Chasing Summer: Puerto Rico

Every time I return to the sea, I am reminded how essential it is to my being. My short trip to Puerto Rico was no exception. From the moment I inhaled the sticky sweet island air, I was enamored.

Honestly, I accomplished pretty much nothing I intended to do while visiting Puerto Rico. There wasn’t any climbing, nor did I get my drink in a pineapple, nor did I even so much as set foot on a trail. But I had a wonderful trip.

IMG 3207 1024x1024 Chasing Summer: Puerto Rico IMG 3147 1024x514 Chasing Summer: Puerto Rico

Instead, I explored the culture and history of San Juan (and Viejo San Juan) during my brief stay. I practiced my Spanish – which got oh-so-good by the end of the week – and ate more mofongo than should be humanly possible.

Our first day in San Juan was spent searching for beach towels (to no avail, I ended up just buying a sarong, which I love) and getting caught in thunderstorms on the beach. Once we resigned ourselves to getting totally soaked, we stashed our bags under a bush and dove into the ocean – which is where we spent the entire afternoon.

IMG 3111 1024x768 Chasing Summer: Puerto Rico

IMG 3153 1024x493 Chasing Summer: Puerto Rico Y’all, I really need some more ocean in my life.

We stayed at the San Francisco Posada Guesthouse, a lovely hostel in Old San Juan located at the top of a gorgeous old building. The balcony overlooks a round courtyard where merchants peddle homemade goods, and the surrounding cobblestone streets are filled with cafes, little bars, and souvenir shops.

IMG 3196 1024x768 Chasing Summer: Puerto Rico IMG 3137 1024x636 Chasing Summer: Puerto Rico

Unsure of how to best soak up the nightlife scene, we put on our heels and wandering down to explore. By chance, we bumped into three adorable Puerto Rican college students who beckoned us to join them for “the big party at La Perla.

In my mind, it was a nightclub I had heard about. In reality, it was a locals-only street party held in one of the oldest parts of town. Young people flooded the streets, music pumped from every open door, vendors cooked street food, and everyone was drinking this awful sangria that came in a pouch with a built-in straw. It was perfect. Our three new friends were so kind and hospitable. We eventually lost them in the hectic crowd, but they texted us to make sure we got home safe.

The following morning was spent recovering from our foray into the depths of Puerto Rico’s local party scene. We explored the streets between thunderstorms, and gorged on seafood for our last meal.

IMG 3159 1024x390 Chasing Summer: Puerto Rico IMG 3170 1024x1024 Chasing Summer: Puerto Rico

And then just like that, my first visit to Puerto Rico was over. But I’m determined to come back, and spend a lot more time on the island. The climbing scene potential is huge, and after hearing that Puerto Rico is struggling economically, it blows my mind that there isn’t already an initiative with the tourism board to promote climbing. What better place to escape winter than the crags of Puerto Rico? Who’s with me, lets go back and crush!

Chasing Summer: A Declaration

There’s somewhat of a war going on out there – and we all need to pick a side. I noticed the first battle cry last weekend while driving through the Colorado mountains on a mini road trip: a small army of Aspen trees defiantly emblazoned with leaves turning an unmistakable hue of gold. Little leaves fluttering in the wind, flashing a suspiciously yellow color.

We’re sitting on the cusp of seasonal change.

For some, this is a small hint towards victory. A promise that summer’s hot and humid occupation of the earth is coming to an end. It’s a first little outcry in the name of winter.

That’s why I’m flying 38,000 feet in the air right now, my suitcase full of bikinis and sandals stowed in the compartment above my seat. Summer is ending in Colorado – so I’m ditching the mountains and heading to the sea.

photoplane 1024x682 Chasing Summer: A Declaration

I refuse to give up summer just yet.

All around me, folks are latching on to any sign of the upcoming winter. And I ain’t havin’ it. While some of you are already unpacking your skis and eyeing the snow forecasts, I’m fighting to hold on to every last instance of summertime bliss.

