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It’s a rainy, dreary day here in Denver, but I have to admit: I love it. We very rarely get these days and although the weather is wreaking havoc on our work schedule, I’m enjoying the sound of the pitter-patter on our roof. Between wedding planning, blog stuff and busy season at work, my mind is racing; I’m glad to listen to the soothing effect of the raindrops.

There has been a lot going on over the past month or so, so I thought I’d throw together a quick “catch-up” post. Enjoy!

Currently…

I was invited on Backpacker magazine’s Editors’ Choice trip last week! Well, if we’re being specific, I was actually invited a few weeks back; the trip took place last week. We toggled with the schedule right up until the very end, but we ultimately ended up outside of Leadville. We skinned into Skinner Hut of the 10th Mountain Division, a hut that I have dreadedΒ for years. You see, Skinner has a reputation for being the toughest hut in the entire association. As we learned, it’s a well-earned moniker! We managed to nab 2000 feet of vertical climbing over the last two miles, which is rough on a good day. The downside? We were obviously on the trip to test out the final choices for EC Awards, so our packs were jam-packed with surplus gear and uber heavy. Personally, I know I was carrying at least four shells, three pair of pants, a couple helmet and multiple goggles….to name a few. Β Additionally, we completed the trek after dark which made route finding sporting, to say the least!

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All photos by Will Rochfort

In the end, we all survived and spent the next four days backcountry skiing in the middle of nowhere. The snow was deep, fresh flakes fell daily and we had the entire hut to ourselves. In short, I am beyond thankful for the opportunity to go!

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Tals and I won the Kurgo contest! I owe a huge thank you to everyone who voted; your support meant the world. I was beyond excited when I got the email last week!

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We’re still hammering out the details of the trip, but we do know this: we’ll make a quick trip north, finally stopping in Jasper National Park in Canada. From there, Will, Tals and me will hop in an RV (or an Airstream or….) and begin our voyage south, hiking our way through the Rockies. We’ll hike some days, we’ll drive others, and we’ll camp out too. We’re hoping to chase fall color, but who knows what we’ll fine. In the end, Will and I are using this as our smaller honeymoon {with our “real” honeymoon taking place next winter when our company is closed for the season}, so I’m just excited to spend all of this outdoor time with my little family! Plus, I’m beyond excited to show Tals the Rockies outside of Colorado– she has no idea how much fun she is in for!

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It’s looking like 2015 is the year I delve into more adventure travel writing!

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I’ve had a handful of tourism boards reach out to me, asking if I want to come visit their regions to cover it on my site. I’m headed to nearby Estes Park in a few weekends, learning about the dog-friendly travel in the area. It’s so close to Rocky Mountain National Park {where dogs aren’t allowed} so we thought it would be fun to explore the areas where pups ARE allowed!

After that, we’re jumping over to Winter Park later this summer to enjoy a myriad of adventure activities: hiking, downhill mountain biking, and beer tasting are all on the agenda. I also recently met with the city of Portland, Oregon, and it looks like I’ll be flying there a couple times over the next 12 months. I’m really looking forward to it! I love adventure travel and can’t wait to get into ALL sorts of trouble!

Currently…

Guys, I’m finally getting my groove back on the trails! I chatted a few weeks ago about my runner burnout, but Sunday’s run was the perfect morning. In fact, it was the much-needed spark to light my running fuse!

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I still don’t think I’m going to register for any official races this summer, outside of a couple half marathons. Instead, I’m planning on tackling some longer runs through various wilderness areas and national parks. I’m tentatively planning a run of the Pawnee-Buchanan Pass Loop in July and–wait for it–a R2R2R run of the Grand Canyon in November!

Honestly, the R2R2R terrifies me. I’ve done 10k of vert in a day before, but that was back in college. Lest you forget, I’m not in college anymore and neither are my old-lady legs! That said, I don’t know if it would be the vertical gain or the longer distance– 40 miles — that kicks my ass. Probably a deadly combo. Really, it’s more the solitude that semi-frightens me. Of course, I would potentially be running with a friend or two, but it’s not like there is a bailout with the Grand Canyon. If you hit the North Rim and decide you’re tired, you’re screwed. I’d pretty much have to stand there until someone drove around from the South Rim to pick me up. And here’s to hoping all of the water pumps are turned on!

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Regardless, I’ve always loved the Grand Canyon and I’m pretty sure I’ll attempt the R2R2R. That said, I feel like a bit of prep is in order!

Enter the Pawnee-Buchanan Pass Loop! I first heard about this circuit a few years ago, and then again last year when Heidi ran it. I was originally eyeballing the Four Pass Loop outside of Aspen, but let’s face it: the hour drive time to Indian Peaks is much more appealing than the four hours to Aspen!

Truthfully, I’m not sure if we’ll run the entire loop. I’m most interested in the scenery down the backside of Pawnee Pass so I’m toying with running to that point, turning around, and running back to the car. That would be roughly 20-25 miles and still a good day on my feet. Time will tell!

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32 Comments

  • Reply Heidi Nicole || run.around.aroo at

    You know I love that Pawnee-Buchanan Pass! Seriously, it’s my favorite stretch of mountain trail and trumps the Four Pass Loop any day…in my mind.

    I’m also weirdly okay with all this rain [I may change my mind in three days when it’s still raining] because I know CO is going to be crazy green next week when the sun gets back out!

    • Reply heather at

      Yes, I’m loving it now…but if stays like this til Thursday, I’mma gonna be cranky!

