#expressyourself

I have been following a few “challenge” blogs and I stumbled across The Daily Post the other day. So, in the spirit of participation I’ll share a few shots and thoughts of who I am and how I express myself…


#expressyourself

 Each day, I sit down at the old German table my family brought back from years in Europe or the old barn wood table my husband made while we lived in central PA. I turn on my computer, pour a cup of coffee, log in, and start my day. 

I express myself in many ways – this just happens to be the ‘me’ you would see if you walked into our home during my 7 to 5.

Kitchen nights

In addition to who I am every morning, afternoon, and evening of this journey, I believe my family is a critical extension of myself. My husband, our cattle dogs, and the place we call home. I express myself through the love I share with them, the places we explore, and the down time at home.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Express Yourself.”

warm days

With the days as warm as they have been around these parts, I though a late summer-early fall flashback was in order.

Emma
::Emma being her photogenic self (November 2014)::

Independence

::”Brothers” (July 2014)::

Moose

::The Moose napping (November 2014)::

Hike
::View along the Midstate Trail overlooking Spruce Creek (September 2014)::

Goodbye Shinglesburg
::Exhausted & saying goodbye to the Shinglesburg Farmstead (October 2014)::

Little Larry
::Little Larry (October 2014)::

Sam at BADL
::Sam in Badlands National Park (November 2014)::

Barn
::First night in San Luis Valley (November 2014)::

And with that, tomorrow will be dedicated to Wolf Creek…a day on the slopes. I am looking forward to it.

rY.

show me the way to go home

I’m tired & I wanna go to bed

I had a little drink about an hour ago and its gone right to my head

wherever I might roam, on land on see on foam, you can always hear me singing this song

show me the way to go home…

As I skinned my way up a mountain side along Rabbit Ears pass above Steamboat Springs this past Monday, this song flooded my mind. Sometimes, I think my grandfather checks in to remind me he’s still here. Somehow, in spirit, it may be in the backcountry or as as I’m driving along the many long and winding roads I travel, he’s here. And the moment the lyrics filled my mind – for no rhyme or reason – I knew I was in the right place.

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This past weekend I was a bit under the weather, but I was determined to get outside. I spent four long days racking up screen time and I was not about to give into a silly stomach bug when a 4-day weekend lay ahead of me. So I pushed back.

Friday: I cleaned. I cleaned this ancient old dirt-in-every-crack farmhouse until I couldn’t stand. It felt good, I felt refreshed. But I went to bed early…

Saturday: I skied. I felt heavy and achey as we climbed Lobo. But the skies were blue and the day was calling. We even stopped for Mexican food to sooth our tired legs. That, though, was the last straw. For the remainder of the night, I winced in pain, writhed in bed. If it wasn’t the bug, it was the excessive cheddar my body was rejecting.

Sunday: I woke with a mission – don’t let the night before get me down. I still felt sick. I felt foggy and uninspired by the heaviness of my head and body. I figured the only way to get out of it was a road trip. Moab? Toas? Steamboat by way of Denver.

I found that if I didn’t drive and I didn’t stand, I could enjoy myself. We started in the valley and traveled mountain roads hitting restaurants in search of something to ease my discomfort and thrift stores to score vintage Patagonia threads from Salida to Leadville and up over the last pass until we saw the city ahead of us. I popped enzyme pills and drank Jamaican-brewed ginger ale hoping the pain would subside. It came in waves at this point…

We made a quick stop downtown and I had an idea: hot & sour soup is a surefire way to kick any illness that’s got you down. I “googled” nearby Asian cuisine joints and found a hidden gem. With a comforted belly and clearer mind, I took the wheel for the final leg to Steamboat.

The amount of charismatic mega fauna was unreal! The drive from Silverthorne to the pass featured more deer, elk, and hare than anything I ever expected. It was a white knuckled drive to say the least.

Monday: It was as if the day was made just for us. No pain, no discomfort. I awoke inside my sleeping bag in the comfort of Chateau de Subaru craving coffee. My body had not craved anything in 3 days. Today was my day. While Sam ran the pups, I made the two of the most delicious and well-deserved mugs of Aeropress coffee. Steamy, bold, and just the right amount of kick to get us going – it was 7AM and we hit the trail before the hour ran out. We decided to skin in part way, ride the downhills, and adorn the skins one more time to attempt a south-facing slope.

An “attempt” is a good word to describe our descent. We pulled off the skins and Sam went first. What A Show! That guy can keep his balance, but after seeing him struggle (for the first time ever on telemark skis), I was quickly losing faith in myself and my ability to get down this slope vertically.

