The Colorado sun sets behind the mountains on the Four Mile Creek trail system in Boulder.

The #ColoradoList: One Woman’s Quest to Experience Colorado in 365 Days

In March 2014, I took a leap: With only two weeks notice, I packed up everything I owned and moved … [Read More...]

The ingredients laid out for my homemade oatmeal coconut dark chocolate chip cookies recipe.

Homemade Oatmeal Coconut Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

No matter how “healthy” I try to eat, I always end up caving to overwhelming sweet tooth cravings. I … [Read More...]

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Misadventuring + Mistakes: You Can’t Go if You Can’t Get There

With as much time as I have spent out on adventures, it shouldn't come as a surprise that I've made … [Read More...]

Colorado List: Climbing My First Multipitch in Clear Creek Canyon

Long before the #ColoradoList adventure project was born, I had a dream: I wanted to climb my first multi-pitch route. For my non-climber readers, Santiam Alpine Club describes it as: “A technical climb that is longer than a single rope length, thus requiring multiple anchors and belay stations.” Basically, I usually climb routes that are between 40 and 90 feet tall.

Playing Hooky is a 400′ tall, four pitch route in Clear Creek Canyon.

After months of not climbing at all, I decided that it would be a fantastic idea to go from couch-to-crag on my first multi-pitch climb ever. Because, why not? It was the first time I actually met the wonderful Jason Gebauer in person, and there’s no better way to really solidify a friendship than to trust someone to belay you up four hundred feet of granite while teaching you knots at hanging anchor stations.The view from the second anchor station on Playing Hooky in Clear Creek Canyon.

I was definitely a little bit nervous as I pulled on my harness and laced up my shoes, but Playing Hooky is the perfect route for a climber looking to experience their first multi-pitch. Playing Hooky has an overall grade of 5.8 – but the pitch breakdown is 5.9 on pitch one, 5.8 on pitch two, 5.7 on pitch three, and 5.8 on the final pitch. Most climbers link the last two pitches, which is what Jason and I did.

The first pitch is undoubtedly the most difficult. There are two defined cruxes on Playing Hooky, one of which is just a few dozen feet off the deck. It was my only “fall” on the route, as I had to take to totally redo my ugly footwork while trying to reach the next hold. Surprisingly, in a situation where I would usually have started to illogically panic and cry, I took on a new perspective: I started to problem solve. I employed way more hand-foot matches than are necessary on a 5.8, but managed to work my way through every tricky section I hit.

Climbing the four pitch Playing Hooky in Clear Creek Canyon.

The second half of Playing Hooky mellows out until you hit the final exposed section and have to top out. If I wasn’t the second (meaning I was on a top-rope), I totally could have lost my head in that moment – but the intimidating finale led to the most victorious view from the top. It had drizzled on us a bit during the last two pitches, and a mean wind started blowing as I approached the final set of anchors.

After clipping my daisy chain into the anchor, my climbing blinders disappeared and I was greeted with an incredible view of Clear Creek Canyon. The cars below in the parking area looked like ants, and I couldn’t even see the bottom of the wall I had just climbed. It was a proud and empowering moment, and I am so grateful to Jason for showing me the ropes (couldn’t resist the pun).
The view from the top of Playing Hooky in Clear Creek Canyon.Katie Boué at the top of Playing Hooky in Clear Creek Canyon.Heading down from Playing Hooky in Clear Creek Canyon.

After rappelling down the route, obsessively checking ourselves for ticks, and munching on a few warm strawberries, Jason and I headed up to Lookout Mountain for a little photo-shoot he wanted to do for Mile High Clothing. We set up a slack-line between two trees, and I did my best to maintain my balance without making my signature hideous try-hard faces – it was no easy task, y’all.

My toes crushed a lot of pinecones while falling off the slack-line, but I think Jason got some killers shots – I can’t wait to see the final product! Here’s a quick shot he grabbed of me on my iPhone:

Jason Gebauer's quick shot of me slack-lining while rockin' Mile High Clothing.I am proud to say that the first tick is officially accomplished on my Colorado List adventure bucket list! Thank you Jason Gebauer for entertaining my demands for photos (any one you see of me was taken by him!), letting me steal your fruit, and being such a great climbing partner!  I’m already debating which #ColoradoList excursion I should go for next – I’m thinking a big hike this weekend. Stay tuned for more as my Colorado List project continues to grow.

What’s your biggest goal outdoors?
What are you doing to move towards accomplishing it?

