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Looking for a romantic getaway this weekend? WildSpring Guest Habitat should be at the top of your list!

Located in the teeny-tiny town of Port Orford, Oregon, WildSpring is a veritable utopia for those looking for a blend of comfort, beautiful scenery, and eco-friendly accommodations.

PC: Will Rochfort

I knew WildSpring was going to be special when we pulled up to the gate. Rather than the typical lobby or check-in area, there was merely a simple open-air covered kiosk with five wicker boxes. Each box corresponded to one of the five cabins on the property. Inside the wicker box was a welcome packet with your information, check-out info, map to your cabin, and intercom instructions {to notify the owners that you had arrived safely.} Next to the wicker baskets was a wheelbarrow: no bellman for WildSpring! Instead, we wheeled our luggage to our cabin.

Our cabin itself was absolutely charming. It was a quaint little place nestled in the thick greenery that is coastal Oregon, but the character didn’t end when you opened the front door. The cabin was divided into three rooms: a front living area, a bedroom, and a bathroom. Each cabin is decorated differently with antique and vintage finds from various shops, overstuffed furniture, and unique lamps and pillows. Y’all I immediately fell in love with this place!

Can you imagine a more picturesque place to spend a romantic getaway with your significant other?!

In addition to the five cabins, WildSpring has a beautiful guest hall located on the bluffs overlooking the ocean of the five-acre resort. The guest hall was maybe a two-minute walk from our cabin and we walked by unique-yet-mythical decorations like the sculpture garden, walking labyrinth, and lounging hammock.

The guest hall itself was awesome. Not only did it flaunt floor-to-ceiling windows to look at the ocean, but it also had a working kitchen. Breakfast is included in your stay; it was vegetarian when we were there, but I’m not sure if that is the norm. It did include fresh fruit, steel-cut oats, fresh-baked pastries, granola, breads and jams. {The WildSpring folks also took note of special request the night before– they made me some hardboiled eggs!} We enjoyed our breakfast by the windows, watching the ocean crash beyond the bluffs. If you visit in the summer, be on the look out for wonderful whale watching!

The kitchen is open for any guest who wishes to cook their own meals rather than go out to eat. Will and I took full advantage of this while we were there; we actually threw together soup one evening just because we were too lazy to go out!

The guest hall kitchen

All of the amenities are gorgeous, but the eco-friendly nature of the place truly impressed me. To begin, WildSpring only needed to remove two of the old trees to build the entire resort– that’s it. They rearranged everything else in the construction to work around the existing 2nd-growth trees. They also used local, sustainable materials whenever possible. All of the vegetation is native and the decorations and furniture all came from consignment and thrift shops in Hollywood, so it was all reused for the sake of WildSpring.

Heading on a trip soon? Check out these Packing Trips for Adventure Travel to help you prepare!

The resort also strives to keep their operations as eco-friendly as possible. All the cleaning products are non-toxic and scent-free, and all the appliances and light bulbs are low-watt and energy efficient. The neighborhood does little to recycle, so WildSpring stores everything and takes it wherever is needed. They recycle and compost everything possible, and donate any unused food to a local person who then takes it to those who need it. Basically, they have reduced their footprint as much as possible and offset the rest to achieve a zero carbon footprint. That’s seriously impressive!

{I could go on and on about their eco-friendly efforts, but if you’re interested in reading more, check out their website.}

The sculpture garden

The next time you’re in the PNW and looking for a relaxing and romantic vacation, definitely consider WildSpring. I mean, the photos speak for themselves!

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The post A Romantic Getaway: WildSpring Guest Habitat appeared first on Just a Colorado Gal.

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This is a sponsored post in partnership with the National Association of Landscape Professionals. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

When I was 18, I spent the summer after high school working for my parent’s landscaping company. As a recent graduate, I was absolutely over my job as a cashier at Target but knew I needed to work all summer to save some money before college began in the fall. Mom and dad offered me a job as a gardener working underneath one of their very experienced horticultural supervisors. I had never previously considered working with their company or in the green industry in general, but I figured it was worth a shot. After all, I got to work outside!

I spent the summer working my butt off. I was attached to Christine, my supervisor, and in turn, she taught me everything. I started with the basics like weeding {because naturally, she didn’t trust me to do anything else!} and eventually learned more and more about the plants themselves. Our family business specializes in color theory for annual and perennial installations {annual: flowers that live one summer, perennials: flowers that return every year} for upscale residential clients, so I was surrounded by hundreds upon hundreds of new-to-me flowers. I learned how to encourage growth and repeat blooms; I learned about proper pruning and feeding techniques; I learned names {both Latin and common since my mom is practically a walking botany dictionary}. And as the summer went on, I began to realize that maybe this would be more than “just a summer job for me.”

I went away to college in the fall but by the time the next summer rolled around, I was dying to be back outside for work. After spending a school year crammed indoors at a desk, the concept of sunshine and Vitamin D on a daily basis sounded perfect. I returned to work with my family company.

This pattern continued throughout college as I slowly rose through the ranks, eventually becoming a crew supervisor. Now, in addition to the basic plant knowledge, I learned how to manage a crew of people as well as a dozen client properties. I learned a lot about interpersonal communication, both from my clients and my team members. And, as an added bonus, I was making a lot more money than my friends who picked up various summer jobs to fill in the gaps. Looking back, it was a healthy education for a 21-year-old kiddo.

After graduation, I struggled. I landed a PR job along with a part-time editing job for a local magazine, both careers tied into the journalism degree that I recently earned. But, I wasn’t ready to settle down. Instead, I quit both jobs, sold my belongings, and took off on my bike. If you don’t know that story, you can read a bit about it here. I spent four years bouncing around various parts of the world before returning to Denver in 2008 with my sights set on graduate school. Once again, I knew I needed a job while I attended class at night, so I returned to my family company.

Older and wise with a lot more experience {and great timing since their business was booming}, my parents trained me as the assistant manager to the company. I already knew and remembered most of their clients, so integrating me into the process was easy. But this time, instead of going out into the field with the crews, I spent my days working on the back end of the business. Bit by bit as my parents grew to trust me and my decision-making skills, I took on more responsibility with the business they had built. I created schedules; I handled client complaints; I spent hours upon hours designing annual installations for the busiest month of the year; I managed staff; I handled payroll; I helped my dad with taxes. While some of the menial tasks may not sound glamorous, I loved it. My parents founded their business in 1994 and I am so proud of them for identifying an industry they love, creating careers for themselves, and then supporting the livelihoods of at least a dozen other people. Almost 25 years later, and they made it work. And I really enjoyed supporting that and becoming a part of the family business.

