Hitting the Road for the End of Summer

I’m finally surrendering to the seasons – summer (almost, pretty much, but not quite yet) is over. The air is slowly shifting towards a crisp chill, and I keep spying overeager trees with gold and crimson leaves. Fine. I can jive with the thought of thick scarves and cool climbing weather. But first I need to give my beloved summertime a proper send off.

I’m hitting the road for 3,766 miles of road trippin’!

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Here’s what’s really going on: Amble is coming back to Colorado for the fall, and I need to go scoop her cute toosh from Tallahassee, Florida. Given a perfect storm of holidays and PTO and other travel plans, it just made sense to hit the road and live out of the Subaru for 10 days to complete the mission. The adventure begins with the Colorado mountain wedding of two of my favorite humans, then continues southward towards Albuquerque, New Mexico. We’re passing through Durango on the way, so I’m hoping to hop out of the car for a few hours to explore if time permits.

After trucking across Texas–seriously why is that state so damn big–I’ll make a stop in Baton Rouge to visit an OIA member and do an interview + photoshoot at their outdoor retail shop. From there, it’s to the coast. I have a serious craving for saltwater and sand, so I’m spending a few days soaking up as much salty bliss as I can before hitting my most eastern destination: Tallahassee to pick up Amble pup!

IMG_1197The forecast is promising lots of rain, rain, and more rain–but ain’t nothing going to dampen how excited I am about reuniting with my pup and basking in some saltwater. Spending a few nights cozied up in mountain cabins and seaside shacks with my adventure partner doesn’t sound too shabby either.

Do you have any end of summer trips planned? Are you ready to give up the season of sunshine and swimming holes? I want to hear your plans! Be sure to follow my journey in real-time on Snapchat (kboue), Twitter, and Instagram.

Crag Dog Adventures in Utah

Here’s the problem with human companions: They come with too many variables. Ask someone, “Want to go out on an adventure?” and your response will inevitably be a “Yes, but _____.” There’s always something – yes but I have to work, or get my oil changed, or hang out with my boyfriend.

And here’s the thing about dogs: There are no buts. The answer is always “YES!” All it takes is one sniff of your backcountry gear piled by the doorway and they’re ready to hit the road ­– no matter what the adventure is.

Amble spent the first few months of her life traveling in a big yellow van, so she’s been groomed for a life of adventure since she was a pup. Nothing thrills her more than getting her paws dirty and sprinting like a torpedo through the outdoors. And you know, she might just love Utah wilderness as much as I do.IMG_8815IMG_8842

We sought out to hop around eastern Utah for a weekend with lady-friend Alex, with Joe’s Valley and Moab as our two destinations. I packed my climbing gear, Amble brought her freeze dried raw Merrick pet munchies, and we drove off into the mountains.

After a night spent folded like origami sleeping in my hatchback, the first stop of our mini-roadtrip was Joe’s Valley – one of my favorite places on earth. After exploring a few of my favorite boulders, the heat became unbearable, so we decided to drive back down country roads to a cluster of boulders we had noticed off a dirt road.IMG_8825IMG_8827

It look less than 30 seconds of peeking around the newfound boulder field to realize that we had just happened upon a sandstone goldmine. Rocks towering 30+ feet in to the air greeted us as we bumped down a very dusty forest road. I wanted to get closer to the field, so I coaxed my little hatchback further and further down the increasingly muddy road ­– and then it happened.

My tires started spinning, mud started flying, and my forward motion quickly ceased.

We were stuck.

Frankly, I was torn between pride and concern. I’ve always loved my little Scion for breaking the mold of adventure vehicles. It’s a city slicker, but my hatchback has traveled across the country a dozen times, navigates dirt roads like a champ, and always keeps me safe. The fact that it even took me to a place where I could get it stuck was a proud moment. And then I realized that didn’t exactly change the fact that I was stuck.

Alex and I quickly gathered as many big, flat stones as we could and wedged them under my tires. She pushed, I gave ‘er gas, and after a few attempts we freed ourselves from the mud. Defeated, we parked at a primitive campsite and walked the rest of the road to the boulders. Amble much preferred the walking over the driving.IMG_8819

I won’t say exactly where we were, because I’m selfish and want to go back there to scrub those dirty boulders until they resemble the beautiful lines they deserve to be. But the point is: these boulders are the real deal. While Amble investigated every inch of dry, cracked mud with her heeler nose, Alex and I set to work inspecting the rock faces and dreaming up boulder problems.DSC_0341 DSC_0326

Drained from the sun and stoked on our discovery, we retreated to the valley for another night crammed in my hatchback as rain pounded the desert outside. Left with soaked boulders, we ditched Joe’s Valley a few hours before sunrise and took off towards Moab.