Don’t get me wrong ­– autumn is one of the best seasons. Crisper air gives way to cozy mornings and prime climbing conditions. My birthday is on its way. I love the fall, but I also hate it – because I have no greater enemy than that which comes when those yellow Aspen leaves finally lose their life and fall to the ground. I loathe winter. It’s wonderful for my productivity, but I’d much rather exist without it.

There are two sides to the war that’s about to break out – and I’m choosing to continue chasing summer.

While all you snow bunnies prepare for the first snowfall, I’ll be out in Puerto Rico, Spain, and Ibiza. Waking up along the coast, eating gelato to cool off while exploring hot city streets, and spending as much time in the ocean as possible. I’ll give in to winter eventually, but join me while I chase the remnants of warm weather for as long as possible.

Explorer Series adventures with Mile High Clothing

A few months ago, photographer Jason Gebauer asked if I could play model for an afternoon so he could get some lifestyle photos for a local apparel brand, Mile High Clothing Co. I instantly fell in love. When MHCCO invited me and fellow lady adventurer Tiffiny Costello (you can read her take on our adventure here) to take a little road trip for a photoshoot to launch their new #ExplorerSeries project, I hopped on board without hesitation.

The original plan was to head to the Maroon Bells area, and summit a 14-er. A combination of sketchy weather and dreading the thought of sitting in I-70 holiday weekend traffic redirected our adventure towards Buena Vista. It’s a short 2.5-hour drive from the city, making it a perfect weekend escape.

Tiffiny and I loaded my hatchback with camping and climbing gear, then hit the road towards the mountains. We got a late start (two introverts + a lazy Saturday morning = slow going), and spent the first day scouting locations and exploring the area around Mt. Princeton and the Arkansas River.IMG 00281 1024x1024 Explorer Series adventures with Mile High Clothing

Our destination allowed us to avoid the major holiday traffic rush, but we didn’t quite plan the camping situation – every developed site was 100% full. Luckily, a very kind ranger drove us out to a spot called “Dan’s Land.” It’s quite literally this dude Dan’s land, where he allows primitive (read: no fires) camping for free.

The initial sentiment was that we were both ready to call it a night as soon as we got our tents pitched in the dark. Then we looked up, and the milky way beckoned us to bust out our cameras to play around with some night photography. We ended up staying up for hours, and took a lot of photos.

IMG 0398 1024x682 Explorer Series adventures with Mile High Clothing IMG 0402 1024x682 Explorer Series adventures with Mile High Clothing IMG 0420 1024x682 Explorer Series adventures with Mile High Clothing

The next morning we awoke to contend with another faux pas: we brought a stove, but forgot to pack the propane. Oops. The issue was quickly solved by tossing our firewood into a grill at a day use area back at the campground we had hoped to stay at the night before.

Nothin’ like making breakfast the old fashioned way, y’all! It took more than a few attempts to get the fire blazing, but eventually we had ourselves a little morning feast.

DSC 7733 1024x678 Explorer Series adventures with Mile High Clothing DSC 7746 1024x678 Explorer Series adventures with Mile High Clothing IMG 0436 1024x682 Explorer Series adventures with Mile High Clothing

We spent the rest of the day hopping from one beautiful outdoor location to the next. I am absolutely smitten with the area between Buena Vista and Salida, and can’t wait to return for more adventures. We hiked up rainy hillsides, did a little chossy bouldering, played by rivers, and got our fill of fresh air in our lungs before retreating back to city life.

Between both of our iPhones, Tiffiny’s Canon + GoPro, and my Nikon – we ended up with a massive pile of photos. Here’s a little taste of some of my favorite images we ended up with:

IMG 04431 1024x682 Explorer Series adventures with Mile High ClothingDSC 7815 1024x678 Explorer Series adventures with Mile High ClothingDSC 7748 1024x678 Explorer Series adventures with Mile High ClothingIMG 0465 1024x682 Explorer Series adventures with Mile High ClothingDSC 7847 1024x678 Explorer Series adventures with Mile High Clothing

PS: All photos of me were taken by the lovely Tiffiny Costello. Anything else featured in this post was taken by me.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Mile High Clothing on Instagram – you can see our photos from our #ExplorerSeries takeover. I had a fantastic time, and can’t wait to see what the project evolves into. Thanks for supporting our adventures, Mile High Clothing!