I stayed with the company for another 10 years–a decade!–as the manager, eventually deciding  on a career change at the start of the 2018 season. With the arrival of Liliana, I wanted to be at home more and knew that buying and owning a business would be stressful with our baby girl. I made the choice that was best for our family. But, by the time it was all said and done, I spent close to 15 years with the family business so I feel confident in saying that I am well-versed in the green industry and have enough experience to be chatting with y’all today.

Because here is the thing: the outdoor industry and the landscaping industry are so very closely tied together yet I think so many people don’t realize it! If you are someone who is considering a career in the outdoors but is looking for options, I’d strongly urge you to take a look at the field of landscaping. Why? Here are a few reasons:

Pleasant Work Environment

If you are someone who really abhors the thought of a cubicle or desk or fluorescent lighting, landscaping could be a great fit. Not only do you get to work outside in all weather, but you spend your days creating beautiful outdoor spaces. Sometimes, the change is small and gradual as you maintain a small flower bed. Other times, depending on your specialty, the change can be quite dramatic when you tear up a slope, create some terraces, and install a garden. It’s so rewarding to see this change and know that you personally created such a lovely space.

Sustainability

I’m not sure many in the industry actually realize this, but careers in landscaping are vital to local sustainability. Installing and maintaining plants and creating green spaces is critical to the mental healthy of locals and communities, and you get to be a part of that.

Growth Potential

As you can see by my relatively long-winded story above, there is a lot of growth potential in this industry if you are the right person for the job. So frequently, individuals come into these careers with little to no experience, but as they learn the proper skillsets, the sky becomes the limit in terms of where they can take their livelihood. Having been in business for so long, my parents and I can list at least a dozen former staff members who came on board with zero landscaping knowledge, but now own and operate their own company. If you are interested and a hard worker, you can create a beautiful world for yourself.

Solid Income

One of the biggest misconceptions about the landscaping industry is that you will never make more than minimum wage. And while there are certain less-than-desirable companies out there that stick to that pay schedule, that certainly isn’t the norm. Depending on your career track, experience, education, and the size of the company you work for, you can easily make a good living for you and your family.

Job Stability

In 2018 alone, the landscaping industry needs to hire upwards of 300,000 positions. Y’all, that is an insane amount of work and in my personal opinion, I think the industry could use a surge of fresh blood coming from the millennial generation. My parents’ generation was heavily involved in the green careers but my generation waned a bit, so it’s time for millennials to offer a bit of their unique style to this outdoor career. Truly, with that many available careers, the potential is limitless.

For those of you that only stop by my site occasionally or haven’t been longtime readers, I imagine this entire career story comes as a bit of a surprise. But, after spending almost half of my life in the landscaping industry, it is a topic that is very near and dear to my heart. If any of this interests or excites you, please feel free to reach out. I’m happy to answer any questions if this is something you want to delve into a bit more! Or, if you are interested, you can check out the Landscape Industry Career site.

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The post From Landscaping to Writing: A Lifelong Career in the Outdoors appeared first on Just a Colorado Gal.

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This is a sponsored post by Getaway 5K and VocalPoint. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

You know what? It’s been a hot minute since I’ve registered for a legitimate race and it’s about time I remedied that!

Who wants to join in the fun at the Getaway 5K/10K in Boulder?! 

Back in the spring, the crew behind the race shot me an email and amidst the conversation, asked my input regarding race location. At the time, I wasn’t sure if we would end up partnering together, but I thought it was a classy move. They had three or four locations they were considering and I appreciated that they were asking potential participants and locals their thoughts on which environments would be best suited for the run. And, as luck would have it, they opted for my first choice: the Boulder Reservoir!

Initially, I partnered up with Getaway to help them spread the word because I love helping out new races. After all, I can’t run with this whole torn knee thing, yanno? But, the more I thought about it, I realized that was silly. I can walk just fine, right? And a Saturday morning by the Boulder Reservoir in September is arguably one of the more beautiful ways to spend my last Saturday pre-surgery, so why not do it at the race?

One day I will be running at races again. Today is not the day.

And, so it went. Will, Liliana, and I will all be walking the 5K course on September 8. You should come out and join us! Why?! Well, I have a couple reasons:

Premium Race Swag

Seriously guys, I don’t say that lightly! If you sign up for the 10K, you will receive a 1/4 zip pullover long-sleeved tech shirt that is totally legit. Evidence:

I’m hoping you noticed how carefully I placed this shirt so it appeared to wave at you. You’re welcome.

Truthfully, I’m not someone that really cares about race swag and tend to donate the shirts. But I was given one of these shirts to check out and I honestly will wear it, largely thanks to its sweat-wicking abilities. It’s pretty awesome. And if you register for the 5K, you get a similar shirt, just with short sleeves. Still pretty awesome!

Race Medals

This bling is snazzy! They designed them for each specific race so you will receive one particular to your distance. I know a lot of people that buy wall mounts and hang their medals; is that you? If so, I suspect you’re going to like the look of this jewelry hanging up with the rest!

Discount Code

Let’s be real: a driving reason behind race registrations is budget, amiright?! That stuff adds up! Thankfully, the team at Getaway provided me with a discount code that registrants can use for the 5K or 10K. It takes off $12 from the registration cost which means the 10K costs $38 and the 5K costs $28. Not too shabby!

For the discount, use the code in the graphic below:

Added bonus: if you are an AARP member, you receive 50% off automatically!

We Can Hang Out

I realize that is the least cool reason on the list, but come on! Have you seen a cuter face? Likely not. We’ll be there in full, adorable-baby mode!

What are you waiting for? Get registered and then let me know you’ll be there. We can hang out!

Excited to run but now sure how to train? Check out Amanda’s Tips for Your First 5K!

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The post Come Join Us at the Getaway 5K! appeared first on Just a Colorado Gal.

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Guys, we did it. We went backpacking with a baby not once but TWICE on our road trip. And, our second voyage was a four night/five day trip in California’s Eastern Sierra up to Thousand Island Lake. Not to pat myself on the back, but….BOO-YA!

In all seriousness, there is a huge misconception that outdoor fun ceases the second a baby pops out. And while there are a million excuses to help you back out of your planned trip once you have an infant, there really isn’t any legitimate reason to do so. Sure, it takes more work and determination, but outdoor fun shouldn’t cease once that bundle of joy arrives.

