Tag Archives: backpacking

Deeper in Colorado…

Ahoy!

Today I’m rewinding to a camping trip high in the San Juan mountains last month. We explored the terrain around Ridgway and Ouray, Colorado. Every hike in that area has massive elevation gain, and we were pretty well whipped into shape by the fourth and fifth days. I experienced the notorious Red Mountain Pass, which has many-a-thousand-foot drops off the side of the highway, made more dangerous with the inability to only focus on driving (the scenery from that road is stunning). Other trip highlights were bathing in a high alpine lake (it was take-your-breath-away cold water), the basil ale at High Alpine Brewing in Gunnison, the pink and purple sunset we were treated to outside of Ridgway, seeing the Milky Way every night, reaching the Ice Lakes after being told we probably couldn’t make it, hot dogs, the charming town of Ouray, and the Willie Nelson greatest hits album I picked up before heading out of town.

Enjoy the snaps, and don’t get too lost in that crystal clear water in the photos.

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Capitol Reef National Park

How’s it going?

As usual, my summer is cruising. July is looking hectic (and fun!), so before I get too far ahead of myself I want to rewind to the beginning of May. I spent a weekend exploring Capitol Reef National Park in Utah with a couple of good friends. Capitol Reef is relatively isolated, and doesn’t get near as much attention as some of the other Utah Parks. We hiked in and slept under the open (billion star) sky the first night, and the second, we camped just outside the park so that we could enjoy a campfire and walk in for sunrise on some of the ‘temples’ in the Park. Lots of laughs, chips and whiskey were shared on this trip…

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Three sets of animal tracks in the mud. It’s not every day…

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We slept right there…

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Some of the best hikes I have experienced are in Utah. There are always fun challenges, like “chimneying” down walls in a slot canyon, walking through water, or hopping over giant boulders (or going under them).

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Just driving through the Park. The vehicle in the top photo here was partially buried by what appeared to be a flood at some point.

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Ah, Cathedral Valley. A MUST-SEE when visiting this Park.

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An unexpected attraction in the Park (there were several of these, including a massive sinkhole), was Glass Mountain. This 15 foot mountain is made of large selenite (gypsum) crystals… From Wikipedia, “Gypsum was deposited as sea water evaporated 165 million years ago and then buried under other sediments. The gypsum migrated upwards through fractures in the sediments forming layers and, very rarely, domes like the Glass Mountain. There is only one exposed selenite plug within the park and one other just outside which has been reduced to ground level by collectors.” Oh my gosh, it was so cool.

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Camp vibes.

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Sunrise on Temple of the Moon and Temple of the Sun. Worth it.

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Desert roads heading back to I70…

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Wild Patagonia

Happy Hump Day!

I’ve been working on a guest-blog this week for a super rad new company coming to the market, Revel Gear, a company bringing solar-powered lights to the backcountry camping scene. Anyway, in writing the blog, I was reminded of this photo, and the story behind it…from November, 2014…

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One of my favorite adventure tales recounts the time that Aaron and I traveled to Patagonia (Argentine side). We were there in the Spring, and therefore spent the first few days in the town of El Chalten, playing many hands of cards, waiting for the rainy weather to pass to hopefully get out and catch some views of the amazing mountains we came to see. We fell victim to the area’s weather forecaster, Wind Guru, and were convinced that if we extended our time down there we might have a shot at taking in some of the scenery.

Approaching our final days in El Chalten, there was a break in the weather in the forecast, so we packed our stuff and hiked in toward Fitz Roy. We were about 2 miles from our camp, when the sideways rain began. The wind in Patagonia is no joke! We arrived at camp, set up our tent in the rain, and made a rock wall on the outside of the tent to help protect us from the wind. Then we settled in for the next 16 hours while the weather whipped around outside (if you want to get to know someone really well…). Thanks to our awesome Marmot tent, we stayed nice and dry and enjoyed some tasty dehydrated lasagna made by a gal in Bariloche.

Around 5 in the morning, I woke up and it was quiet. I unzipped the tent and something bright orange was glowing through the trees…it was Fitz Roy. I shook Aaron, hurriedly got dressed, grabbed my camera gear and headed out to a clearing. We witnessed a burning sunrise on some of the most impressive granite walls I have ever seen. It might have been the cold air biting at my face, but I was teary with a wide range of emotions.

Truly, this is still one of the most epic moments of my life.

