Happy 100th!

Rocky Mtn

Skinning across Lake Haiyaha, Rocky Mountain National Park

Raise your plastic, utilitarian glass of boxed wine and toast with me to a magnificent birthday! (Maybe you opt for champagne in the parks, but I stick to the more eco-friendly and easier to carry boxed option.) Happy 100th Birthday National Parks!

The history of the parks is incredible. We should thank our lucky stars ken burnsfor men like John Muir, Teddy Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson for their support of our country’s biggest treasure. There are many more to thank, but as opposed to recreating the entire saga here, I’ll highly recommend Ken Burn’s documentary The National Parks, America’s Best Idea for the history lesson. Buy the entire set. Watch it start to finish on a gloomy weekend. Get inspired. Watch it over and over when you get sick. It’s also great background noise for napping after you’ve seen it a time or two.


Colorado National Monument National Park at sunset

I love our parks. As a child, I wanted to be a park ranger when I grew up. I envisioned days of chatting with folks from all over about the wonders of nature. I also dreamed of long breaks where I could sit in the solitude of the phone booth-sized fee collection station and read novels; I was a nerdy kid. As an adult, I dream of being a park ranger when I grow up.

Quick shout out to an amazing friend who had the moxie to fulfill his childhood dream of visiting all 59 parks. Check it out, 59in59.

Iphone 730.JPGNot sure what my total park count is, but there are many, many more I’m dying to visit.

Next park to visit: Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Dream visit: Denali

Curiosity visit: Dry Tortugas

My Little Monster

I’ve always had a thing for naming my gear. I consider gear family and therefore worthy of proper names. It started on a cross-country bike ride on a shiny new Specialized bike. After the first hundred miles of cursing America and its poorly paved roads, I decided it was time we, the shiny new bike and I, got along better. My bike got a name; he became my companion instead of an inanimate enemy; life got better.

UD pack

Meet my new friend: Little Monster, Ultimate Direction’s Ultra Vesta

Cheryl Strayed un-affectionately named her giant, poorly packed backpack Monster. My little pack is friendly, cute, and saves the day and will forever be known as my (adorable) Little Monster.

beaer creek

The flat section of Bear Creek Trail

I recognize running alone in the wilderness is not always the safest idea, but there are days when you just need to get out the door, human companions be damned. On long trail runs, I always carry a pack. My Little Monster is the most comfortable pack I’ve used without sacrificing any functionality. On a typical 2ish hour run like today, I carry:

  • water, duh
  • Nuun tabs
  • Shot bloks
  • 2 asprin
  • a bear/animal/emergency of all sorts whistle
  • my phone

I generally include sunscreen and a lightweight raincoat, but it wasn’t necessary today. My favorite weekday solo run starts at Lair o’ the Bear Park. The Bear Creek Trail is a nice out and back with shade and rolling-ish hills (meaning it doesn’t go straight up and straight down like most foothills trails).

My Little Monster made a great companion today, and I’m looking forward to more miles on the trail together this summer.

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My Little Monster even comes with a backup hair tie because you never want to find yourself in this situation.

My new favorite day trip

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A few hearty flowers still left in Frazer Meadow late in the summer

I love trail running because its an easy activity to plan solo and just go. Granted company is great for many reasons – #1 being more eyes for snake patrol (ugh). When running alone on the front range, I stick to my comfortable rut: Lair of the Bear, Apex, Green Mountain. So when a friend suggested heading out a bit further to Golden Gate Canyon State Park, I jumped at the chance.

Golden Gate is about an hour from Denver and offers trails for hiking, biking, and horse back riding. Maybe its the $7 entrance fee or slightly further distance from Denver, Golden Gate seems to be less popular with the usual weekend warrior crowd. The Mule Deer Trail is a great 9.1 mile run/hike. It’s shaded and rolling which is a nice change from the dusty foothills trails.

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We picked Golden Gate State Park this weekend for our annual girls hiking weekend -celebrating 25+ years of friendship and laughter with these ladies. We opted for just the upper portion of the Mule Deer Loop to give us plenty of time to stop for coffee on the way up and finish in time for brunch in Golden. I want to go back this fall and check out the Harmsen Ranch Guest House.


The Mule Deer Trail is the large loop in red on the left of the map

Hey friends, I started a blog


My dearest friends, you make the best travel companions. I love you with all my heart. I also have lots of stories about you. Consider this your opportunity to request anonymity.


Don’t worry my pets, we won’t get too racy and these will be the last semi-nudes (#nakedinnature). I have a 2030+ Denver mayoral run to keep in mind.

Why Trail Talks?

While sometimes I bemoan about being single at 30-something, I can confidently say that during these 30-something years, I amassed the most wonderful collection of  friends. In a team friendship rumble, I’d pick my squad over Taylor’s any day. My friends are genuine, unique, funny, weird (in a good way), and unfortunately, live all over the country, UGH. Great for visits, but seriously unhelpful for Tuesday night bridge club dreams.

I’m not the best phone person. I do it out of necessity. Phone dates at most last an hour. I need more than an hour, my friends. I need Trail Talks, true conversation. I have more than once deferred a needed dish session with a friend knowing that we’d be together in the woods at some point soon. I’ve scheduled hikes for the primary purpose of getting an update on marriage/jobs/life/dating/anything. Wilderness, I’m sorry, sometimes you’re sloppy seconds.