Considering finding some wilderness with your babe? Here are some tips to get you started:

Plan for Heavy {Or Phone a Friend}

It sounds obvious, but plan on a {much} heavier pack than you are used to carrying. Backpacking gear weighs a lot to begin with, but once you add in the baby gear, the pounds increase seemingly exponentially. Your tent goes from a two-man to a three-man. You need to pack a third sleeping pad. A whole set of clothes? Add ’em in. Oh, and don’t forget her food because Baby Girl will be pissed if you make her go hungry {and the entire wilderness area will hear about it}.

And did I mention diapers? Yeah, definitely don’t forget those.

When it was all said and done, our packs weighed significantly more than usual. For our single overnight in Sedona, Will carried roughly 40-50 pounds, while I carried 35 pounds {Liliana + the backpack}. But, when we started considering our multi-night trip in Ansel Adams Wilderness, we began questioning whether we could do it. After all, I was hiking on a busted knee with strict doc orders to not carry a lot of weight {oops.} Time to phone a friend!

If possible, gather your favorite outdoor friends and ask for help. It may seem daunting to ask friends to carry extra weight, but our experience was nothing but favorable. You’ll be surprised at how happy your friends are to help! We ended up with a group of 6 { 3 friends + our family} and each of our friends carried an additional 5-10 pounds for us. Could we have done it ourselves? Sure, but this was way easier.

Start ‘Em Young

You’ve heard it before, but starting your kiddo earlier on is going to make the entire process that much easier. Liliana turned 10 months last week so she isn’t exactly ancient, but we already notice that her outdoor experience has made things much simpler. Her first flight was at 8 weeks {and she’s racked up 20 more since then}; her first hike was at 10 weeks; her first backcountry hut trip at 5 months; and her first night in a tent was just shy of 7 months.

Our campsite at Thousand Island Lake

PC: Moxie82 Inc.

In showing her all of those new places and allowing her to adjust to new sleep situations, she has become the world’s easiest baby to take backpacking. She already knows how to go with the flow so what is one more day in a backpack or evening in a tent? Additionally, she views the outdoors as a comfortable place full of sensory experiences that make her happy rather than uncomfortable. Honestly, we reached one point where we were trying to find our campsite and we were doing a lot of back and forth hiking, so I sat down on a rock with her while Will and the others searched the lake. It wasn’t long–maybe 10 minutes?–but I watched Liliana sit in the dirt while playing with two rocks with nary a complaint. She was content, comfortable, and at peace.

That said, don’t discount you and your kiddo if you didn’t start early! If that’s the case, swallow your fear and do it anyway. You may have some bumps and bruises, but that’s life, right? Besides, once you get your kiddo out there, she will have that memory which will make subsequent trips so much easier. And if she cries? That’s the beauty of being in the middle of nowhere– you won’t disturb anyone!

Start Small

To be fair, we’re not the best at practicing what we preach in this regard. Liliana’s first night in a tent was the first night of our three-month road trip!

However, we did start small with backpacking in that we tried a single overnight trip in Sedona to work out the kinks. It was a short trail–maybe 3 miles to our campsite–and it was relatively easy when compared to many trails we’ll see in the future. Plus, it was in Sedona where the weather is warm and easy and we didn’t need to worry about altitude or snow storms. We knew if things really blew up, Will could load her into the backpack, run down the trail, and be at the car within 30 minutes.

Starting small is helpful for two reasons. First of all, it gives you peace of mind. For me, I was a tad nervous heading into the wilderness the first night because I had a string of, “What if…?” running through my head. What if she got sick? What if she didn’t sleep? What if she got cold? In knowing that she was not that far from civilization, I was able to swallow my concern and focus on the fun.

Secondly, it allowed me to work out the kinks for myself. I had no idea what carrying a baby would feel like, and I wasn’t sure how I would fare. After all, Will carried her for all of our day hikes to save my knee. But again, in starting small, I knew I could gut check any discomfort long enough to get where we needed to go.

Roll with the Punches

I feel like this is Lesson #1 for parenting in general, but it certainly applies while backpacking!

All babies are different. Some sleep well and some don’t. Some walk out of the womb while others take well over a year. My point is this: you never know how your kiddos is going to react to backpacking, so it’s best to be prepared for anything.

Our first night in Sedona turned into a late one. We got to our campsite near dusk and I envisioned Liliana losing her mind with exhaustion since we had pushed it so far past her usual bedtime. But instead, we experienced the opposite: Girlfriend WAS LIT! The excitement of the day combined with the new surroundings wired her to a level that we’d never seen before or since. She giggled uncontrollably in the tent, rolling 360s on the sleeping pads while simultaneously chewing on the valves and marveling at the crinkling of the sleeping bag material. Our car camping tent was much bigger so she was overjoyed to realize she would be sharing a sleeping pad and sleeping bag with her papa.

These life discoveries went on for hours. It wasn’t until 10pm {for a kiddo that was falling asleep around 8pm at that point} that she literally fell over and passed out, almost as if she was narcoleptic. It was seriously the funniest thing we’d ever seen, but it was also a good lesson for us as parents. The two of us were gassed and so ready for bed, but that wasn’t an option until she decided to bless us with sleep.

For awhile, I stressed about how she would feel in the morning. I already knew the sunrise would wake her up early so when combined with a late bedtime, I dreaded the potential cranky baby we’d encounter at dawn. But then I realized that our little family was making beautiful memories. It didn’t matter if she wasn’t sleeping when I wanted her to; she could sleep on the hike out {which she totally did!} I readjusted my mindset and enjoyed the baby circus happening in the tent. After all, we would never get back our first night of family backpacking.

Forget Type A; Plan on Type Z

Thankfully, this is an easy one for me since I’m about as Type Z as one individual can be, but I realize that may not be easy for everyone.

When you hit the trail with your babe, blow any preconceived notions away. Maybe you used to hike 10 mile days, no problem? Or you have a set camp routine that you’ve followed since your teenage years?

Probably not anymore!

In our experience, backpacking with a baby doesn’t follow much of a routine. For example, Liliana tends to nap in her hiking backpack which means she may sleep well into the afternoon. There goes bedtime. She pinwheels in her sleep which is less-than-comfortable when she is mashed between two adults in the tent. There goes a restful night of sleep. She loves the backpack but after three days straight, she needed multiple breaks to stretch her own legs. There goes high-mileage days. Perhaps you like coffee in the morning? Baby girl wants a bottle first, so mama needs to wait. 

My point is this: drop your expectations. The only reason any of those above points are problems is because of the expectation that went along with them. Once I learned to view every scenario as an unknown circumstance, it became a lot easier.

