The variety of landscapes across the United States is breathtaking and forever awe-inspiring. Having lived in Washington State, I became very acquainted and appreciative of the National Park Service. I was within a day trip of three National Parks, which afforded endless adventures and experiences. When Justin and I were planning our trip to Colorado, we created our loose itinerary around our plans to see Rufus du Sol at Red Rocks Amphitheatre on August 11th (AMAZING!!). When we decided to stay in the mountainous town of Boulder, we knew we’d have to make a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park.
From Boulder, the drive to RMNP is less than an hour, so there was no way we’d miss it. We woke up early on Friday morning, got coffee (Boulder coffee shops for the WIN), and headed to the park without a set itinerary. We learned we both enjoy the method of “going with the flow” when indulging in a new place – particularly when there’s only ONE day to experience it! We could have spent the entire day doing a long hike (SO MANY OPTIONS), but our intention was to get a true feel for the park with diverse experiences, see as much as we could, and fill our spirit of adventure.
Read on for the ULTIMATE itinerary to get a flavor of Rocky Mountain National Park, featuring: a highway to the sky, alpine lakes, lots and lots of pretty mountainous rocks, and a scenic drive!More
Written August 2021
Altitude sickness, or Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), is no joke. It’s especially not a joke if it progresses to High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) or a High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE). AMS is common and unpleasant. HAPE and HACE are uncommon and life threatening.
Back in 2011, I thought it would be cute and fun to head to Ecuador to climb Mount Cotopaxi, which is Ecuador’s second highest peak and an active stratovolcano standing 5,897 meters (19,347 feet) above sea level. My friend, Jacquie, was studying Ecuador’s Amazon, so we though it’d be really hardcore and awesome to do a few days in the Amazon, then a night in Quito (elevation 9,350 feet) before attempting a guided summit of Cotopaxi. Mind you, neither of us had any mountaineering experience at this point. I showed up to meet our guide wearing a Jansport backpack and had never seen an ice axe in person before (though the pictures looked SO COOL). With minimal time to adjust to high altitudes, our summit attempt was not limited by our skills and experience (which could have easily been a limiting factor hah), but our unpreparedness. We spent only two days in Quito and didn’t give ourselves time to adjust to higher altitude. Spoiler alert: both Jacquie and I got altitude sickness.
I write this as a reminder to consider altitude when planning hikes/expeditions/outdoor adventures. I now have a few years of experience traveling to higher altitudes without negative affects, but am more aware of the signs to pay attention to. I certainly have NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) to thank for this knowledge I gained during my Wilderness First Responder courses (10/10 recommend; more in my posts here!).
Let’s talk about altitude sickness!More
Date Hiked: July 10-11, 2021
I delight in sharing outdoor experiences with people and introducing others to new outdoor activities. I don’t believe we are ever too old to try something new or discover a new hobby/passion. When I found out my cousin was interested in backpacking, I knew we needed to plan a trip! Having gone to the White Mountains in New Hampshire for recent hiking trips, I figured we could plan one epic backpacking trip, checking off many items from our bucket lists: (1) Bag one of the NH 48 4,000-footers, (2) My first backpacking trip on the East Coast, and (3) Daniel’s first backpacking trip EVER. With advice from a White Mountain National Forest park ranger, consultation of maps, and studies of options in the area, Daniel and I planned to hike Mount Carrigain. The major attraction? An established epic campground only 100 feet from the summit.
NH 5/48 with a perfect campground?! Not bad for my FIRST backpacking trip on the East Coast and Daniel’s first backpack ever!More
Written July 16, 2021
Traveled May 27-June 1, 2021
On May 27, I only had a HALF day of work before I could hop on a plane and visit with Justin again! After our last trip’s exciting ending (with both of us spending more time in a restroom than we would’ve liked), we were ready for a redemption trip! Our second round in Northern California was filled of quality time, lodging, food, and (of course) wine! We had a total blast and embraced every moment.
Cheers to embracing where you are with quality people. Don’t want to read the whole thing?? Jump to the end for a quick 3-day itinerary suggestion if you’re headed to Northern Cali! I’d also love to hear what we missed because we will one day return to enjoy food and drinks yet again!More