  • Reply Sara at

    Really looking forward to your write up on dog friendly near Estes! Always looking for new adventures to take our fuzzy butt on.

    • Reply heather at

      Great! Stay tuned in a few weeks! πŸ˜‰

    • Reply Beth at

      I’m looking forward to hearing what you find as well! I haven’t made it up that way yet because… well… NPS = No Puppy Service.

  • Reply Ryan Levander at

    I’m loving the rain, too! I just realized how blessed we are to live in a place with actually FOUR distinct seasons! Man, this green we are about to see sure is going to be great. πŸ™‚

    • Reply heather at

      YES! When Will moved here from San Diego, that was one of the major selling points – SEASONS!

  • Reply Michelle at

    Sounds like a great pre-honeymoon honeymoon! Can’t wait to see your pics from your trip! Jasper is beautiful and I can only imagine what Will can do with his skills and that scenery! Xo

    • Reply heather at

      I’m so excited to visit! I’ve been to Canada in small bits and pieces but never like this. It will be amazing!

  • Reply Rachel @ Betty LIVIN at

    Congrats on winning the Kurgo contest! If you’re coming to the Canadian Rockies we should plan a meet up and let Rocky meet Tals! πŸ™‚

    • Reply heather at

      Definitely! Do you live anywhere near Jasper or Banff?

      • Reply Rachel @ Betty LIVIN at

        I live about 3.5 hours south of Banff. But only an hour from Waterton Lakes National Park which I think you should add to your tour of the Rockies!!

  • Reply Marissa @Barefoot Colorado at

    Can I join in on some of these adventures?! The R2R2R is on my bucket list!!! I’m excited for trail season!

    • Reply heather at

      Hahah yes! Are you coming this Saturday? (Although it is looking a tad rainy..)

  • Reply Logan @ Mountains and Miles at

    Uhhhh I want to come on all the running adventures!

    Right now I’m pegged to do GC R2R2R on Oct 10, but I actually wanted to push it later than that.

    • Reply heather at

      That’s the tricky part for me in doing it this season– the WHEN of it. Obviously, I can only miss some much work and between the wedding, the Kurgo trip, and a few other things we have planned, it may get tough. I could always push it to next spring…but I don’t WANNA! πŸ™‚

  • Reply Ingunn Markiewicz at

    That trip sounds amazing! I love that Canadian National Parks allow dogs, I hope to take my pups to Jasper and Banff soonish.

    • Reply heather at

      I KNOW! I was psyched about that– Tals has never been in a NP!

  • Reply Angela @ Happy Fit Mama at

    Can we swap lives for a few weeks? A day? Anything? You are hitting up some of my most favorite places in the world. Can’t wait to see all the fun you are having!

    • Reply heather at

      Haha πŸ™‚ I’m pretty psyched for the trips– I feel so lucky!

  • Reply misszippy at

    I know I’ve said it before, but damn you lead an awesome life! I just live vicariously through you and all your great photography!

    My friend did R2R2R a couple of years ago. Her one tip: bring yaktraks b/c you will hit icy sections and it was really helpful to her. I am intrigued by doing that one, too, some day.

    • Reply heather at

      I do feel pretty fortunate these days– some cool stuff has fallen into my lap.

      Good to know on the yaktraks! I’m hoping for a late snow year so that’s not an issue but…we’ll see!

  • Reply Sam at

    I just wanted to say that I LOVE your blog. That’s so exciting that you and your pup get to go on such an epic adventure! If you’re ever out east with Tally Shenandoah National Park is one of the most dog-friendly national parks in the US. I was really surprised when I moved to Colorado and couldn’t bring my pup any of the trails in Rocky Mountain National Park. Also, if you’re looking for people to do R2R2R2 I’d love to do it! It’s been on my list forever as well but I’ve never been able to find anyone else who wants to do it.

    • Reply heather at

      That’s interesting that Shenandoah allows dogs! I’ve never been in a national park that does so that’s news to me! Glad you enjoy my site!

  • Reply CARLA at

    IM SO SO SO EXCITED FOR YOU WITH THE KURGO.
    I love me some them.
    and you.

    • Reply heather at

      Thanks Carla πŸ™‚ We’re pretty psyched too. We just ordered Tals a whole GAGGLE of Kurgo toys!

  • Reply Kovas - Midwest Multisport Life at

    Awesomeness all around! Hoping we can meet up at OR Show again, if you’re going. If not, I’ll just live vicariously through your posts. πŸ™‚

    • Reply heather at

      We’ll both be there!

  • Reply Laura at

    I’m so excited to check out your adventure travel pieces, and I love the idea of dog-friendly adventuring.
    I am also planning a R2R2R trip for November – my friend Alice and I are going to be coming down from Wisconsin the 2nd or 3rd weekend! Fingers crossed for good weather conditions…

    • Reply heather at

      Seriously! I’m running into some time constraints that are making me potentially push R2R2R to Spring, but we’ll see. Good luck to you guys!

  • Reply Kate at

    These sound like some awesome plans! I ran the R2R last spring, which is definitely a lot less committing than the R2R2R. We caught a shuttle from the south rim to the north rim, then stayed at the Kaibab Lodge before starting the run early the next morning. Highly recommend! Good luck with your adventures!

  • Reply Kayla at

    Every time we go somewhere, even if it’s just to visit family for the weekend 2 hours away, we come back home and completely destroy our house!!! It takes me about a week to fully recover, on a good week! I can’t imagine how messy my life would be if I traveled that much in one year…..but it does sound very exciting.

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