Both of our sons are Eagle Scouts and I was recently asked to write a post for the national Boy Scout blog, The Voice of Scouting. It was quite an honor, and you can read it here:
Boy Scouts enriched our family in numerous ways. We learned valuable information in many areas, had lots of quality time on camp outs, ski trips, and hikes, and volunteered countless hours in the service to others.
I will be forever grateful to Boy Scouts for its part in helping our sons become the wonderful young men they are today.
When I was six, I had a hamster named Whiskers. She would rip around the house in her hamster ball and I always felt jealous of the fun she was having. Little did I know that human hamster balls, called zorbs, would be invented 18 years later in New Zealand.
The 2009 season of The Amazing Race (an American TV show where contestants race around the world performing exciting challenges) was the first time that I was introduced to zorbs and it looked every bit as fun as I had imagined as a six year old.
When my weekly perusing of Groupon had a deal for zorbing, I was ecstatic! I wasn’t aware there was a place in Colorado to do it. The deal was offered by a tubing company and the picture accompanying the deal was of the tubing hill. Perfect! It may not have been the rolling green hills of New Zealand, but a snowy slope of Colorado wouldn’t be too shabby either. Read More
Always looking for new things to do, I peruse Groupon weekly. Sometimes the adventures I find are a hit and sometimes a miss, but Epic Sky Trek in Castle Rock, Colorado was a bullseye!
It is a massive four level (ground floor plus three levels) aerial trekking beast. There are over 110 challenges and the difficulty goes up the higher you go. A color coded system lets you know exactly what the difficulty of a challenge is before attempting it.
Harnessed in with two lanyards, safety is paramount. The lanyards don’t just have carabiners. They have special hooks that can only be disengaged one at a time, so it is impossible for you to be completely unhooked from the safety cables at any point. Read More
I’ve never really been into Astronomy. Sure, I enjoy a starry sky, a full moon, and Southern Cross by Crosby, Stills and Nash, but Orion and the Big Dipper are as far as my constellation knowledge goes and we’ve broken out our telescope twice in the last 13 years.
When I heard that we would only be a couple of hours away from totality in the American Solar Eclipse, I planned on going. I’m an “experience as much as you can” kind of gal and seeing a total solar eclipse seemed like something one should experience in their lifetime. Read More
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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