Tag Archives: hiking

High Hopes for the New Year

3 Jan

Anyone who has read my stuff or known me for any length of time know that I don’t do resolutions for the new year. I do resolutions, just not based around what month/day it is. About mid-December I decided to make one of these resolutions, but I haven’t quite had the ability to begin working toward my goals because of moving and finances and so on.

That goal is to buy an item to donate to homeless shelters/food banks every time I go shopping. I know firsthand that people donate more around the holidays. In fact, the Christmas season is enough to keep us stocked for most of the year in things like toys and treats, and we really don’t get too much the rest of the time. While that is great, this is something that we really should work on. Hunger and homelessness are something that are always an issue, not just when it’s cold out (though that is especially awful). Now, the next thing that I have to say might be a little on the unpopular side, but I really have a hard time getting on board for giving toys to kids for Christmas. I’ve also seen firsthand how some parents can afford several gifts, but not as many as they’d like to give so they ask for more. I’ve also seen children who get a “cheap” toy (think off-brand) and they scoff at it and don’t want it. Toys are important but I also think it is important to focus on something other than the commercial aspect of Christmas, and find better ways to teach them giving, caring, and family values.  That is why, when I heard about a program called “Gifts for Grands” I became so excited!

This program focuses on elderly people in nursing homes similar facilities. Think about how sad it can be when family stops coming for these people. The things they want aren’t extravagant, either, but every day necessities like soap and socks. I didn’t hear about it soon enough to be useful, but in the future I’m hoping to focus on giving in this manner.

I’m not here to preach, but I am here to share in knowledge, experience, and growth. I often ask my readers to join in with me on any challenges I do, and this one isn’t any different. I have a short list of things that I hear are really high in demand, so I’m not only buying food, but other daily necessities, too. Socks and tampons/pads are high up there (let that sink in for a moment). Non-perishable foods are always important, too. I have my eye on things like canned green beans and corn, but also things like beans, and even Craisins (just recently discovered and they are so delicious!).

Finally, before I’m finished, I don’t want to reflect back on 2015. I want to talk about 2016, and I have high hopes for this year. I woke up in a wonderful mood, and while I’m looking forward, I always have to give the disclaimer that this is how I feel now. That is the problem with resolutions. We make them with our best intentions, but times and people and situations change, so what is right January 1 might not be right June 1, or even January 2.

My hopes for the new year are to cut down on some debt that I’ve accumulated, and begin saving again. I have my sites set on a new car come the end of next year. I want to make my friendships a priority again (I started this a few months back) and see more of each of the people that I love so dearly. I also hope to finally get that significant other I’ve been pining for, and I think I’ve already taken some positive steps toward getting there. I also want to become more spiritual (for those of you who don’t know it, I’m actually a very spiritual person). I’d like to cook more (how many times have I said that) but I don’t foresee that changing in any less than 3 months. I’d also like to become more active. More hiking this summer, more yoga, and I’d like to pick up something fun like kick-boxing.

Those are my hopes. That is how I’m feeling now (and does it feel nice, indeed!). We’ll see where the year takes me!

Are you going to join me with my donations goals (we can totally co-blog about it!)? Any other ideas of hot commodities to buy? What are your hopes for the coming year? 

That Time I Went Hitch-hiking

19 Aug

Remember those times I picked up hitch-hiking kayakers in Poudre Canyon? Well, during this adventure, the tables were turned (and what an adventure, indeed!).

Saturday started out well enough. I met a friend and we ate at this little dive bar and restaurant in the canyon. As always, it was delicious. Then, we set off to go tubing, which was where the days real excitement lay.

We got our cars positioned. Mine was at the get-in point, and hers was at the get-out point. She bought a fancy little stretchy key ring so that we could keep our keys on us without losing them in the river. I was reluctant, mostly because I never lock my car anyway, but we went ahead and put both of our keys on the key ring and she put it on her wrist for safe-keeping.

Bad decision.

