The week approaching my 27th birthday was, frankly, a bit humdrum. I had been so busy with ‘life‘ and work that I hardly even registered it was my birthday week until someone else pointed it out. “Oh well, 27 isn’t a big deal–let’s just go with the flow on this one,” I figured, and decided to not sign myself up for any crazy climbing birthday challenges or big trips. We had a fly-fishing clinic scheduled as a work outing on my actual birthday, and that was groovy enough for me.
Every outdoorist should have an ‘adventure bug out bag’. You know, that one pack that always has your outside playtime essentials ready to go at a moments notice. In my evrgrn Kickback pack, you’ll find a Hydro Flask, my trusty notebook + pen, my Nikon D7000, an extra scarf–because autumn is upon us, chapstick, and a spare $20 in case I find a taco stand in the middle of the woods. You never know.
As it turns out, I’m a much better photographer than I am fisherman. The time I spent along Boulder Creek with a rod in my hand primarily consisted of me trying to perfect the flick of my wrist and then spending 10 minutes untangling the line. I did catch something though: a rock. The lack of freshly caught fish for dinner didn’t deter me though–I tossed my pack into the car, hauled from Boulder to Denver, and caught up with some of my favorite people for a latin feast at Cuba Cuba.
The next morning, I realized that a birthday weekend can’t just go to waste–so Mcgoo and I grabbed our packs, tossed our down comforter into the back of his Subaru, loaded up on cheese and kabob ingredients at Whole Foods, and headed towards the mountains. We ended up at West Magnolia Trailhead near Nederland, miraculously finding the perfect campsite at 3:00 PM on a Saturday. There were rolling mountain views, sprawling fields for Amble to plow through, and plenty of forest to explore. We played, relaxed by the fire, and I even got a jumpstart on my birthday resolution to start writing more snail mail. I’ll let the photos tell the story:
The air was crisp and breezy when we awoke the next morning in the back of the Subaru, with Amble’s miniature heater body squished between us. I chased Amble through the trees while Mcgoo packed the car back up in preparation for our next destination: Flagstaff Mountain for a quick bouldering session.
I expected Flagstaff to be packed with climbers on a glorious Sunday morning, but when we arrived at 9:00 AM, we found the base of Monkey Traverse deserted. When you live in Colorado, any outdoor experience that involves solitude is one to be cherished. I’ve grown wary of crowded trailheads, so it was quite the birthday present to relish having the crag all to myself.
In 36 hours, I somehow managed to turn a ho-hum birthday into a weekend of fly-fishing, camping + kabobs, climbing, and Cuban food. It isn’t always about planning epic trips or pushing yourself to the limit–sometimes, you just have to toss your pack into the back of your car and point yourself towards a little adventure. You never know what surprises are waiting for you out in the mountains.
Disclaimer: This post was written in partnership with REI. They kindly provided the Kickpack pack and compensation for my work, but opinions–as always, and forever–are my own.
*All photos of me taken by the lovely mister Matthew Mcgoogan.