snow bike fishy time

No, we didn’t catch fish…

but we saw them!! And, we had e a GREAT time riding and attempting to land some trout!! It’s a rare occasion that we can fly fish some of our favorite waters in early January. Though I enjoyed it, I’m definitely praying for snow – and you should, too; for the sake of the fish, of course (and maybe my backcountry skiing addiction)…

Enjoy.

 

bikepacking, sorta

The 2017-2018 ski season is off to a very slow start. SO, rather than cry (too much) about it, we decided to get the skinny tires rolling…

Bikepacking is essentially longer distance riding with all your gear packed on your bike; which is why this post is called “bikepacking, sorta”…

See, we “sort of” did a bikepacking jaunt. We loaded all of our gear on the bikes, but we only pedaled about 2 miles into the Rio Grande National Forest. The plan is to do a much longer ride along the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route – the same route we did this past week – but let’s face it: it’s winter, and we have an (almost) two year old to manage.

But, 2 miles or 20 miles, we learned quite a bit and we had one heck of a good time!

|The Route|

First off, two skinny-tire bikes fully loaded with some Oveja Negra packs were the perfect option, but not if there is a lot of snow on the trail. Though the route itself was relatively clear along the Pinos Road (FR14), there were still sections where I struggled a bit while pulling the Chariot. I guess 15 pounds on my bike and 50 pounds in the Chariot were a wee bit much on the snow…anyway, next time, we’ll do it without snow, and all will be well. I’m sure 🙂 But when we do another winter trip, it’ll be with some Framed Fat Bikes and a Fat Bike Pulk from Ski Pulk – yep, that’s right, we’ve got some ideas up our sleeves!

Anyway, we parked around the Burro Creek Trailhead along the route, loaded up, and pedaled. We traveled about 2 miles, unloaded, setup camp, ate some snacks, and kept on pedaling. I suppose we could have continued up and found another campsite…BUT, since it was going to be a cold night and we were new to this thing (with a kid in-tow), we went the “safe” route, and kept it under 2 miles from the vehicle.

 

|Camp Setup|

For this trip, we took ALL the cold weather gear you could imagine.

First, we packed in a Seek Outside 8-person tipi/hot tent. That’s right, I said a HOT TENT. This thing is awesome. Seek Outside is based in Colorado and makes a range of tents and tipis. This little bundle comes with a titanium wood stove (also made in CO) and I am in love, with a few caveats/pros/cons:

  • + SUPER lightweight. The sil-nylon body with netting (to keep the bugs out in the summer), carbon pole, (I think) titanium stakes AND the titanium stove weigh in under 12lbs. For a large shelter and heat source, I’d say that’s a pretty lightweight option to have some 4-season outdoor fun!
  • + SOO roomy! The 8-person tent feels like a mansion. It’s literally huge and probably a little too big for the 5 of us (2 adults, one kid, 2 dogs), but I’d rather go big that small because you don’t ALWAYS have to heat all that space.
  • – Stoke that fire. The stove burns hot, but it burns fast; like, DEVOURS wood, fast. We have a wood stove at home for our primary heat source, so we know how to use them and this one was definitely hungry. Anyway, the night ran between 10-15 degrees, so keeping it stoked would have been really nice. However, while I was the nugget snuggler, Sam was the fire keeper, and let’s just say, it got cold in there. Also, make sure if you get one of these puppies, you keep your gear a good distance from the firebox.
    • Lesson learned #1: Position is key. If you position the fire keeper closest to the wood stove, they can easily feed wood from their bag all night long without having to get up, put some shoes on,walk over to the stove, add the wood…return & repeat.
    • Lesson learned #2: Down sleeping bags melt, FAST. Ya, unfortunately, my Outdoor Vitals bag lost its fight with the wood stove that night…just keep a good distance from the stove, people. I tried, but rolling around at 3AM/fighting one of the dogs for the sleeping bag and being stationed too close to the stove don’t mix. I’m just glad the whole thing didn’t go up in flames.

We packed three down sleeping bags including an Outdoor Vitals 0 degree Summit, a 30 degree Big Agnes Bag and a really old 0 degree bag made somewhere in CO. They worked really well, but it was still chilly because we let the fire go out (I had the expectation of being HOT all night, but we slacked…).