Not even 10 minutes into the hour-long float, we hit some rapids and as she was paddling and off slipped the keys.

Gone forever.

The rest of the float was, of course, super fun and I had a fabulous time. Once we got out, our only option was to start walking toward the nearest gas station, which was probably about a couple of miles away. We didn’t have our cell phone, as they were locked in our cars, and we didn’t have service until that gas station, anyway.

Mind you, we are in bikinis. I’ve never been that naked in public for that long.

We thought about hitch-hiking but were a little nervous about it and didn’t want to get into anyone’s car wet. With the long walk ahead, however, we decided that if a pickup came by we would put a thumb out and just climb in the back.

A little while later, we finally spot a truck driving solo, and I immediately put my thumb out. At first, I thought they passed us, but they did stop (I was kind of surprised it was that easy).

It was a couple of college fellows named Carter and Dawson who had a huge white truck covered with mud, even on the inside. In hindsight, it was probably a poor choice of people to ride with, as they invited us in the cab, the back doors only opened if the front doors were open, and they had just been shooting so my friend actually had to climb over the gun in the backseat.

And we were basically naked.

But we were thankful, regardless.

Once at the gas station, we made the calls, and the nice attendant gave us something to drink. I drove in the back of the AAA vehicle, which had no seats. My friend was nice enough to drive me to work the next day, and pay for the re-keying of my car (because the key that was lost was the only key to my car). She was so much more helpful than I ever could have expecting, and the entire adventure was one that I won’t forget any time soon.

Moral of the story: don’t expect those key ring things to stay on when you’re swimming in a river

Have you ever hitch-hiked? Was it easy? What happened (before and after)?

Some Thoughts About Change [from an Expert]

6 Apr

Did I reel you in with my expert comment? Well, I hate to break it to you, but I’m no expert. I do have some experience with change, though, as you can probably figure out from the events of the last 6 months.

Remember in high school, when you got that senior yearbook, and half of the people who signed it wrote “Don’t ever change!”? I read an article recently (unfortunately I can’t seem to find what it was, or I’d link it) about how you need to change, and hopefully, you aren’t the same person you were in high school, because face it…you were just a little immature.

I understand what the author was getting at. We need to be adults and we need to adapt to our ever-changing priorities, but here’s where I disagree:

I don’t think you need to change, I think you need to grow.

I often hold to one principle: I don’t change. People will argue with me, based on the same reasoning as the author of that article. I’m obviously not the same shy girl who stuttered when boys talked to her in middle school (true story), right?

Well, sort of. I say that I did change in that middle to high school transition, but once I got to high school, it all stuck. Now the only thing left for me to do is grow. Some interests have expanded, and others have diminished, but they are all still interests.

Want to know some things that changed? Well, for starters, I used to be homophobic-ish. There was no hatred, but more of a fear of the unknown. I also used to be very shy, and now I’m not shy, just introverted.

The reason I write this, though, is that these last 6 months have been life changing. Not me changing, life changing.

Six years ago, when I was but a freshman in college, a girl named Kelsey told me about something called Chaco’s. She told me I should get a pair, and in that moment, I never, ever thought I’d buy something so…unattractive. Fast-forward some years, and I met a fellow with a really fun tan-line, that I couldn’t help but comment on. Even then, I still scoffed at the idea of owning a pair. And then fast-forward a few more months, and here I sit with a hydration pack in the mail, and frustration at how much a pair of sandals can cost.

What’s the moral of the story? Well, that it may sound like I changed, but I really just grew. I’ve always had a thirst for adventure and exploring, and believe you me…I love sandals. They finally all just grew enough to merge with one another, and came to a head when I realized I hate shoes, but flip-flops suck to hike in. 

And I kind of really want a cool tan-line.

I can’t really help it, can I? I live in the mountains, after all.

What do you think – change or growth? With my definition of both in mind, have you changed? Have you grown? How?

My Travel Adventure

28 Oct

DSC01884

I didn’t realize until one of you asked recently that I never told you all about my vacation, so while some time has passed since, you deserve a story (and it’s a long one, so bear with)!

