If you follow me on Instagram or this here bloggy thing, you likely know I’m proud to be a (self-proclaimed) mountain mama.
Playing outside and exposing my wild child to the places I love (rivers, mountains, canyons…) makes the smiles happen – even when he’s melting down or asking for another snack or filling up another diaper or…you get the picture.
Well, this mountain mama is awaiting another wild child – this time, a baby girl. I’m 40 weeks and 1 day into this journey and the whole pack is ready for this little one to present herself to the outside world. But, until then, we wait. We wait (im)patiently
And while we wait, we keep playing.
To those soon-to-be or long-time mamas of the world: I hope you, too, keep playing and keep getting out there. It’s SO important to get out and breathe the fresh air, soak up the mid-day sun or whatever it is you love to do outside.
This weekend was a whirlwind of activity!! My personal maternity shoot, a neighbor’s wedding, a family portrait session for friends across the valley and a senior portrait session for a local student. The fun felt never- ending and I just want to say thank you.
Thank you to the clients that believe in my work and book me for their important life moments.
Thank you to my friends for taking time to share moments with me (and my family) and allow me to capture moments for them.
Thank you to the sisters, mothers, fathers, brothers, partners…the list goes on…for supporting your sons and daughters and allowing me to capture their lovely spirit and wonderful energy for their friends and fellow students to remember them years down the road.
And thank you to my patient husband and wild child as I set yet another self-timer, request yet another cheesy smile, and drag them all around the valley for yet another photo.
That’s right, I typed “pillow”. And I know what you’re thinking – what does a “pillow” have to do with fishing? I get it…but let’s talk about this for a moment.
When I talk fly fishing “gear”, it’s often rods, reels, technical apparel, packs…you get the picture. But, think about it: Before we can get out and enjoy a day on the water, what’s the number number thing that has to happen? No, not a hot cup of coffee (though, that is important). Sleep. Whether you’re a weekend warrior, chasing trout before and after the daily 9-5 grind, a performance athlete, professional angler, fishing guide, or something in between, a good night’s rest is critical to a good day on the water.
Cue: BEDGEAR – temperature-regulating bedding designed for your sleep style.
I spent the last few weeks swapping out my run-of-the-mill, bargain bin pillow for the Galaxy 1.0 Performance Pillow. At first, I wasn’t really sure what I was getting into. Since college, when it came to buying pillows, I set my sights on the least expensive, “non crepe” (as I affectionately call terribly-thin pillows) pillow I could find at the closest Big Box Store. And, what’s worse, in those 10+ years, I’ve probably purchased a half dozen pillows and carried along another half dozen hand-me-down/who-knows-how-old-or-how-drool-covered varieties from family. Needless to say, I’ve learned a valuable lesson: Pillows matter.
To start, the specs/materials and build are really impressive:
Ver-Tex® cooltouch fabric provides continuous heat deflection to limit hot spots and provide better temperature regulation
Air-X® ventilated panels & filter fabric to ens
ure no funky allergens or dander build up on your sleep surface
Boost® foam inner material give sleepers pressure relief that won’t bottom out while providing soft support with no rebound
How about performance?
As a person who loves naps and lives by an early-to-bed, early-to-rise mantra, sleep is ranks pretty high in my “favorites” category. Let’s talk about some “pros”, shall we?
This pillow stays cool and comfortable all night – the technical “cooltouch” fabric performs flawlessly. I’m the kind of gall that tends to search for cool spots in the bed when I wake slightly in the night. Thanks to this great fabric, the search is non-existent in the pillow department.
It holds my head just right whether I’m sleeping on my side or my back. I am a mover and a shaker – in and out of bed, apparently – and tend to wake up with pillows scattered randomly around me. This means I find myself clawing to get one of them back in place, but with the Galaxy 1.0, my head stays where it should and is comfortable through morning.
It is surprisingly heavy, which I like. I never thought about weight in a pillow before, but I think, thanks to its density and weight, it stays where I set it all night long (which means when I fidget – which I do a lot of – I’m not chasing my pillow around the bed). I also like the weight because it feels more substantial than the bargain pillows I am accustomed to.
But are there any down sides to such a tech-heavy pillow?
Functionally, in my opinion, no. The Galaxy is comfortable, made of some really high quality materials, and seems like it is going to be my go-to for the foreseeable future (get gone, bargain pillows!).
The only “con” you might consider is the price tag. If you’re used to the ten dollar special, shelling out a couple hundred bucks might be tough to swallow. But, with that said, depending on your pillow purchasing consumer practices, it might make sense. For instance, if you’re buying a cheap run-of-the-mill pillow every few months, that adds up. Spend once, and you’ve got yourself the pillow dreams are made of from the get-go.