Savor the Moment

Backpacking with Liliana has honestly been of of the most cherished memories Will and I have from her first 10 months on this earth. Watching her learn to navigate tent life while educating herself on the natural world has been a spectacular experience. There is something special about nestling up in the tent together, hearing her little giggles echo throughout the mountains, that makes my heart explode.

Is it tough sometimes? Of course. But I wouldn’t trade those memories and experiences for anything.

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I realize there may be some specific questions about backpacking with a baby. Let me have ’em!

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The post Backpacking with a Baby: 6 Tips To Get You Started appeared first on Just a Colorado Gal.

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Just a Colorado Gal by Heather - 4M ago

I awoke in a tent mashed near the top of California’s Ebbett’s Pass, yellow-filtered sunlight streaming through the small pockets of mesh covering the rainfly. Before opening my eyes, I could hear the excited Liliana giggles as she plowed through our tent with reckless abandon, investigating, chewing, and eventually discarding everything in her path. Some babies get toys but ours prefers random paraphernalia that can be found in any roadside convenience store. Yogurt containers, plastic cutlery, and crinkly wrapping? Sign her up. Rocks are a good time, too, as are pinecones and long blades of tufted grass. Guess that’s the byproduct of spending a chunk of your first year living out of a car.

Life on the road isn’t always as glamorous as it sounds, especially when you’re traveling with an infant. I never once sat in the front seat of our F-150; my passenger seat became the defacto storage space for valuable gear like our cameras and laptops, as well as the omnipresent diaper bag. But, it’s a tradeoff we were willing to accept: I kept the peace and provided backseat entertainment for our ever-curious daughter and she allowed us to tackle 9 hours of driving in a single day with nary a complaint.

I often wonder how Liliana will view this period of her life. Of course, she won’t remember a thing and we frequently laugh about how we’ll show her photos of all the places she’s been since she won’t have any of her own memories. I envision her taking a box of photos into Show-and-Tell one day: “When I was a baby, my parents made me live in a tent and all I have to show for it is this collection of pictures….”

But regardless of whether she remembers it or not, I’m positive our trip formed who she will grew into as an adult.

Baby girl grew up on the roads of the American West. She spent her first night in a tent in Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park. She endured her first-ever backpacking trip outside of Sedona, Arizona, an experience that will forever live on in the minds of her parents {She was SO LIT once she get inside our tiny two-man backpacking tent that we ended up playing with toggles and sleeping pad valves until 10pm when she abruptly fell over and passed out from sheer exhaustion at the day’s excitement.} She figured out how to sit upright while playing in the living room of our Maui AirBnB. She crawled in San Diego. She got her first head cold in the Channel Islands National Park {and witnessed her mama get outsmarted by some cunning foxes}. She thrived during her first multi-night backpacking trip in Ansel Adams Wilderness, battling mosquitoes through her giggles and backpack snoozes.

I could go and on, but I won’t. At least, not here and not just yet. Suffice to say, I have a treasure trove of memories that will be forever entwined with various nooks and crannies of the western USA. Those memories are special; they’re enduring; and hot damn if they don’t bring literal tears to my eyes.

But now, we’re home. Back in Colorado, back in Denver, and back to real life. Will is back at the office and I’m back in my home office, feverishly working on my book with a deadline looming in a mere 30 days. It’s amazing how easily we’ve slipped back into our “normal” lives: washing machines, dog walks, post-dawn 24Hour Fitness workouts, and everything else that comes with life in the ‘burbs. And at times, I feel so nostalgic for life on the road: for living in a tent; for not having any real responsibilities; for waking up surrounded by nylon walls and baby giggles; for living in the dirt with blue skies and chirping birds overhead; for pointing our car in any single direction on any single day and finding a new adventure; for exploring new trails on the daily; for spending every waking hour with my two greatest loves on this planet.

But I’m also psyched to be home, in our home, with Tally and our newly-landscaped backyard that I personally designed. Sure, we’re back at work with projects and deadlines and pitches and responsibilities. But you know, that’s okay. I’m okay with it, which I figure is a good indicator of how content I am with my space in this world. Life is good.

‘Til the next adventure.

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I have so many stories to share but, tell me: Is there anything you particularly want to hear about?

The post Home. appeared first on Just a Colorado Gal.

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Before Liliana was born, I finally made the leap into the name change world. At that point, Will and I had been married for almost two years but changing my last name had been something over which I was dragging my feet. I knew I wanted to take his last name {while keeping my maiden name as my middle name so I could have both}, but I really, really hated the prospect of dealing with the logistics. The paperwork. The long lines at the DMV. Ugh, the social security office. Seriously, my worst nightmare.

So I procrastinated {as one does, right?!} and procrastinated until I realized Liliana could arrive any day if she was an early bird. It was important for me to have the change handled before her birth so there wouldn’t be any issue with her birth certificate, so I hustled to get everything done in time. I wrapped up the major documentation at the DMV {the longest appointment of the group…}, and learned two things in the process:

  1. Did you know you aren’t allowed to smile in your photos anymore? So weird.
  2. Not everyone adds that little heart to their driver’s license, indicating her wish to be a donor.

Once I got over the shock of my angry-looking driver’s license photo, I spoke with the woman at the desk about the subject of donors. Personally, I’ve been a donor ever since I received my first driver’s license at the age of 16. It’s always been important to know that I could help someone else with any viable eyes, organs or tissue, should the worst case scenario occur.

Interestingly enough, now that I’m older and have a child of my own, I feel even more passionately on the subject. As a parent, I would move heaven and earth if it would save my daughter. The way I see it, the more people that opt in as donors, the more people can help each other. The more people out there helping each other, the better chance one of us has should we need the assistance.

{Not to mention, there is a chance I will be receiving a donated ACL tendon when I have my surgery in August!}

This is why I am a staunch advocate of organ donation and thus, the Donor Alliance Denver 2018 Donor Dash 5k! While I won’t be around to participate {nor do I have the knee to do so…this year}, I’m hoping to encourage some of my readers to get out there and participate in the run to support organ donation.

In it’s 19th year, the Donor Dash 5k takes place on Sunday, July 15 in one of Denver’s favorite green spaces: Wash Park. You can run or walk; it doesn’t matter how fast you go as long as you are out there celebrating the lives of organ and tissue recipients and honoring those who are still waiting for their transplants. Last year’s race saw just under 6000 participants so hopefully we can add to that total this year?!

