The 14,000 Foot Summits of 2019

Despite the late start to 14er season this year, due to the massive amounts of snow over the winter, my friends and I managed to get in just as many peaks as in other years. Dedication to the cause! Not that I ever plan to hike them all—Class 4s with full climbing gear are definitely not for me—but it simply wouldn’t be a summer in Colorado if I wasn’t on the tippy top of the state at least a few times. Here are the five I ticked off my list in 2019.

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What I Did On My End of Summer Vacation

Saturday: Spent seven hours in the car

Sunday: Went grocery shopping

Monday: Called into an all-hands at my full time job

Tuesday: Did half an hour of work for a freelance client

Wednesday: Got my oil changed

Thursday: Groomed the dog

Friday: Woke up to a 6:30 AM alarm

Saturday: Cleaned up the house

Sunday: Got stuck in a traffic jam (until I was crafty enough to find a way around it because I carry an atlas in my car since I often travel places where there is no cell service, as in this case)

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Where Have I Been?

It’s been awfully quiet here on Jen Seriously for the last two months. What gives?

The simple answer is that I’ve been trying to prioritize my time better. Without any real responsibilities or obligations outside my full time job, I have plenty of free time, but I do a lot with that time and have a lot of hobbies, interests, and personal goals. Trying to balance each of them so I feel like I’m maximizing my life, making time for what makes me happy, and working toward specific plans I have for my future isn’t easy. At the time this posts, I’ll be driving back to Boulder from a week-long trip to the mountains in southwest Colorado. It was my unofficial end-of-summer last hurrah, and now it’s time to get down to business (although I’m secretly hoping the weather cooperates for at least two more camping weekends). Continue reading →

An Autumn Weekend in Central Colorado

Last weekend, Trotsky and I took our first ever solo camping trip. In almost nine years, it’s never been just the two of us. Between trips with partners, casual lovers, friends who live locally, and friends who are far away, finding time to go places on your own is difficult. But last weekend, it happened. Not at first. At first there were several different plans. Meeting some people Saturday, meeting other people Sunday, having a camping companion…but eventually all the plans crumbled and it was just me and the beast. And how wonderful it was! Of course I love travelling with other people, sharing the moments of awe and excitement, experiencing the thrill of getting intimate in an exotic or wild location, and building common memories and bonds, but travelling alone is special in its own way.

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When in the Flat Tops Wilderness

At Blackwater Pond the tossed waters have settled
after a night of rain.
I dip my cupped hands. I drink
a long time. It tastes
like stone, leaves, fire. It falls cold
into my body, waking the bones. I hear them
deep inside me, whispering
oh what is that beautiful thing
that just happened?
– At Blackwater Pond, Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver’s last two lines can perfectly express the entirety of my feelings about the weekend I just spent in the Flat Tops Wilderness, but she can’t describe the place to you if weren’t there. Here is my attempt.  Continue reading →

The Point of Travel

Travel used to have a purpose – to find trading partners, to cure disease, to scout out fertile land to homestead on. According to my favorite modern philosopher, it still should. Travel should be about more than gaining social media followers and checking items off a clichéd bucket list. It should feed your soul and help you grow as a person. Living in India for five months when I was 21 years old certainly changed my entire being in a number of ways and while I have taken some trips since then that were purely for fun, when I travel internationally, I usually seek out places that offer novel experiences I believe I can learn from. Continue reading →

An Unexpected Mountainside Bacchanal

Hot springs are popular in Colorado. From the mass market, easily accessible Glenwood Springs to the backcountry, yet still-too-popular Conundrum, you can’t spend much time in this state without experiencing the magic of being immersed in 102-degree water on a 15-degree winter night. Even in the summer, evenings in the mountains are cool enough to make a soak in naturally heated water desirable.

However, you may want to research what to expect before you go. Earlier this month, some friends and I took our first camping trip of the season to Steamboat Springs, which, as you might imagine from the name, has some hot springs. While we had all heard of the Strawberry Hot Springs, only one of our group had previously visited. We were eager to check it out, and after a long day of hiking, some therapeutic heat sounded perfect. Our experienced friend mentioned there might be some nudity and the website mentions that people under 18 are not allowed after dark, but these mild indicators of adult behavior were inadequate warning for what we found. Continue reading →

Haiku May 23-26, 2014

Droplets on canvas

Some Red Box, Scrabble, and you

Come away with me

From a series of haiku I wrote from April 2014 – April 2015 to celebrate the ways that my partner and I were able to enjoy our time together each weekend. I’m publishing only the ones that I believe can be appreciated by someone who wasn’t there with us. I did my damnedest to adhere to the traditional rules of haiku, but always including a subtle reference to the season sure is tricky at times!