2017 In Review

Looking back on 2017

2017 has probably been one of the worst and one of the best years I’ve ever had in my entire life.

It was most definitely one of the busiest years I have ever experienced. But it had a lot of fun moments.

It was definitely the most stressful year. But it was rewarding.

Grand Teton National Park

There were a lot of tears. And a lot of smiles.

There were times I wanted to quit everything and give up. And times that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

It was one of those years.

A lot of the bad included losing a step-grandparent, stressful home/work life balance, a tragedy within our cross country team, hail damage with a shifty, unethical car repair shop, loss of two pets, and probably more that I have repressed.

The good included a lot of travel, realizing love sees no bounds, a successful second year for Golden Mountain Guides, being part of five weddings and lots of time with family and friends.

I really am ready for a new year, carrying lessons from this year.

Here are some highlights from the past year…

January… started off slow. I started training to be a race director, track pre-season started, I started my #60HikesDenverChallenge (trying to hike/run all 60 trails in the 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Denver Book), we did a little bit of snowboarding and I did yoga challenge.

Walden Ponds, Boulder. Start of my #60HikesDenverChallenge

February…I did my first race as the sole Race Director (the Heart Throb 5k in Longmont), track season really starts, and we went to see the Mummies exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

See me in the background?? Literally holding back the flag from the wind as the race started. Sometimes race directors do some random tasks.

March…Ran the Erin Go Braugh 7.77k (my favorite of all the races the company I work for produces), and went to a Bridal Shower for Ben’s sister (which means wedding madness for the year starts).

Oh yeah, my outfit was AWESOME!

April… lots of work between all my jobs and my birthday month (wooo… 30 – that’s sarcasm in case you’re curious). But 30 did come with a zombie-themed escape room (we didn’t escape, for the record).

May… was full of the State Track & Field meet (one of my jumpers missed state by just a few inches – literally), running of the Bolder Boulder, and got hired for my first freelance writing job (10Hikes.com)

June…a ton of hiking (for my #60HikesChallenge and 10Hikes.com), a typical bachelorette party, and the first wedding of the year (Ben’s youngest sister) gets married. I also got a spot on a Ragnar Trail Snowmass team at the last second.

July… brought wedding #2 (Ben’s Cousin), a trip to Pennsylvania, lots of work (finished up my first 10Hikes project which reviewed the 10 best hikes in the Denver Region), and another Bridal shower (for my friend this time).

August...included another bridal shower (Ben’s other sister), a Trip to Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park, a bachelorette Pary in New Orleans, and Cross Country season starts.

September… Held wedding #3 (my friend), I race directed my biggest race yet (a 500 person 5k), and two trips to Moab with Ben (one for scouting and back again for guiding a 12-women group).

October…was wedding #4 (Ben’s other sister), I finished up my second freelance writing project (reviewing the 10 best hikes for Rocky Mountain Nation Park which is not live online yet), we did another Moab trip, we travelled to Florida and on a cruise for wedding #5 and I ran the Miami Beach Halloween Half Marathon.

November…Cross Country season had ended but work with the running company picked up for our biggest race of the year (Broomfield Turkey Day 5k/10k). Then Thanksgiving brings some nice time in Estes Park as we prepare for the holiday season.

Relaxing in Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Sprague Lake

December…here we are, in December. This is when we try and play catch up with all of our jobs. Christmas was busy travelling between all of our families and we travelled up to North Dakota to see my friend and her new baby (baby #2 for her) and on to Dakota, IL for New Years and to visit Ben’s Grandparents. We even hit up TWO National Monuments on the way!

In the beginning of 2017, I set a few goals to focus on for the year. Let’s see how I did….

Running Goals –
1. To love running again (I do enjoy the sport again, but I’m not on a meticulous plan; I’ve going a week or more between runs sometimes.)
2. And work my way through hiking/running all 60 trails in the “60 Hikes Within 60 Miles” Denver Edition (I got 17 of the 60 done. I did take on a freelance writing job involving hiking for 10hikes.com which involved hikes that are not in this book. I hiked 50+ different hikes this year. Maybe 60 was pushing it, but not bad for how busy the year was.

