Tour de l’Argentine

One of my questions for Merlin while coordinating my WorkAway plans in Gryon, Switzerland was “how’s the hiking + trail running in the area?”, turns out Merlin was not lying when he said the options are endless. From the day I arrived the Tour de l’Argentine has been mentioned by multiple people, yet it still took me about 4 weeks to actually get out there and run/hike the loop. It did not disappoint! And I really should have done it earlier because now I really want to summit l’Argentine but I’m running out of time!
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Alone in the Mountains [Schonbielhutte]

schonbielhutte

There were only a few hours between my “I should go somewhere” thoughts and my “hop on a train” actions but I did do a little Google’ing to get a feel for the trails in the Zermatt area. The Schonbielhutte was on my radar but the hut’s website was very vague about when it closed for the season. I checked with the Zermatt Tourism Office but the woman simply read me the website…super helpful. Or not.

So, when I came upon the sign that said “Schonbielhutte 1h 25m” I decided to check out the hut for myself. Worst case scenario, the hut would be closed and I would be hiking along remote mountain trails next to the Matterhorn on an absolutely gorgeous day for another three hours. Best case scenario, the hut would be open and I’d get to spend another night in the mountains.
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Escaping Zermatt

zermatt

Zermatt is a tourist city, there is no denying that. The moment you step off the train you feel the “tourist vibe” humming around you. The people behind the desk at the tourism office have a rehearsed spiel, the streets are teaming with selfie sticks and each little shop has its own carousel of beautiful postcards.

Personally, I am not a fan of the “tourist vibe”, as hypocritical as that may be. The cities that have grown to accommodate tourists always feel stifling + staged…but they grew for a reason. The mountain trails + wilderness surrounding these kitschy tourist cities are stunning. And the true perk of these overgrown cities? Most tourists stay in the cities, or at least close to them, leaving the more remote + challenging trails empty for people like me!
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Trails: More Than Just Dirt.

While I’m here in Switzerland I’ll be spending a lot of time on the trails. There will be plenty of day hikes and long runs, just because I can. Trails will become a huge part of this little adventure for a few reasons — they are cheap, they take you to amazing views, they make me incredibly happy and they bring people together. The first two a pretty obvious, so when REI asked me to share what trails meant to me I wanted to share the effects dirty single track has had on my life!
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Get Outside, Now!

Remember when you and your brothers spent 20 minutes arguing over who go to use the red legos, simply because they were better than yellow legos at the moment? And remember Mom yelled “get outside, now!” just as her eyes were starting to cross? No? That only happened in our family? Yea…I doubt that! It wasn’t always a lego argument but whenever us kids started to get a little whiny and stir crazy Mom would kick us outside. We thought it was to give her space [probably true] but looking back it gave us a place to work out some of our energy and issues.
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#hikerchat hiking

**Disclaimer: at the bottom of this post there is a clothing review for product I received at no cost, all opinions are my own.**

I finally made it to an OR Show! Yup, now that I’m not professionally working in the outdoor industry I got to make the trip to Salt Lake City to check out all of the new summer gear coming out next spring. I learned three things — people are insanely creative, we are a country of consumers and I obviously need all of the things I never knew I wanted. There was a lot of really cool gear, in awesome colors, that is bound to make my life easier.
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Decali…Done Right!

Last weekend [once again, a full week ago, not a few days ago…oops!] I finally got a chance to remedy my “I haven’t been up a 14er in sooooo long” whining. After 10 hours shadowing a firehouse ambulance crew I headed for the Fairplay/Alma area where I’d meet up with Robb + Kami for a night of camping before a Decalibron summit. Just before the sunset on Saturday night we settled into camp near Kite Lake, warming ourselves around a craftily created fire before crashing into our sleeping bags. It has been far too long since I drove up a sketchy mountain road to go camping under the clear mountain sky…this needs to happen more often before they’re all covered in snow!
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Camping at White Ranch

While I’m studying my eyeballs out with EMT training I have been working at Ibotta, an app startup in Denver, where I help out crazy rebate/coupon’ers and hunt down the fraud-sters. What I do isn’t exactly glamorous but it’s exactly what I need in my life right now and the entire Ibotta crew is kind of awesome. Need proof? How about a Thursday night of camping with co-workers, just because?!

That’s exactly what I was doing last Thursday night! I met a few co-workers at the White Ranch upper trailhead and we packed our camping gear + food about a mile into the hiker campsites, set up camp and created our own version of “mountain happy hour” with a bonfire, s’mores and a stormy sunset.
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That Escalated Quickly…[Wilderness Roaming]

This past weekend I went on one helluva an adventure. I knew it would be an interesting trip for a multitude of reasons but I had no idea just how much I’d learn about myself and others when I started out on what was supposed to be an 10-ish hour wilderness trek around the frontcountry/slackcountry just southwest of Denver. Luckily the first 10 hours of the day were everything I expected…it wasn’t until after the sunset that reality started beating me over the head with one lesson after another. I will probably share those lessons later, for now let’s focus on the fun that comes with a day of bushwhacking in the mountains!
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