Humble Pie In Peru May23

Humble Pie In Peru

I don’t think I’ve ever been more physically and mentally drained in my life, and we’re not even down yet. Here we are, searching for tracks that don’t exist, lost in a maze of towering seracs and avalanche chutes. Everyone is tired, hungry, and whether or not they will admit it, a...

Here Comes The Judge

In 1998 I was too inept to drive a harness racing horse, too poor to own one, too green to train one, but I was pretty good with details and a good observer. In May I was licensed by the United States Trotting Association as an Associate Race Judge. Of our fifteen-member licensing class I was...

Horses

Once in this vast old country, a man could ride forever on his horse. No more. The rest of the world’s gone and filled in the map, fenced in the plains and closed up the range. The land’s been cut up, for strip malls and subdivisions, fast-food burgers.  And the horse has gone and trotted right out of most peoples’ mind. But there’s something between us, people and horse, that runs deep. Too deep for the modern world to make disappear all together. See, horse brings it back to the beginning, when man got new legs. Great civilizations rose up on the back of horse, great distances crossed. The lives we live were born on...

Danger! The Airport

Overall, I’m a pretty cautious traveler, though an adventurous one. I like to research my destinations and know what I’m getting myself into. Learning about what to do, what to not do, places to see, and what to watch out for can be helpful when heading to a new culture in a new part of...

Trek To The Top

WE BEGIN our two-day trek in the Swiss Alps after a family lunch at a charming mountain café.  My brother, my two adult kids, my partner, and I then say goodbye to the rest of the family and peel off to start our climb. We hope to reach the Swiss Alpine Club hut near the Col des Chamois, where we’ll spend the night, before the sun goes down. Hiking in the Alps—with its well-marked trails and the occasional farmhouse café offering local wine and cheese—may be more civilized than hiking in the Rockies—where I live—but it’s no less challenging a climb. The sun grows hotter and the trail becomes steeper as we hike up the mountain....

Hope & Sherpas

KICK-STARTED by the desire to give something back to the people and communities of unsung heroes in the Khumbu Valley, the Khumbu Climbing School started nearly 10 years ago. A non-profit named in honor of beloved climber Alex Lowe, the organization fulfills his wish to bring education and...

Shoe Shopping In Del...

OUR FIRST MORNING in India, my grown kids—whose father is from New Delhi—and I go shopping in the market nearby for chappals (sandals). The air is new-morning fresh with a hint of burning trash. Around us, shopkeepers are unlocking the padlocks on their shop fronts, rolling the garage-like...

Descent Into Beauty

The tail of the rope made a snapping sound as it hit the ground after being pulled from the anchor.  I glanced down canyon, a rush of excitement and anxiety mixed in my stomach.  Once that first rappel rope was pulled, the only way out was down and through.  We gathered the rope,...

The Taj Express

I stand in the open doorway of the train, watching the dusty villages and bright yellow mustard fields of India whoosh by. My soon-to-be husband and brother-in-law have finally given up on trying to get me to sit down with them in the seats we snagged when we got on the train earlier that day....

Speaking Chinese, Al...

Last week I had my first, scheduled, online discussion with “Amy” from Rosetta Stone. When I finished, I wished I knew how to say “Oy vey!” in Mandarin. A “scheduled online discussion” in Rosetta World means that for thirty minutes you get to talk to someone who is a native speaker...

Reflections

Without thought or agenda, the earth inhales and exhales, extends and breaks down, meanders and reflects. Glassy lakes naturally mirror the shore-side trees and mountain peaks, offering an alternate view of the leafy branches that reach over the waters’ surface, as roots navigate the soils beneath. An opposing view and a change of perspective: a way we can look down, rest our eyes and observe again. Slow down, reflect. The trees do not need to be reminded to be calm and think; they grow steadily and with purpose. The mountains are not told to remain steady and strong, but still dominate our landscapes. However, the importance of gratitude...

Climbing High in Mallorca Jan28

Climbing High in Mal...

Mallorca, Spain– a small island just off the coast to Barcelona– is a premiere winter climbing destination for anyone looking to catch some sunshine and climb some of the raddest limestone cliffs in the world. There are oceanside cliffs, mountainous caves, and crags dotting the...

Weathered Woods

In the high country of Colorado, the weather affects everything–it is inescapable.  From the growing of crops to raising cattle, ranchers make nearly every move based upon the weather, taking it as it comes.  Where is the history of the seasons?  It’s in the leathery wrinkles...

Ode To A Season

The crackling sound of fallen leaves under foot seems deafening, each step threatening to give away my position. The moisture in my breath crystallizes as it leaves my mouth, just another reminder that the warmth of summer is quickly retreating along with the hours of sunlight. The quaking...

Lost And Found In The Desert Jan01

Lost And Found In Th...

