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: ryoutside.com & instagram.com/ryoutside

Travel, they said…

Occasionally, my jobs require me to travel. Sometimes for weddings, other times for assignments, and even others for meetings and project facilitation work. But, since having my son, travel slowed down a bit.

Prior to my first pregnancy and his birth, it wasn’t uncommon for me to be gone 1 to 2 weeks a month, leaving that sweet and understanding husband of mine to watch over the farm or chickens or dogs or what/whoever else we had going on. Don’t get me wrong – he came with me when it was so enticing that he couldn’t say no (like our 2.5 week stint in the islands when I had to work in a windowless room while he fished the lazy day away) but that was rare.

And when Forest was born, he came on DC travels until this one. Babies under 2 are considered a “lap child” and ride for free, but free doesn’t make it easy!

Well, with an older toddler, so goes the excuse that I “can’t travel” because of x, y, z (i.e., nursing, need to be home to care for a baby, pregnancy recovery, etc.). So, for the past few months, I’ve traveled a bit here and there. Mostly local, in-state overnights to Denver with occasional random travel down south and to DC.

But this past week, I had another meeting in DC, so I took advantage of the opportunity to piggy back on a work trip and celebrate my big sis on her birthday- for the first time, like, EVER.

So we went big: SUP’ing, shopping, hanging with our dad and beach lounging! What a great way to spend a surprisingly beautiful couple of days back east.

When we parted ways, I felt more grateful than ever to have my sister.

Now, I sit in the airport and wait. My day started at 3am and it won’t end until after dark, thanks to delays, cancellations and missed flights. But, at least I can reminisce, right?

Traveling can be fun. It can be challenging, too. But the fact that I’m blessed enough to have the opportunity to DO it – now, That, is what I need to keep reminding myself of so I don’t lose my mind on tough return trips like today’s.

Gear Review: Astral Brewess 2.0

Your feet will thank you.

Astral released the Brewess 2.0 this year for women who love the water. This incredibly light shoe features super-sticky G® Rubber outsole, an incredibly comfortable midsole, and really does take a “common sneaker” to a “new level of performance and versatility”. As a dedicated sandal wearer, I was getting frustrated with constantly knocking my toes off rocks and roots and destroying my heels. I still love my sandals, but I needed something more. Cue the Brewess 2.0.  

Pros – What we love:

Fit: The Brewess 2.0 runs true. To. size. Seriously gals, my size 9 foot actually fits in a size 9 shoe (yes, this is rare). So no need to think about whether to size up or down, these are spot on. And the comfort level is unreal – 5 out of 5 stars, for sure. I can wear these shoes all day – dry or wet – without any discomfort, blisters, or funk stench by the time the sun goes down.  

Durability/Performance: Two months of SUP playing, wet-wade fishing and rambling around town and trails and the Brewess 2.0 isn’t slowing down. The Colorado sun, mud and dry climate tend to wreak havoc on shoes and apparel, but performance has not faltered with this shoe. My favorite part: the sticky rubber sole performs flawlessly on my SUP and while wading slick rocks in the river; all while the inner footbed keeps me cozy all day.

Cons – Room for Improvement

I couldn’t find any major deal breakers, but I will say: the Brewess 2.0 is not a sandal. If you’re use to lots of airflow, be prepared for a full-wrap shoe. Yes, it’s light. Yes, it’s breathable and has good ventilation. But, it’s also a sneaker style shoe, so set your expectations appropriately. That said, I used this shoe with and without socks. On dry hikes/days, I wore a sock and found it to be even more comfortable than without a sock (personal note: I tend to run really hot in the foot department. By wearing a sock, I was able to wick moisture really well and stay consistently comfortable).

MSRP: $110

Where you can get ‘em: Astral’s Official Website

The Verdict

Like the first line of this review said: “Your feet WILL thank you”. If you – or your lady friend – are looking for a lightweight, solid performance water shoe, this may just be THE one!

 

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Photo (by Sam Scavo): The Brewess 2.0 in action.

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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