November 26, 2014

“Life is what happens when you are making other plans” ~John Lennon

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After being on the road for for three weeks, I have to agree with John Lennon on the subject of making plans. So far, all of our preconceived plans have turned into something other than what we expected. While on the road, plans of where you go and how long you stay are irrelevant when you have an unlimited amount of time.

While meandering around the visitors center at Dead Horse State Park in Moab, we came across a book titeled “Slot Canyons”. Seeing the photos of narrow, mysterious, slot canyons in this book sparked our interest of hiking in a slot canyon, so of course, we made it happen. After hearing about a slot canyon southwest of Moab, we decided to pack up and hit the road for our next destination, Goblin Valley State Park.

Goblin Valley State Park is nestled off the main highway, and is unique because of its towering rock formations and high desert climate. It was amazing to see the towering, red steeple like rocks that formed a “mountain”, and then the lower lying greyish, greenish rock ranges with endless crevasses running through their formations. I instantly felt like I was on a different planet, this unworldly place was like nowhere I have been before. Little did I know, Little Wild Horse Canyon, and Bull Canyon, the slot canyons we planned to hike, were like a Disneyland adventure ride.

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After locating the trailhead and talking to a fellow hiker about the slots and crevasses, we decided we would set out early the next morning to hike through the 8 mile canyon. We found our camp spot for the night, just down the road from the trailhead in the wash area of the canyon. To our surprise, this spot made it in the top 3 camp spot on my “list of best camping areas.” Maybe because of the full moon and the light of the dark night sky that lit our little nook of a camp under the large sandstone walls and towering sand mountains in the backdrop, or because we were the only people there and the solitude of space surrounding us was freeing. After a short bike ride in the sunset, and a campfire under the bright light of the moon, I was so engrossed in the present, but was excited, like a child on Christmas morning, for our adventure the next day.

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We awoke to the crack of dawn, packed up camp and headed to the tail head. After walking a short ways through a flashflood region of the canyon, wide, narrow, sandy road, we entered into Little Wild Horse Canyon. The canyon was at first wider, but quickly narrowed to where you could touch the walls on either side of you as you wandered through its winding walls. After hiking through the varying narrow rock forms for about a mile, the trail widened and we walked through a larger canyon until we came upon a road that circled us to the next canyon, Bull Canyon, where we would hike down and back to the trailhead. Through our section of non-slot canyon land, we were given a great view of the capitol reef to the west, which was composed of cragged rock formations of the most beautiful array of blue, green, grey, and tan colors. The variation of the views during this hike was spectacular. We dropped into the entrance of Bull Canyon, expecting to come across some pools of water that we would have to maneuver around. We outstretched our limbs from one wall to the other to cross the pools beneath us. One wall was too far of a reach for my short limbs, but I gave it a try anyways after taking off my socks, just in case I fell in. I made it most of the way, but then had to have Marty climb up to assist my climb over the pool. Teamwork, we made it!  After a few challenging climbing maneuvers that boosted my climbing confidence, we made it to the bottom of the canyon. What an adventure through the meandering walls of the canyon and open fields of beauty, challenges, curiosity, wonder, and adventure.

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Being in a slot canyon makes you feel as if you are on a different world and like you have entered into a place that is so sacred and different than normal everyday occurrences in life. Doing something you have never ventured out to do before gives you a sense of courage and accomplishment, which is how I felt after this unique hike. I am grateful that life happened as we were making plans and we ended up at this special place…more slot canyons to come.

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First Stop…Moab, UT

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November 17, 2014

Waking up to 30 degree indoor temperatures is sometimes a little rough. I don’t want to get out from under the covers, but if the sun is shining, I will make my way out from under the warm, comfortable bed and bask in the morning sunshine. Waking up in the high desert of Sedona, I did just this, spent the morning rehydrating myself while also warming myself with a warm cup of coffee on my yoga mat in the early, warming sunshine. Movement in the early morning is an important part of my daily routine, especially when I am being so active with all of my daily explorations. Movement and breath makes me feel present, mindful and connected with myself. Throughout my morning routine today I was thinking about Moab and how I miss the dry desert and warm weather.