Added bonus: the first 15 participants using code JUSTACOLORADOGAL will receive a free entry! And, if you don’t make the cutoff, you can still get $15 off the regular entry price. For adults, the standard fee is $35 {$15 for children and seniors}, so depending on your age bracket, the $15 discount gives you a hefty discount *or* a completely free registration!

Individual registration closes on July 13 but you can still take care of it on-site the day of the event {if you’re a procrastinator, like me!}

So, who is going to register to run for her life?!

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The post A Run for Life: 2018 Donor Dash appeared first on Just a Colorado Gal.

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A sure sign we’ve charged into the 21st century: Leave No Trace has issued digital guidelines for how we can all practice LNT in regards to social media.

Y’all, this is such a messy topic for me.

In the 13 years that I’ve run this site {along with the accompanying social media platforms}, there is a single question I’ve received far more than anything else:

WHERE IS THIS TRAIL?

And honestly, in the past, I’ve been quite open in sharing my trail beta. I’m a staunch believer that the outdoors is for everyone and that educating people can curb the stupidity that we’ve seen ruin some of our beautiful places. I frequently geo-tagged hikes on Instagram in the hopes that others will enjoy the same areas and, as a result, fight passionately to protect Mother Nature in the future.

And, I’ve even doubled down on this sharing of information in posts like this one, encouraging others to avoid elitism in the outdoors. In doing so, I’ve offended some {as evidenced in the comments of that post} while receiving cheers from others, thanking me for helping them discover the Great Outdoors.

I’ve even written posts like this one that detail locations for people to camp. To be sure, I’ve received plenty of hate mail for this post, but I’m trying to be as honest as I can. To date, it’s easily my most popular post and I still receive dozens of emails every week, asking for the “best camping” in various areas of Colorado.

People want to learn how to get outdoors and most want a blueprint for the easiest way to do this. But that’s the thing: there is no direct route. And now, Leave No Trace is confirming what many have been noticing for awhile: social media is causing significant impact on our wild spaces.

PC: Moxie82 Inc.

Moving forward, when I generally tag a post on Instagram with a broad-reaching location {like an entire national park, for example}, it’s not because I’m trying to be elitist or make anyone feel lesser than because they can’t find that beautiful vista. Instead, it’s because I’m trying to do my part in helping our planet avoid over-trammeling. Contrary to what many believe, social media is a digital form of communication that is here to stay and as it continues to evolve, so must our methods of handling the technology and its direct effect on the natural world.

But this also leads me to a bigger question: how do I handle trail stories on my site? How do I act as a thoughtful steward of this planet while still running this website? Do I write up trail adventure stories without including any trail information? Do I encourage readers to practice LNT with every story I share? Can I ensure that anyone that comes across my digital blueprint will leave as minimal of an impact as I’m hoping she does?

These are complex questions that I’m grappling with, and I don’t have the answers to any of them. Do you? That said, I’m really hoping to encourage productive discussion. Social media isn’t going anywhere. Social media and the internet are arguably the best place to study up on trail beta and research prospective adventures. But how do we remain respected sources of content while avoiding contributing to the overuse of fragile ecosystems?

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The post Leave No Trace in the Digital Era appeared first on Just a Colorado Gal.

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You know what one of my favorite feelings is? When you walk into something completely blind with zero expectations and it knocks you on your head with utter amazement. That’s how Bryce Canyon National Park was for me.

Truth be told, Bryce wasn’t on the list for either of us when we planned our initial road trip itinerary. Sure, I’ve heard stories of how beautiful the park is and even planned to run the Bryce Canyon 50K a few years back. But, that’s also representative of how I saw the park: worthy of a day of running but not for a multi-day camping trip for in-depth exploration. It’s small and certainly talked about less than it’s more popular cousins, Zion and Canyonlands National Parks.

But, things have a funny way of working out and Will and I can thank Liliana for discovering the beauty of Bryce. After leaving Capitol Reef National Park, we straight-lined it towards the now-shrunken Escalante with plans of tackling some easier slot canyons. We stopped in the visitor center to use their picnic tables for Liliana’s lunch and while there, Will popped in to speak to the park ranger. Tis a good thing, too, because the ranger squashed our plans: There aren’t any slot canyons wide enough to accommodate your child carrier, he told us.

We needed a Plan B and if possible, we didn’t want to drive too far. We pulled out a map and visually inspected Utah, deciding which part of canyon country would likely be the most accommodating to a 7.5-month-old baby in an Osprey backpack {affiliate link!} We settled on Bryce. It was new to both of us with me previously vetoing the 50k race and Will passing over Bryce in favor of other parks with more long-distance backpacking trails.

And so it was decided: we were going to Bryce Canyon.

Camp in Escalante before heading to Bryce

Upon arrival, we immediately noticed the higher altitude. The rim of Bryce Canyon varies between 8000-9000 feet of elevation so while the lack of oxygen was nothing new to us, the cooler temps were! Escalante and Capitol Reef had been quite warm, causing us to throw the fly off our tent at night and lounge on the tailgate of our truck in flip-flops and trucker hats. Not so in Bryce.

We scooted into town and scanned our trusty map for a nearby national forest. Sure enough, we located the Dixie National Forest about 10 minutes west of the park, and pointed our F-150 in that general direction. True to form, we found a random dirt road, drove a ways down it, and found a solid dispersed campsite. No cost, no people…and no sunshine.

Hot damn, it was chilly outside!

Photos: Moxie82 Inc

We pitched the tent while I shivered in my flip-flops and Liliana {thankfully} worked up a sweat in her bouncer. Night fell quickly and we could tell temps were not going to be as comfortable as Utah’s desert had been the previous week. We checked the weather on our phones, and sure enough, lows were reporting to be in the mid-20s. Knowing that, we scratched Liliana’s independent sleeping plans and settled on co-sleeping. Turns out, girlfriend is quite the little space heater! She was warm, Will was warm….I froze. 

I like to think it was from excitement but Liliana awoke with the birds, sounding the alarm for the new day. It wasn’t even 6am, but the timing was perfect. We opted to avoid a cold morning at camp by chucking everything into the truck and beelining it towards the park and the uber-popular Sunset Trailhead. We didn’t want to deal with the park shuttle with a baby, so we figured we’d handle our morning routine from the parking lot.

Yes, we’ve turned into true dirtbags. Our only redeeming trait is the absolutely adorable child that we carry with us.

We ate breakfast, brushed our teeth, and drank our coffee while watching the parking lot fill to capacity. Finally motivated to hit the trail, we popped the baby into her backpack and pointed our feet towards the most popular trail in the park: the Queens Garden-Navajo Loop Trail.