Why I Still Drink (Just One) Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks

This morning, I woke up and it was suddenly autumn. An evening storm cooled the air down to a crisp breeze, and my open windows let the chill drift beneath my blankets. I’ve never been so excited to shiver. Something felt different – special somehow – but I couldn’t put my finger on it until I noticed that today is basically a national holiday: pumpkin spice lattes are back! I immediately put on a beanie, flannel shirt, and leather boots, then skipped my way to the nearest Starbucks.

IMG 2881 1024x768 Why I Still Drink (Just One) Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks

Here’s the thing: I know Starbucks isn’t the best. I am fully aware there’s no pumpkin in their lattes. I also understand that in lieu of pumpkin, they pump their flavored lattes with cancer-causing, questionable ingredients – but for the duration of this grande pumpkin spice latte I have in my hands, all bets are off. (After today, it’s back to my homemade pumpkin spice latte recipe, with real pumpkin).

So why did I spend $3.26 on a pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks this morning?

Yes, this is about that first sip when the frothy whipped cream and a splash of spiced coffee hit my tongue for the first time – but it’s about so much more than that. This is a calculated symbolic gesture that I’ve participated in for years. It’s an annual milestone I feel compelled to complete. It marks the changing of seasons, the beginning of the best time of year (and not just because my birthday is getting closer).

This artificially flavored pumpkin beverage is a symbol of the beginning of bouldering season.

It’s a hint towards the changing colors of leaves.

It means I get to unearth my scarves, hats, and long socks from the depths of my closet.

Sadly, it also means that winter – my least favorite season – is also on the way. But we’ll ignore that for now, focusing instead on the beauty and glory that fall brings.

And so, I’ll continue to shamelessly indulge in this horrifyingly unhealthy pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks – because of what it means to me. And in a few hours, when my belly is aching from all the chemicals leaching into my body, I might feel the slightest tinge of regret, but the excitement and anticipation of the upcoming season will remain. (But seriously, go make your own pumpkin spice lattes. It’s not that hard.)

Do you indulge in Starbucks ever? (I know some of y’all are addicted!)
What’s your favorite symbol of changing seasons?

What’s in my pack? #FLtoCO Road Trip Edition

In exactly 12 hours from this very moment, I’ll be on a red-eye flight down to my hometown, Miami. I’m heading south for a few reasons: I am in desperate need of some sea-time, I’m celebrating my little sister’s graduation, and we’re embarking on a cross-country road trip to move her out to Denver! Instead of the usual two-day haul I usually struggle through during drives from Florida to Colorado, we decided to make an adventure out of it.

First, we’re heading up the Florida coast to Tallahassee to see my pup, Amble, and climb at Tallahassee Rock Gym. We’ll visit my sister’s friend in Atlanta before heading to Chattanooga for my favorite part of this trip: climbing at Stone Fort and a visit to the Tennessee Aquarium! Then we’ll jet westward, stopping to visit family friends in Kansas City and exploring along the way.

Since my sister will be bringing everything she owns in her little sedan, I’m trying to pack as light as possible. I’m only bringing my Topo Designs Klettersack, and my new Keen sling I picked up at Outdoor Retailer last week. Here’s a quick peek into my #FLtoCO road trip bag:

IMG 2607 1 1024x729 Whats in my pack? #FLtoCO Road Trip Edition

Gear:

  • 1 Nalgene
  • 1 new pair of La Sportiva Testarossas
  • 1 Kendal Jackson chalkbag
  • a roll of athletic tape
  • Metolius brush
  • my Nikon D7000
  • Lumia 1020 (best smartphone pictures of all time)
  • GoPro
  • 2 Goal Zero charging sticks
  • a heap of chargers

Clothing:

  • Swoob leggings + sportsbra
  • tasc performance Nola leggings 
  • 3 tank tops (including my Dirtbag Climbers tank, of course!)
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 1 light sweatshirt
  • 1 severely mismatched bikini
  • 3 pairs of socks + 4 pairs of undies
  • 3 pairs of shoes (sandals, red sneakers, and the wedges I’ll wear to the airport)

Stuff:

  • ClimbOn! sunscreen and creme
  • Joshua Tree travel-sized salve
  • Mini make-up arsenal
  • 2 pairs of prescription Ray-Bans (reading + sunglasses from SportRx)
  • Bobby-pins. Lots of bobby-pins.
  • Moleskine notebook + pen
  • headphones

PS: Yeah, I wear make-up. I’d like to think I’m a fairly low-maintenance kind of lady, but I totally require four basic products every day: powder, liquid corrector, white eyeliner (my secret weapon), and mascara. No shame, folks!

I am beyond stoked about visiting family, cannon-balling into the pool, and hitting the road with my sister for our first big adventure together. Lucky for y’all, she’s absolutely gorgeous – because she’s about to become a familiar face on The Morning Fresh! Stay tuned for the fun, and follow the #FLtoCO hashtag for all our shenanigans!

8 Reasons You Need to Watch Reel Rock 9’s Valley Uprising

While doing the rounds at Outdoor Retailer last week, I bumped into one of my favorite people on the planet, Billy Brown, who just so happened to have an extra pass to the Reel Rock film tour‘s advance screening of the new Valley Uprising documentary. The upcoming film release hadn’t even crossed my mind, so I was stoked to get to catch a sneak peek at it. I was expecting to just get a brief taste of the documentary, but we ended up being treated to the full (though not fully edited yet) film.

(Oh and I met Hans Florine – my opening line to him was “I can totally hold your cheese if you want!” Yeah. He didn’t let me hold it.)

10590520 10152570485579000 1390044424176230806 n 8 Reasons You Need to Watch Reel Rock 9’s Valley Uprising

Photo by: Katrin Bell (check out her blog and Facebook page too!)

The short story is: I left with sweaty palms, a full heart, and the immediate need to buy another van and go shred my hands on granite in Yosemite National Park. It was phenomenal. The long story is these eight reasons why you should absolutely attend a screening (or host your own):

1. Lynn Hill kicking ass.

I honestly don’t feel much of a need to elaborate on this one. If you’re a climber, you know who Lynn Hill is – and if you don’t you need to go hang your head in shame for a very, very long time. This documentary takes a look back at her roots, her historic accomplishments, and her crusade as the most influential woman in climbing.

RR9 Poster 241x300 8 Reasons You Need to Watch Reel Rock 9’s Valley Uprising2. Remember that time a plane full of weed from South America crashed in the Yosemite backcountry and climber’s salvaged all the reefer wreckage? Yeah. There’s that.

3. Get a little history lesson.

The number one problem with the new generation of climbers is that we don’t know enough about where “our people” came from. When you start climbing in a gym, you miss out on the tall tales and historical legends you hear out at the crag – and kids these days need a good dose of the past to fully be able to respect the future of climbing.

4. Learn some respect for your elders.

We had a purpose: only through climbing can you find yourself
– and bullshit like that.

Playing off the history lesson, Valley Uprising will make you realize how lame you really are compared to the real dirtbags who pioneered Yosemite. These folks were real bandits, evading the law and surviving off sustenance that would make your canned beans and rice look like classy cuisine.

5. Dean Potter saying things like “Climbing will always be an outlaw pursuit.

6. Because, climbers are so rock & roll.

Fueled by adrenaline and alcoholism, these dudes were true rock stars. They pushed the boundaries of possibility, brought bottles of sherry up big walls, got arrested by park rangers, and left the ladies with enamored with their legendary lifestyles. I mean, they pillaged a drug-smuggler’s plane wreck to fund their shenanigans – it doesn’t get more rock & roll than that, kids.

