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?


“Live deliberately and adventure often”. (hdt)


E. Rocks Overlook

There are days when our bodies remind us just how human we are…days when you don’t realize how much you ache to slow down until you wake up in a fog. Today is a little foggy for me.

Yesterday, however, was quite the opposite: A snowy day on BLM land with four wild dogs and a couple of good friends. They asked what I would be doing if this visit didn’t happen..I hope I would have been standing in the very spot we were in.

This landscape speaks to a person. It pulls you in, it inspires and can leave you awestruck. It can hurt, and it can confuse. But it speaks. A thousand languages – of the wind and the sand and the yucca – it speaks.

I can’t say it or write it or express it enough: Explore. Ramble, meander, crawl, just go. Today, as the blue skies open to a mesmerizing winter sun, I think Should I embrace the unknown adventure around the next bend’? Will it still be there when the fog drifts away? I certainly hope so.



Ski Ouray

Last night, warmed by the heat of the wood stove, I sipped peppermint tea and awaited one more trip to the city. My mind could not be any further away from the bustling metropolis…thoughts of epic mountain passes, powdery snowflakes, ice cold beers and good friends…

But the “real” world called: DC-bound. Of course, this morning, my flight was canceled.

So, instead of hustling out the door for one more airport run, I did what I always do: worked from the old Black Forest German table that has been handed down from my parents, to my sister, to me. I sat and I worked and tonight, I still can not get my mind off what is to come as I think about what has been.

I am welcoming winter with open arms. For all its chill, this time of year warms my heart and pushes me to explore in a new way. Explore not just places, but my own mind, my own beliefs and what I value in a season. In my profession, I talk about phenology a lot – the timing of events in the natural world (you know, seasonal stuff like when flowers bloom, leaves change color, birds migrate…the list goes on) – and I have realized that moving to a new place challenges you to learn the “new normal”. Apparently, exploring the hills in November is “normal” in these parts. And, as new residents of this state, Sam and I decided to go with it and explore the mountains for his birthday. We slept in cars, drove tractors, embraced the burn of a 4-brush pile bonfire, and gave thanks for the lives we get to live at this year’s Thanksgiving with friends up north.

I look forward to learning the new annual events in this place. And if each year, during the last weekend of November, we can fire up a tractor, ski a mountain pass, or sit around the table with delicious food and good friends and loved ones, I think I will be okay.

We celebrate anniversaries, new life, life lost, the first snowfall, the first peeps of spring frog calls, the longest and shortest days…but of all the annual events, we should also remember to celebrate each and every day and the people you get to spend them with. Get outside, go walk, ride, scoot, sit. I’m not picky…just get outside.


Ski Ouray Pass


Moose & Squirell

Sam & Emma in Ouray

Emma in Paonia

Bridge at Ouray Pass

Farmer Sam



I am a lover of topography. Rolling hills, towering mountains, it does not matter. But something has changed…

I was raised in the rolling valleys of Pennsylvania. PA was my life blood, the place I called Home, and in many ways, will always be. Growing up in the north – with a mother from the south, a father whom I occasionally mistake for Jimmy Buffet, and two siblings who would choose sand over any other earthen matter – we would travel to southern shores on an annual (or more) basis.

When I hit my mid-teens, the thought of wearing a bathing suit terrified me.  My preference: layers upon layers upon layers of anything that would cover my body, and the faster winter set it, the better. When I got over the self image issue, the heat and humidity still hung heavily over my winter-filled heart. My decision was final: Mountains.

After a short stint in the central Colorado high country in 2009, the east called me back. Well, a boy headed east called me back, if we are going to be honest with ourselves. From New Jersey to Pennsylvania and finally coastal Maryland: the Eastern Shore. I lived on the coast for two l o n g years. Twenty four of the longest months of my life. One hundred and four of the most get-me-out-of-here weeks you could ever imagine.

So, to make an incredibly long, eventful, and emotion-packed story short: we left.

Forward to November 2014…
I am lucky enough to work for one of the greatest land management agencies in the federal government: the National Park Service. My job takes me all over the country and to some amazing places. This week, I spent four days on the outer banks of North Carolina at Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

In all honesty, I was not excited to go to NC or the coast. Thoughts of humidity and sand were almost too much to bare. But then, I talked to my mother…

You may not know this woman, but if you met her, you would quickly understand the whirlwind that is: Marla. She is a force and I love her every day for it. As my mind and body felt the stress of work travel, my phone rang.

Me: hey mom…
Marla: video chat me when you can!
Me: i am super busy with work…not really sure when ill be able to. but i will.
Marla: you know youre visiting your grandmother out there.

Me: silence

As I watched the sun set to my back and the waves break at my bare feet, with no one else around, I was reminded of just how grateful I should be for every moment in every place no matter what the scene may be. My mother gave me a new perspective on the land, the sea, and life.

I thanked the grandmother that I never had a chance to meet.


rambling across the mountains of colorado seeking adventure and inspiration…