To be sure, the trail isn’t difficult. At 3 miles roundtrip with just over 600-feet of elevation gain, it was a great warmup for hiking on my busted knee. But the ease of the trail didn’t matter because the scenery was incredible!

As we followed the switchbacks over the rim and into the canyon, I couldn’t contain my awe. In fact, I’m sure my mouth dropped over in amazement. Those colors! Hoodoos filled my line of sight, ranging in various hues of orange and red with some tipped off in a contrasting shade of chalk white. I wandered down the trail with my eyes constantly peeled in the air, admiring the beautiful rock figures. No joke; Will had to remind more than once that I had a torn knee and should likely watch where I was walking. But I couldn’t help it; the scenery was so stunning that I wanted to ensure I didn’t miss anything!

The popularity of this particular loop was evident and there were certainly more people than either of us prefer. But, everyone was polite and we got quite a few waves as we changed Liliana’s diaper on the side of the trail. And, the trail was just the ego builder I needed. Climbing out of the canyon made my patella sore, but certainly nothing unbearable. It was time to find another hike for the following day!

And so it went. We followed our initial day up with a second trail, hiking a portion of the Fairyland Loop down to Tower Bridge via the China Wall. Just like the day prior, I was wowed by the scenery. But unlike the day before, there were very few people on this trail leaving the three of us to wander and stare as we saw fit. We spent a lot of time shooting photos at the China Wall, mesmerized by the rock formations and the natural ombre of the colors. Will settled into a nook on the side of the trail and fed Liliana via a bottle while I explored a little bit. Truthfully, we likely would’ve dawdled longer if we hadn’t seen the dark storms clouds looming.

But that’s the thing with Bryce Canyon; it sucks you in and makes you want to spend hours upon hours exploring every crevice. Sure, the park is small {55 square miles versus 229-square miles of nearby Zion}, but it’s mighty. Those tiny corners are enchanting and definitely make for a worthwhile destination. And, if you’re like us, you’ll likely get pulled in by the magic of those hoodoos and stay longer than you planned.

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The post Bryce Canyon: The Sleeper Park That Surprised Me appeared first on Just a Colorado Gal.

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It’s 4:30 on Sunday morning in Honolulu, and I’m typing this from the floor of the bathroom. To be fair, I tried sitting on the toilet, but there wasn’t much back support. After seriously considering the floor of the shower, I moved to a corner of the tile floor where I could wedge myself between a wall and an accordion door. The closet is fully stocked, so I’m using a fleece blanket as a butt cushion and an extra pillow for lumbar support. Thankfully, I was able to creep out and make a pot of coffee too, so I have an extra-large cup filled to the brim with nectar from the gods. Fact is, I’m gonna need it today. I’ve already been awake for two hours.

Life on the road is amazing, but some days are really weird. This is one of them. We flew from San Diego to Honolulu yesterday in anticipation of our nephew’s first birthday party today. He was a mere seven weeks when Will and I saw him last, and Liliana was just a speck in her mama’s ever-growing belly. We’ve been psyched on this trip for many months because the two cousins finally get to meet, and I’m always happy to see my brother-in-law and sister.

But time change is a fickle friend for even the most staunch adult travelers, and Liliana caught a vicious case of jet lag. She handled Europe fine, most likely because that was a fast-forward movement. Hawaii is three hours behind West Coast time, so girlfriend was up and at ’em around 2:57 this morning.

Ever the diligent parents, Will and I tried to fake her out. We lay rigid and immobile in the bed of our studio AirBnB, sure that any motion would indicate playtime to our now-bonkers 7.5-month-old daughter. I even held my breath, willing her to interpret our utter silence as a {very} nonverbal cue for sleepy time. For better or for worse, Liliana is great at entertaining herself, so she wasn’t phased by her parents’ lack of response. Undaunted, she continued with her animated cooing. Turns out, your toes are fascinating playmates during the pre-dawn hours. Who knew?

After what felt like an eternity, I settled on Plan B. I scooped her out of her nest on the sleeper sofa and brought her to bed with us. I’ll just boob her back to sleep, I told Will. She can’t resist the narcoleptic power of the boob. 

And for a minute, I thought I’d conquered the beast. As she lay on her side nursing in the darkness, I saw her eyelids grow heavy and the twitchy hand movements calm. Her breathing slowed and the weight of her gigantic head sank into the bicep of my arm. For awhile, the three of us simply lay in bed, feeling the warmth and comfort of family. I glanced over her head at Will and saw his eyes looking back at me. I smiled and he smiled back, both of us knowing that the other was feeling the same thing: This is absolute peace.

But then it happened. Positive that Liliana was out cold, I oh-so-carefully made the move to slide my now-numb arm out from underneath her head, a calculated endeavor that I thought I’d mastered over the past couple of weeks in the tent. Like a zombie come back for the apocalypse, her eyes shot open, a grin immediately spread across her face, and her two chunky legs shot straight up in the air.

PLAYTIME!

And that’s when we threw in the towel. The tyrannical infant had won the battle, so Will and I accepted the old adage: If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. We flipped on the lights and the three of us partied in bed for an hour, giggling and cuddling as we played peek-a-boo with the sheets. Liliana’s infectious smile filled the small studio and we enjoyed ourselves, regardless of the uncivilized hour.

I knew she would eventually tire enough to go back down for a nap {which she did, of course. That’s why I’m working in the bathroom; both she and Will are snoozing in the main living area}. And while I was initially stressed about the consequences of her early wake time {She will be so tired at the party today! Is this lack of sleep stunting her growth? How the hell am I going to function?}, this road trip has helped me grow as a mother enough to understand that these are the golden days.

I won’t ever get these early-morning fun sessions back. As she grows older, she won’t want to play peek-a-boo with our bed sheets and my breast certainly won’t be her favorite place of comfort. There will likely be a few years where I’m humiliating to her and she won’t even like me, let alone awake in the middle of the night just to hang out.

So today, I’ll drink all the coffee I need to float through the day. But I’m not going to stress. Instead, I’ll just savor the fact that we are our daughter’s favorite people and she’d rather be with us than anywhere else in the world.

That feeling is mutual.

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The post Life on the Road appeared first on Just a Colorado Gal.

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In January, I declared 2018 “The Year to Thrive.” Well, that’s special.

