Spring showed up in February…but winter came back with vengeance in March. The mountains still aren’t sure what season it is, bouncing between fresh powder mornings and slushy afternoons. We might get another dumping of snow, in true Colorado fashion, but in my mind…summer is just around the corner. So close!
Heck, my version of summer kicks in before April is officially over! I actually have a lot on deck for my summer, but not in the traditional sense. I’m trying something new — combining a full-time job with a consistent travel-for-fun life. I’ve spent the last few months plotting, planning, working + negotiating to make this happen, and now it’s about to start happening!
I finish up my seasonal job with Keystone/Vail Resorts the first week of April, spend two weeks finishing out my outdoor education/WEMS classes at Colorado Mountain College and then heading to Wisconsin to make sure my family remembers me. I kick off May with the Pittsburgh Marathon and then head right down to Mexico City + Monterrey, Mexico for about six weeks of living + working + exploring.
When I spent a week in Monterrey in February I got to experience just a tiny bit of the city and Mexico in general…just enough to know I wanted to come back. So, back is where I’m going! I don’t have any major adventures on my agenda but I will be packing the essentials for trail running, fastpacking and rock climbing. We’ll see just how much I can fit into my free time while I’m down there. I might even get really adventurous and find myself a beach to lounge on for a day or two!
Side Note: Any suggestions + personal experiences for places to visit + explore in central Mexico? Mountains, beaches, cities…you name it, I’m open minded enough to give it a shot!
From Mexico I’ll be headed directly to Salt Lake City to visit Shawn + Landon at TETON Sports…and to take over the #YourLead van for about three months of living on the road. Yup, I’m headed back into a moving vehicle and calling in home for the majority of the summer! I am a tiny bit excited, and not just because I’ll be out there exploring the southwestern US + Canada but because TETON Sports has some pretty incredible things on the agenda.
You can get a sneak peek at their vision + how it all happened here: Why All The #YourLead Talk?
What am I most excited about? The fact this is more than just a summer job with adventure sprinkled in. TETON Sports is teaming up with Gear Forward, an organization that collects gently used backpacks + outdoor gear to pass along to children + youth organizations in need. In short, they believe “no child should be denied access to all the outdoors has to offer because they don’t have the necessary equipment” and that’s a mindset I can get behind!
On this summer #YourLead adventure TETON Sports will be collecting your used backpacks to donate to Gear Forward…and celebrating your awesome with a new TETON Sports pack. So, if you’re in any of the places I mention below hit me up with your gently used pack, we’ll hit the trails with running shoes, hiking packs or climbing rope then connect over lattes, rice krispie treats or french fries and you’ll head home with a new TETON Sports backpack. And we might even become friends…if all goes well.
I’ll get to see things like this…adobes + desert mountains! #pinkpuffyheart [PC: Lynne Petre]
So, where will I be going with the TETON Sports’ #YourLead van? All of the places! Sort of. We have a schedule set up and we will be more forthcoming with details as we nail down trailheads + meetup points, but this is the general overview of my summer road trip:
June // Colorado, Arizona, California, Oregon
Durango + Cortez
Grand Canyon + Flagstaff
Lake Tahoe + Western States 100
Bend + Portland
July // Washington, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico
Seattle + Olympia
Big Sky + Grand Tetons
Fort Collins + Denver
Sangre de Cristo + Taos
August // Utah, Idaho, Montana, Canada
Outdoor Retailer Show
Sun Valley + Boise
Glacier National Park
Icefields Parkway + Jasper
It’s safe to say I have quite the summer ahead of me — lots of moving, exploring + navigating the Western US + Canada. I want to climb all the mountains, run all the trails and watch all the sunrises. But I won’t be doing all of this alone. No sirree. I’m nothing if not good at recruiting + enabling awesome life choices in others. On various legs of the trip I’m dragging some of my favorite people along for the ride. People like Lynne, Tanya + Sara…amazingly fierce, independent woman who I have nothing but undying respect for. We’ll have a blast exploring countryside, annoying the hell out of each other + creating legit inside jokes. Watch out world, we’re coming for you…and we’re bringing caffeine!
Fingers crossed for many, many van-views like this! [PC: Lynne Petre, Grand Canyon]
I’ve never been to many of the states on my summer agenda so there will be a lot to see. Help me! Seriously, if you have any recommendations, at all, please hit me up in the comments or shoot me an email or send over a carrier pigeon. I’m running out of time to Google and, quite frankly, I’d rather get some personal opinions. So…hit me with all the ideas!
Like I said, I’m crazy excited about this, but I’m also enough of a realist to know it’ll wear on me. I have strategically planned out a few weeks of easy down time that’ll allow me to recoup + refresh while I’m on the move. If I learned anything in the last year it was that actual travel is exhausting!
…there is an entire world out there to explore, I refuse to settle down until I see more of it! [PC: Logan Boon]
And after August? Well, outside of the Hood to Coast Relay at the end of August and the Bear 100Miler at the end of September my plans are rather un-planned. Ideally I’ll be headed back to Switzerland but places like Thailand and New Zealand have popped up on my radar, too. I’m a little over winter + pining for sunshine so I’m shying away from any rash decisions until I get a chance to re-fuel my Vitamin D stores here in North America.
I’ll be traveling with pretty steady internet access so, yup, there will be updates on my whereabouts + shenanigans. Stories + photos will be shared here on this site, via Snapchat as “heidikumm”, on Instagram as @heidikumm + @yourlead_van and on TETON Sports’ Adventure Hub. So, follow along…or come hang out.