Tag Archives: hiking

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…

Fitz Roy | Patagonia

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.

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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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New Mexico | Part One

We spent our first day around Kingston, New Mexico, hiking the local trails.

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Then we headed south to Las Cruces and spent some time with more friends there. It was a rainy, foggy couple of days. We hiked around the base of the Organ Mountains which were dreamy with the fog, and watched the creek fill with water.

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Finally the rainy weather burned off and we took the highway that cut through the Organ Mountains, headed for White Sands National Monument. I suppose you can guess what Part Two will contain…

Happy weekend!
Emily

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Birthdays, Utah Style!

Amber is a good friend of mine. She is always up for getting out of town and seeking out adventure. Our birthdays were just a few days apart in October so we decided to head west to Utah for the weekend. We hit Moab and headed south to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park.

Utah is unique, weird and awesome. I absolutely love going there (this was my third trip this year!), and every trip I find myself smiling and shaking my head, “this is so crazy”.

Enjoy the snaps!

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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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