All posts by rY outside

Colorado-based gal. Photographer. Writer. Adventure seeker. My name is Ryan Michelle and I'm an avid outdoorswoman, passionate photographer, writer & life-long adventure seeker. My words and images share the stories of who I am & the truths of my world. I grew up in the hills of Pennsylvania & spent many years exploring the backwoods of my home state along miles of streams & singletrack. In 2009, I fell in love with the west after a short stint in the Colorado high country & found a home in a southern CO alpine desert by 2014. My life is fueled by adventure & a passion to seek answers to unknown questions - the questions that draw our souls into the wildest of places where we can truly learn what it is to Live. I have had the opportunity to contribute words and images to great projects and publications like Southwest Fly Fishing, Trout Unlimited, Denver Outfitters and more. View more at: &

Mother Earth

I wanted to start a new tradition: kicking off the outdoor adventuring season on Earth Day (well, the whole weekend, really). So we did it.

The idea was simple, really: pack up, head for the hills with some friends, sleep outside and enjoy each other.

Of course, nothing is ever that simple, is it? Cue Saturday morning, the day before Earth Day, 2018…

My husband had been out of town all week, I had a 9am photoshoot down the road and though we were mentally ready for a nearby overnight with friends, the weather wasn’t cooperating here in southern Colorado. While the week said sunny and 65 with overnight lights near 30, the fact was, the wind was blowing, the skies were overcast and overnight temps were going to dip into the low/mid-20s. Outcome: we needed a change of plans.

So, I went to my photoshoot and left it up to my husband.

When I got home, we were closing in on 10AM and needed to make some decisions.

Stick it out and hope we didn’t freeze to death in the high country while all the other folks camping with us were in trailer campers? No.

Find another southern CO site close to home (turns out all USFS roads are still closed)? No.

Head over the pass to bike at Phil’s World and camp at a KOA in Cortez? No.

Drive south back to New Mexico (Sam was there all week) and find somewhere worth sleeping? No.

Then, that brilliant husband of mine said “Load the car, let’s go”.

When we pulled out of the driveway, I honestly thought we were heading for Cortez; but instead of driving west, we went north. I asked Sam where we were going? Fruita.

The weather was gorgeous. Sure, we didn’t head out until nearly noon with a couple of crazy cattle dogs and the little dude, but at least we had a destination that we wanted to go to!

The weekend (well, the 36 hours away from home) turned out to be a great research mission with a spectacular stars-filled night, delicious foods, warm sunny bike riding, and new views all around.

We spent Earth Day under blue skies and surrounded by the people that matter most: our family. And I’m ok with that 🙂

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kids books

Since my son was born – and honestly, even while in utero – my husband and I have gathered books that we hope(d) he would enjoy. We have been gifted books from classic Dr. Suess favorites to newer publications like the Little Blue Truck.

Whatever the book, we try to support a sense of wonder and adventure, balanced with opportunities to learn new words, lessons and ideas. So, when I heard about the latest book from Andy Weiner, I was very excited to add it to our son’s collection.

Andy’s book Down by the River takes readers on a day trip fishing adventure with Art, his mother and grandfather – and makes me oh-so-nostalgic for the limestone creeks of northeast Pennsylvania where I first learned to fly fish. While it’s a new venture for Art, his mother and grandfather are seasoned pros. Whether it’s packing up the gear, picking a fly, rigging up, or finding the right seam, they have a contagious passion for fly fishing that has trickled down to Art and is ready to blossom.

Chock-full of beautiful illustrations by April Chu, this story was particularly catching to me because if features a young boy and his mother as well as his grandfather – but I love that this little boy ventures into fly fishing with his mother as a role model. So many of us women have been taking our children to the water since day one and to have a book share a little glimpse of that is refreshing.

While my son isn’t quite two, he is a pretty fishy kid and – dare I say – a slight addict; from grabbing rods to helping net my and his dad’s fish, this book is a perfect companion to show him that little boys (and girls) can and do fly fish.

To get yourself, child, grandchild, friend’s child, niece/nephew – you get the picture – a copy, visit!

(Featured Image Credit:




I love a good day on skis – well, quite honestly, I love any day outside, regardless of the apparatus underfoot, but in mid-January, it’s often skis and yesterday was no exception…

If you’ve been breathing since November of last year, you know that the West is experiencing a crazy winter full of poor snowpack from limited storms, unseasonably warm temperatures and blazing sunshine. Thankfully, all of that changed this past weekend with 23 inches of fresh snow falling at Wolf Creek Ski Area in about 24 hours.

While that husband of mine got himself together for a morning skin outside the resort area, I was on kid patrol until noon. With the government shutdown in go-mode, I figured catching some pow turns the day before I received official furlough notice would brighten my spirits. I was right.

In the end, I’m grateful to the snow gods, happy I have a freelance option when it comes to work, and planning to spend today dreaming of those fat powder turns yesterday brought us.

Keep doing your snow dances everyone, days like this shouldn’t be so few and far between.