Taking advantage of the good weather, we hustled back to camp, grabbed our day packs and headed up to Laguna de los Tres below Fitz Roy. The clouds were already moving swiftly around the peaks, but there was still sun, and it felt so good. After a short time at the lake, we headed down to camp and packed our things and headed out. The peak was in the clouds by the time we were back on the trail, and stayed that way until we headed out of town.

——–

Stay tuned for the entire blog when it comes out at the end of the month.

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New Mexico | Part Two

Did ya miss Part One? Click here!

White Sands National Park is unlike any place I have visited before. The gypsum sand dunes are surprisingly easy to walk on, and almost have a clay-like texture. You can bring dogs into the park, too, which is awesome…Merle loved running around on the dunes. We obtained a backcountry permit from the visitor’s center, and walked a mile into the sand and set up camp. This allowed us to fully enjoy sunset and sunrise on the dunes. Being that we were at White Sands in January, we settled in for a damp, chilly night. These adventures are always worth it.

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Little tent, lots of sand.

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Settling in for sunset.

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A couple enjoying sunset on the dunes.

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Crazy city light reflecting in the night sky from Alamagordo.

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…then I woke up at the crack of dawn, shook the ice off the tent, and crawled out to witness sunrise over White Sands. This was the first of many great decisions that day.

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Thanks for scrolling through, hope you enjoyed the snaps!

Emily

 

 

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2016 in Review

2016 was full of fun adventures! Here are some of the highlights…

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In February, my work took me to Tucson, Arizona. I went out and explored Saguaro National Park every day, and ate lots of great ethic food (Tucson is teeming with great restaurants).

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I wrapped up work in Tucson, then headed to Phoenix where I picked up a couple of my girlfriends at the airport. We headed north, spent the night at the trailhead, then descended into Havasu canyon. We spent 3 days exploring the glorious waters of Havasu and only encountered a handful of people down there…February is definitely a great time to visit this area.

More photos from this trip on my blog.

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We also celebrated Alaina’s birthday in the canyon…complete with a candle in the oatmeal!

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We visited family in Sanibel, Florida at the end of February, and I got to watch my nephew play in the ocean.

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In honor of International Women’s Day in March, the women of City Star Brewing (the brewery I work for), collaborated on a special beer…a tart cherry Gose.

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Later in March, I did maternity photos for this beautiful mama. Her son, Jackson, is already growing up to be an adventure stud!

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In April, my sister, my nephew and I went camping in Moab and Fruita. We pushed the limits of a baby in the car, learned that sweet ukulele tunes go a long way and stopping for a hike up to Hanging Lake is always a good idea.

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In May I got engaged! Aaron I went camping in the San Rafael Swell area of Utah, and he popped the question. We camped at a spot overlooking the Little Grand Canyon and watched the moon rise (do you see it?). Also pictured here is our sweet truck-camping rig…because I’m really proud of it.

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In June I captured this wonderful couple’s wedding…and almost passed out over excitement at the light that came over the wedding. Really though, look at that light!

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At the end of June, I road-tripped to Weiser, Idaho for a music festival. I drove back with one of my best friends and discovered Stanley, Idaho. There are few places I have seen with such incredible beauty. Stanley holds a special place in my heart (you would know based on the number of souvenirs I brought back from there).

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On the drive back from Idaho, Anna and I stopped at Craters of the Moon National Park…that place is crazy and weird…and I love it.

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…then we spent the night in Grand Teton National Park. We found some peace by a river before heading home.

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In July, Aaron and I spent a few days backpacking around Mount Zirkel Wilderness in Colorado. Lots of fishing and hiking was involved (of course!) and we got to eat our first homemade, freeze-dried backpacker meals! They were delicious…though the eggs still need some work.

More photos from this trip on my blog.

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At the beginning of August I photographed a wedding in Philadelphia…in a planetarium. Need I say more?

More photos from this wedding on my blog.

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In August, Aaron and I went backpacking in the Wind River Range in Wyoming. I hope these photos can somewhat depict the beauty of this area, because I can’t put it into words. We are already planning our return to this area in 2017, but probably to tie the knot this time.

More photos from this trip on my blog.

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Aaron and I spent 2 weeks traveling around Belize and Guatemala in September. We did plenty of jungle exploration and found a new interest…caving!

More photos from this trip on my blog.

