Decisions decisions: Yellowstone or Fort Collins

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Mar 202010
 

Let me tell you about one more way my whole life is up in the air! Ok…maybe I am being dramatic. But in the midst of getting ready for a big upcoming trip to Kenya (check the blog to read about my adventures!) I have one more decision to make. Even though I really think the fates or the universe or whoever already made it for me, I’m still going to act like I am contemplating.

Logic vs. freedom is the debate here.

I found out this week that I got a job in Yellowstone for the summer which I had applied for in quite the frenzy one day when I was feeling illogical and restless. Buuuuutttt…now I have to think and think about if I should:

A) go to Yellowstone this summer and take a heavy class load next year. AKA Live free now to die later

B) Take summer classes and fit in other fun Colorado stuff and have a moderate load next year. AKA live freeish now to live freeish later!

Boo school!

Stay tuned for what I decide.

Climbing May Be in 2020 Olympics

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Mar 022010
 

For Coloradans, the winter olympics are always a favorite. While few of us can relate to many of the athletes – think curling or bobsledding – most self-respecting mountain people can identify with the speed and grace of the world’s best skiers and snowboarders.

While the powder junkies get the chance to prove their mettle in the world’s greatest games, other outdoor athletes are forces to prove themselves in smaller, less prestigious contests.

Rock climbers, for example, have long been shoved to the fringe of the athletic community, occupying a space somewhere between indoor soccer and in-line skating. Climbers can find something like a global contest each summer at the Teva Mountain Games, but Daniel Woods still can’t boast Olympic Gold.

All that might change in a decade, however. The International Olympic Committee has officially recognized the International Federation of Sport Climbing, bringing climbing one step closer to the Olympic games. 

The decision to accept climbing as a new olympic sport will be made in 2013, when the sports for the 2020 games will be selected.

Feb 252010
 

Something sad happened today! Just now, in fact. So, I know the blog has been filled with Yellowstoney stuff lately but I have one more for you. Today at the store I picked up this month’s Backpacker and found a short article in it about the possibility of webcams all over the backcountry in Yellowstone…ewwww! Didn’t I just finish saying how the backcountry of this awesome park was wild, untouched and you couldn’t be bothered? I thought so…but I guess I was just plain wrong! If webcams in the backcountry happen, there will truly be no escape anymore. Sure, they say, you shouldn’t care if you’re not breaking the rules or being unsafe, but that’s a lie! I still care that eyes are watching me when I don’t want them to be. And that I can’t ever be trusted.  And, oh yeah, that BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING ME! I don’t think it’s about rules. And I don’t think it’s about safety. It’s about a lack of trust and a sad lack of respect that people have for nature.

I say: Please leave me alone in the backcountry big brother! What do you guys think?

Related Links:

http://www.backpacker.com/arrest_pee_old_faithful_yellowstone_urine/blogs/daily_dirt/1027

Why Yellowstone Rocks! That's all.

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Feb 252010
 

In 2007 I was graduating high school and getting ready to come up to CSU. One night, I was annoyed with my high school friends and told my mom I couldn’t stand the thought of hanging out with them for three more months. Don’t worry, I got over it as soon as I wasn’t sitting in their dirty basements on the weekends anymore. Anyways, my mom told me that I should apply to work in Yellowstone, which she did when she was 18. And so I did!

A few weeks later, I got a fat envelope in the mail (fat envelopes= success!) and I was preparing for my summer in Yellowstone. Now, some people might not think of Yellowstone as being wild, untouched, unexplored, etc. But I have to tell you that it is!

We all know that about a bajillion tourists pass through every year, mostly to hang out their cars and take pictures of buffalo. But, what we all don’t know is that most of these buffalo-lovin tourists don’t go more than a mile from the road. If you dare go a mile off the road in Yellowstone, you’re all alone out there! Last summer, my roomate and I did a three day backpacking trip and didn’t see ANYONE until we were a mile from the road again.

So, you see, it is wild, untouched, and unexplored. Now, for some other things I LOVE about Yellowstone:

– The Yellowstone/Teton area has the best stars, hands down, I have ever seen.

– Yellowstone rivers are the best for swimming! I have searched and searched and haven’t found any that compare.