It was an intuitive move deciding to move on from a day of riding bikes in Fruita, CO, to Moab, UT. Our friends that were passing through the area were going to set out on a 30 mile mountain bike ride, “The Whole Enchilada”, from the high mountain peaks of the La Sal Mountains, in Moab, to the low desert land and the bottom of the canyon that the Colorado River carved through many years ago. We were up for the adventure, and the challenge, so we packed up and made it to a private campsite that our friends provided us. We were fortunate enough to be fed and cared for by the parents of our friend, oh the pleasure of a home-cooked meal. We enjoyed a casual morning of hanging out, enjoying the sights of the red dirt, pinyon pines, and tall sandstone walls behind our camp.

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We made it to the trailhead around 11 to set out on our supposedly 6 hour ride. It was 32 degrees when and where we started, but it was a bright, sunny, beautiful day. As we dropped in to the trail, I felt like I was on the ride of my life, I felt free knowing all I had to do was ride my bike all day long! We were all pumped up and so excited to be riding through the high mountain peaks. As we got to our first resting point, the top of the saddle of the peak we were on, we had some energy snacks and enjoyed the views. At this point, I had just rode the hardest section of climbing on a mountain bike I have ever come across; everything is harder at 12,500 feet. I had no idea what to expect anymore, but I knew I could conquer this with inspiration and motivation from my friends. Conservation was key, we descended off the saddle very quickly and began to ride through the most beautiful aspen tree forest. We crossed a few creeks, climbed a few more times before arriving to lower desert country. We could now see the town of Moab and Porcupine Rim, where we would be riding for the last 17 mile section of the trail. Looking around and seeing the scenery change so quickly was the beauty of this ride. Every new section of trail we came to seemed like a new adventure. I think this is what keeps you pedaling throughout the 6 hours of riding, ever-changing environment. We enjoyed the sunset on our ride and were thankful we brought our headlights for the last descent into the canyon to the Colorado River. A lot of walking was done after the sunset, but I enjoyed the challenge of trying to plan my next move while pedaling/walking through the dark. As we started seeing the light of fires at the campsite below and headlights of cars driving through the canyon, I started to feel a sense of accomplishment and ease that we were almost back to our shuttle, where the parents were awaiting us with their presence and a special gift of a cold Johnny’s IPA which would taste better than any beer I have ever drank. We rode up to the car feeling extremely expended and fatigued from our ride, but felt such a sense of achievement for riding together and conquering the trail! Driving back to camp, we reminisced on our recent memories of the ride. Unforgettable.

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Looking back at the peaks of the La Sal mountains we had just descended

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Porcupine Rim Overlook

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Slick rock riding on Porcupine Rim

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Tori riding through the Aspen grove

We started Moab out with a bang, and eased into our surroundings for the next 10 days. Our days in the warm climate of Moab were spent bathing in the sun, riding bikes on Slickrock trail, spending time with friends from home that were in the area, engaging in a few hikes, visiting some state and national parks, and nestling into our newfound life of living in a “tiny trailer” without the amenities we think we need on a daily basis. We spent some time gaining knowledge at the local library, and taking showers at the RV park, just a few of the things we had to search for, rather than them being there for us as they are to so many people in this world. Simplicity was learned quickly. After a night spent in Arches National Park under the full moon at the infamous “Delicate Arch”, I think we both realized how comfortable we were feeling here, and that it was time to move on and see new things. We went on one last bike ride, packed up our camp and started heading South towards our next destination, Goblin Valley State Park.

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Negro Bill Hike to the Morning Glory Bridge

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Marty riding Slickrock trail

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Corona Arch, look closely and maybe you will see the guy swinging off the top of the arch!