7. Fall in love with Yosemite.

I know this is pretty much blasphemy, but I don’t always really love Yosemite valley. Nowadays there are too many crowds and too much concrete – and let’s not even talk about how the camping situation. I’m salty about Yosemite, but this film softened me to the core and reminded me why the valley is such an important place for every climber. The granite formations and pure magic of Yosemite are unlike any other place on the planet. Every inch of the park is teeming with history, beauty, and wildness (well, maybe not some parts of the valley, but you can still find wildness if you look hard enough). There’s a reason so many climbers have found themselves hopeless addicted to Yosemite throughout so many decades.

8. It’s unlike any Reel Rock film before.

Unifies multiple generations of climbers and stories though a single place. The cinematography is superb. The editing is some next level wizardry that brings old photos and video footage to life with movement and emotion.

Not convinced yet? Check out the trailer:

Mini Trip Report: Outdoor Retailer + Utah Adventures

For the past three years, the final stretch of summer has been marked by one event: Outdoor Retailer’s summer market in Salt Lake City. I’ve attended for the past three years, and it’s become one of my favorite weekends. OR Show is the perfect cacophony of business mixing with pleasure, free beer interrupting meetings, reuniting with old friends, and partying with the industry.

I road-tripped out to Salt Lake City with Laurie from Outdoor Women’s Alliance – we took the Wyoming route on the way out, and the southern path along I-70 on the way back (to accommodate some much needed camping after the convention). The first night celebrated old friends with a dinner hosted by Columbia Sportswear, and then it was time to get down to the dirty work on Thursday with meetings and coffee dates. Broke up the hustle of appointments with free tacos and shirt screen-printing at the annual outdoor mini-festival held by Keen – and then it was quickly back to work.

IMG 2435 1024x768 Mini Trip Report: Outdoor Retailer + Utah Adventures

On Thursday evening, one of my favorite people in the industry, (the man, the myth, the legend) Billy Brown surprised me with an extra pass to the advanced screening of Reel Rock’s Valley Uprising film. Spoiler alert: it was awesome. I’m one of the first people to get all crotchety and jaded about Yosemite Valley, but this film was so powerful it actually made me want to return to the park to climb. Definitely a must-see when the final cut is released!

By mid-morning on Friday, I was totally over the convention center. I didn’t schedule any appointments that afternoon, so my dear friend Adriana scooped me from the Salt Palace to go do a little climbing in Little Cottonwood Canyon with new friends Mary (go check out her photography right now), and her boyfriend Carlo Traversi.

But first, behold Adriana and Steven’s epic climbing set-up in their garage:

IMG 2438 1024x402 Mini Trip Report: Outdoor Retailer + Utah Adventures

When Adriana and I tossed crash pads on our back and headed towards the trail, I realized something really not okay: this was the first time I had been bouldering outside since my trip ended in late January. Whoa, dude. Never again! I foolishly left my climbing shoes behind, and borrowed a pair of rentals from the climbing gym that were not up to par – oops. Thankfully, Mary lent me her Dragons (which I am now totally in love with).

There were no sends for me that day, but just being back in a boulder field sussing out beta and cheering on my fellow climbers felt oh-so-good. We projected a sweet V4 called Twisted for a few hours before everyone had to retreat back to the convention center downtown.IMG 2442 1024x678 Mini Trip Report: Outdoor Retailer + Utah Adventures

Untitled design 7 Mini Trip Report: Outdoor Retailer + Utah Adventures

I reluctantly returned to the Salt Palace to finish up my last day at Outdoor Retailer, and made a few more rounds of socializing before it was time to head out to Park City for the Psicobloc climbing competition finals. Adriana hooked it up with all-access passes for Mary and I, and the three of us had a great time tailgating in the parking lot and cheering on the competitors. The energy at the event was palpable – I loved it!

IMG 2453 1024x567 Mini Trip Report: Outdoor Retailer + Utah Adventures

The next morning, I capped off my visit to Salt Lake City at the #hikerchat meet-up hosted by Teton Sports and Backcountry Tees. We feasted on burgers, chased pups, and did a little SUP in the park pond before Laurie and I said our goodbyes to the crew and hit the road towards Moab. Naturally, I couldn’t leave town without a visit to In & Out – how is that special sauce so tasty?