– Buffalo traffic jams are a legitimate reason to be late to work.

– It doesn’t get dark until almost 10 o’clock!

– You have bad cell service. You have bad internet service. NO ONE CAN BOTHER YOU!…unless you choose to be bothered and go to one of the places with good cell service!

-Shadow Mountain. If you can find it, feel accomplished!

I am sure there is more reasons why Yellowstone rocks, but those are my reasons! If you haven’t gone there, go! It’s only about an 8 hour drive from here and well worth it. And..backpacking permits are free and plentiful.

Share your favorite national park pictures, stories and reasons with Your Feat readers. Submit on our contact page!

For all you restless souls like me!

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Feb 252010
 

Originally, my plan for this summer was to stay in Fort Collins, take a summer class and hike around here. But then I realized that I am just not that good at….I don’t really know how to put it…staying where I am!? So began my search for cool summer jobs! I applied to work in Yellowstone again, where I worked in 2007, I applied in Rocky Mountain Ntl. Park and at some places in Estes Park and I played with the idea of applying at summer camps in Maine.

I wanted to give you all the info you need to apply for cool jobs this summer too!

For Yellowstone, visit www.yellowstonejobs.com

For Rocky Mountain food service or retail jobs visit www.xanterra.com

For other cool jobs visit www.coolworks.com or www.backdoorjobs.com

Good luck to all you restless souls! And apply now because these jobs tend to fill up fast.

Guns are now allowed in national parks

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Feb 242010
 

After years of debate, guns are finally allowed within most of America’s national parks. On Feb. 20, the National Park Service allowed visitors to carry weapons in all but twenty or so national parks in accordance with a bill passed by congress in May of 2009.

The policy change is the newest trophy above the mantle of the NRA, who argued, along with scores of gun-loving outdoorsmen, that guns were needed in the wilderness to protect travelers from wild animals and wild men alike. Opponents of the change claim that guns reduce the safety of both man and beast in the country’s national parks.

As someone who regularly makes use of our nation’s preserved areas, I find myself siding with the latter camp. While it is true that people are sometimes attacked by bears or mountain lions in America’s wilderness, these attacks are almost always preventable. Hikers are trained to make noise while hiking to avoid provoking animals, and should know some basic skills for dealing with the creatures if contact is made. In my own experience, bears are not aggressive creatures, and will run away from or simply ignore hikers if approached in the right way.

Guns create a sense of false confidence that all too often results in unnecessary deaths. Inexperienced travelers often panic at the mere sight of a bear, and considering the level of experience many visitors to our national parks have, it’s easy to imagine that dozens of bears will be needlessly shot out of little more than fear.

As for hikers defending themselves from each other, I can only assume that gun advocates have watched Deliverance one too many times.

One good thing can come from this shameless display of masculine posturing, however. If NRA members insist on playing mountain man with every visit to our nation’s wild places, the NPS can make a tidy profit selling coonskin caps and novelty belt buckles at the gift store.

Ouray Ice Fest – Day 1

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Jan 142010
 
An ice climber sets a route at the Ouray Ice Park

An ice climber sets a route at the Ouray Ice Park

Editor’s Note: Due to motivational difficulties, the posts from the Ouray Ice Festival are being posted several days late.

In the world of outdoor living, few things go according to plan. When we load the car, raft or backpack for our next adventure we can never be sure whether we’ll come back with stomachs filled with wild berries or stories of self-amputations. Ultimately, when we leave the comfort of our homes or apartments, we gamble with our happiness. All too often we know that, in this game, success is defined not as any great reward but as a tolerable level of misery.

I know this. We all know this. But, of course, very few of us have the forethought or understanding to see anything but the sunniest skies ahead of us when we plan our next big trip.

When the idea of traveling to the 15th annual Ouray Ice Festival first stuck in my head, it brought along no images of cold, pain or snow. Months before the festival, lounging in summer sun, my mind’s eye was filled with images of a trim, tanned climber navigating the ice slopes with ease. After battling the elements (to the amazement of cheering throngs of amateurs) and watching the sun set behind the San Juan Mountains, our striking protagonist would find himself soaking his muscles in the ancient Ouray Hot Springs accompanied by two or three beautiful women of the “Switzerland of America”.

