Monday, August 18, 2014

Playing Catch Up

And boy is it long overdue!

  • I'm sure a lot of you are wondering where we are in the job search process since I get questions on a daily basis from family and friends. As of today, Jeremy has officially applied to only 5 positions. One in Boston, one in San Francisco, one in Seattle, one in Pennsylvania and one in Denver. I think he was so ready for a break from his busy winter that he just enjoyed summer and didn't start actively looking for jobs until the end of July rolled around. We've both been feeling a lot more eager to get a move on with plans in the last few weeks though so a lot of his time is now spent looking and applying for jobs he is interested in. {I think his expectations may need to be lowered just a little bit as this whole job search goes on however.} I will try to keep this thing posted!

  • I've mentioned it before on here but this summer has been CA-RAZY busy. Every summer usually is for us but for some reason this was packed more than normal with a lot of plans we had no control over. I never thought I would say this but I'm ready for summer to be over. I've just been exhausted since the end of May and it feels like we've had no "down time" since hotter weather hit. {Again not complaining because it was all fun events, just ready for a slower schedule.}

  • Which brings me to my next subject: let me join in with the rest of girl world and sound like a broken record when I say I'M READY FOR FALL!!!!! But this year even more so. I want a schedule back! I want cooler temps! I want to drink my hot coffee in the morning without sweat dripping down my face! I want to stop wearing dresses and cuddle up in some over-sized clothing! More specifically, I want to wear plaid and boots! I want football! Correction - I want the Broncos to have a decent season! I want all the fun activities that come with fall! Ok there, that's off my chest.

It has felt like fall the last few days...a green fall with spring flowers.

  • Not only do we have all those fun things mentioned above starting in September but we also have two amazingly fun trips planned that I am SO excited for. First off, my in-laws are generously treating us to a week long vacation to Hawaii to celebrate Jeremy's PhD family-style. {I know what you're thinking, will the celebrations ever end?!? Fortunately they just keep on coming.} =) And then in October if everything goes according to plan, Jeremy and I will be hopping on a plane destined towards Seattle so we can meet our newest little buddy, Emerson, and Jeremy can finally meet one of my best friend's husbands. Kelsey and I have been trying to get these two together for almost 7 years now and I am so happy it's finally going to happen! A whole weekend with two couples and a little babe in one of my favorite cities? Can't wait!

  • In a twist of ironic fate, right after posting about my new love for running, I pulled my groin on a long run and it was p.a.i.n.f.u.l. I tried to run through the pain but after it only made it worse, a doctor's visit was in order where I was promptly told to stay off it for as long as needed. Which meant I had to say goodbye to the half-marathon I was hoping to sign up for in August and wait it out. 6 weeks in and I'm officially impatient. I was REALLY hoping to sign up for the Rock N Roll half in Denver in October but unless my groin starts making a miraculous recovery, I might be sitting that one out while my friends run it without me. Boo. 

  • I had the opportunity to do my first "modeling" gig for a start-up company called August Ink last week and I had so much fun in Old Town Fort Collins showing off some of the new products. They do mainly t-shirts, pillows, and tote bags so there wasn't too much pressure to get glammed up and serious but it was a fun evening with some sweet girls including my favorite photographer of all time, Becky Young! She always puts me at ease in front of a camera so I wasn't stressed out in the least. I can't wait to see the rest after seeing a quick preview.  

  • I did a 9 day cleanse a couple of weeks ago. I didn't love it. In fact, I'm pretty sure I hated every single day of it but that may have something to do with the fact that the 9 days fell over my birthday and I wasn't allowed to indulge the way I normally would have. I will admit the benefits were pretty cool at the end but not enough for me to give up coffee forever. I don't think there will ever be anything good enough for me to give up coffee. I love it more than words could ever express. 

Um, yes.

  • Our family is celebrating the end of summer and all our summer/fall birthdays with a trip up to my sister's in-law's cabin. I'm so excited to have three days with my sisters, parents and nieces/nephews whom I've only gotten to see a handful of times this summer. We plan on spending a lot of time on the lake, hiking in the mountains, campfires, late nights with the adults, and just quality time unwinding from a busy summer for all of us. I can't wait!

  • I did a guest post on Notes from the Nelsens today while Heather is on maternity leave {taking care of the most adorable little boy ever} and it's on what else but travel? Hop on over if you feel like reading even more from yours truly this morning. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Grays & Torreys

Last summer I finally achieved one of my life long goals of hiking a 14er in our state. I wasn't sure I would ever be able to accomplish it and I was so proud of both myself and Jeremy when we summited Bierstadt last July. To say we got hooked would be an understatement. There's just a feeling you can't really describe when you're on top of one of the highest peaks in our state with mountain ranges surrounding you in God's beauty. 

