Sunday, October 14, 2018

Mt. Whitney Birthday Spectacle/Spectacular


Alpenglow Spectacularrrrr
I often brag about my job on social media. Amazing scenery, offices of the outdoors realm where hours are calculated by the position of the sun in the sky and paychecks are bumped up by the amount of shooting stars and amazing vistas I see on a trip. I really do love what I do, but it's not always rainbows and unicorns. There is definitely struggle involved. But I believe the struggle is what makes it real and also what makes the most growth happen, with participants and instructors combined. Like they said in A League of Their Own, "It's supposed to be hard, if it were easy, everyone would do it."
So for my most recent trip this year I definitely got a decent serving of growth with a side heaping of character development.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

One Night in the Grand Canyon

After I finished my awesome backpacking trip in the Superstitions outside of Phoenix I knew I was going to head towards the Grand Canyon. I didn't quite know what I was going to do there yet, but I knew I was going. You see I have never actually been to the Grand Canyon. Yes, I know, crazy talk. I work in the outdoors and it's not really that far from Los Angeles, where I lived for many moons, but it's never happened. Not without trying, however. A handful of years ago I planned a backpacking trip there for my 30th birthday celebration. I invested time in the planning, convincing a couple of friends to tag along, got rejected for permits 2 times before finally being granted one, even ordered a map online that highlighted our route that I read about in Backpacker Magazine. I was stoked and ready to explore that bad boy. And then the Government had a shutdown and all National Parks were closed. My permit meant diddly squat. Boo. My consolation trip? A grand tour of the Salton Sea and neighboring Salvation Mountain.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Super Superstitions

Over the holidays I went home to visit the fam in Pennsylvania. While I was home it was one of the coldest stretches of weather that they've had in a long time, and I'm not exactly the biggest fan of the cold. Only on the day that I was leaving (and I was there for 3 weeks!) did it ever get above freezing. I was over it. I was flying into Las Vegas, where I left my car at a friend's house, and then I was free to roam for a couple more weeks before I started the new job in Malibu, CA. But where, oh where should I go?
Flying into Vegas

I thought about picking out a destination and itinerary while I was still home but decided against it. There's something that I just love about last minute trips. Seeing which way the wind blows and following that breeze to explore a new spot. So I waited to make any plans until I got out West. All I knew was that I wanted somewhere warm and where I wouldn't have to cache water if I was backpacking. I spent one night in Vegas and then the next day after a delicious brunch with my friend I parked my behind in a Starbucks and started to do a little scouting. I was debating between the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, the Mojave Natural Preserve, Page, AZ and Anza Borrego State Park. Out of all of those I decided to go with the Superstition Mountains in Arizona.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Yosemite Birthday Backpacking - Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne

Yosemite mountains

Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter. - John Muir

I decided this past year that for my Birthday I was going to celebrate by taking a kick-ass solo backpacking trip in Yosemite National Park, one of my favorite places in the world and also where my ex took me on my very first backpacking trip for my Birthday a few years back that pretty much changed my life. I kinda decided to just drive up there last minute and figure out what route I was going to take whenever I got there or at least close.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

NOLS and What It Meant to Me

This quote is one of my all-time favorites, from one of my all-time favorite movies and never did I feel its meaning so much as when I went on my NOLS course. As I explained in my Roadtrip to NOLS post I had completely changed the direction my life was headed and decided that leading backpacking/outdoor trips was the new trail in life that I wanted to blaze and one of my first benchmarks on that trail was attending a NOLS Outdoor Educator course for Backpacking and Rock Climbing. Doing this course was for me a journey, an adventure, a learning process, a growing ladder, a challenge, and a reward all rolled into one. I learned so much more than I thought possible; about the outdoors, the industry itself, about being a teacher, being a student, being a leader, being an active follower, and above all, just being. Throughout the course I also not only gained 15 new amazing friends that were/are on a similar journey of life that I am, but I also gained a better understanding of myself, and those two things alone made this course priceless.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Mt. Whitney In One Long, Glorious Day

Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean. 
- John Muir

I felt like I was doing just that. I had arrived in the Whitney Portal area a couple days before and managed to get in a few wonderful, mind-cleansing hikes up to Kearsarge Pass and even up the Mt. Whitney trail a little to Lone Pine Lake before I was going to do 'the big one'. But the time had finally arrived, tomorrow was the day and the feeling in the stomach I'm sure is familiar to you; the day before visiting Disneyland, the day before starting a new job, the day before moving to a new city, etc… Whether it's from nervousness, excitement, fear, adrenaline, anticipation, energy, or a big ball of all of the above, the butterflies are there and they are having a party in my belly. I was going to hike to the highest point in the Continental United States (14,505ft.) tomorrow, and return all in one day, and it was kind of a big deal. Thirty thousand people attempt to get to the top of Mt. Whitney every year. Only 10,000 make it. I was determined to be one of the 10,000.
Mt. Whitney In One Long, Glorious Day - Pancakes - www.fuel4play.com
Carbing up with the obligatory pancakes from the Whitney Portal Store
I had decided a year before that I wanted to hike to the summit of Mt. Whitney and I 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Roadtrip to NOLS

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream - C.S. Lewis #fuel4play
You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream - C.S. Lewis
A while ago I decided to embark on a journey; a journey unlike any other I had done in my life. I decided that I wanted to take an Outdoor Educator course with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). But this actually wasn't just a new adventure for me, it was truly a new direction in my life, and my career. Deciding to do this course was like turning around 180 degrees and walking on a completely different path, and it was scary, but hey, at least this one was dirt! 

"Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt." - John Muir

You see, I had previously been in the fashion industry, and that was my life. Fashion was what I knew, what I went to school for, what I moved to Los Angeles for, what was my passion, and what I thought I would be spending the rest of my life doing, that is, until I got my first tantalizing taste of the outdoors. My life went from fashion flash to a granola stash and the philosophy that all you need is less, and I couldn't be happier.
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