Glaciers, and Bike Rides, and Brews, Oh My!

Juneau, Alaska is a very special place. It is the only US state capital that is inaccessible by road, and can only be reached by plane or boat. Interestingly, it is on the mainland, however the rugged terrain surrounding it makes road travel impossible. It also has a very colorful gold mining past.

Joe Juneau was a Canadian miner and prospector who co-founded the settlement with Richard Harris. When it was time to name the city, Juneau bought drinks for the townspeople to help persuade them to name the city in his honor. It worked.

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Having only one day in each of the ports, we had to maximize our activities. Bike & Brew was great! And it was perfect for our fairly large group. We were picked up by Cycle Alaska and driven out to Chapel by the Lake, where we got our bikes, helmets and our first glimpse of the Mendenhall Glacier across Auke Lake. It honestly didn’t look real; it was so perfect and beautiful. Read More

Snorkeling in the Last Frontier

When one of my best friends asked if we’d like to join her family on an Alaskan cruise, I was very excited. They love cruising and we love them, so of course we said yes. Alaska had been on our “To Do” list for a while and a cruise offered the opportunity to see more in less time than land travel.

Being a planner, I began looking into excursions and wanted to have our itinerary planned out well in advance. If you’re like me, snorkeling is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Alaska. Okay, maybe not. In fact I didn’t even know that was a thing, but looking for things to do in Ketchikan that caught my eye. We would be snorkeling in Alaska. Read More

Straight Dorsal Fins are a Really Beautiful Thing

When I was planning our time in Friday Harbor, Washington, I had no idea that it would turn out to be one of the very best days in all our lives, because there was actually a whole lot that could have gone wrong.

We were in Seattle for two days before leaving for Alaska, and while exploring a new city is always fun, I wanted the second day to involve the ocean, the one thing Colorado doesn’t have. After looking into different options, kayaking with orcas was the obvious choice. Sea Quest Expeditions out of Friday Harbor was exactly what I was looking for. Read More

It’s Not All Fun(icular) and Games on the Incline, But…

If you look to the west in Manitou Springs, Colorado you will see a long gash in the side of the mountain, running from its base to its summit. It’s a perfectly straight scar, bisecting the forest into north and south sections, and if you don’t know what it is, you might wonder about it. If you do know what it is, it looks intimidating as hell.  I was in that boat.

This gash is what remains of a funicular that was built in 1907 to access a hydroelectric plant at the top of the mountain. It remained in use for many years, and even operated as a tourist attraction for some time, but in 1990 a massive rock slide took it all out. The railroad ties were the only things that remained, and it was determined that the track would not be rebuilt. The Manitou Incline was born. Read More

Traveling the Iron Road

What do World War I, the Dolomites in Italy, and Telluride, Colorado have in common? The iron road aka via ferrata. I didn’t know what a via ferrata was and had never even heard the term before our German exchange student introduced it to me. His family does a via ferrata trip every summer.

During WWI, the front line between the Italian and Austro-Hungarian forces ran through the Dolomites. To help troops access high places in difficult conditions, fixed lines and ladders were installed on rock faces. The difficulty and length vary widely and while these originals are steeped in history, newer ones have popped up in the Alps. They have become very popular with adventure seekers in Europe, and I wanted to try one. Read More

To Hike 14ers, or Not to Hike 14ers: That is the Question

 

I was in trouble. Why had I thought I could do this? I could hardly keep my eyes open and the urge to lie down and go to sleep was almost unbearable. I couldn’t breathe. Ten steps, rest. Then five steps, rest. Counting out loud to keep myself going…one, two, three, four, five. Rest. The periods of rest were getting longer each time. As the altitude sickness worsened, I developed a splitting headache and nausea. To compound matters, I was working with a severely twisted ankle.

About half of a mile in, I had taken out my new camera, took a picture and a step at the same time and went down hard. I had stepped on a large rock and not only was my ankle jacked up, my new camera was in pretty bad shape.

Now I was on the side of Gray’s Peak in a very bad state, mentally and physically. At the time I wasn’t in the best of shape but I had always been a strong hiker and I knew that Gray’s was one of the “easy” ones. The problem was that I didn’t understand that hiking at 14,000’ was no joke. I hadn’t given it the respect it deserved and was paying for it. Another problem was that I had convinced myself that the temperature was going to be comparable to Everest and I was completely overdressed. I had leggings on under my pants, 3 (THREE) layers on top plus a jacket. I was so hot, but to take things off meant I had to carry them and that wasn’t happening, so I sweltered. Read More

Questival, For the Young and Young at Heart

 

When my BFF called and asked if we’d like to register as a team with them for Questival, I said sure! I had never heard of it and when I watched the promotional video it looked very intriguing.  As I read more, I knew I was going to be happy we said yes.

It’s a “24-hour adventure race that invites you to build friendships, push yourself, experience your surroundings, and have a whole bunch of fun. Your team of 2 to 6 people will do exciting, unpredictable, and downright good things you never thought possible. We guarantee it’ll be like nothing you’ve ever experienced. Read More

First blog post

My name is Julie Whitney and I live in northern Colorado with my husband and two sons. We moved here in 2004 from Southern California, looking for adventure and a different way of life. The boys were 8 and 5 then, and I was a stay home mom, so my adventures revolved almost solely around boy stuff.

Our youngest just graduated from high school and now that my day to day mom responsibilities are over, I have a sense of freedom that I have not experienced since before kids. I LOVED being a mom to two young boys, but I also love seeing them enter the world as confident, strong men (who still need their parents’ advice from time to time).

There are many people I know, especially moms, who at this stage in life feel like “it’s over”. A friend posted a picture of her son the day before graduation and said, “the beginning of the end.” This really made me sad. In my mind, this new chapter is an exciting beginning! Not just for my husband and me, but for our boys as well.

When we moved to Colorado, my parents decided to move with us. They had lived in So Cal their whole lives and I will never forget my mom saying, “This will be such an adventure! And I really believe it will help us live longer.” Tragically and ironically, she died of a brain aneurysm one week before they were to move.

She was such a vibrant and healthy person, only 60 years old and it was a harsh awakening to how fragile life is and that tomorrow may never come. My mom was a “use the best china” and “don’t save candles, burn them!” kinda gal, and I feel very fortunate to have had her as such a strong influence in my life. When she died, I was comforted in that I had no regrets as far as she was concerned. She knew how I felt about her and we had spent so much quality time together laughing and carrying on, and I cherish my memories of her.

“No regrets” became my mantra. Experience as much as you can, spend time with the people you love, and suck the marrow out of this gift of life.

I am always looking for new things to do, and the purpose of this blog is to share and review adventures with people who might be looking for new ideas themselves. I hope you’ll consider following me, and I welcome any recommendations as well.

Thanks for reading!

Julie