What can I say, this was one hell of a birthday. Most people in their early twenties like to spend their birthdays ten beers in, locked in the bathroom for most of the night. Here I am hundreds of feet up a seldom visited sandstone wall, both hands and feet pulling and pushing on questionable...

Above The Clouds

Up above the clouds there exists a plain, wooden sign. It is simple in nature, merely decorating the border of states conceived long ago in the heads of our forefathers. It also serves as an adequate landmark for a Kodak moment that one day will be forgotten. The states mentioned above are...

Max Patch, NC

Long ago, a patch was cleared on a 4,000 foot mountain in the Appalachians of North Carolina.  A horse named Max used to graze there and keep the forest from taking it back.  He also gave the place its name.  After Max passed on, biplanes used the bald as a landing strip, as it was the largest clearing anywhere around.  But for us, a band of dirty thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail, it provided quite the place to spend one beautiful and rowdy evening. The Appalachian Trail runs 2,100 miles from Georgia to Maine and each spring thousands of hikers attempt it in one fell swoop, or a thru-hike as it’s known.  People shed their lives...

Monsoon Watch

I am fully preparing to jump into a monsoon in two weeks’ time. That is to say, I will be traveling with sixteen fellow backpackers and Calvin Sun, whose rousing story and headstrong travel philosophy –-’monsooning’-– were recently featured in USA Today. The trajectory of...

Rumney Crags Nov30

Rumney Crags

Rumney, New Hampshire is one of the most famous sport climbing crags in North America, featuring hundreds of sport routes on high quality schist rock cliffs. Ranging from vertical faces to technical slabs to over hanging pump-a-thons, the crags have sport routes for climbers of all abilities....

Life Through My Eyes

I am 14 years old, born in Boulder, Colorado, raised in Frenchtown, Montana. And this is life through my eyes. I have been raised with a very loving family, and everything I could ask for: a house, a sport to love, the support to do it. Photography is not about having the DSLR camera, a five...

Climbing Without A Rope Nov05

Climbing Without A Rope

Derek Hersey came to the States from England and fell in love with the rocks of Colorado. The sport of free-solo climbing is one that draws gasps from anyone who witnesses it.  The 60 minutes story on Alex Honnold brought it to the attention of a much larger audience; but Derek Hersey had no interest in climbing for fame.  In this documentary, footage collected over his decade of climbing is strung together to reveal the character of a man who was driven by a passion to live free—-and high up in the...

The Snake & The Pyramid

Along we went, a tiny black ant and I, baking under the Mexican sun.  Walking in my shadow, it carried an insect over its head to some unseen destination.    Other ants came marching in from the forest, by the hundreds, falling into formation like freeway traffic.  But in short time they came upon their colony, the dirty pyramid that marked the labyrinth below, the ants’ monument to civilization.  Around it they gathered in a frenzied pile of black, no one different from any other. From up ahead my aunt called my name, waving between passing people in the middle of the trail.  Down the path lay the ruined Mayan city of Chichen Itza...

Golden Aspens

We set out on our journey to find aspens in their full glory . . . and find them we did.   We wander, basking in the hues of flaming gold.   “There is a profoundness in this beauty,” she says, “listen to their whispers.”   A river of gold.   The...

African Banjos

Béla Fleck is the best banjo player out there.  He went to Africa to rediscover the roots of his instrument and play with the native musicians of Uganda, Tanzania, Gambia, and Mali in his 2009 documentary Throw Down Your Heart.  In this clip, a thumb-piano player named Ruth throws down her...

Chinese Experience

The year was 1980, just two years after President Nixon opened the doors of China for the United States to engage in trade negotiations.  Of course, the whole world was anxious to begin trading with China, since the massive country had closed itself off since 1945 and the rise of Mao Zedong....

Pura Vida. Costa Rica.

In Costa Rica, the local ticos and ticas have a saying . . . Pura Vida!  That means the pure life, and it is the answer to every question.  It comes down to the fact that when the pace of life slows down and the beauty of the natural world surrounds, nothing can get in the way of being real.  Guide Juan Carlos Rodriguez has captured a glimpse of the pure life in his beautiful photographs from the old-growth Rain Forest, and the flora and fauna that call it home.  Enjoy.  And, Pura...

Boulderites

I’d been away from Boulder for a while.  Busy with some travelling and a brief stint in the big city, I hadn’t dropped into the valley for over a year; but coming over that hill and seeing the Rocky Mountains rise up behind town made me forget why I ever left.  After driving...

The Real Patagonia

The South American sun sets on Punta Los Lobos–Point of the Wolves.  The breakers start here and travel a mile in to shore where they crash on the beach at the tiny surfing town of Pichilemu, Chile.   La Araucaria, or the Monkey Puzzle–half cactus, half pine tree.  My...

