Category Archives: pictures

The Best Things in Life

After a lengthy hiatus from posting the normal “life” things, here’s a little update that changes a Lot, in the best kind of way.

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The best things in life…

They teach you the truth that nothing changes unless, or until, you do.

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They give you everything you were looking for, when you weren’t
even looking.

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They come when you least expect them.

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They show you the best version of yourself.

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They provide you with a new gauge for how “good” it can really be….

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Great, in fact.
Perfect.

The best things in life define your instincts, so the phrase “when you know, you know” suddenly makes all the sense in the world.

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We had already seen the Cherry Blossoms (Friday morning), but he insisted we go back (on Monday). “Because now they’ve fully bloomed”, and there wouldn’t be as many tourists and “Meg will probably want to see them again”, too.  So, alright fine, I’ll go to the November Project-DC next week and FINE, twist-my-arm, we can go back for another sunrise on the Tidal Basin to marvel at this city we call home.

FINE, fine, fine. That does sound like my kind of start to the week…

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We got there right in time to park the bikes and check out the sun rising by Jefferson’s memorial. Well done, sir!

What I did know: it was the perfect spring day and this place is much more enjoyable when the sidewalks are calm and the views are all yours.

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What I did not know: Meg was along to play photographer, and he had something burning a hole in his pocket!

(I also did not know how appropriate my outfit choice of the morning was! Spread LOVE, a la LGF.) 

We casually walked along the water, snapping a few photos, before he stopped me in just the right spot, to ask a little question…

4.14.14 proposal2014-04-14 06.33.09

2014-04-14 06.33.12    2014-04-14 06.33.20

4.14.14 engaged

YES, of course I will! I can’t imagine a life with anyone but you.

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And that’s all for now.  :)

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2013: The {First} Year of {Many} Adventures

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one
wild and precious life?”

-Mary Oliver,  The Summer Day

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I was selfish in the way that you sometimes just have to be; January was spent in mental overdrive. Some words found their way onto the right screen at the right time and with the right oomph:

change

Well alright then! No more sitting, waiting, wishing.

Just. Doing.

adventures

As all of the best adventures should, these started with the good people in life who surprise you when you least expect it. The people who hand you an air mattress and a shoulder and say ‘let’s go for a run’; the people who don’t question the how’s or why’s but instead say ‘we’re here’ (even when they then travel halfway around the world for months);  the people who know you for less than 48 hours before anteing up their faith (and rent)  in good timing and saying ‘just stay’.

meant to be say yes_tina fey

Then these adventures started checking boxes. This year had a tall order: I met the people that taught me the things, went places I had never been before, ran trails and roads in new states and cities, and said “Yes”  (Sure! Why not!) more often than not.

journeys what you think

230308_10102344924549269_1340981840_n  be crazy

(This could also arguably be considered the year quotes took control.)

I gave my mind time off from goals and calculating running paces and saving instead taking trips and wondering whether or not that last glass of champagne would hurt the next morning (of course it will, just have some H2O with it). I did things out of discomfort, reaching for experiences. I made choices based on little debate, because some of the best stories come from the most foolish decisions. My world collided with people who have changed everything.

When you say “yes”, you get an extra night in Yosemite’s Curry Village with your sister, a tattoo, a sun-and-spiked-slushy overdose in Hilton Head, four days in Acadia National Park capped with a sunrise on Cadillac Mountain, free rides on a jet ski, an ass-kicking from Tony Horton,  a hat-trick race with the Runner’s World crew, and nights of bottomless champagne deemed “BNE”s.

IMG_1633   Cozumel Captains

IMG_1996 Yosemite_Mirror Lake walk

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IMG_2425  IMG_2780

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You get prepped and ready for the next adventure, whatever it may be (well, in this case it’s a trip to Africa). You get to look back on 365 days that changed everything and set you up for the next round. You get to think life has some pretty amazing destinations in mind when you let it do some of the steering. You get to finally say “Lessons. Learned.”

Do what you love, and do it often.”

——-

Done. Cheers, 2013!

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Active Travel: Hiking in Acadia National Park

Backtrack: Recapping the August trip to Mount Desert Island, Maine.

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During the many late-August adventures in the Land of Lobstah, we  prioritized exploring the trails of Acadia National Park. Mount Desert Island easily topped the list of reasons I wanted to visit the state of Maine (though I now feel inclined to say the “lobstah” is a close second!), so, checks it:

Long Pond

Since the first night’s stay was in Southwest Harbor, the first hiking adventure began at Long Pond.  You can park right the middle of two peaks, and choose which direction to go. Or, you can follow us and do both!