Big Bend Boulders is one of the most convenient bouldering spots out west, if you ask me. It’s not the biggest, or the boldest – but it’s easy, sunny, and a great place to spend an afternoon. I showed Alex a few of my favorite lines, and we took turns flailing on projects and tossing sticks for Amble to chase.IMG_8861 DSC_0416DSC_0378DSC_0454

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Summer is starting…

I spend a lot of time collecting pieces of plans. Ideas for collaboration, e-mails from gear companies, inklings of grand adventures. Inevitably, most of these half-baked notions never come to any sort of fruition – but when they do, it usually happens all at once. Like right now.

It started with unexpectedly with mystery e-mails about a mystery trip that will have to remain a mystery until further notice – but then the (sharable) details of half a dozen more plans started falling into place too.

First, I dotted a few i’s and crossed a few t’s to start a partnership with Merrick Pet Care as ambassadors to celebrate the launch of their newest all-natural dog food line. More details to come, but the jist is this: thanks to Merrick, Amble is coming out to Colorado in May for a climbing adventure, and she’ll be hanging out with me in the west for a few weeks while Niko goes surfing in Peru. Get excited for some rad #amblegrams.

Amblee3 Amblee

Photos by Alex Alchin.

After crushing in Joe’s Valley and around the Front Range with the pooch and lady-friend Alex (who is bringing Amble out here), my parents will fly into Denver for some Boué fam-jam time. While they’re here, I’ll be gearing up to do something I’ve never done before:

I’m running a 10k – the BolderBOULDER to be exact.Running

Despite my honest warning that they’d be supporting a gal who is likely to be the very last person to cross the finish line, the folks at BolderBOULDER invited me to become a “sponsored runner”. It’s slightly amusing since I can barely count myself as a runner, but I am thrilled to be challenging myself to my first race. I have about a month to wrap up my training, which is a little daunting – but I’ve totally fallen in love with the rhythm of running, especially on trails. Stay tuned for more updates as my journey from #couchtocrush takes on a whole new element.

Then there’s that other trip, which may or may not be happening sometime in June. My lips are sealed (and I frankly don’t even know where I’m going yet), but before this adventure begins, I’ll be road tripping with Amble from Denver to Tallahassee – yet another tick on my cross-country list. I never got a chance to stuff my face with corn nuggets on the last trip, so this will be my redemption.

Phew, that’s a lot.

Call me crazy, but I have a strong feeling this summer is going to majorly kick ass.

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.

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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:

What's in my pack? Miami to Colorado edition. #FLtoCO

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Get Lost on the South Platte River in CO’s Rampart Range

Here’s the thing about Colorado: there appears to be an endless supply of outdoor gems just a short drive from the heart of Denver. Choosing a new trail to explore brings out the worst in my inability to make decisions. There are just too many options! You can literally just pick a general direction and drive until you hit a trail — and that’s exactly what I did when my college friend Marisa came to visit from Key West.

We woke up, slathered on some sunscreen, filled up our water bottles, and hopped in the car with no particular destination in mind. After a quick pitstop for bagels, we found ourselves leaving Denver city limits and heading towards Sedaila. I had visited the area once before, so I looked for the only road I knew, Rampage Range Road, and started driving towards the mountains.Rampart Range Road along the South Platte River in Colorado.

After winding along intimidating drop offs and steeply graded hills, the road turned to dirt and we had to make a decision: should we turn my little hatchback around, or should we cross our fingers that the road is navigable and go for it? In the spirit of adventure, we went for it. Spoiler alert: my little Scion is a total badass.

Eventually, we came upon a fork in the road, and followed the South Platte River upstream until we found a trailhead. At first, I had no idea exactly what trail we hiked — my only clue was the rickety old South Platte Hotel building that sat across the street from the parking lot. Eventually, I deduced that we hiked along the South Platte River to the Strontia Springs Reservoir.The old South Platte Hotel in the Rampart Range area of Colorado.Along the South Platte River in Colorado.

Marisa is a true island gal, so it was wonderful to take her out into the mountains. She loved every minute of being on the trail, even when I insisted that we scramble up random gullies filled with spiderwebs, or when I made her perch precariously on a rock over the river to feel the cold rush of air from the gushing waters.Hiking along the South Platte River with my Topo Designs pack.A little beetle we found while hiking along the South Platte River in Colorado.