Other fitness –
I like to be active in general and play in the great outdoors, but I have one specific goal in mind:
3. Climb 5.10s consistently (I got ONE 5.10 done!)
3a. I guess that means I better start strength training regularly again…too. (Well, I definitely worked out more than I did the previous year, but not as much as I had hoped. I did climb a 5.10 in the gym just a few weeks ago, which felt pretty good.)

Career –
4. I would like to see more clients with Golden Mountain Guides than last year
5. Learn more about the tourism industry, in particular, marketing. (We did see more clients than last year! It’s pretty awesome to see your own company grow! And I did learn  a little bit more about tourism, mostly through our own company.)

Other –
6. Travel to FIVE new places, in or out of Colorado. (Check X5! See above and all the travel we did this year! We even made it to at least 8 National Parks of Monuments).
7.  Learn about a new topic every month. (This gets 1/4 green. We started out strong, learning about Egyptian History, oceans, and I took a month to study Jumps Coaching (track and field). But as our business got busier, we put this one hold, only to pick it up in November, studying Mayan History)

Overall, I am truly glad this year is coming to a close. I’m ready for a “new start” of sorts in 2018.

Chasm Lake – One of my favorite photos from 2017.


#60HikesDenverChallenge – Roxborough State Park

(For 2017, I had a goal of getting through all 60 trails in the book “60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Denver”  While I didn’t make it through all 60 this year, I’m going to carry this goal into 2018. You’ll see these posts all 2018 as well. You can find a lot of info on each of the trails in the book, but I’ll highlight some things each time in addition to including my experience and opinion on the trail. The number below is associated with how they are labelled in the book if you have it.)

Trail #59 – Roxborough State Park: South Rim Trail
Completed: 12/3/17 | Number Completed: 17/60
Mode: Hiking
Location:  South of the city Roxborough Park (Highway 121 until it turns into Rampart Ridge Rd)
Distance: 3 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Type of trail: Hard packed dirt, balloon configuration
Exposure: Lots of shade
Facilities: Toilets, Water fountain, and picnic tables at the Visitor Center
Extra info: Park Closes at 5:00pm in the winter. Has an entrance fee, $7.00 I believe, but we have a state parks pass.

My Experience:
It had been awhile since I’ve opened up this book due to many reasons. I was grateful to have a day off a couple of weeks ago and Ben and I decided to journey somewhere we’ve never been. Roxborough State Park is about 30 minutes south of where we live. It wasn’t busy at all (given it was December), and there are a lot of quick, easy trails to choose from. We chose the trail from the book, about 3 miles long, the South Rim Trail This was a looped trail and a good option to see what the park has to offer. The rock formations here a lot like those at Red Rocks or Garden of the Gods. These beautiful reds rocks stand out against the backdrop no matter the season and color of the foliage.

-Not crowded. I’m sure it gets more crowded in the Summer, but I still feel this park is off the beaten path.
-Variety of difficulty options

-It’s not a huge park. There are only about 15 miles of trails within the park

-Bring a refillable water bottle. They no longer sell plastic, bottled water. They do have a water fountain to fill water bottles.

I would love to come back here and go for a run! It’s a great park, good for a day hike, scenic drive, and off the beaten path.

Roxborough Website

Pick up the book:

Footnotes – A Book Review

Well, well. What to say about this book…. I don’t even know where to begin.

I guess I’ll first just copy and paste the synopsis:

Footnotes – How Running Makes Us Human by Vybarr Cregan-Reid

Running is not just a sport. It reconnects us to our bodies and the places in which we live, breaking down our increasingly structured and demanding lives. It allows us to feel the world beneath our feet, lifts the spirit, lets our minds out to play, and helps us to slip away from the demands of the modern world.

When Vybarr Cregan-Reid set out to discover why running means so much to so many, he began a journey which would take him out to tread London’s cobbled streets, the boulevards of Paris, and down the crumbling alleyways of Ruskin’s Venice. Footnotes transports you to the deserted shorelines of Seattle, the giant redwood forests of California, and to the world’s most advanced running laboratories and research centers. Using debates in literature, philosophy, neuroscience, and biology, this book explores that simple human desire to run.