First up: South Ridge Trail –> Beech Mountain.

Beech Mtn Trail_sign

These climbs are pretty short (mileage), but save you the agony of switchbacks in favor of a more straightforward climb. There are plenty of overlooks for a quick, breathtaking-view, break. We didn’t skip those:

Beech Mtn Trail_1Beech Mtn Trail_2
Been Mtn Trail_3

Truth: the “pond” is LONG. I get it.

Stops n’ all, it took about an hour to summit Beech and enjoy the view from the top. Then it was time to turn around, head down the other side & hop over to Bernard.

Beech Mtn Trail_Summit 1Beech Mtn Trail_Summit 2

Trail #2: Long Pond Trail –> Bernard Summit.
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Seen above: Long Pond Trail.

We took the long way around, enjoying a flat trail edging the water. The Long Pond trail is about 2.7 miles, two of which spoil you with this mostly-flat terrain and waterside view. Then, you climb!

This side included a lot more rock-scrambling and quad-testing. Once again, you’re spared the switchbacks but you have to gain that elevation somehow! Too close to the summit you will see a “Nubble” (fool me once…). Don’t stop just yet – you’re almost there, but not quite!

Knight Nubble_Berhard Trail
False hopes, little Nubble. Rude.

Just keep climbing another 100 ft – it’s worth it!

Bernard Mtn Summit_Alt
Mission double-summit: accomplished! With a little help from our Larabar friend.

These two summits are definitely doable in a one-day shot for hikers of all levels (just bring extra water and give your quads/hamstrings a little warning). Once you near the top of Bernard the rock-scrambling/climbing is steep and a little bit tricky, but no gear required. Extra bonus: the views of Long Pond and the Southwest Harbor provide a gorgeous green and blue backdrop to every corner.

Total hiking mileage for day 1: ~8.

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NEXT UP: Penobscot Mountain!

We tackled this climb after running a local 5-miler in the morning (more on that later). I knew the goal was to see Jordan Pond; I did not know I was in for a 2.5+ hour adventure to include cairn-scouting, iron hand rungs and wooden stairs…

Penobscot Mtn Trail_Sign
The Penobscot Mountain trail is the easier way up, and mixing some rock-stairs with more manageable elevation gains along the bare mountainside. It’s less paved-trail and more cairn-spotting (piles of rocks arranged conveniently to show you the way). Also, of course, keep your eyes peeled for the blue paint strips that indicate you’re still going in the right direction (affectionately referred to as ol’ Blue):

Penobscot Mtn Trail_1Penobscot Mtn Trail_3
Penobscot Mtn Trail_4

Do you spot piles of rocks? Follow the “trail”! Or, in this case, the JMT veterans.

Penobscot Summit 1
Penobscot Summit Group

We made it! We opted for some variety on the way down, not really knowing what the Jordan Cliffs trail would consist of. Let’s just say it’s a fun challenge, but not for the scared-of-heights faint of heart. In quite a few spots you are literally scaling the cliff, and more than once you know they put those iron rungs into the side of a mountain for a reason (i.e. use them wisely!).

This trail is listed as one of the seven “difficult” trails in Acadia:

Jordan Cliff Trail

Jordan Cliff Stairs

The moment when you’re supposedly going “down”, but actually UP, and question why you opted to race first.

We made it up, around, and down Penobscot in about 2.5 hours (including picture-taking + snacking time at the top). The two route options offer great variety and unique challenges, with the added bonus of a restaurant (and public restrooms) waiting for you near the parking lot! Hungry hikers will be in luck.

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Last, but not least: The BEEHIVE HIKE

Per Tanya’s recommendation, I knew this would be worth squeezing in on the last Acadia morning. We had about a 90 minutes to explore, so this short-but-tricky trail satisfied the order! You may not need a harness, rope or climbing shoes, but this is as close as it gets for the “beginners” (rock climbing). This is another trail classified as “difficult”.

It only takes ~30-45 minutes to summit, depending on your comfort/skill level, so you could easily tack this on to another adventure (Cadillac Mountain is nearby).