Short end to a long story: My face met with extensively crusty snow. But! Once I got my ski back on, the snow un-caked from my glasses, and myself upright, I enjoyed the final leg (relatively unscathed).

After some deliberation (not extensive, surprisingly), we decided the pups still had some energy (and my pride wasn’t too badly bruised) and it would be in everyone’s best interest to check out a nice looking east-facing slope. And that’s when it hit me: As I began skinning up yet another slope, I hear my grandfather’s whistled melody in the back of mind. Though the lyrics weren’t as literal in that moment, I sure did feel like I had to be drunk to be continuing on down this unknown path.

I belted the lyrics out loud and pushed on. And luckily so – the run we were about to take was pure butter. Joe knew it, and he knew I could push on to find out for myself. And what I found was worth every snowflake that crammed itself into my pores, teeth, and glasses thirty minutes before.

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The photos we took didn’t come out well. But the images I have in my mind are clear as day – a bluebird day of skiing in the Rockies. Can’t beat it. Thanks for pushing me on and giving me a melody to follow.

rY.


a new endeavor

S l o w S h u t t e r B l i n k i n g


I found an old site I created…If I remember correctly, the name was inspired by a song and sparked by a lyric.

I was that kid. The one in front of a glowing screen tinkering with websites, sound bytes, and the like. Don’t get me wrong, I played outside, scraped my hands, and came home with grass-stained knees more often than not, But when 3AM rolled around and I couldn’t play outside, couldn’t sleep, and really did not want to do homework, I played on my computer. Back then it was an HP. Classic, right?

I wrote words too…

welcome to my site with photos of the
light-generated variety.
an imprint on silver
a digitally formatted, human-decided
color-coded chart fixed to resemble familiar sites…
an experience from Life
a walk in the woods
an object worth seeing

these moments are a small collection of just a few of the pictures I have taken for myself, for others, and for the love of our Mother Earth.

Today, I still take pictures – mostly of the digitally-created kind – and I still write a lot of random thoughts (as you can tell). But the words I wrote so many years ago still ring true inside my today. My passion lies outside of these four walls – it is found on a trail, in the hills, on the water. It is found where the skies are open and true to no one but themselves, but welcome visitors willing to explore under any and all conditions.

With that, I should get to the point of this post’s title…

In an attempt to share some of the snapshots I have taken along life’s journey thus far, I’ve created some notecards and an Etsy shop. Check it out and consider sending a few words to a good friend on the back of one…

“The true alchemists do not change lead into gold;

they change the world into words” -w.h.g.

#FreeheelChick

The tale of a ::self-proclaimed:: Free-heel Chick…


Never, have I ever gone downhill skiing. Never in my life.

The thought never even crossed my mind.

Not. Once.

Of course, if I may quote the unknown speaker of a certain phrase…

“Never say never”

The story goes a little something like, well, this:

I moved back to Colorado a mere three months ago. Of course, the time spent in this state after considering the holidays with family and friends in Pennsylvania and work-related travel to North Carolina, Washington DC, etc. is probably more around a total of eight weeks.

But who’s counting?

Getting back to the story…

The Decision.

In grade school, I made a conscious decision: I am a Snowboarder. One board with both feet strapped, secured, and content. For nearly two decades, I drooled over the graphics, pined for the next techy women’s specific model, and researched the flex, the specs, and which women riders to idolize.

I rode every weekend and as many evenings as possible. Once I was of age, I applied at the local mountain.

First, simply a rentals rat. They stuck us in a dank basement to fit out-of-towners in Never Summer and Dynafit boards and skis. I never quite felt as confident setting dins an I did changing up a kid to a goofy stance from a regular. I decided the board shop was for me.

The next few seasons, I split my time between rentals and the gear shop. A dangerous combo for a teenage soon-to-be gear head. Girls, I have to say, sometimes we get it even worse than than the guys. My advise: Embrace it.

Finally, Lifty. I did my time at the start of the line. Cold feet. Frostbit nose. Late season rain-soaked gear. I worked my way up and scored the ultimate: top of the line. For a few years, I sat in my musty, mouse-infested, graffiti-walled box at the top of a lift line and loved every moment of it. A free ticket to ride and as much time as I wanted at the local hill? I’ll take it.

And of course, each winter, I made the annual pilgrimage to New England resorts – you know the names…Killington, Okemo, Stratton, Smuggs…the list goes on. I adorned my best, most comfortable gear and rode those hills like no other – first chair to close of business.