Other items:

  • Jetboil Stove and a couple bowls, mugs, fork/spoon
  • Aeropress Coffee Press
  • Good To-Go dehydrated dinners (Marinara w/ Penne was KILLER! and the Pad Thai was pretty yummy), local ground coffee & lots of snacks (Forest loves oranges, and we brought GORP, Kind Bars, biscotti, tea, raisins)
  • LOTS of warm clothes, especially my Feathered Friends “Ellia” down jacket

 

|The Outcome|

It worked. Period. Maybe it was the gorgeous night sky, or it could have been me  forgetting my main camera, or even the fact that Forest has been camping in the high country since he was 3 months old…whatever the combination was, it was in our favor.

  • Yes, the fire went out & it got cold;
  • Yes, I destroyed a sleeping bag;
  • Yes, we had a couple meltdowns due to an overtired kid and underperforming gear (Blackburn needs to stick to hard goods and not make bags anymore because all the clips on their panniers broke off Sam’s bike – ya, the meltdown was ligit.)
  • and YES, I’m going to do it again!!!

Hey, YOU!

Yes, you: the bride & groom-to-be, the marketing manager, the family cheerleader, the… – I’m reaching out to YOU.

I’ve been photographing weddings, senior and family portraits, special events, and outdoor adventures, and providing marketing material for companies for a while now – consistently for a little less than 5 years. Before that, it was occasional “official” shoots, but a lot of time behind a camera for myself.

Now, with a new year quickly approaching, I’d like to take it to a new level. New assignments, new locations, and new challenges.

I would absolutely Love to be your photographer.

I want to capture your moment and help document and share your story. The wild ride that is your wedding day or special event, or maybe the new product you want showcased to reach audiences. Maybe it’s the pinnacle of your high school time and you need senior photos, or the annual family photo. Whatever your needs, I want to be the gal you call to get the shot.

On my day-to-day, I work for a great agency, but I want to dedicate more time to capturing images – the most memorable moments so that when the memories fade, the photographs are there to brush off the dust and enrich the mental image…the season’s raddest new gear to get everyone stoked to get out and play…and on and on and on.

You see, I never thought I would be the gal that would have the nerve or confidence it takes to have to get “the shot”, but when it happened for the first time, I was hooked – and have been ever since.

The “I do”, the skier hucking off some crazy high cliff, the moment that perfect sun flare hits the season’s newest piece of gear – those are the moments I love!

SO what do you say – you wanna give me a shout?

DSC_4304-01

family fat biking

If you follow my blog, you likely know about my fat biking & fly fishing videos earlier this summer…well, due to some unforeseen injuries and travel, we didn’t publish quite as many as I was hoping. Not to fear though, with fall upon us and winter knocking on the door (and my husband FINALLY recovered from his riding injury) we’ve got some ideas in the works!

I hit the river late last week after my mom headed back east in hopes of landing a birthday trout. It was slow, but it felt good to be on the water. But, mid-way into my forth or so stop along the Rio, the wind picked up. And by picked up, I mean it ripped down the river corridor and tangled my tandem rig in ways I’ve never seen – and I’ve seen some serious tangles! I packed up and headed home, promising myself I’d get back on the water once the wind subsided…

So, Sam and I planned to get out with Forest this weekend to hopefully land some fish, eat some yummy food, and enjoy the forecasted sunshine in the valley. Of course, Saturday morning came around and the wind had yet to letup. So, we ran errands most of the day, drank hot tea in the evening, passed out, and I woke up on Sunday with thoughts of big fall browns on my mind; and wouldn’t you know it –  40mph+ gusts were ripping through the neighborhood.

We had a feeling this was going to happen. So, we decided to skip the fishing and celebrate the fact that there is finally some snow blowing it by packing up the fat bikes and exploring some forest roads we had not been on before…

20171105_100809-01.jpeg

We pulled off at the Poncha Pass Loop along 285 just below the pass itself. 8000 feet, windy and gorgeous! No fishing up here, but the breeze (which is an understatement) kept us cool on the uphill grind – and Forest was bundled up and loving it, too!

The trail is called the Bonanza Off-Highway Vehicle tour, but we ditched the Jeep and Soob and took it on with 4-inch fatties and a soooooped up Chariot instead!

