Behind The Scenes: Backpackers Pantry Video Shoot in Evergreen

When an email from Backpackers Pantry showed up in my inbox inquiring about casting me for a video shoot, all it took was the words “we’re shooting at Three Sisters Park” to instantly grab my attention. I was in.

I arrived in Evergreen a few minutes before 7:00 AM, and loitered around the dirt parking lot until the rest of the crew arrived. I instantly knew it was going to be a fantastic day as three bearded fellas hopped out of Subarus, and two spirited ladies pulled up with pups in the backseat. We shot a bit of footage out in the parking lot to establish the scene, then quickly hit the trail. Filming with Backpackers Pantry in Evergreen at Three Sisters Park. Filming with Backpackers Pantry in Evergreen at Three Sisters Park.

The first scenes were shot in the parking lot, establishing the dichotomy between the two characters. My persona was the “expert hiker” – a know-it-all, done-it-all gal who knows every trail in Colorado like the back of her hand. My counterpart was played by Patrick, who did an incredible job portraying a novice hiker. Throughout the day I was constantly impressed with his dedication to his character. He smeared sunscreen all over his beard, sprayed himself straight in the face with bug spray, snapped tent poles, threw himself into a river – you name it, he was down to try it.

The shot below is a little peek at one of my favorite scenes for Patrick. It opens with him looking like he is dangling off a cliff – but you quickly realize he’s just trying to summit a small boulder.

Filming with Backpackers Pantry in Evergreen at Three Sisters Park.

As for my character, the crew kept encouraging me to channel my inner Patrick Swayze (in Point Break, to be specific). I ran around the trails doing push-ups on logs, karate-chopping dead tree limbs, and high-stepping like a hotshot. I frankly made a total fool of myself – all while rocking’ the most ridiculous neon green headband – and I can’t wait to share the footage.

One of my favorite parts to shoot was the “camp” scene. I happened to have my favorite Teton Sports tent in my car, and it ended up creating the perfect contrast between the experienced hiker and the novice.  I set up my tent in less than 10 seconds, while Patrick’s character spent minutes fumbling with fabric and snapping tent poles – and everyone on the crew is now dying to get their hands on a Teton Sports tent like mine. Filming with Backpackers Pantry in Evergreen at Three Sisters Park.

It’ll be a few weeks before the footage is all edited and goes public, but I’ll be sure to share it with everyone as soon as it goes live. Big thank you to Backpackers Pantry for casting me and to the film crew for keeping me on my toes all day. (And thank you to Elaine, who took those photos of me!)

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Thistle, straw, seedlings, and spindly flora at Three Sisters Park in Evergreen, CO

One of my favorite parts about spending time outdoors is simply enjoying the little things – plants, bugs, pebbles, twigs, you name it. My climbing buddies will quickly confess that I often spend more time chasing insects around boulders than I do actually climbing the rocks. I can’t resist becoming instantly distracted the moment I see a beetle crawling by, or a tiny flower peeking out from the dirt.

My mother always proudly credits herself with my buggy fascination. When I was a little tot, she used to wrap earthworms around my fingers and have me wear them as rings – now do you see where my adoration for creepy crawlers comes from? She always encouraged my affection for rolling around in the dirt.

The wintry weather in Colorado seems to have driven the bugs from their usual swarming tendencies, but I still managed to snap some sweet photos of unique dry-weather plant life while hiking through Three Sisters Park (also known as Alderfer Park) in Evergreen, Colorado. The parched landscape has taken on an entirely new appearance since my last visit to the area during summertime, and I think I quite prefer this desert-style look.

As if I needed another reminder that I am in dire need of a macro lens, these up-close shots of nature’s tiniest jewels offers another reason to justify splurging on new photography equipment – but hey, these photographs aren’t too shabby considering I was using a standard kit lens with my Nikon D7000!

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A bloody bouldering battle against Prince Charles (V8) at Three Sisters Park in Evergreen, CO

It doesn’t happen often, but every few trips, a climber finds themselves absolutely, unwaveringly infatuated with a rock. For me, the love affair was with Beached Whale (V5) in Yosemite National Park – but for Niko, true love was to be had the moment he set his eyes on Prince Charles, a compression-crazed problem tucked away from the trails at Three Sisters Park in Evergreen, Colorado.

His love affair was something that I, as his faithful woman, knew I could never come between. I accepted this attractive boulder as the new third-wheel in our relationship, and honestly grew quite fond of Niko’s granite mistress. He was a man transfixed, and Prince Charles quickly bit back – it didn’t take more than ten minutes of climbing before Niko managed to tear his elbow open on the boulder.

My trusty first-aid kit was buried beneath my car seats in the parking lot, a 15-minute hike back from our location off the Sister’s Trail – so I worked with what I had in my pack: a roll of climbing tape, and a tampon. I felt proud of my MacGyver moment as I fashioned my bleeding beau a sweet makeshift bandage from my feminine stash. It held up pretty well, considering its hasty construction.

Niko’s dance with Prince Charles was a two-day tango that involved plenty of bloodshed, burning muscles, and my frustration as I attempted to photograph the horribly mixed scene of piercing sunlight and dark shadows. Watching him battle against this boulder was inspiring; he fought with every ounce of his ability, and probably mustered up some strength he didn’t know he had.

Here’s a breakdown of the Prince Charles beta, compliments of Mountain Project: “Start back and to the right side of a giant wedged shape nose. Move into a full body bear hug squeeze of madness. As the wide hugging tapers to a thin point continue up and over the nose heading right or turning your back to the East at the last possible point on the line. Slap your way to the finish.” Yes, it’s as burly as it sounds.

After the first day spent working Prince Charles, we took a short climbing break to prepare for round two. On his second date with his granite muse, Niko convinced our buddy Douso to tag along for the adventure. Two of the strongest climbers I know, it was a treat to watch them exchange techniques, sample footwork, share frustration, and bleed all over the place.

Douso began the day slightly reserved, as if he wasn’t willing to succumb to the seduction of this particular problem. They griped over the compression-heavy style of the route, and plopped down to take angry rests after being shut down on certain moves – but slowly, surely, Douso’s eyes were set ablaze with the same fire that sparked in Niko’s. There is something to be said about the motivation and camaraderie shared by two climbers transfixed by the same hunk of rock.

While the boys spent hours demolishing their fingertips against the rough granite surfaces of Prince Charles, I occupied myself by finding a flat boulder perched directly in the sun. I noshed a bit on pistachios, wandered through the nearby woods in search of photographic gold, and even enjoyed a little cat nap in the sunshine.

Some climbers find it frustrating to attempt patience while accompanying friends who are working a problem that is just way out of their league, but I always enjoy these opportunities for relaxation. So what if there’s no chance of me climbing Prince Charles? Any time that I am blessed to spend outside is a-okay with me.

And of course, I was knee-deep in woodland exploration when I heard the hoots and hollers wafting through the treeline as Niko finally sent his problem. I was disappointed in the instant I realized what had just happened, then went careening through the woods to find Niko parading atop his boulder, beaming with pride. Sure, I missed the chance to snap shots as his made his final ascent, but hell, sometimes it’s just about the victory of a successful climb.

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