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.Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

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.

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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.

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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:


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!

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Final thoughts on 2011, and cheers to upcoming adventures in 2012

It’s here once again – my favorite holiday. The best day of the year for reflecting on the best and worst moments from the past, and looking towards the future with hope and an eager resolve to make the upcoming year even better than the last.

This year was the first year where I began to dedicate my life to the art of road tripping. Over the span of two cross-country trips and countless climbing excursions, I traveled to 21 states from Alabama to California. I visited ten National Parks – thanks to my wonderful annual parks pass. From the swamps of the Everglades and camping in Yosemite to the giant towering trees of Sequoia and the sand dunes at Death Valley, my explorations through America’s National Parks were one of the defining aspects of my adventures.

I graduated from Florida State University in April, and quickly sped off on my first road trip of 2011 – a six-week delve into car-dwelling and extended travel with my boyfriend, Niko. As we traveled across over 6,400 miles together, we climbed some of the most beautiful rock formations in the country, sampled amazing grub, and slept beneath the stars.

During our four-month relationship hiatus, I embarked on my own solo road trip. Embracing the idea of solitude for the first time, I traveled alone across 17 states and 6,657 miles. I also made my first ‘adult’ decision, and moved up to Denver, Colorado to get a taste of mountain living.

And now here I am, on the eve of the new year. You’ll currently find me holed up at Tallahassee Rock Gym, the place where it all began. It truly feels like I’ve come full-circle this year, and I couldn’t be most satisfied with where my life has led me. It feels so appropriate to be ringing in the 2012 with a final day spent slaving away setting new routes and cleaning the rock gym, then by the time the clock strikes midnight I’ll be on the road to Rocktown for a climbing trip to start my year right.

So, I propose a toast.

Here’s to 2012.

New adventures, new destinations, new climbing ascents,
and lots of saving up for 2013.

Readers, expect huge things from The Morning Fresh in 2012. My goal for this upcoming year is to position myself as an established travel and adventure blogger, and to begin truly dedicating myself to my photography and other creative projects. Here’s to finally catching up on overdue posts from my cross-country adventures, an increased social media presence, and working to inspire others to join me in the quest for living a simpler life on the road.

Thank you for your readership, comments, tweets, and unwavering support. I appreciate each and every one of you, and can’t express my gratitude enough. Have a wonderful new year, and keep your spirit high on adventures.

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Guest Blog – The Bronxonia Yacht Club, Mr. Softee, Swans, and Uncle John’s Birthday

Editor’s Note: As a special birthday treat to honor my ‘Uncle’ John, enjoy a guest post written by my father, George Boue. Every year, he embarks on a boys-only trip up the Hudson River – and every year I find myself turning green with envy as he regales me with tales of his mishaps and experiences out on the water. Dig in, and get ready for a great northeastern adventure. Happy Birthday, Uncle John! 

The Bronxonia Yacht Club is one of those gems in the rough”that few people are fortunate to experience. Labor Day weekend found me and two family friends getting together for an annual boating adventure. The Club is a located by the Throggs Neck Bridge, and features inexpensive booze and blue-collar folk who are always willing to lend a hand – which is always needed if you own a boat.  It is truly a piece of “Americana,” and always serves as the start of our boating trips.

Mechanical concerns and the probability of floating debris from TS Irene kept us from our typical trip up the Hudson River, so we ventured to other places, including one night to LaGuardia Airport to watch the planes swoop over the boat. Afterwards, we continued cruising to the Arrow Yacht Club.

Following a couple of beers in the bar, we decided to walk the neighborhood. Danny and I were instantly brought back to our childhood in Elmhurst, Queens. College Point, also in Queens, has similar middle-class, brick and siding 2-story homes similar to those seen on King of Queens. We recollected playing games of manhunt that would encompass a whole city block, lasting for hours with all the kids in the neighborhood.

The nostalgia was heightened when we heard a familiar sound, evoking a Pavlov response. We rushed just in time to catch up with a Mr. Softee truck. It has probably been more than 20 years since I have enjoyed a Softee root beer float. What makes these special is the way you can suck-up the soft vanilla ice cream along with the root beer through the straw. It was delicious. Danny had a hot fudge sundae, and he too was brought back in time.

The top adventure was cruising down the East River on a sunny Labor Day, en route to the Statue of Liberty. Just as we passed under the Brooklyn Bridge the engine made a sudden whirring sound followed by smoke and the smell of burning rubber from the engine compartment. We were dead in the water, smack in the middle of the river with barges and ferries cruising by. We couldn’t drop anchor right away, so we let the tidal current take us further north. John was able to engage the engine in short spurts just to move us out of the way. We slowly drifted toward the Brooklyn side, eventually anchoring between the Williamsburg and Queensboro Bridges.

We had a fantastic view of Midtown, including the 23rd Street Heliport which also has seaplanes. After a comedy of phone calls with BoatUS and Sea Tow that took 3 hours, we were saved by a Bronxonia member, Richie, who towed us back to the Club. The most harrowing part of the trip (at least to John, Danny and Annie who were on the disabled boat) was navigating through Hells Gate, where multiple waterways converge to form strong currents that have sunk many a ship. Both boats swayed and rocked and I really thought the rope was going to snap. This was the biggest test of our Honey Badger theme for the trip.

But as with all our adventures and debacles we made it back safe, and added one more story to our collection. This blog is in honor of one of the nicest guys on the planet, someone who is not daunted by any setback, and who has always seen the glass as not only full, but spilling-over. Happy Birthday, John!

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