Screen Shot 2017-11-06 at 12.23.32 PM

Screen Shot 2017-11-06 at 12.23.40 PM

 

 

IMG_20171105_124200_052.jpg

After Forest passed out for a while, he was ready to get out and stretch his legs, so we headed back down – and BOY! that downhill was soooo nice! That’s Sam indulging in a little woopdywhoooop!

20171105_111148-01.jpeg

20171105_114416-01.jpeg

DSC_7212-01.jpeg

DSC_7223-01.jpeg

Sometimes, I wonder if we’re crazy for dragging that little nugget along on these haphazard outings we affectionately call “adventures” and then I rethink it. I mean, if we get him addicted to things like skis and bikes and being outside early on, hopefully he won’t have any money (or energy, for that matter) left for less healthy habits. I guess we’ll just keep on keeping on and see where it takes all of us 🙂

11640-01.jpeg

Alright everyone, that’s it. No fish, but we did get some mud on our big ol’ fat tires, that’s for sure!

if you like what you see, follow along on my Instagram for more adventures!! And if you’re in the market for a fat bike, consider demo’ing/checking out a Framed option – I was riding the Alaskan Carbon Fat with a Manitou suspension fork and Sam was rocking the Framed Wolftrax Alloy Custom Fat setup. There are pros and cons to both of these rigs and we’re hoping to tweak several things before heading out on our winter fishing and yurt/backcountry lodge trips. If you have any suggestions (or questions), leave a comment below!

Adventure on, y’all…

stewardship

When I was in college, I did this “thing” called Outdoor School.

While there, we taught local students all about working together and lessons on natural history, cultural history and all the cool things you can learn while playing outside.

At the end of the week, after all these lessons about conservation and the importance of natural resources, we hosted a scenario where we’d talk to kids about a private landowner coming in to build on public lands that were traditionally being used to explore, experience and learn outdoors (ie: the camp we were at).

We hosted a public hearing, shared the proposed development plans, and talked about how the land owner didn’t really care about the wildlife using that space or natural processes taking place on those lands. Rather, what they cared about was creating an experience for paying customers and paying the bills (logical, right?).

Kids would be in an uproar! They would debate how we need to “speak for the trees” and fight for what’s right for the natural world…and I would be blown away by how emotional they would become. But sometimes, I wondered if we were living in a bubble – if what we were doing would go the distance and stick with these kids so that they would become stewards of the places they know hold more value as natural sites than anything else.

Well, tonight, for the first time in my life, I sat in a public hearing to discuss exactly what our mock scenarios used to cover. And the moment I heard the landowner say “don’t let your emotions get in the way…this is a useless piece of land” I was back at Penn State’s Outdoor School and so much energy came flooding in…

But outside of the emotion I was feeling, I heard a community member next to me say “useless for who?” and another one say “depends on the use – you can’t build on it, but a wetland for a frog is heaven!”. And then the arms and hands start raising – more people wanted to speak out against just how “useless” this piece of land is.

And I realized something: we were not in a bubble and stewardship is alive. It’s alive in ourselves and in our communities.

Then my amazing husband – a voting member of a board that will ultimately make the final decision for the sale of this property – spoke up.

The landowner admitted to clearing the “useless” space and he said we have a bigger issue before us than whether or not a town will sell a piece of public property to a private business: first, clearing a public piece of land without consulting the town is “technically” a trespass, but more importantly, a rare or endangered species could have inhabited the nearly 3 acres that person unlawfully cleared – species that are, in fact, present regionally.

And at that moment, I heard My husband speak for the trees and the birds and give each of the community members in the room an even louder voice than we had for just sitting in that town hall room.

Not only was I amazed that this whole thing was happening, but then I became so proud of someone I appreciate SO much for speaking up and reiterating that the proposed land was, in fact, NOT “useless”.

It’s a wild thought, especially in the way our current world appears to function – that we still have the ability to influence our environment, community, and maybe even our government.

A decision was not made as to the fate of this “useless” piece of land – a piece, might I add, that connects to an existing river walk and could potentially be included in the larger community river walk zone. But our voices were heard, and the town plans to investigate further; and I certainly hope, in the end, that the vote is whole-heartedly in favor of the community and the land.

And to those of you who were with us tonight: thank you. Thank you for coming to the table and representing the space, species and experiences that public piece of land exemplifies. Sometimes, it takes the voices of a few to help a whole community win. Fingers crossed…

rambling across the mountains of colorado seeking adventure and inspiration…