Wednesday, February 26, 2014

It's all about the ounces.....Our new venture into backpacking!

We've always been the "outdoorsy type". We take a camping trip whenever the time & weather permits. Every since our U-Haul pulled into Arizona, we were researching the best hiking trails....

There's always been a hobby that's been the object our affection. But this hobby required some budgeting, researching, planning and saving.

Well, it's finally come the time where if we don't start now...we'll be too old to do it. So my early birthday present this year was my backpacking gear! A pack, sleeping back, sleeping pad, trail shoes (and trail running shoes)......(some of which were purchased at the Summer Hut Swap meet this weekend - which was a great opportunity to buy lightly-used gear at SUPER discounted prices)

This weekend we took them out for a "test run".

I purchased the Osprey Viva 50. It's an amazing women's pack - all about comfort - nice and light. If needed, it could sustain me comfortably for 10 days.

Backpacking is a new state of mind.

It's all about sustaining with the least and the lightest. It's about asking yourself questions like, "How many changes of clothes do I really need?". You have to choose between "food/water or clothing" -- it's all about weight.

Although this sounds like a rather unhygienic hobby, I'm kind of excited about it. I get excited thinking about the adventures and sights we will see!

Our 1st big trip on the radar is Kalalua trail in Hawaii. It's an 11 mile hike through mountains/rainforest to get to an exclusive beach that can only be reached by hiking! Our goal is to do it summer of 2015!

We made my 1st trip easy, as it's a bit of an adjustment getting used to carrying a 25 lb pack! Mine was only 15 lbs on Saturday. We did an 8 mile hike through an area called "Seven Falls" - where you had to cross streams. It was good "balance practice" for me!

Notice our sweaty shiny faces! It was about 78-80 degrees...which felt warm!

Ryan's pack is just a "bit" heavier than mine. Which is comforting - as he will have to carry some of my gear on trips in the future....
Check out this view! Pictures don't entirely do justice - but that road down there looks pretty tiny, which shows just how high up we were! So rewarding!!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Impromptu Vacation - Keystone, CO

In my 5 years of being married to my husband, I don't think we've ever planned a trip out in advance. And it seems to work out well. In fact, it amazes me how skilled we are at pulling off an epic vacation in the matter of 1-2 weeks!

So 6 days prior to the trip, I got a text from my husband asking if I could get Valentine's Day off (which is a Friday). Luckily, I have a very cool boss - who is flexible.

He wasn't inquiring on a lovers' getaway, but a weekend of extreme sports in the snowy mountains! (Which is actually more appealing to me, anyways!)

Getting to Keystone, CO was the hardest part. I drove from Tucson to Alamogordo, NM Thursday after work. Stayed w/ my husband Thursday night, and then we hit the road after he finished his flight Friday. It was a 9 hr drive from NM. Ended up being 12 hours, however, due to a snow storm & a horrific accident!

I think I will save my review of "snowboarding" for another post . As it's quite a story. Let's just say...the "Red Cross People" advised I take the Gondola and ski lift back down to the lodge, when I had kicked my snowboard and was marching down the mountain......

Sometimes I get a little "hot".

Here are highlights of the trip:

  • Taking a road trip through NM & CO with my husband. Being we live in different states right was the biggest treat in the world to be stuck in a car with him for 12 hours to catch up on life....
  • We stayed in a beautiful home in a place called "Keystone Sancutary". It was seriously my dream house. It comfortably sleeps 10. It slept 14 of us (with air mattresses and couches).
  • Day 1 was my 1st attempt at any winter sport. I took the ski lift 3 miles to the top of the mountain with my snowboard. It was interesting.
  • We had a very full day - as we were on the slopes from about 10 am - 8 pm. I fell about 75 times. I maybe got 1 run in. I gave up by 3:30 and went to the bar.
  • The snow was incredible!
  • Saturday night we ordered pizza, hot tubbed, and taught Ryan's 4 classmates from Italy how to play games like beer-pong. Well, I spectated. I'm really glad we gave them such a rich taste of our culture *insert sarcastic expression*
  • Sunday it was back to the slopes! Being I gave up on snowboarding, had such a strained neck that I couldn't swallow, and my husband had a broken rib........we decided to opt out from the group and go cross-country skiing.
  • It was the best idea EVER. We trekked for hours through the countryside of Keystone. I definitely found my winter sport!
  • We spent a good hour soaking our sore bodies in the hot tub, and headed out for dinner.
  • Went to a steakhouse with 5 of Ryan's friends- and had a night to remember! It was so funny listening to the Italians' experiences of learning English, landing in Alamogordo, NM, and many more stories.
  • Monday - Ryan & I had a long trip back. 10 hours to NM. And I have 5 hours to Tucson. I got home at 1 am, and slept like I never have before!
Here are a few snapshots of the weekend. I must say...I fell in love with Colorado. Snow, but mild temps. Mountains. Precipitation. (I'm feeling overly dry with our current drought in AZ). It is such a breath-taking part of our country!!

This was us @ the top of the summit - where we had 3 miles to go down the mountain. I'm smiling here because I have no idea what pain I'm about to go through.....

I have a much more genuine smile on cross-country-skiing day :)