Thanks to a recommendation from Beth of 3Up Adventures, Laurie and I decided to camp at Sego Canyon near Moab for the evening. We drove quite a few miles down a well-maintained dirt road past petroglyphs and abandoned ranches to the mouth of Sego Canyon. The perfect campsite beckoned us to pitch our tents under a beautiful tree, and we both slept like babies once the sun went down.

IMG 2535 1024x411 Mini Trip Report: Outdoor Retailer + Utah AdventuresIMG 2563 1024x576 Mini Trip Report: Outdoor Retailer + Utah AdventuresIMG 2576 1024x451 Mini Trip Report: Outdoor Retailer + Utah Adventures

The next morning we woke up, munched on a few tortillas, and packed up camp. The drive back to Denver took forever thanks to the predictable weekend traffic along I-70. I love living in such an active, outdoorsy state, but it’s such a pain when everyone is trying to head back to the city from the mountains on a Sunday evening. It took us over an hour to travel 17 miles!

Now it’s back to Denver city life for a few days until I jet out to Miami on Friday! 

The Next Big Adventure(s)

I’ll be honest: when my yearlong van trip ended, I felt a bit of an adventure void. My epic climbing journey was over – so now what? For a while, I just recovered in the comforts of city life. I planned a two-week trip to Spain with my family, but other than that, my adventure agenda was wide open.

Somewhere over the last month, my adventure planning has taken a sharp turn – in a very positive direction. I got invited to backpack Conundrum Hot Springs, committed to road tripping out to Salt Lake City for OR Show, booked a ticket down to Miami, and then my old climbing friend Libbi called.

Libbi started saying things like: Puerto Rico, climbing, Spain, flights, Venice, trains, Australia let’s go.

And then I was all: YES.

When all was said, done, and booked, I realized that I’m only going to be home for 12 days from now until the end of September. My summer adventures quickly went from local playtime to hardcore exploration. I’m going to be climbing, hiking, surfing, road tripping, and writing all over the world for the next few months. My climbing + training is definitely going to kick up a notch in preparation. Let’s do this!

As you know, I’ve renewed my sponsorship with Teton Sports for another season, this time as part of their Mountain Adventurers project. I’m stoked to use their gear to haul my life around in a single pack while I travel abroad. You’ll also continue to see my photos and stories shared through Nature Valley’s social channels, and on the Sierra Trading Post blog!

photo1 2 1024x682 The Next Big Adventure(s)Here’s a rough schedule of my upcoming travel – shoot me a message if our paths will cross:

  • August 2-4 Backpacking to Conundrum Hot Springs in Colorado
  • August 6-10 Road trip to Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City
  • August 15-24 Flying to Miami, Florida (!!!) then road trip back to Denver
  • August 26-27 Routesetting Clinic with Women’s Wilderness in Boulder, Colorado
  • September 3 Baltimore, Maryland
  • September 4-8 Puerto Rico
  • September 9-18 Spain + Ibiza
  • September 19-20 Venice, Italy
  • September 21-23 Barcelona, Spain
  • October 11-19 Joe’s Valley, Utah for my birthday!
  • November TBA (Austrailia, New Zealand, Singapore, anyone?)

That’s a lot. Before I start jetsetting, I have a few little projects launching on The Morning Fresh. I’ll also be scheduling a few social media clients while I’m in Miami, and am thinking about putting together an Instagram workshop – so stay tuned!

PS: Anyone have the beta on climbing in Spain or Puerto Rico? Bonus points if you know where I can acquire a crash pad!

Five Adventurous Must-Reads for Summertime

Top 5 Adventurous Summertime Reads 1024x578 Five Adventurous Must Reads for Summertime Ah, summertime. The most magical time of the year, if you ask me. Mornings are cool out on the patio sipping iced tea, afternoons are perfect for lazy tanning at the park, and evenings just beg you to cozy up in your bed with open windows. And what better accessory for all of these sublime situations than a book?