Honda’s Little 2015 Fit Packs a Big Punch for Adventurers

Gear testing is one of my favorite parts of my job. I’ve taken solar panels into the sun-soaked desert, beaten up trail shoes until they became shredded, and even put smartphone cameras to the dirtbag test. Pushing gear limits to prove adventure worthiness is somewhat of a pastime for me, so when Honda invited me to fly out to San Diego to test the biggest product I’ve ever reviewed, the 2015 Fit – the answer was an eager “yes, please!

I have toured the country in vehicles ranging from my infamous retrofitted Sprinter van to my Scion tC hatchback, and even a Honda Pilot. Experiencing adventure travel in such a diverse spread of four-wheeled exploration enablers has offered a wealth of perspective on what it takes to be a worthy road warrior. My Sprinter was superior for living on the road, but my hatchback was the clear victor when it came to parking at a crowded trailhead. So how would the 2015 Honda Fit perform as a car for adventurers?The 2015 Honda Fit. Photo by Katie Boué

My first impression of the 2015 Honda Fit was well, this is a pretty cute little car. Honestly, cute and little don’t exactly fit into the list of things I look for while seeking the ideal car for adventure – but then I saw the interior. Honda prides itself on the wizardry they crafted when designing a vehicle that is very compact on the outside, but packs a big punch when it comes to interior space.

The 2015 Fit has 52.7 cubic feet of cargo space – enough for multiple crash pads, camping gear, climbing equipment, and my dog. As a chronic over-packer, that was the first thing that made me start thinking the 2015 Fit could prove itself worthy of adventure. The improved design features fold-down rear seats that lay completely flat, so I could comfortably lay down a sleeping pad and car camp inside (I’m 5’4 – taller people would definitely have to lay diagonally a bit).

The rear seats can be configured in a number of ways to accommodate anything an adventurer needs to haul. Utility Mode is the previously mentioned method of laying the rear seats flat to create a large space in the cargo area – I’d probably spend most of my time with the Fit in this mode. Tall Mode lifts the bottom of the rear seats to create a bucket-style space that can fit up to two mountain bikes for easy transportation. For long adventure gear like surfboard, Long Mode makes room for equipment up to 7’9 in length. My favorite configuration is Refresh Mode: removing the front headrests and reclining the front seats all the way creates a chaise lounge set-up perfect for kicking back after a long hike or relaxing while road tripping.

Casey of Modern Hiker and Joan Hester get cozy in the back of the 2015 Honda Fit. A demonstration of how easily the 2015 Honda Fit can accomodate surfboards.
It only took one evening for the Honda Fit to win my heart as a vehicle I could easily travel in – but how did the 2015 Honda Fit perform on the road? I teamed up with Casey from Modern Hiker to test drive the Fit, and we were both instantly impressed. Driving the 2015 Fit from the streets of downtown San Diego to the coastal highways near Torrey Pines was fantastic. The acceleration is smooth, the eco-minded mileage meter keeps you motivated to drive economically, and features like a LaneWatch camera mounted on the passenger side mirror make driving the 2015 Fit a pleasant experience.

A key perk for adventurers is the quiet interior perfected by Honda. The 2015 Fit is noticeably quiet, even on a crowded highway. As someone who spends a lot of time snoozing next to rumbling semi-trucks in interstate rest stops, a sound-blocking interior is a major bonus. An impressive list of safety features further solidifies the Fit’s accolades as a great vehicle for someone who spends a lot of time traveling. Driving the 2015 Honda Fit in San Diego.Here's the thing, I totally love the Honda Fit!
For chronic road trippers, fuel efficiency is a major concern when choosing an adventure vehicle. The 2015 Honda Fit gets 33 mpg in the city, and 41 mpg on the highway – although my partner Casey managed to pump it up to 42 mpg during our test drive. I’ve driven multiple hybrids that get excellent mileage, but this is the first car with such high mileage that drove like a real, hearty car with strong acceleration.

So what didn’t I love about the 2015 Honda Fit? Honestly, not much. The Honda Link navigation system was a little bit tough to get used to (what can I say, I love Google Maps), but that was my only complaint about the car.

By the end of my time test driving with the Honda crew, I was seriously scheming ways to trade in my Scion for the 2015 Fit. My first-hand experience with the vehicle was only supported when I reached out to readers for their opinions on Fits, and found a surprising number of fellow adventurers who love their Fits – including climbers. The fellas behind two of my favorite climbing blogs, Climbing Narc and The Stone Mind both drive Fits, and lady adventurer Laurie Tewksbury said she’s never been stuck in the snow in her Fit. Check, check, and check.