The thing about trail talks is that often you need eight hours of trudging along in the woods to get to the meat of a subject. And I’ll say this, I’m a sharer. I have more confidants than most (the average American has two, sad). But sometimes there are those subjects that are too tough to talk about in a thirty minute phone chat. It takes hours of carrying a forty-pound pack to muster the courage to let true stories roam free. And once you let them out, you need many more miles to analyse, assess, and get your friends’ true guidance to properly corral them. I vividly remember the exact spot on the sage brush covered trail in Canyonlands National Park on day two of a four day trip where finally, feebly and embarrassed, uttered to my friends the secret I’d been holding back for weeks. “Uhhh, girls, don’t judge but I called (should remain EX-bf) again…” Sigh. And then we got to spend the next two days dissecting my decision and piecing it back together as a path forward.

Not all trail talks are pseudo group therapy. I’m always amazed by the funny, mundane and everything in between conversations that occur when one is unplugged from the world with an indulgent amount of free time. During my trail talks, I’ve learned which cast member of the West Wing my friends would like to marry, what Olympic sport is most desirable to compete in, and quick and easy meals I can manage to make on a Tuesday since I’m not hosting to bridge club for my friends. There are no rules to trail talks and that’s why they are the BEST.

Trail talks do not have to occur on an actual trail. This weekend’s version of a TT (trail talk) occurred with my big brother. Big brother is a great dad of two adorable kids and a doting husband to one of the most kick-ass ladies I know. I adore his family, and yet, I cherish the time I get with just him alone. Brother-sister bonding, YES PLEASE.

Big brother and I are training for a road cycling tour later in the summer, so today seemed like a reasonable day to get in our first outdoor ride. We road from Evergreen up Squaw Pass. It’s a logistically an easy day trip from Denver and allows for plenty of climbing. We parked at Bergen Park for the 34 mile out-and-back.

Squaw Pass

The view north from Squaw Pass

Brother and I covered a lot of subjects on our upward [road] talk, some important, many not so. But, it’s a true treat to get two uninterrupted hours with just my brother. The cherry on top was getting to scream down the pass at 30+ miles-per-hour.

I promise not to make too many “you should” recommendations in this blog, but I strongly encourage you to make an effort to make trail talks (the action, not my blog…but I’d love it if it were my blog) a regular part of YOUR life.

And if you do ride Squaw Pass, make sure to stop at The Bagelry for an iced coffee on your way home.

Hello, Imogene

I barely slept last night. I tossed and turned and watched the ceiling fan swoosh around for hours. With both dread and excitement, I set my alarm for 5:53, 5:57, and 6:00 for a last resort. I did laugh at myself knowing that I’ve never once slept through an alarm in my entire life.

6:00, June 1st: Imogene Pass Run registration. The registration process, while shorter in time, is equally as painful as the race itself. For safety reasons, the race is capped around 1,00 runners. Because the race is freakin’ awesome, more than 1,000 of us want to do it. And while the popularity has grown, the race’s roots remain old school and so does its online registration process.

I dragged myself out of bed at exactly 5:54 with no time for coffee and began staring at my computer. Staring at your computer at this hour is both frustrating and incredibly boring. At exactly 6:00, I began furiously entering my information and hit ‘submit’…swirling icon…’submit’….swirling icon…’submit’…damn swirling icon…ugh, I’ll try the PayPal button….’submit’….I’M IN!

Finally at 6:08, I could make some coffee and get on with my life. I paused. Wait, I could crawl back into bed for another hour and finally get some restful sleep. Hallelujah!

“DING,” group text from Friend A:  Are you guys in???  Friend B: Hell yes! So stoked!

“DING,” unrelated Friend C: Did it work for you?

I wasted my precious extra hour of euphoric sleep texting party hat emojis to my friends, and it was worth it. I feel like a really winner today! And my prize? I get to train for three months to run 10 miles up and 7 miles down a mountain! Yes, please! There better be beer at the end of this race.

Imogene Pass

Telluride on my left, Ouray on my right – from the top of Imogene Pass at 13,114 feet

Here goes

Thank you for reading. I’ve toyed with the idea of a blog for a long time. Many of my adventure companions are likely tired of hearing me talk about my ideas ad nauseam. So with a lot less (verbal) talk and a lot more (written) action, here goes…

I hesitated kicking this off for a two main reasons. First, and still very true, I was scared. What if you think I’m a terrible writer? What if you think my inner thoughts are trivial and mundane? I am uncomfortable being the center of attention. While, I have no resolution to these fears,  I’m simply telling them to go hide under a rock for a bit.

Secondly, I struggled with the question, “what the heck is the point of a blog?” I like timelines, checklists, progress updates, and the satisfaction of marking something complete. And yet here, I stare into space and cannot think of the outcome. I decided it’s okay to start simply with some mini-reasons (all of which I reserve the right to change or axe at any point). I hope to:

  • share with you my adventures and misadventures
  • answer questions I receive from friends: where should I hike this weekend? should I bring my air-mattress on the hut trip?
  • answer questions I have: what do I do if I get attacked by an angry moose?
  • justify the purchase of an expensive camera
  • find a creative outlet and have some fun

(not an angry moose…but still a scary goat trying to ruin my afternoon nap)

I promise <1% of content devoted to baking. I don’t bake.

Thanks for coming along with me!