Not that it has been a bad year, not by any means. After all, our baby girl is turning into a little human with an actual personality and I feel beyond fortunate to watch her grow and develop every single day! We’ve been able to do a fair bit of traveling, including a return trip to Iceland and France with Liliana. And in just a few days, we’re embarking upon our long-awaited 3-month road trip.

So no, 2018 hasn’t been a bad year. Not at all. I continue to thank my lucky stars every day for this life that I’ve been given.

But I now realize how naive I was when I wrote that initial post.

Postpartum, I had this grand delusion that I would be back at it within a few months. Back at trail running and CrossFitting and ski mountaineering and my writing career in general. Because naturally, I wanted to be Super Mom. I could handle taking care of a baby every day and maintaining my previous life, right?

It was barely Christmas when I realized I would never be able to continue as a CrossFit coach. Was it possible? Of course, but it wasn’t working for me. I continued coaching through February before I finally threw in the towel. Quite simply, I didn’t have the time. I was using all of my babysitting points for coaching when I desperately needed to save them for my actual career. Plus, the timing seemed perfect. My beloved Big Horn CrossFit was undergoing new ownership and headed in a direction I was unsure of, so it seemed like a good time to leave. So I left.

Physically it’s taken me awhile to bounce back as well. Naturally, I had been told this by many experienced mothers but I’ll admit that I never believed it would take me this long. Here I am, 7 months postpartum, and I’m still carrying a bonus 15 pounds. I was finally beginning to chip away at my baby fat and increase my postpartum fitness, starting around six months. Maybe that’s different from woman to woman, but that is when I felt comfortable pushing my limits and getting fierce in the gym.

But then, I went boom. And y’all, it was a big boom.

A few weeks back, Will and I were both up in Idaho’s Pioneer Range with Backpacker magazine. It was the Fall 2018 Editors’ Choice trip and we had five glorious days to ski the backcountry. To be sure, I was a basket case before we left. It was the first time I’d left Liliana and while I knew she was in good hands with three of her four grandparents attending to her, I was still nervous.

Headed up!

Regardless, I knew this trip would be good for me so when I got the invite, I accepted. And then I became excited. For the first time postpartum, I was going to be able to get out into the mountains in a way that was normal for me pre-baby. The guides at Sun Valley Trekking would be showing us the Pioneer Range’s finest ski lines and ski mountaineering, and I was beyond stoked. A couple days of backcountry skiing was just what I needed for a little rejuvenation, yanno?

We skinned into the Pioneer Yurt on Saturday underneath a warm and sunny sky. I was at the back of the group with Will. Admittedly, it was a good reminder that I still have a long way to go before I achieve my pre-baby fitness. I could cover the distance without problem, but I sure wasn’t as fast as the rest of the group! {And hot damn, it had been awhile since I’d carried a heavy pack!} But regardless, spirits were high and I was so thankful for the opportunity to get out into the mountains for a week of unadulterated outdoor playtime.

Sunday was our first backcountry skiing day. Our guides told us that we were going to skin 3000 vertical feet up to the top of a peak before enjoying the ride down. Sounded great to me!

The initial climb was steep and our group eventually strapped on our ski crampons to ensure we had traction on the icy steeps. Y’all, even this was fun to me! I’d never used ski crampons before so I was enjoying learning how they worked. {Note: They’re awesome. I kinda love them.}

We plodded along, the zippiest at the front and inevitably me and the videographer at the back {but only because he had 80 million pounds of camera gear.} Our guide Joe was fantastic in understanding that I needed to pump so after a few hours, he guided us to a saddle known as ‘The Beach.’ It was slightly protected from the wind and I sat in the sunshine with my breast pump while enjoying the view from 12,000 feet. Not a bad way to pump, yanno?

We trekked on through a sequence of mishaps {Hello, broken binding!}, eventually arriving at the summit. Since the day was warming up, we quickly transitioned and headed down the mountain, one at a time.

After two segments, we headed into a third bit of the line. Our guide went first and radioed back that the snow was getting punchy through the couloir. Punchy snow is heavier and stickier on the top and lighter and fluffier underneath. Basically, you have to be more careful since it’s easier for your skis to stick.

And you can see where this is going…

Will’s last shot of me before I disappeared over the lip and fell

We descended one at a time until it was my turn. I began skiing, hooting and hollering and enjoying the thrill of the speed and the feel of the sunshine on my cheeks. I was so psyched to be in Idaho with my friends, enjoying this time in the mountains.

And then, BOOM.

Out of nowhere, my ski stuck and I fell. I wish I could say it was an insanely technical section or even that it was an impressive fall, but it was neither. {The videographer showed me the footage afterwards and it’s such a bizarre fall. I just kinda….fell over.}

My left ski popped off thankfully, but my right one remained attached to my boot. And immediately, I knew something was wrong since I felt an incredibly painful burning sensation in the front of my kneecap. I lay on the snow for a few minutes, willing the pain to subside while catching my breath, but I knew this wasn’t good.

After a few minutes, I tried to get up and realized that I couldn’t unless I had assistance. By this point, two of the guides had skied over to check on me. Amidst my hollering {many F-bombs were dropped},  I was able to communicate that my knee hurt like hell. They administered a few field tests so we were confident that nothing was broken.

Here’s the kicker: once they got me standing, we realized I couldn’t ski down the remainder of the mountain. Every time I put weight on my right leg, my knee would buckle inwards and I would begin hollering anew. This would be slightly problematic while skiing inbounds at a resort, but it was a serious concern considering we were a few miles and a couple thousand feet of descent into the backcountry. I began sidestepping down the couloir while putting my weight on one of the guides. After 20 minutes, I’d descended maybe 20 feet.

And that’s when one guide mentioned the words I most despised hearing: We may need to call you a helicopter.

“ABSOLUTELY NOT,” I hollered. “We are not calling a rescue helicopter! I will figure out how to get down this mountain, I promise!”

“Heather, you may not have a choice,” he told me. And he was right. That’s when I realized this could be serious.

“I can do it,” I told him. “I’ll figure it out.”

First, I swallowed my fear and opted to ski down the remainder of the couloir on my single good ski. Skiing on one leg wasn’t the problem, but my terror came from the concern that I would accidentally drop my right leg when I got moving too quickly. You know, out of habit. Finally, I made it down from the chute, so I was feeling somewhat vindicated.

From there, I sat down on a pack and propped my leg up for the guides to examine. There was a lot of speculation as to what I had done, but the takeaway was this: we still had a very long traverse back to the saddle where a rescue sled would be. If I couldn’t do the traverse, we had a problem.

