The one place it is perfectly acceptable to sit on the floor near a trash can is in an airport. Or that’s what I tell myself. For some silly reason 90% of the available outlets are always on those pillars surrounded by trash + recycling bins. From an architectural stand point, I guess that makes sense. From a self-respect + dignity stand point, not so much. Lucky for the batteries of my electronics, I’m not exactly overflowing with either self-respect of dignity!
The day after our three failed attempts on Iztaccihuatl we headed further east to Pico de Orizaba, the highest peak in Mexico [and 3rd highest in North America], topping out at 18,491. This beauty was originally the only mountain I planned to summit while in Mexico. I had whittled down my packing list to make room for glacier gear, borrowed ice climbing weaponry and had high hopes for an epic sunrise summit.
None of that happened.
I have been winter camping a handful of times and every. single. time. I hate it with every fiber of my body. People who love it will tell you it’s awesome and “not that cold” and so much better than summer camping because you can eat all the foods…okay, maybe. But, what they don’t tell you is that it’s approximately 4x more work than summer camping and “not that cold” is a very subjective term [shivering is “not that cold” compared to toes so frozen they ache for hours]. That said, I’m a very ssslllooowww learner and I went winter camping again last weekend. I hated it. To the point of tears more than once.
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.
I proudly pack ALL of my weekend adventuring gear and backpacking essentials into a 22L Columbia pack and wrangled tent poles through airport security with big plans for some backcountry backpacking in Oregon with Erin and Weez. After a day of wandering around Portland on my own it was time to explore the great outdoors. On Friday morning I carefully packed up my food and reassessed my layers. The weather was much chilly than forecasted but we had high hopes for rising temps as the world woke up.
By mid morning we’d packed everything into the car and headed southeast toward the Three Fingered Jack trailhead. Our game plan was to spend the next two days/nights backpacking the 20-24ish [depending upon which website you ask] loop around Three Fingered Jack. In our diluted minds we’d spend the days hiking and exploring than camp along the trail with rainy but bearable temperatures that *might* drop below 20 degrees. The closer we got to our destination the more “uh, we might die” talk swirled around the car. The thermometer in the car kept spitting out lower temperatures…by the time we got to the trailhead, at 2pm, it was reading 11 degrees. ELEVEN DEGREES! In the afternoon…on a very sunny day. Oh, and we were surrounded by heaping piles of snow. As in the trailhead was not accessible because it was buried under 2-3 feet of fresh snow. This was not going as planned…
Disclaimer: I’m an ambassador for Auckland Outdoors, a Colorado company I am about to talk about, and while I am being reimbursed for my work with them all opinions and such are my own! I applied to be an ambassador because I love the gear sharing concept they’ve come up with and how they make it easier to get everyone outside! If you have any questions/suggestions/thoughts…send them my way! I’d love to hear them and pass them along, anything to help make Auckland Outdoors more successful!
Let’s imagine a situation…one that many of you have probably been in.
You have friends or family flying in from out of town with big plans to go camping, backpacking or hiking. With the astronomical baggage costs they are packing light…which means they are coming without the proper camping gear.
Or, you have a friend in town that keeps saying they are jealous of your trips into the mountains…you plan out an easy adventure to get them experience the backcountry first hand but don’t have the gear needed to make their first trip comfortable and fun.
Or, you’re traveling to Denver without knowing many people in the area. You want to head into the mountains to do some exploring but don’t have the gear you need…and aren’t sure where to go.
You have a few options…
This week I started something new. It currently involves lots of driving, many new faces and many, many @’s and #’s…it’s a new job! This has been in the works for quite some time but I wanted it to be officially official before I told the internet. I’ve survived three days and haven’t cried yet so I think it’s safe to spill the beans!
As of Monday I am the Voice of Sierra behind the Sierra Trading Post Twitter. Yup, that is correct, my new job involves all things Twitter plus a few other projects just to keep things interesting. I just might be a little bit excited…and they wrote up a post about my arrival so I even feel kind of famous! And…I got legit headshots done by a photographer who knows his way around a camera and the Adobe Suite!
Remember that one time when we went winter camping with Sierra Trading Post? Turns out it was more than just a weekend in the wilderness. For us it doubled as a bit of a learning experience. Of course we expected a learning curve of some sort but we weren’t prepared for one quite as cold…
As I mentioned earlier we were a little under prepared in the gear department. We knew that going in and we knew it wouldn’t be a perfectly comfortable night. Heck, Chris and I are yet to figure out how to have a “perfectly comfortable night” while camping. We tend to be rather minimalist in our packing and I think we pay for it while attempting to sleep. This time we packed everything we owned but when you don’t have quite the right gear it doesn’t matter.
:: Fun Fact :: About 99.9% of the photos in this post are kidnapped from other people…because somehow I managed to factory reset my phone and lose every single photo because I’m too lazy to empty out my overflowing DropBox. Basically, I suck, so enjoy everyone else’s photography!
A few months ago I jumped at the chance to go hiking off the Bierstadt Trailhead with Andy and Chris, two fairly cool dudes behind the social media platforms of Sierra Trading Post. An impromptu 9 mile hike up two mountains the day before my first 50K sounded like a fantastic idea…or not. But I still went, had a blast, rocked the 50K and look back saying it was all worth it!