Make the investment and pamper yourself – if not for your body and mind, for the fish that you’re chasing tomorrow 😉
Making time to get out and explore isn’t necessarily something we (my family) think about, it’s just…kind of…what we do.
We make spending time outside a priority almost unintentionally. It’s just…a part of who we are.
Whether it’s a quick bike ride after work or a walk along the river trail or up the local hill, fresh air ramblings are an important feature of our weekly lives. But when the season transitions come into play, it’s that much more important for us to get out – to experience this transition time, celebrate the season that is ending and embrace the new one we’re entering into…
I hope this is a time you and your family can indulge in, too. Get outside, explore, and enjoy these cool mornings/evenings and sun-warmed afternoons!
This was my third trip to Alaska in 10 months – it was time to bring the fly rod.
I arrived in Fairbanks on a Monday evening after a planes-trains-and-automobiles-kind-of-day. It’s a 5-hour drive to the airport from my modest, middle-of-nowhere abode in southern Colorado. Then, it’s a mad dash through security, hop the train to the gate and endure a 3+-hour flight, an hour-long layover and one more (4-hour) flight until I could grab a rental car and resolve myself to time zone shifts and a cup of tea in my hotel room.
The sun isn’t setting
I thought sleep would come easy. I was wrong. I pulled the blinds only to realize they were stationary; mounted like a useless piece of wall art purchased and hung over a decade ago. I grabbed a random piece of hotel furniture from across the room and shoved it into the sliding glass door, sandwiching said curtains just enough to allow me to blanket the light and ease my over-tired eyes. All the while, I couldn’t help but think about the unexpectedly-muddy river views from seat 10F. Though the waters I saw from above appeared blown out, I told myself that was probably some other river. The Chena will be fine…it’s grayling season after all…all the websites told me this is the time of year to fish this place! I was still (naïvely) hopeful to land some arctic bullets.
The game plan
My professional priority that week was not landing fish. I had work to do and it had nothing to do with setting up new reels, matching flies to hatches, or navigating to unknown fishing spots beyond town limits. My personal priority, however (if I must travel for work and be away from my family, I’m going to indulge), hummed a different tune. I readied my gear and on day 2 – during a lunch break, of course – B-lined it to the local fly shop with a colleague from the lower 48 and fellow fly-fisher.
We walked into the shop determined, headed to the fly counter and found “The Guy to Talk To”. I knew our time was fleeting, so I cut to the chase: We’ve got two days and I’d really, really like to land a grayling – what do you think? He paused for a long moment – like, the kind of pause that translates to “you don’t want to know what I think because you’re not gonna like it”. I waited. He stumbled over his words, apologizing for all the things out of both of our control. The weather got us. This spring was an exceptionally wet one across the region – even though fires were still burning – and the Chena was, in fact, blown out. The fishing was off and mild storms were stacking up for the foreseeable future…he thought we might have a chance floating it, but there was no time for that.
As he marked up a poorly rendered, mass-produced, not-even-close-to-being-to-scale tourist map for “theoretical” productive grayling spots, his eyes lit up a little bit and I watched him write the word. He didn’t speak it and promptly required we take an oath of silence. It was early for them to show up, but word on the street was: They were there. This place didn’t exist and we heard nothing. Whether the outcome was feisty, silvery wild arctic grayling or spawning pigs didn’t matter – the pursuit for anything was on at this point. We grabbed our licenses, flies and headed back to our meeting (late).
I clenched to what little hope I had left
Later than afternoon, we made the drive out to the site-we-shall-not-speak-of…
What should have been a scenic, 30-minute cruise turned into over an hour of navigating in circles, passing one busted, rusted front yard-full of cars, trucks, busses and boats after the next, searching for a cell signal and the slight chance our phones’ maps would reveal a blue spot among on the tan. Found it.
We opened the doors and were immediately met with a cloud of relentless blood-suckers: Welcome to Alaska. We walked.
Stay to the right, pass the ponds, follow the trail about 50 yards. I replayed the words spoken by the “Guy to Talk To” in my head – all the while hollering “HEY BEAR! HEEEYYY BEAR! WHERE’S MY MONEY, BEAR?!” (pretty sure my colleague now things I’m a crazy woman). When we spotted the trail, my hopes boosted a bit.
Reality set in
Cast…cast…walk…cast…swap flies…cast…pass another set of moose tracks…holler for bears…cast…
The waters were muddy, high, and fast. Dries weren’t working and swinging colorful streamers produced a whole lot of nothing. Some time later, with hands and foreheads swollen from the locals indulging on our lifeblood (and daylight still blazing in the land of the midnight sun) we decided to call it. It was getting late and we passed a promising brewery down the road, after all.
rambling across the mountains of colorado seeking adventure and inspiration…