Pretty blossoms found while hiking along the South Platte River in CO. Sure, we ended up wandering a bit further from home than we initially anticipated, but deciding to get lost ended up leading Marisa and I to a wonderful new adventure we would have never discovered otherwise. By taking a few risks (mostly our brazen confidence that my hatchback would be able to handle the dirt roads), we opened ourselves up to the opportunity to explore somewhere off the beaten path.

When is the last time you got lost down a dirt road?
What’s stopping you?

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.

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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!

Five Things Every Adventurer Should Be Thankful For

Adventurers bring a buffet of perspectives to the proverbial mixing pot of people, from folks who live for sunshine and snorkeling to those who count down the days each autumn until the first signs of winter. While some explorations require a harness and others call for kayaks, outdoor enthusiasts share a few things we can all appreciate no matter what our adventure of choice.

image[2]I posed a question on Twitter yesterday, asking adventurers what they were most thankful for, and the answers all fit on the list of things that I’m grateful for too. From backcountry backpackers in Colorado and hikers from Arizona to climbing surfers in Florida and national forest officials in Wyoming, we have so much to be thankful for when it comes to our journeys in the outdoors.

Fresh Air and Sunshine

Not every adventurer is outwardly into hugging trees, but we all deeply respect and appreciate every molecule of nature. From thick pine forests to rocky tidal pools, the outdoors offers so many breath-taking landscapes, recreational opportunities, idyllic moments of pure bliss, and beautiful places where we can create adventure. I’m personally most thankful for all the details of nature: the warmth of sunshine on your skin on a chilly day, tiny little ferns and berries and bugs, how starry the sky gets the deeper you venture into the backcountry, and the prideful feeling you get after caking your boots with mud.

Fellow Adventurers

I love a good solo hike, but most of the time, I really enjoy the company of a good companion when I’m exploring outside. Whether your trail partner is your spouse, best friend, sibling, or random pal you met through social media, give thanks to the people who are always down for shenanigans in the woods and challenging experiences outdoors. Be thankful for everyone in your life who is down to hit the trail even when it’s 90º outside, shiver all night in a tent during snowstorms, share a beer over a campfire, spot you when you’re climbing highballs, and accompany you while you’re pushing your limits and trying new things.

I love what Jillian Bejtlich said about who she’s thankful for: “Corny, but I’m thankful for my husband. In our vows, we promised to be each others outdoor partners. And he’s exactly that!” Seriously, her wedding vows included a promise to always be each other’s belay partners – perfection.

The No-Service Zone

No matter how much you love Instagramming pictures of mountain peaks, there’s something so satisfying about that moment when you’ve ventured so far into the wilderness that you suddenly lose all service and become completely disconnected from everything that doesn’t involve enjoying the moment. You can forget about emails and deadlines and just focus entirely on adventure.

Four Legged Companions

Dogs who get outdoors are my favorite – and I’m not just saying that because I just adopted the cutest pup in the history of pups who is totally going to be the best crag/trail dog ever. I’ve always been a fan of four-legged friends. Dogs make wonderful hiking partners, tent mates, campsite guardians, and all-around awesome companions for adventuring. A dog is always willing to keep trudging to the next peak, grateful when you share a sliver of your beef jerky, worried about your safety while you’re climbing, and generous when it comes to providing body heat in a sleeping bag.

 Rangers and Volunteers

Whenever I visit a national park, my first stop is to the visitors center – I always get a stamp for my collection, and chat for a bit with the folks who help run the park. Rangers have always been a subject of my admiration. They’ve jump-started my car afterhours after getting back from a backpacking trip, scurried outside with me to catch whales, and helped me choose the best trails. My respect extends to everyone who works in the outdoors, whether professionally like Kristie from An Appetite for Adventure, who works in the Shoshone National Forest, or the folks from the Southeaster Climbers Coalition who organize trail days to help maintain access to climbing areas. Amanda Renner said it best – she’s thankful “for the preserved land we have to explore and the people who fight to keep it protected.

This Thanksgiving while you’re stuffing your face with fried turkey and mashed potatoes, take a moment to reflect on everything you have to be thankful for as an adventurer. I appreciate so deeply that no matter what is going on in my life or in the world, I can always make a quick trip to the nearest slice of nature and enjoy the simplicity and purity of the outdoors.

What are YOU most grateful for?

Thoughts on Adventure + a $100 Sierra Trading Post Giveaway!

The other morning, I woke up to a rather long message from one of my oldest friends in Florida, Josh. I read it, felt really flattered, then stepped back and realized that he wasn’t talking about me, he was talking about so many other adventurers I know. He was talking about me, and he was talking about you too. With his permission, I thought I’d share what he said:

Niko and I enjoying the view from the top of a climb appropriated called "It's a Wonderful Life"Here are my philosophical thoughts for the night:

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ That’s pretty much a widely accepted universal truth.

