Wednesday, September 28, 2016

anniversary: my commitment

On September 28, 2010 I made one of the easiest decisions of my life, even after I read how difficult donation can be. I signed up on the Be The Match Marrow Donor Registry.

It wasn't too long after Assistant Pack Leader was in possible need of a marrow donor that I made my decision. While I haven't been a match yet, I still can't think of better commitment that I've made so far in my life. I could save someone's life, I could give someone the opportunity to experience life.

Assistant Pack Leader has gotten clear scans for several years now, but it doesn't make the possibility of being a donor any less close to home for me.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Friday, September 23, 2016

jen's awesome movie: the grand finale

In May, Military Friend and I went on a really big trip to Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. We visited Cusco, Peru, hiked to Machu Picchu, explored Quito, Ecuador and snorkeled the Galapagos Islands. While I took tons of pictures, my favorite part of returning from this trip is the movie that Wyoming Hunter and I made of the South American adventure.

Click here, here and here for my packing lists for Machu Picchu and Galapagos Islands as well as what I would have packed differently.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

the best of the west: 2016 WYDAHO bike festival

If a large number of pictures is an indicator of how much fun a weekend was then no one should attend WYDAHO bike festival at Grand Targhee. ever. never.ever. But I'll let you in on a little secret, I was having too much fun and I failed to remember to take out my camera....except for that ONE time.
Horseshoe Canyon Trail System

WYDAHO bike festival is a 4 day festival over Labor Day weekend held at Grand Targhee Ski Area in Alta, WY. The festival is a fundraiser for Teton Valley Trails and Pathways, the organization responsible for building and upkeep of the super awesome trails in Teton Valley. The festival has group rides, skills clinics, raffles, music, drinks, food, giveaways, downhilling, tons of trails, shenanigans (keg pull, strider races, hill climbs, huffy toss) and a whole lotta fun!

So get out there enjoy the outdoors and have so much fun that you forget to document it!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

in case no one has told you today

That one person that just shocks the shit out of you. Someone who it never crossed your mind that they gave a crap about you or what you are doing in life. An acquaintance that goes above and beyond and makes you realize there is hope for humanity.

I think we all struggle with our own self worth at times and I'm no different. I struggle because my life looks nothing like I envisioned . (but what does an 18 year old kid who thinks they are ready to take on the world really know anyway)

Just as this angel told me on a day that I needed to hear it most, I will tell make a difference, you are here for a reason, you are loved,  you are enough.....maybe not to everybody, but to someone you are inspiring and you can make your dreams come true.

In a world where hatred and selfishness is running rampant, its a world that strives to tear others down to lift ourselves up a little higher on the pedestal. That is not where strength comes from, strength comes from seeing others succeed while succeeding yourself. Strength comes from helping others get up when they are down, not kicking them in the teeth. Strength comes from kindness, strength comes from treating others as you want to be treated. Strength comes in numbers of loving, kind, selfless, confident people.

I challenge you to share this video with just one person who has made a difference in your life, one person who could use a reminder of how important they are, how strong they are, how much you appreciate them, how much they inspire you. Lift someone up today!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

short & steep: manitou incline

In 1907 the Manitou Incline was a 1 mile cable tram built to support the construction of a hydroelectric plant and waterline. Once it was done serving this purpose it was bought by Dr. Brumbach and turned into a tourist attraction. Visitors could take the 16 minute ride to the top for "scenic splendors", 10 miles of hiking trails in Mount Manitou Park and it claimed to be the "longest and highest incline on the globe". The Incline remained a tourist attraction for many years, but because of high maintenance costs eventually closed in 1990 as the attraction was overshadowed by the Cog Railway that takes visitors to the summit of Pikes Peak....if you are too weak smart to take the 12 mile hike. Ever since the closure of the incline railway, the route has become popular to runners, joggers, hikers, walkers and crawlers. Its short and steep and all of a Colorado workout.

The Incline gains about 2,000 feet in just  under a mile....see what I mean short and steep! And all in no less than 2,744 stairs.
2,744 steps and 2,000 feet elevation gain. nailed it!