I’m on a mission to figure out how I can get my hands on the 2015 Honda Fit, and make it my new adventure side-kick. Now that I’ve officially launched my new Colorado List adventure project, I need a reliable vehicle to join me for all my explorations. From a sleek moonroof and the ability to park anywhere to sturdy handling and seemingly endless cargo space, the Fit offers the perfect combination of ladylike style and dirtbag functionality.

Want to hear more about the 2015 Honda Fit?
Read the reviews from SoCal Hiker and Campfire Chic!

What’s YOUR go to adventure vehicle?

The #ColoradoList: One Woman’s Quest to Experience Colorado in 365 Days

In March 2014, I took a leap: With only two weeks notice, I packed up everything I owned and moved from my native state of Florida to Colorado only a few months after returning from a yearlong road trip. I’ve traveled from the grassy prairies in the south to the wild coats of the northwest – but no place captured my heart like Colorado. With endless outdoor opportunities, spirited local culture, and four full seasons for adventure, the Centennial State is the perfect place to explore.

As a new resident of Colorado, I am overwhelmed by how much there is to do – so I’m making it my mission to tick off every experience possible within just one year, from learning how to ice climb in the mountains to getting rowdy at a Nuggets game in downtown Denver. The #ColoradoList is a Colorado bucket list that challenges me to fill my calendar with activities that will push my limits as an adventurer, fill my belly with Colorado’s finest eats, bring me to the state’s most beautiful destinations, and open my eyes to everything the area has to offer.

THECOLORADOLIST

What’s on the list?

You can find the full Colorado List on the official page, broken down in categories like hikes, road trip destinations, and events – but here’s a quick peek at my adventurous to-do list:

1. Summit my first 14-er.
2. Stock up on fresh produce at the Boulder Farmers Market.
3. Visit all four National Parks in Colorado.
4. Go on a hot air balloon ride.
5. Have brunch at Snooze.
6. Stand at Four Corners.
7. Try mountain biking.
8. Backpack to a 10th Mountain Division Hut.
9. Ride the Pikes Peak Cog Railroad.
10. Catch a fish – and eat it.

This year is going to be one of the most transformative experiences of my life on personal and spiritual levels – and I want to make sure that adventure and new experiences are at the forefront of my journey towards becoming a more limit-testing, empowered, independent woman. Bring it on, Colorado!

Want to join me for the adventure? Keep an eye on the blog for posts after every outing, follow the #ColoradoList hashtag on Twitter and Instagram to keep up with my bucket list ticks and upcoming plans, or better yet – JOIN ME! Invite yourself along to help me complete my list, or suggest Colorado bucket list to-dos that I don’t have on my list yet (I know I must be missing a ton).

Want to help me complete my list? Can you lend me a pair of snowshoes? Want to equip me with the gear I’ll need to catch myself a fish? Interested in sponsoring a weekend trip to try ice climbing? Whether you’re an outdoor outfitter or local adventure company – I want to work with you to make my bucket list attempt a success and highlight the best brands Colorado has to offer. Please feel free to contact me for information about how to get involved!

Visit the official Colorado List bucket list page here!

It’s Official: I’m a Speaker at the Peak’s Foundation Women’s Leadership and Adventure Summit

Throughout my personal journey as female adventurer, there have been many moments of both empowerment and doubt. Am I really putting myself out there? Is my story something people really want to hear? Does this one-woman trek through life and the outdoors truly matter? Sometimes, the questioning is relentless – but every once in a while, there comes a moment that confirms to me that yes, it’s all worth it.

I am beyond proud to announce that I was asked by the Peaks Foundation to be a speaker at their annual Women’s Leadership and Adventure Summit conference in Golden, CO on July 10-13th!

The WLAS ’14 event is an incredible weekend designed to bring 50 women together for three days of personally challenging adventure activities, engaging speaking sessions from 9 successful outdoor women, and building inspired connections with fellow females who seek adventures beyond four walls. There will be yoga in the mornings, cocktails in the evenings, and a jam-packed schedule that offers women a chance to experience their choice of climbing, trekking, fly-fishing, paddle-boarding, slacklining, and more. Womens summit-usa-print

My 45-minute speaking session has been dubbed The Year of The Van: Roadside Lessons on Personal Empowerment & Building a One-Woman Brand. I have so much work ahead to transform my presentation into a tool to motivate women to find their own adventure (both on the road and through social media), but here’s a quick overview: “Spending 365 days living in a van and traveling across the country on a climbing trip offers more than just insights on adventure – it gives us the experiences and tools necessary to inspire ourselves and others to reach higher towards success in all aspects of life.

Applications have officially opened for WLAS ’14, and I would love to see some of my readers at the event. Women are invited to apply now through June 1st, but only 50 women will be accepted to the summit – so APPLY NOW!