As a trip that seemed months off quickly became days away, and each of my original climbing partners had dropped out for reasons of varying legitimacy, the trip seemed destined to be left as spare parts – a leftover idea for another, more profitable year. Not three days before the festival began, however, the pieces began to come together seemingly effortlessly. Before I could register what had happened, I found myself huddled beneath the blankets of an underheated Ouray motel, staring across a pot of rice and pintos at a climbing partner whose chewing was audible from across the room.

Our wallets were empty, our car running on fumes, and neither of us had come armed with the knowledge or experience I’d imagined. Still, trying to glean whatever knowledge I could from a tattered copy of The Freedom of the Hills and sipping a lukewarm Winter Warlock (some things defy compromise), it was hard not to feel at peace. It was impossible to say whether the coming days would leave us feeling like iron-chinned mountain men or pasty suburban wimps, but we hoped for the best.

Manuel Antonio National Park

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Jan 142010
 
Squirrel monkeys

Squirrel monkeys

Yesterday we spent the day in Costa Rica’s Manuel Antonio National Park on the Pacific coast. We hired a wildlife guide in the morning in hopes of seeing tons of animals that we knew we would miss with our own naked eye. While we did see a few things, the tour was mostly a dud. We saw some sloths, which was cool, a frog, some forest crabs and a wierd bug. No monkeys, to my dismay. After the hike, we hiked around a bit more to get some great ocean views and then we headed to the beach. Once again, I got a little beat up by some huge waves. Gotta love the ocean though, right? Even though we hired a guide, we ended up seeing the most wildlife on our own when we went walking around town. We came across a long stretch of jewelry vendors with booths and above them was a web of branches stretching all across the road. In the branches, there were about twenty squirrel monkeys playing. So cute. I will admit it, I was a major a tourist and took tons of pictures. But I couldn’t help myself. We just don’t have monkeys in Colorado!

Beat up by the Pacific

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Jan 102010
 

Having grown up in Colorado, it´s safe to say I´m not much of a surfer girl. But it´s fun to dream right? I am now in beautiful (understatement) Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, thouroughly enjoying the Pacific. Yesterday, we rented a surfboard to try our hand at this precarious water sport. Just like snowboarding, but on water right? Wrong. So wrong. I had surfed once before, in Hawaii, but we hadn´t really started off on ¨baby waves¨ there. Here, we did. Still, attempting to stand on water did not come easily. I got up on a few small waves and rode them up to the beach. That felt pretty cool, although I´m sure I didn´t look super cool…or anything close to.

If anything, paying ten dollars to rent a surfboard was paying ten dollars for good entertainment. My boyfriend and I got some good laughing in just watching each other. We were so uncoordinated, so determined, and so very bad at surfing! I am banged up today, as is inevitable when I am attempting any new sport or activity. My boyfriend, Alex, asked me yesterday if I was sore like muscle sore or sore like I got hit with a bag of oranges. A bag of oranges, definitely, I told him.

Waterfalls and big butterflies

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Jan 042010
 

We are officially on the beach! For the last couple of days, we have been hanging out in Montezuma, on the Nicoya Penninsula of Cost Rica. Think a concentrated version of Boulder. That’s Montezuma. Lots and lots of dreadlock hippies walking around selling their art and offering you weed. Just like Boulder right? Anyways, today we headed up to a set of three waterfalls nearby to do some swimming. There were people jumping off, but it looked pretty sketchy so I stayed on the lower rocks. These waterfalls were really beautiful. The pools at the bottom of them were clear, crisp and refreshing. And the hike up to the second and third falls was super fun. We had to climp up big tree roots and use them to pull ourselves up the steep gulley where the trail climbed. I guess this is where jungle gyms came from! The falls were a nice change from the beach, where we were somehow burning, even though we stayed in the shade. Next up, a butterfly garden. Thinking of the butterfly pavilion, this idea caught my fancy. However, the butterflies were huge and kind of freaked me out! There were so many that would flutter all around my face and land on me and I didn’t like it as much as I did as a kid. When they weren’t diving into my face though, I was able to look at them and see how beautiful they are. As long as they weren’t on me, I was happy!