Liberating and inspiring, Footnotes reminds us why feeling the earth beneath our feet is a necessary and healing part of our lives.

Sounds interesting, huh? I think it was. I did read it. All of it. But I barely can recall what I read.

Okay, okay. It’s not a horrible book. There’s some good pieces in there….if you can find them or haven’t skimmed right over them. The description makes the book sound like a personal journey through running. I think that’s in there… somewhere.

On first impression, this book is dense. The chapters, and paragraphs within them, are long and overwhelming and upon opening it, I didn’t want to begin reading. Then, you start… There’s a TON of info in this book. I mean A LOT… studies, personal opinions, references to fictional literary works, and more.

I started off strong, trying to absorb all the info, but it was tiresome. The long bulky paragraphs feel like a textbook and the topics switch too quickly for me to follow. One minute we’re in the author’s personal story and then next we’re following the research of some scientist or a fictional character from a book the author studied.

Maybe the concept of the book was lost on me but I find that hard to believe because I’m a very science minded individual. Topics range from biomechanics, senses, mindset, to the treadmill and how to (literally) run wild and trespass to find a route.

My favorite chapter was the last one (and not just because it was almost over). It was about running and the creativity and freedom it can bring to one’s life. The author tells the story about their first marathon and how he accidentally finished it and about running through different countries and the social barriers to doing so.

Overall, I give the book a 2 out of 5. In my opinion, it seems to me like the author didn’t really know what they wanted to write about and just threw EVERYTHING they knew about running in to this book. The topics jump fast and I got lost. There’s just too much info to sift through. I found myself skimming a lot to find the personal stories rather than reading through the references.

A couple of quotes I did like:

“My running has become something much deeper than a habit or an exercise routine. Now it is part of who I am. It is a part of my personality. I am unsure which came first, or what came from what: am I more self-reliant because of my running, or am I running because I am more self-reliant? The same goes for resilience: I feel like it has taught me how to be in my own company, and continues in helping me to maintain perspective.”

“Running doesn’t have to exercise. it doesn’t have to done to make you ‘strong’ or ‘fit’. It doesn’t even need to be done as a sport – it can be done entirely for its own sake”

-Vybarr Cregan-Reid

Don’t believe me and the synopsis still interested you? Add it to your Goodreads list or buy it on Amazon:

Climbing Free – A Book Review

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a book review and usually they are about running. Today, I have a climbing book for you!

I have been looking for some climbing inspiration, help with trying to overcome fear and get on some harder climbs. In addition, it’s hard to find fellow female climbers to look up to. They’re out there, don’t get me wrong, but I haven’t found them (or the ones I do know have completely different schedules than me so I don’t get to climb with them).

Anyway, I was googling climbing books and I came across Lynn Hill’s book. I had heard of Lynn Hill and her amazing skill before (first to free climb the nose in Yosemite), but I didn’t know much else about her, so I decided to buy the book and see if I could find some inspiration. I brought it to read on my backpacking trip in the Tetons. With an attempt to climb the Grand, that seemed a great time to read it.

The book is fun to read and flows really well starting with her childhood life, how she started climbing, and goes through her climbing career. While, I’m jealous that she was naturally a good climber in the beginning, she did work really hard to improve her skills. She also goes into her accident (a bad fall) and how tough it was to come back from that as well as making a career out of climbing, something she is super passionate about.

My favorite chapter was about her success climbing the nose. I don’t want to give anything away, so read the book to see her journey, but after many attempts, she became the first person, a woman nonetheless, to free climb the nose in a day.

I do want to note that the only thing I didn’t like about the book is that it seems that she talks about someone that died in the sport of climbing, alpinism or mountaineering in every chapter.  She wasn’t there for any of them, but talks about friends and colleagues that were on other trips and expeditions and passed away. That really freaked me out and still has been on my mind.

While the book didn’t really give me the inspirational jump to get back out there or overcome my fears, it was a good read. It did give me hope that if you keep working at it, you can find a career doing what you love. If you’re a climber, I highly suggest this book!

Add this book to your Goodread’s “want to read” list!

 Check out the book online!