The Influence.

I met my husband on a board. You know, that cute boy on the Flow, rockin’ the blue Bakoda pack in the lift line back in ’04? Ya, him. He may not have known it then, but ten years later, we’re a half dozen moves & two cattle dogs in and buying our first home.

He is happier than you think!

Ya, that’s Sam – my husband.

I love riding with Sam. Back in PA, there weren’t many girls to ride with, so I kept up with the guys. He pushes and challenges me to push myself. I’ll “blame” him for what came next.

The Embrace.

Thanks to an epic winter in PA last year, I thought I would try my hand at this “ski thing”. We met some folks that were totally into cross-country skiing with their dogs and thought this could be a great way to keep Moose (our 50lb border collie mix) from packing on winter weight! I bought myself a pair of XC skis and joined a few friends for some state forest rides. Verdict? 1. Amazing. 2. So much fun. And, dare I say, 3. Not impossible!

From this point, Sam was in. The #1 Gear Junky himself! Books, blogs, articles…this guy researches outdoor activity-related stuff better than any Ph.D. I know. The gorgeous Arbor I got him for Christmas the year before remained hung on the rack like a prized painting and a new era began.

Quickly, thanks to Sam (and a number of long road trips over the last twelve months) I learned about the existence of telemark skiing. “Free the heel, free the mind” he says. It’s his mantra. It didn’t take long for him to decide that two boards might be just as fun (if not more!?) than one.

Enter: Telemark days {Location: Wolf Creek}

I found a flyer at the local shop promoting discount ski days at Wolf Creek. There’s locals days, ladies-only days, and then I saw “Telemark Days” with skills clinics for all levels. I pointed it out to that sweet, comforting, and encouraging husband of mine. The response? Laughter.

Me: “What?!”

Sam: “I’m just imagining you falling as much as I did when I was first learning”

Me: “Ouch, Sam. Ouch.”

The conversation slowly transitioned from laugher to a more productive discussion around the insane amount of ski-able backcountry in southern Colorado. We decided that if a used setup showed up at his office’s ski swap next weekend, we would consider getting it for me and checking out these “teledays” at the resort.

Long story short: Score.

The Transition.

This past Sunday was the first telemark clinic. Kelli – by far, the greatest instructor (of anything) that I have ever had the opportunity to meet – was our lead. Kind. Aware. Experienced. Confidence-booster. I could go on…

Our small group – of which, ladies far outnumbered gentlemen – learned the basics, rode the lift to a green, and tried our luck. Mind you, for never downhill skiing in. my. life., I was confident this new endeavor would be challenging but also rewarding.

Challenge I got. Frustration, yep, that too. But, I was determined. Kelli gave some great pointers and handed me my homework: 1. Look up & look forward and 2. Get some miles under me. She also gave Sam his (though, he was with another instructor): “Don’t over-terrain her!”

I like Kelli.

The New Era.

After that first day, I ended up with a couple of sore shins, an aching body the morning after, and an affinity for this free-heel way of life! You should take dip, you might be surprised by how good it feels.

rY.

Lobo ski Ry on Skis Skis Tele-pose

“Free the heel…free the mind”

road to recovery

Rock Framework

When the frames come naturally, I like to think we should embrace them…perhaps it is time to re-frame my 2015?

The new year is off to a rocky start – one mingled with a head cold and sinus infection. But I am on the road to recovery…one unblocked ear at a time. Admittedly, slowing down is a difficult task. There are hills to climb, trails to explore, pups to run, words to write and scenes to capture – there is no time for dilly dally. Alas, dilly dally I must and I have since new years eve.

On the first day of this fresh year, I did brave the head aching elevation gain to visit some local hot springs across the valley – a drive worth taking. As I sat among strangers in a strangely refreshing atmosphere, we laughed and told stories of our lives over the last year. Gabrielle, from New Mexico, and her partner then shared resolutions for the next 365 days of their lives:

“To write more, to travel often” so on and so forth…

In posing the question to me, I almost instinctively responded: “Live deliberately and adventure often”. My soul spoke out. I couldn’t mute it or hold it back, Thoreau just poured out of my mouth in an uncontrolled, succinct blurb.

How will you frame the next eight thousand seven hundred and sixty five hours/three hundred and sixty five days/fifty-two weeks (ish) of your life?

rY.

“Live deliberately and adventure often”. (hdt)

rambling across the mountains of colorado seeking adventure and inspiration…