Johler pose at the top of the Incline
 We weren't fast, but we made it and Assistant Pack Leader still had enough energy to celebrate at the end. After beating cancer, she was left with about 50% lung capacity and really struggles to conquer elevation and physical feats like the Incline.  We took it easy to avoid her getting overly tired, rest before  you think you need to. We would hike between 50 and 80 stairs and then rest for approximately 2 minutes. We made it to the top in about an hour and 40 minutes.

Knees - thanking me for taking the Barr Trail Connector
 For the love of all things uphill....take the Barr Trail connector and the "long way" down. Your knees will thank you, plus its super pretty! This is the part of the Barr Trail that we hiked in the dark on our Pikes Peak hike so it was great to see it in another light.

This is how we felt about returning down the Incline Trail
 We worked hard enough that we thought we deserved a yummy lunch at the Creekside Brewery. We scarfed down some delicious fried pickles, lamb sliders and Beehive beers.

Celebratory beers!

Lamb sliders

And this is what Colorado has come to these days, but I couldn't help but laugh and take a picture.

 After getting out of a parking ticket, our day of city fun was over. We headed home for a well deserved nap on the couch.

Thursday, September 8, 2016


I finally met the love of my life at the ripe old age of 33.... Wilson, a 1972 27' Airstream Overlander.
1972 Airstream Overlander, Wilson
Well, let me clarify, he WAS the love of my life....until we gutted him and found all his problems, which have me a little overwhelmed. I did one thing right before acquiring Wilson, I hired The Retired Guy to be my project manager. The pay is terrible, but when you get to be a part of something so great as Wilson apparently that becomes a minor detail. Music Man was also hired as the Assistant Project Manager. With their help, I'm sure I will love Wilson again!

Here's what we had to work with when Wilson arrived to the 307.
Living/Dining area from door

Kitchen - door side
Kitchen - opposite side

Bedroom looking out back of trailer

View of living/dining/kitchen from bedroom

 Where are we now? Gutted Anxiety. and Xanax. That is where we are.

I shall call this one "gutted anxiety"
My interest lies in building and decorating...which I've been working on a lot. I have a floorplan (not to scale) and an inspiration design board, of which I'd love to share, but am going to refrain from. Stay tuned to see the transformation of Wilson!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

mtb: fruita, co

In my quest to expand my mountain biking destinations, I called up an old high school friend who lives in Fruita to see if he might be around and interested in biking over Memorial Day weekend. Lucky for me, not only was he interested, but his wife and their neighbors/friends were too. A couple days on the trails turned into a small camping trip and a whole lotta fun!

We started the weekend out by visiting my friend at his place of employment....which just happens to be Peach Street Distillery in Palisade. My friend...well...he's a distiller. Now that is a cool job and he gave us a behind the scenes tour.
Rode them all, but Joe's Ridge to Kessel Run was my favorite

The next day we headed out to 18 Road for some camping and biking. I'm here to tell you this is how to bike. We would bike for an hour or so, come back to the camper and refresh with shade, snacks and Then out we'd go for another ride.

Jen, Tyler & Will on Joe's Ridge
 The next day we hit a few more trails at 18 Road with a shuttle up (Thanks Melody!) before heading back into town. We then ventured out to Kokopelli Trails for a ride on Horse-thief. Which was beautiful and slightly above my skill level, but the boys were kind enough to wait for me and we all finished without death.
Jen & Tyler overlooking the Colorado River on Horse-thief
The best part of the trip was brunch the next day at a little cafe down the street from my friend's house. They had the best breakfast burrito I've ever tasted, I think the fact that it was smothered in both green chile AND sausage gravy sealed the deal.

I had a blast with old friends and gained some really great new ones. There is talk of making it an annual trip. Yes please!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

the barn by bryan [september 2016]

It’s an all request, all Eric Church September (new and old)!! It is a great way to usher in Fall, and I can’t deny a music request from our host. So, turn on some football, put your sweatpants on, sit back and get lost in the lyrics…

Wrecking Ball
Sinners Like Me
Mr. Misunderstood
Over When It’s Over
Record Year