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Fall in Colorado. Here’s a shot from just below Long’s Peak.

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In October, one my best friends and I celebrated our birthdays with a good old fashioned road trip to Utah. We ate lots of bacon and an entire cake…but we hiked a lot. Ideal, in my book.

More photos from this trip on my blog.

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In November I hiked to Ouzel Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park…and found a pot of gold!

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Later in November I witnessed the Supermoon rising beyond some corn fields in Berthoud, Colorado.

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After Thanksgiving, we visited some friends in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. This photo was taken in the morning, when it was burning cold and incredibly foggy…and dreamy.

Most of these photos were shot for personal projects, though I also had a number of amazing clients that I had the pleasure of working with over the year. With two trips already in the works for January, 2017 is gearing up to be an even more adventurous, exciting year!

Happy New Year, everyone!
Emily

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Bouncing around Belize

Photos from Belize.

All I can say is: this country exceeded my expectations. The culture was immense and beautiful. The people were wonderful and diverse. The food was super tasty, especially the stew beef, garnaches, panades, coconut rice, Johnny cakes, seafood, ice cream, and just about anything else you find on a menu…don’t forget the Marie Sharp’s hot sauce. Rainy season…shmainy season–the weather was beautiful with some cooling showers and powerful thunderstorms during the night. Oh, and there’s not much to do there…unless you like snorkeling, diving, spelunking, exploring ancient Mayan ruins, relaxing in a hammock, fishing, birding, eating, high-fiving kiddos, hiking, or kayaking (river and ocean).

Cheers (clink from my Belikin beer) and enjoy!

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Mt. Zirkel Wilderness

We wandered through the pine and aspen forest that wound through Mt. Zirkel Wilderness. Unfortunately, this area has been greatly devastated by the pine beetle, though the rugged peaks and wildflowers easily pick up the slack. After we settled on a camp that had a wonderful view of the peak, which we named “Twelve-Double-O” *, we enjoyed some afternoon coffee and headed up to Gilpin Lake for some evening fishing. We were surprised to be the only people up at the lake, but were psyched nonetheless. Gilpin Lake is truly one of the most beautiful, pristine lakes I have encountered. Aaron caught tons of trout, and Merle couldn’t contain his excitement as they were reeled in. Back at camp we cooked some of our own freeze-dried pasta bolognese, had a sip of whiskey, pulled back the rain fly and watched the stars until we fell asleep.

In the morning, we packed our things and moved them to safe place while we headed straight up toward Mt. Zirkel. Given the location of our camp, the traditional route was too far away, so we made a slow traverse up the steep valley toward “Twelve-Double-O”. Finally, we hit the ridgeline which led us up the peak, and across another rugged ridgeline to the backside of Mt. Zirkel. Behind the mountain is a beautiful meadow filled with wildflowers and you can see the lowlands of Walden in the distance, as well as smoke from fires raging that way. We eventually scrambled up the boulders to the top of the mountain and enjoyed the summit all to ourselves. From there we spotted Mt. Agnes, which we vowed to come back and attempt next time we are in the area.

Giddy with mountain high, we slid through scree and snow and made our way down the mountain. We grabbed our packs and continued back to Gilpin Lake, where we put our feet in the cool water, snacked, and moseyed on to Gold Creek Lake. We found ourselves a beautiful site near the creek, set up our tent, and let Merle inside to rest—he was so tired. After a while, we headed to Gold Creek Lake, where once again, we found solitude. Aaron caught more fish, and we watched a spectacular sunset light up the sky. The creek hummed our tired minds to sleep.

Once again, we packed our things and hiked 2 miles out to the trailhead. We found gyros in Steamboat, and with full bellies and content minds, we drove east — feeling so happy to call this beautiful state our home.

*The actual name of “Twelve-Double-O” is “Point 12,006″. It’s a pretty impressive peak for such a lack-luster name. Anyway, we actually thought that peak was Mt. Zirkel until we were on it…”ohhhh, Zirkel is over there!”

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Havasu

If the turquoise blue waters of Havasu Creek don’t knock your socks off, the size of Mooney Falls will (nearly 200 feet tall). The twinkling waters flow at a temperature of 70 degrees year-round, which is welcoming, even to a backpacker visiting in February. Be sure to check this place out for yourself and see how insane these falls are that flow into the Grand Canyon.

Arizona sure holds some amazing places.

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