Documentary Open Mic

In 2012, Brian Wilson explored the open mic music scene in Boulder, Colorado.  His documentary film features local artists, Tommy & the Tangerines, Rosi Jim, and Occupy Forever, following their stories as up-and-coming musicians while they encounter the excitement and the struggle of life...

I’ll Swim

I wake up in the bed my mother slept in, surrounded by the things that were hers.  It’s almost exactly as it was the day she died two years ago.  Sunlight has been streaming through the windows for hours and I am getting out of bed.  I tell myself I have to, I will myself to move because...

Witcher Ranch

In the spring, the calves start coming.  Coveralls get put up on the winter rack, chickens start laying eggs once again, the days get warmer and the sun shines longer.  And with every birth the herd grows in size, so long as the coyotes keep away.  This year, by Cinco de Mayo, all but one...

Going Home

You wake up at 4 a.m. The sirens blare outside your window, almost drowning out the incessant noise of college bars and trains of revelry rolling nowhere. You toss. You turn. Looking out the window, you try to remember what exactly a waterfall looks like, and how it felt when the water danced...

Moab, UT

We turned off our cell-phones just as we reached the city limits.  For the next two weeks everything that happened had nothing to do with technology—we were off the grid and driving straight into the desert of Moab, Utah. The rendezvous with the rest of the party was set for main street,...

Deep Slotty Canyons

Exploring takes on many forms and, indeed, it happens in many places.  One of the most unique types of exploring is certainly canyoneering, and particularly the intricate and constricting type that occurs in slot canyons.  Squeezing, chimneying, shimmying, and sometimes even wading through the dark slits of Earth leaves one wondering if a flash flood will come rushing down at any moment–or will the canyon suddenly end in a two-hundred foot fall.  This film provides a first-hand look into the North Wash canyon adventure, on top the head of Sam Goodhue, avid canyoneer and frequenter of the Utah desert.  Here we have a two-part film,...

You’re Not Wel...

There are places you aren’t supposed to be.  Sometimes it’s a real place on the map; other times it’s in the depths of a dissentious conversation.  In the grip of China’s tightly control world, it didn’t take long to find myself in the middle of both. The trip was straightforward...

Falling In Love With...

As I laid in bed, trying my best to fall asleep on a hot night in Paris, my mind was filled with all the beautiful city sights that I had seen since I arrived two weeks earlier. The stuffy air clouded my thoughts, however, so I went to the window, threw it open, and stared out at the...

The Door

I swallowed down the last of the Glenlivet 12-year single malt.  The condensation had dripped off the glass onto an old copy of Walden sitting on my nightstand.  I sat on the edge of the bed staring at the piles of dirty clothes on the floor and ran my hands through my greasy hair. It was...

Honeymoon Bus

Thanks to Jason and Allie Hopper for allowing me to repost this journey from their honeymoon adventure. This, like the last post, is a repost from thesamba.com recounting LadyFriend®’s and my honeymoon this past summer. It was written while on the road and will be posted here in...

What Is Adventure?

It’s been almost a month since we launched Expedition Underground, and now—more than ever—I ask myself the question, ‘what is adventure?’   I thought I knew, but I’m not so sure anymore. There’s the standard definition: an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks....

The Maine Life

The cliffs and ocean of Portland, Maine hold many stories.  Hard working fisherman wake up at 4am to haul traps by hand, from sunrise to sunset.  The long, cold winters expose the fishing crews to much danger, the sight of shipwrecks in the freezing waves a permanent reminder. But  on Sundays the fisherman get a break, for on that day fishing is illegal–it’s God’s day.  All these stories came to mind as I walked the docks in late Spring, taking pictures of the boats and the cliffs where the Portland Headlight warns fishermen of the rugged shore. In Portland, winter is bitter and spring is rainy, but summer is...

Along The Riverbank

Cradled in the calm of spring, the sounds of the rising river move me. Savoring the grasses, wildflowers and honeysuckle that encircle me, I look out over the field and begin breathing again. I cross the lush green and enter into a small entrance encouraged by redirecting branches and vines. A...

Rushmore

A breeze wrapped the flag around its post.  In that warm summer afternoon only the tips fluttered back and forth and the wire clanked against the metal pole holding it in the air. Other flags waved around, but this one hung up there, red, white, and blue. “They’re smaller than I...

Teva Mountain Games

Sometimes one word is all you need.  In this case, you can find it on the bottom of a shoe. Slacklining at the Teva Mountain Games in Vail, CO.   A glimpse into the twilight slopestyle mountain bike jam.  Athletes, musicians, and fans gathered to party in the mountains and show why...

The Desert Rats

We were wild maniacs coming down the valley, out of the barren desert above.  None of us had seen fresh water for almost a week, and the discovery of a spring gushing out of the rock forty feet above sent us into a frenzy.  We danced around in the mist, screaming like animals.  The...