If you would like to read my journal entries, instead of this narration, I will be typing those out and posting them [hopefully] soon, with the links at the bottom of this post, so keep an eye out for that. Otherwise, read on my friends, read on!

Originally, I was leaving Sunday morning early, and I would be travelling from Fort Collins through Estes park, Breckenridge, Leadville, Glenwood Springs, Rifle, Craig, Steamboat Springs, and back into Fort Collins, CO on Thursday. I was going to hike McCullough Gulch, Maroon Lake, the Grottos Trail, Crystal Mill, Hanging Lake, Rifle Falls, Gold Creek Falls, and Fish Creek Falls. It was my plan to stop at hot springs along the way, and stay in a bed and breakfast one of the nights, while camping the other three.

All of this I was going to do by myself, and in the end, I did do it by myself, but I didn’t do nearly as many things as I had planned.

The first time I had to change plans was because of the flooding Colorado saw the week before. All the roads into Estes Park were closed because of the flooding and the damage they received, and Estes Park itself was basically under water. That shot Sunday’s plans completely down, and it was supposed to rain in Breckenridge on that Monday, so that foiled Monday’s plans as well. I decided it would be best to just leave on Tuesday, so that was what I did.

I took the interstate through Denver, and met up with my friend Tori to get breakfast. That was a little rushed, but it was great to see her on a trip that I’m doing solo.

So not terribly long later, I got on the road again and headed west to Glenwood Springs. I stopped along the way at a mining mill museum, and took a tour. I got to pan for gold and took lots of pictures. That was definitely the highlight of the day. I went down through Leadville and went through another museum and got some ice cream, and I looked through an antique shop and took some more pictures. They have an attraction called The House with the Eye Museum, and I really wanted to tour it, but unfortunately it was closed for the season.

DSC01821 DSC01833 DSC01859 DSC01865

Finally, I made it to Glenwood Springs, which was where I had my bed and breakfast reservations, and I checked in and this little house was adorable! Everything was perfect. I walked downtown and ate at Brewpub, then walked back and got my stuff to go to the hot springs. It was a developed hot springs, so it wasn’t my ideal set-up, but it was still very nice.

DSC01902DSC01896DSC01904

The next day, I woke up and had breakfast with the other two housemates – Spike and Maxine, who were an older couple. Breakfast was 3 courses and delicious. When I finished, I headed up the mountain to the Glenwood Caverns and Adventure Park. I did the Fairy Caves tour, which was amazing, and the zip line, which was actually really stupid. I don’t suggest that one, especially for $12.

DSC01973

Then it started to rain, and I was running late, so I headed down and took the drive to Marble, CO to hike Crystal Mill. It was generally dreary all day, but by the time I got there, it was barely drizzling, if anything. The first 1.2 miles of hiking was brutal; Daniel’s hill was probably a large chunk of the 1000 foot elevation gain, and generally smooth trail, making it even more difficult (in my opinion). This was also my first day of hiking, so I hadn’t become accustomed to elevation yet. Believe you me, it took me what felt like forever and I had to take so many stops I’m [almost] ashamed.

Then, I reached a fork in the road, and had no idea which way to go.

I decided to veer right, even though it was downhill, and that didn’t make sense to me. I got to a bridge over a creek, and it started sprinkling a little more, so I donned my rain jacket. I turned around because going downhill didn’t make sense to me, when I had to stop and move for a couple of jeeps coming through. I asked one of the drivers if I was on the right path, and he told me I was, but advised me to turn around because of the weather and the time of day.

I have a tendency to be stubborn, so I thanked them and continued on my way.

Then, I reached another fork in the road at Lizard Lake. While pondering which way to go, and having no real clue, it started pouring. I took refuge under a large pine tree and started trying to figure out if I should wait out the rain, keep moving, turn around or some other option.