But it got me thinking. I started thinking about what DOES kill you. And when you really break it down, the only thing certain to kill you… is life. Statistically speaking, the more time you spend alive, the closer you are to death.

Then it hit me. The way to really get stronger, the way to beat death, would be to challenge it. Go through life looking for a test. Pass it or fail it, it doesn’t matter – all you have to do is get through it.

So, then I think of you. All the stereotypes you’ve broken; All the doubt you’ve overcome. You’re strong because you’ve had your heart broken. You’re strong because you’ve beaten the odds. You’re strong because you chose to explore, to discover, to go on an adventure. It wasn’t a safe choice… In fact it was the opposite.

It was dangerous. It was a risk. And risks are what separate you from the weak.

So please just remember this: every mile that you travel away from home; every night you spend in van or a tent; every strain in your fingers as they grasp the top of whatever boulder, crag, or mountain that you just climbed – that is what makes you stronger.

You are the strongest person I know. And that’s why I love you.”

Whoa – pretty awesome stuff, right? It’s really great that someone thinks those things about me, but what’s even better is that I instantly associated all those words about strength, taking risks, and adventure with all of YOU. I am constantly surrounded by such strong spirited adventurers – from the climbers I hang out with in southeastern boulder fields and the always-trying-stuff Omniten crew to my fellow #TeamSierra members. You embody everything Josh said. We challenge life on a daily basis, never fearing the consequences – the only thing to be afraid of is a life not lived to the fullest. Keep doing that, keep getting out there, and keep living those words.

To celebrate the spirit of adventure, I’m partnering with Sierra Trading Post to host a $100 giftcard giveaway for one lucky explorer. As you know, I’ve joined the Team Sierra blogging team, writing monthly content for the Sierra Social Hub (like this sweet guide to climbing at Red River Gorge).Team Sierra Crew

How to Enter the $100 Sierra Trading Post Giveaway:

I want you to reflect on that wonderful message about challenging life and being strong and getting out there – and leave a comment on this post telling me how winning a $100 Sierra Trading Post giftcard will help you become the best adventurer you can be. For a bonus entry, tweet about the giveaway (tagging @themorningfresh and @Sierratp) or share this giveaway on your Facebook – then leave a second comment so I know you did that!

The winner will be chosen on November 27th – so check back on the blog for the announcement.

Can’t wait to order a new pair of climbing shoes or a cozy winter sleeping bag? Sierra Trading Post is offering my readers a special 30% discount from today until November 26th by clicking here to shop for outdoor gear, or using the code SHUBTS0413 when checking out.

Now get out there and explore, y’all!

UPDATE: And the winner is: Melissa Martin!

I was torn between three potential winners, one who wanted to use the gift card for his children, one who vowed to spend the money on dog gear, and one who was inspired by a climbing trip to get outdoors more – so I randomized the number using random.org, and Melissa was chosen as the winner! Melissa, send me an e-mail at katieboue(at)gmail(dot)com to claim your prize!

Didn’t win this giveaway? No worries, I’ll have another giveaway coming up soon – stay tuned!

Flat Dig and Mary Travel The World

A few weeks ago, I noticed a post from an old classmate at Florida State University. It read: “My grandfather is one of the best people I know. He’s been diagnosed with cancer and my aunt has started a unique plan to make him happy. If anyone is going anywhere interesting this summer or anytime soon and wants to take a picture of my grandparents along in the form of Flat Dig & Mary so they can feel like they are traveling, it would be amazing and they would LOVE it.” Basically, Dig loves to travel, and since he can’t anymore, the family thought it would help keep his spirits high to hop into the suitcases of others and adventure vicariously.

Naturally, I jumped onboard immediately. A man who loves travel is a man after my own heart, so I wanted to see what I could do to put a smile on Dig’s face (hi Dig, I hope you enjoy this!). I enlisted a little bit of help from the incredible, caring, endlessly thoughtful outdoor community – I asked them to take Dig and Mary along for whatever adventures they had planned this weekend, and this is what we got. Dig and Mary, hold on, ’cause you’re about to embark on quite the journey.

Dig and Mary started their trip off by accompanying me on a trail run in Colorado. We braved the heat to take a beautiful jaunt around Lake Standley while enjoying the surrounding views of the Flat Irons and the Rocky Mountains.

Flat Dig and Mary at Lake Standley [Read more…]