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Slickrock

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Marty enjoying the view Slickrock

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Experiences in nature teach you a lot. An ever-changing environment on our bike rides made me realize that at this point in my life, I am a seeker of new surroundings and my excitement comes through seeing the beauty of the world and what the land teaches you. Driving to the next place will bring new experiences and teachings that will forever be with me and will shape who I am.

Family Time & Life on the Road

November 16, 2014

As I calmly sit in complete relaxation at a small local coffee shop in Sedona, AZ, I think to myself this is the perfect environment to reminisce on the past month of traveling and living simply. As I listen to the local artist strumming on her guitar, projecting the most beautiful sounds, I am feeling the strong spiritual energy of this place, but also reminiscing on how the many places I have been in the past month have all brought different feelings and emotions to my body and mind.

Family time in Colorado with Mom, Dad, and Grandma was extremely important for me, as my family is and always will be, my best friends. I always get the feeling of renewal and rejuvenation when I am at home with my family. Their positive, spirited attitudes and outlook on life inspires me to go out and adventure, travel and chase my dreams. I am so thankful to have such a support system as genuine and caring as my parents, Exploring the rim of the Black Canyon, the beautiful town of Telluride, Bridal Veil Falls, exploring peaks almost as tall as the surrounding 14er’s, mountain biking with Mom, Dad, and Marty in Ridgeway, and spending a number of hours on the beaches of the M-Wave (a famous irrigation ditch for kayakers), I can say Montrose and visiting my family had a lot to offer us and was a great beginning to our two month adventure. Home cooked meals, hot tubs, car washes, sitting on the porch looking out over the San Juan Mountains, playing with alpacas, scooping up poop, helping the folks out with technology and  unconditional love from the wonderful people I am surrounded by  were only a few of the offerings that home gave and will always give me.

 

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Marty playing with the Alpacas

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M-Wave Surfing

 

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Thanks for the sweet parking spot Mom & Dad!

 

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“Trailer Home”

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MTB Ridgeway Reservoir

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High above Bridal Veil Falls, Telluride, CO

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Rim of the Black Canyon, Montrose, CO

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Fruita MTB Camp

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Two Awesome People…Mom & Dad MTB in Fruita!

 

Our last few days in Colorado were spent camping and mountain biking in Fruita with Mom and Dad, which is always fun because we are able to do something together that we all love to do! Watching my parents roll along the trails, seeing the excitement and sometimes fear in their eyes, and watching them progress in mountain biking is one of my favorite things. It is also fun to utilize my bike coaching, and sport psychology skills to help improve their skills and confidence. My mom joined us in the first “real” camping extravaganza as she slept on the dinette in the “tiny trailer”. After a night of hanging out and a campfire, and a morning of yoga and an afternoon biking with the ones I love, I felt such a feeling of gratitude for life…doing what you love, with the ones you love.

After spending about two weeks in Colorado, we were feeling like it was about time to hit the road. Our friends from Oregon that were traveling through the area convinced us to join them in “The Whole Enchilada”, a 30 mile mountain bike trail, the next day in Moab, so off we went…the beginning of Life on the Road.

 

Transition

Written on: October 14, 2014

As my days dwindle down in Steamboat, I seem to become more grateful for everything around me; the changing leaves, the fresh snowfall on the fall colors, my family of friends, and even the strangers I encounter on the streets.

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What makes us become more present and aware of our gratefulness when we are counting down the days of our time spent somewhere? My answer is experience. Every time we are faced with a transition or time of change, we suddenly realize how important and how grateful we are for our surroundings. Every time we go through this experience of transition and gratefulness, there is a light of wisdom that shines through and allows us to be more present throughout our daily lives. With this being said, transition, change, letting go, or saying goodbye are all good experiences to live through to experience the fulfillment and importance of living in the present moment.

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Leaving “home” or one place and setting sail for new places and new people gives one a sense of excitement and fear of the unknown. After practicing mindfulness and being more present, I can enjoy any second of time for what it is giving, but it takes practice.

Being on the road and calling it my Home for the next few months will allow me to practice being in the present because everyday is a new day and place, and new people to interact with; the moment is what you make of it. Live big