Beehive Hike View
Beehive Hike Summit

Taking the alternate way down lands you in the Bowl – easier and much more relaxing:

The Bowl

Along the Park Loop Road on the way out, you see plenty of places to stop (i.e. pull over and/or park the bike) and enjoy this view:

Otter Cliffs

Added to the next MDI trip’s list: “real” rock climbing on the Otter Cliffs!

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Acadia National Park_H

If you’re looking to hike in Acadia, all of these adventures come highly recommended by yours truly! My wanderlust was satisfied by an active vacation spot, new state, new national park and new-to-me hiking style.

(The top of Cadillac mountain also made it into the mix, but we didn’t actually “climb”. Instead we joined the masses in driving up nice n’ early to enjoy a sunrise from one of the first places in the USA to see the sun rise.  Well worth the trip!)

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27 Says

Twenty-six was a pretty vocal year – it had a lot to say about a lot of things, and we’ll just leave it at that. The beginning of this calendar year was the half-way point, and my 26-year-old self made a few grown-up decisions.

I found a quote that rocked my mindset and got stuck on the “lock screen” of my iPhone for months before finally becoming a custom Etsy purchase. Now hanging on my wall:

change

(Thanks to the Bungalow Tree!)

Simple but true: You can’t expect things to change unless you change them. You can make today better or worse than yesterday, but don’t stay the same.

What You Do Every Day
Image source: happiness-project.com

In the months following: I moved (still in DC!), traveled (to Mexico, Chicago, West Virginia, San Francisco, Yosemite & Hilton Head Island…so far), went snorkeling, camping and white-water rafting, bought a pass to go Skydiving and got a tattoo.

Like, whoa.

Yosemite_Mirror Lake walk
Mirror Lake – Yosemite Valley, CA.

So, 26, let’s say you went out with a bang. And let’s say you’ve set a tone that I’m 100% on board with!

nothing worth having comes easy

what makes you happy

Image source: don’t let dreams always be dreams.

what scares you

Image source: little miss momma.

—–

And with that, my “late”-20s begin….

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Five Faves from the Four Corners: Winter Edition

Having ten whole days off and at home felt like a college flashback – a suitcase that barely passed the airline weight regulations packed with equal parts sweatpants, run clothes & casual attire, days to fully relax and a few holidays to celebrate. In contrast to last July’s southwestern adventure, there was barely anything on the agenda save for one ski-day and one New Year’s celebration with the little sis & her guy.

To sum it up, here are the best things about winter in the southwest:

1. Snow that comes…and goes.

Fun fact: YES it snows in New Mexico. Sometimes a lot. Sometimes not so much. But the desert knows very well that it shines nicely with a white blanket.

I spent two runs stepping cautiously on freshly fallen snow at an early morning hour. By noon on both days the sidewalks and streets were mostly clear and the sun was shining, mocking my early-bird habit.

NM Snow Road 1
NM Snow Road 3 NM Snow Road 5
Top: I loved the set of footprints already out. I certainly wasn’t the first to test these sunny winter roads.

NM Snow Road Run.1

Either way, the missions were accomplished. I probably could’ve used a pair of goggles instead of just a beanie, but the miles were finished regardless.

2. Open desert roads.

‘Nuff said. Driving to/from will inevitably land you in reservations and/or national parks that provide these views:

Desert Road 1

3. Food to clear the {stuffed-up} sinuses!

If you find yourself in the Southwest and you don’t have a plate full of green chile (or red, I guess) at some point, you’ve failed. It is an absolute must, and I recommend finding a hole-in-the-wall restaurant above all else. I also recommend chasing that deliciously spicy dish down with a sweet sopapilla (save room!) and (relatively) local honey.

A trip home always includes a stop at Si Senor & Three Rivers Brewery.

4. Durango, CO.

We make at least one trip up to downtown Durango every time I’m home. We walk up and down Main street visiting the local shops, dining on local eats and taking in the mountain backdrop. I love that it has maintained its character and roots despite its obvious tourist draw.

Here, you get a true taste of the Rockies, a laid-back lifestyle and a town that could not be any more obsessed with skiing & cycling.

CO Downtown.1

5. Sweet baby love.

I’m now an Aunt. My brother & sister-in-law are parents; they brought the sweetest little guy into this world of ours. We’re all head over heels…

Xmas Baby S feetXmas Baby Santa 1Baby S 13

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And with that, it’s time to really look 2013 in the face and get this thing started…

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Filed under Exploring Colorado, home, pictures, random, travel