I’ll be honest, I’m a horrible reader. As a writer, I’m pretty sure I should be reading 100x more than I usually do – so I’m trying to amp up my literary chops with five fantastic adventurous books. As I complete each publication (bear with me, I read at a sloth’s pace), they’ll get their own individual reviews, but here are the five books that will keep my nose buried deep in their pages throughout the summertime.

Great American Dirtbags by Luke Mehall

If you’ve ever dreamed of living in a van, eating canned beans for days at a time, and showering at a rate that would make your mother rather upset, this book by Luke Mehall will put you in the kind of mood where you seriously consider quitting your job to go live in the desert.

Here’s all you really need from this book to make you know you need to read it (okay, and there’s a video too):

Where do we look from hope, for America, the planet, for the human race? The dirtbags.

Slow is Fast with Dan Malloy, Kanoa Zimmerman, and Kellen Keene

When I think about writing my own book, I shudder at the thought of just cranking out a novel. It’s 2014, y’all – media is changing, and it’s wonderful when books adapt too. Slow is Fast achieves a balance of classic print form with the digital space – the book itself combines storytelling and compelling photography, all of which is complemented by an included DVD.

This piece from Patagonia Books is simply described as “A portrait of California only accessible via human-powered travel.” I adore flipping through the pages that offer constant coastal inspiration and lifestyle bliss. It’s the kind of book you flip through and think “man, I want to live like this.” And then you watch the ~30 minute film, and all you can think about is surfing, sand, and the characters brought to life by this story.

photo 1024x600 Five Adventurous Must Reads for Summertime

Unbridled by Barbara McNally

I’m not quite sure how it happened, but I’ve been really feeling the “woo, yeah women!” vibes lately. This book published by Balboa Press has totally continued to fuel that fire with a memoir chronicling one woman’s journey of self-discovery, personal acceptance, and learning how to roll with life’s punches.

I’m about halfway through the book, and McNally is currently (in the story, that is) traveling through Ireland on a mission to connect with her family history. So far there have been romantic horseback rides, sultry encounters, and enchanting scenery described with imagery. Every page evokes the misty magic of Ireland, and I’m looking forward to the next destination in McNally’s trip – which I believe is Jamaica.

On The Road by Jack Kerouac

No but seriously, I still haven’t read this book. Can you believe that? One of the most iconic adventure stories of all time – and I haven’t read it yet. As you can tell from the header image, Amble munched on the book cover a little bit, but it’s still totally readable.

Packing Light by Allison Vesterfelt

This is another book that has been on my to-read list for quite some time – I actually received it as a birthday gift from Justin Fricke last year while I was out climbing at Foster Falls. Written by Allison Vesterfelt, this piece combines my love of exploring America with a journey that ditches life’s baggage in favor exploring what we really want from our lives.

The back cover of the book pretty much sums up my own personal journey: Vesterfelt starts from a point in her life where the future is filled with visions of white picket fences and a stable relationship – and then it quickly turns into a reality of flailing to figure out your life and accumulating bills, emotions, and belongings.

My favorite part of Packing Light so far? After the last page, there’s a faux library card that invites you to pass this book onto others in the spirit of refusing baggage and spreading the art of packing light.

photo 2 1024x533 Five Adventurous Must Reads for Summertime

Summer is the perfect season to get lost in a good book ­– and I hope you join me in checking out a few of these paperbacks. Do you have a summer reading list? What’s on it? Got any additional must-read recommendations to share?

That time I was in a Backpackers Pantry commercial.

Oh my goodness. Remember that time I gave y’all a behind-the-scenes peek at my videoshoot with Backpackers Pantry at Three Sisters Park in Evergreen, CO? Well, the final video is finally up – and it’s hilariously wonderful. I had just a great experience filming this brand piece with Backpackers Pantry, give it a gander:

Let’s all just ignore that honker of a zit on my forehead. 

Too much. And those dance moves? Yeah, they told me to “be weird and outrageous and kind of tacky” – so I basically just danced exactly how I always do. No shame, folks. No shame.