I knew I wouldn't want to stop at just one 14er and finally saw how so many Coloradans try to hike as many of our 54 14ers as possible. We attempted Longs Peak towards the end of last summer but we couldn't summit after several unfortunate events that day and I decided that while I loved the challenge of a 14er, I wasn't willing to risk my life on the more difficult class 3 peaks. 

For birthdays and Christmas, we kept asking for more hiking gear because we knew we wanted to get up to the mountains a lot this summer so we slowly contributed to our growing collection and I started to feel more professional with each item we added.

Insert the busiest summer of our lives with weddings, out of town friends, vacations, reunions, birthdays, and our summer weekends filled up FAST before we could even blink an eye. At one point I remember filling out my day planner in May and realizing we wouldn't have a single free weekend in June OR July. So when Jeremy asked me how I wanted to celebrate my birthday this year the first words out of my mouth was, "I want to do a 14er." I didn't care which one but I needed to attempt another one before the hiking season was over. 

We had one shot this past Saturday and I booked it before we could make any plans with family or friends, reserving a day for just us. It was also a coincidence that the Colorado 54 event was happening on the exact same day where Coloradans attempt to hike every single 14er in our state on the same day. 

We decided to do Grays and Torreys since they are closer to home and we could knock off two peaks in a day. They are attached by a joining saddle and typically hiked together since they are so close.

Grays Peak is on the left with Torreys on the right, attached by the saddle

We packed up all our gear on Friday night and jumped into bed at 8:00 with an alarm set for 3:30 a.m. I forgot how brutal those early morning wake up calls are. 

This was the first time we were able to take out JD the Forester and test what he was made of with the winding mountain roads. 

It's pitch dark out, we've already been awake for almost two hours at this point, and I am freezing my butt off before we even take a step up the mountain. At this point I was trying to remember why I was so eager to hike another 14er. And then it only took me 5 minutes to remember once we got started on the trail. There is something so peaceful about watching the sun rise from so high up on a mountain with nothing but nature surrounding you.

When your views go from this:

to this:

as the morning wakes up, you feel a new burst of energy to keep you going. 

And it was only about an hour into our hike when we saw Bambi crossing the trail and taking enough time to eat her breakfast for us to take pictures. 

At that point I decided I was in love with these mountains even if we didn't make it to the summit.

Grays Peak was definitely the hardest of the two mountains since the majority of our uphill climbing was with a lot of switchbacks. We wound our way up 5 miles of the trail with several breaks along the way.

I had to wear my favorite tank from Mile High Clothing Company, it seemed only appropriate for that day.

I also wore my grandma's necklace just like I did for Bierstadt in my way of carrying her along with me on adventures. I think that will become a tradition.

By 7:30 in the morning, we had achieved our second 14er on Grays Peak.

We are not making the peace sign, just keeping with tradition for what number 14er this was for us.

We had to be dragged away fairly quickly at this point if we wanted to make it to the top of Torreys before lightning storms roll in {which is basically a given on any summer day at that altitude.}

We headed down the saddle and started our ascent up the adjoining mountain to bag 14er #3.

We had the company of a mountain goat along the way to help distract us from the fact that we were hiking another ridiculous mountain after just completing one. 

I named him Gibby the Mountain Goat.

And then by 9:00 a.m. we summited our third 14er on Torreys.

I've said this before but one of my favorite things about hiking in our state is all of the friendly people we get to meet along the way. I don't know what it is about being on a mountain but everyone with you suddenly becomes your best friend. They are shouting words of encouragement, helping out with anything you may need, sharing food and drinks at the top, offering to take pictures, etc. We spent a lot more time at the top of Torreys just talking to the group there and getting to know each other.

That kid in the yellow shirt has hiked 31 of Colorado's 14ers!

On the long way back down we decided that day had become our favorite hiking adventure for both of us. I never thought I would be able to accomplish one 14er let alone three and I was so proud of both of us and the work we put into that day. Everything had gone perfectly and we had so many fun experiences to remember.

We couldn't have asked for better weather or clearer views and with the wet weather we've had all summer, everything was so green and beautiful compared to most mountains this time of year.

We got to see wildlife, spent a lot of time alone together just the two of us after such a busy summer apart or surrounded by other people, and we were reminded how much we love this state. Colorado will always be home to us no matter where we end up and I will always think of this place as the best in the world. 

We are Colorado through and through. 

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