Joe showing me how to steer the sled

To prevent my knee from buckling, the guides put a gigantic splint on my leg that stabilized my joint. Once that was on my leg, I had a semblance of confidence. As long as my knee didn’t buckle, the pain was gone and I felt fairly okay. They took my pack and all my gear so I wasn’t carrying any weight. Then, two of them went in front of me, tramping down a flat skin track for the traverse. This kept my knee on a relatively flat plane, minimizing the buckling.

Thankfully, it worked like a charm! There was a small downhill section where I took off my skis and butt slid down, but otherwise, I was able to skin all the way to the saddle under my own power. Once I arrived, I looked at the guide again and said, “Think we can veto the helicopter finally?” He agreed and I celebrated. {We later found out that helicopters won’t land back where we were skiing, so it was extra fortuitous that I was able to get myself out!}

Little did I know, the fun was just beginning. We still had a 1000 foot descent from the saddle to the yurt, and it was steep. This was the same section where we had used ski crampons in the morning, so I knew there was no way I could ski it. Instead, we turned our eyes to the rescue sled that Joe– Sun Valley Trekking owner– brought up from the yurt.

I sat in the sled with my legs straight out in front of me and a small sleeping bag rolled up underneath my right knee to relieve tension. One guide was attached to the front of the sled and a second to the back, while the other two guides acted like bumpers on either side. Initially, I thought this would be easy. They’ll just ski down the mountain, right?

Not quite! The terrain got so steep that they couldn’t ski straight downhill for fear of me and the sled zooming past them, so we had to switchback our way down the mountain. But, when we traversed, the hill was so steep that my sled kept tipping over.

I finally realized that using a ski pole like a kayak paddle really helped steer and keep me upright, but holy hell! That was far tougher than I expected and my abs were legitimately sore from leaning and bracing my body. But, on the bright side, if I did topple out of the sled, it wasn’t like I was going anywhere fast! The snow was so warm that it was like mashed potatoes, so there was very little chance that I’d go sledding downhill. For particularly steep section, the back guide unclipped from the sled, built a snow anchor, and lowered me and the sled via a belay system while the front guide escorted the sled from the front. It would have been amazing to watch them use their skills if I wasn’t so angry and mortified with myself.

Lowering me + my sled down a steep section

Finally, after what felt like hours upon hours of a rescue attempt, our guides, the sled, and I arrived back at the yurt with the rest of our group trailing behind. They escorted me inside where Joe promptly set me up on a bed, propped up my knee, fed me Ibuprofen, and wrapped a gigantic bag of snow around the offensive joint. And that’s where I remained the rest of the night.

In the morning, I was relieved to see that while swollen and stuff, I wasn’t in intense pain. I was hobbling around and certainly couldn’t ski, but as long as I didn’t twist my knee, there wasn’t much pain. This pleased me to no end. You see, I was terrified that everyone would have to cut their trip short and return to the city if I needed immediate medical attention. Not only would my trip be ruined, but everyone else too? Worst nightmare.

Again, I talked to Joe and told him where I was mentally. It was Monday and we weren’t supposed to ski out until Wednesday. I told him I was fine hanging out at the yurt all day while everyone else skied. Then, we could figure out how to get me the four miles back to the trailhead on Wednesday. After a bit of convincing, he agreed.

And then I spent two days reading in the sunshine near a backcountry yurt. Could be worse. 

Wednesday arrived and we enacted a similar plan to that which we had used on Sunday. I skinned the initial flat section while everyone else carried my gear. Then, when we got to the steep downhill, the guides loaded me back into a sled and took off. This time, we had a routine and I was much better at steering with a ski pole, so it became akin to Mario Go Kart. Y’all, we were bombing down that mountain and I won’t lie: it was fun!

Finally, the speed ran out and we were on a mainly flat section with two miles left, so they helped me out of the sled and I put on my skis.  I had no idea how my leg was going to tolerate the abuse, but I knew that it was the best way to get back to the car. So, off we went!

I say that so dramatically but in reality, I was moving at a speed akin to a tortoise. Everyone else in the group took off the the trailhead so it was just me, Joe, Will, and our editor-in-chief. Flat terrain was fine but anytime I encountered a slight downhill, I had to kick off my skis and sidestep downhill. Then, I’d put the skis back on and begin the slow slide back to the cars.

Halfway back, my knee let me know that it was getting tired but thankfully, it wasn’t excruciating. It was more of a dull ache that occasionally transitioned to sharp pain. It was certainly tolerable, for which I was thankful. As it was, everyone was carrying all of my gear so I felt the least I could do was manpower my way out of the backcountry.

Finally, after what felt like forever, I made it back to the cars. I was tired, my knee was sore, and truthfully, I was near tears. Now that we were back in civilization, the reality of the situation sunk in and I knew I was going to have to deal with whatever I had done to myself.

Were our road trips plans in jeopardy?

How would I take care of a baby with a busted knee?

Was I done with skiing for the next season?

Once we got back to our hotel in Sun Valley, I combed through our insurance’s website to find a doc who could see me in Denver the following day. With our road trip plans looming on the horizon, I needed answers ASAP.

Final Verdict: Torn ACL

After visiting the doc the next morning, I left the building knowing I tore my ACL {which he determined based on a manual test.} The question was whether I tore anything else in my knee like my MCL, PCL or meniscus. We scheduled an MRI for the following week and pending those results, he would give me his final decision on whether our hiking road trip was an option.

Turns out, everything else in my knee looks great {hallelujah!} so the doc gave me the okay to hit the road this weekend. We ordered a custom brace for my leg and I”m under strict instructions to wear it while hiking and backpacking over the next few months.

I also began pre-hab at a local PT facility called Next Level Sports Performance. The owner is an old high school friend who I trust, so I knew he would give it to me straight. He has been helping me establish a good routine with leg strengthening exercises to ensure I can get these legs into tip-top condition over the next three months.

As for when we return? Sadly, I do need surgery and will take care of that in August. If I wanted to limit my activity for the rest of my life, I could go without an ACL but it’s not conducive for my lifestyle. I opted for surgery and truthfully, I’m dreading it {No surprise there, right?} While the procedure itself is very common, I’ve heard the rehab can be tough, both physically and mentally. I’ll be able to get some functional fitness back after 3-4 months, but I’ve been told not to expect full activity until 9 months post-operation. So yes, next year’s ski season is out.

Mentally, I’m struggling with a lot of this but that’s a story for another day. For now, I’m focusing on the good: we’re leaving for one helluva trip in three days. I’ll just worry about the negative when I get back.

********************

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