow as though I were on a steep, wet water slide.

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It’s funny.

As a kid, I couldn’t wait to grow up; to run my own household and to dictate my own daily adventures. I spent inordinate amounts of time playing imaginary games about saving the day from all the bad guys that plagued Wilmette and wrangling wild mustangs out on the ranch. I always imagined that the freedoms of adulthood would be far better than being a kid constrained by household rules and responsibilities.

Little did I know that as an adult some of my most memorable experiences would revolve around the carefree feeling of games in my own outdoor playground and quenching a thirst of curiosity that is prevalent in a naive child exploring the hidden secrets of their front yard.

As I have aged, I have come to the realization that some of the things that are viewed as childish are sometimes the very things that help me cope with the pressures of adulthood; the ugly side of responsibility.

Sometimes you can’t help but be a kid.

#9 –> bierstadt to the sawtooth

28 Jul

bierstadt 8

bierstadt 7

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sawtooth saddle

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lady luck.

27 Jul

Very rarely do I feel as though I am being picked on, as for the most part, I live a pretty charmed life.

I live in a beautiful place full of positive energy, complete with the support of a fabulous little community.

I love my job and my silly chaotic work family.

In my free time, I hike, I climb, I run, I drink delicious craft beer, and I meander through vast fields of flowering columbines and lupine.

I wake up to towering mountains and fall asleep to the Blue River bubbling outside my bedroom window.

And in the height of summer, the temperature never seems to rise above 80°.

But sometimes bad luck seems to follow you everywhere, permeating deep inside all the things that you love most. If you’re like me, you know deep inside that you shouldn’t let yourself fall victim to the negative thoughts of failure and frustration, but you also know how easy it is to just give in. To say forget it all.

Forget the job you love, the people you adore, the mountains and rivers your worship.

Forget it, your head says. Forget it. Life would be so much easier home, in Chicago.

Lucky for me, I have an incredible network of supporters–mostly family members but also in there, close friends who know you far better than you know yourself. People that can read you like a book and know when you are starting to shy away from taking the risks that make you feel alive and isolating yourself when you really should be asking for help from those closest to you.

July is almost over and August brings a fresh start (and a new year!).

Thanks to everyone who has shown me the love. To everyone who has lent me a shoulder when I need to weep tears of frustration and loneliness and to everyone who has sent me well-wishes from afar.

I got your back.

sunshine in my soul

july, a montage.

25 Jul

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