DSC02053

That was what one of the jeep people came and “rescued” me. Out of the kindness of their hearts, they just couldn’t let me do the hike in the conditions, so they offered me a ride back. It turns out they were part of a paid tour group. They dropped me off at my car, and having yet another day foiled, I drove back to Marble, with its measly population of 100, and ate at the only restaurant in town: Slow Groovin’ BBQ. It was actually pretty tasty (except for the corn bread, don’t get the corn bread!), and I ran into the jeep tour people again.

That night, I stayed at what ended up being a very secluded camp ground. It had a toilet, a place to pitch a tent, and that was about it, all for $20.

The next morning, I just had to hike Crystal Mill again. I couldn’t not see it, so I headed back to Marble and decided to pay for a jeep tour. After all, I had already made it past the most difficult part, so it isn’t like I needed to prove anything. It didn’t open until 10, so I piddled around at a thrift store/coffee shop and took some pictures of the area. It was around this time when I realized everyone in this podunk town knew who I was. Word travels fast.

I bargained with the people who run the tours, and they ended up letting me pay $40 to get taken to the top of the trail and dropped off, so I could hike down. Crystal Mill was amazing, and I ended up having to pee in nature, because no one told me in 3 minutes we would be to Crystal, CO which has an outhouse. I also saw some man-butt, because some guy wanted to swim.

DSC02169

Even the guy who runs the book store at the top of the mountain knew who I was.

DSC02251

The hike back down end up being about 7 miles because I parked my car at the tour site, instead of the trail head. Even though it was downhill, it was definitely not my cup of tea. By this point, I didn’t really have enough time to do another hike, but I still had a lot of time before bed, so I went back into Glenwood Springs and ate at the 19th Street Diner. It was decked out like a 50’s to 60’s diner, and the food was pretty good, too. I randomly picked a campground from my phone, Amy’s Acres, and when I got there it was like a hotel. $20 and I got hot showers, a restroom facility, and electricity!

After what was actually a very restful night sleep, I woke up bright and early, took a shower, and headed to Hanging Lake. This trail is 1.2 miles, but you gain 1000 ft in elevation, so it is very steep. I averaged about 17 minutes a quarter mile, and enjoyed it much more than Daniel’s Hill. Hanging Lake, itself, it gorgeous. I spent a very long time just hanging out there and enjoying the scenery. I went up to Sprouting Rock, which feeds the lake, too. The hike down was almost more intense than the hike up, but I felt good.

DSC02445 DSC02502 DSC02504

Next stop was Rifle Falls, which ended up being very beautiful, and basically flat-ground compared to the two hike I just completed. It was simple, and I got to explore some caves around the back side of the falls.

DSC02614

Ahead of me was a three-hour drive on the western slope to Steamboat Springs, where I was planning on spending another night. The view was nice in some places, and I had to drive through a sheep run, which was neat. When I reached Steamboat, I decided to just make the final three hours back to Fort Collins, since it was already dark. I couldn’t come back down the mountain, though, because of the floods and road damage, so I drove up through Laramie, WY and then back down CO-287. It was actually faster, but I couldn’t get home soon enough.

And that was my trip. I don’t think I needed to do it and do it alone, but I think I’m a better person because I did. I proved to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to, and even though I know that, it’s nice to be reminded of it.

What was your last vacation? Have you hiked any of these places? Might you in the future?

Goodbye, Summer

3 Sep

 

There are lots of different indicators of when summer is over. Some say its over when school starts. Some say its over when it gets cold. Some say its over when fall equinox hits. Others count the last day of summer as Labor Day.

Labor day is tomorrow, and because many summer things will be over (like paddle boating), I’d like to make an official goodbye to summer. I’ve found this one to be an especially enjoyable summer, and I did quite a few things that I set out to do. There are some things I didn’t get done though, like swimming in the reservoir (hopefully that will happen tomorrow), climbing Horsetooth mountain, and then there is the ever-elusive summer romance.

What are some things you accomplished from your summer to-do list? Did you find your summer romance? Any plans for fall and winter?