But Doctor, I have THINGS TO DO!

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Oh what a year! This time of year I start to get a bit nostalgic, reminiscing on the nearly 365 days of 2015; what went well, what didn’t go so well, what did I accomplish and what’s still to do!

This reflection can come in many forms but for this purpose I am focusing on my bucket list only. The theme of this year was how the hell did I get here? I pondered this question from my living room couch for the better part of 6 months as I worked through the frustrations of one health challenge (not crisis thank God) after another.

Being the health conscious mom that I am, I dutifully got my flu shot last December but managed to come down with influenza the day after Christmas while we were traveling out of state to visit family. I trudged through the weekend after Christmas feeling like a freight train was dragging me down the tracks only to discover that four days later, by the time we got home and I got to the doctor, I had developed bronchitis. Ok, not good but not the end of the world. Except, everything I do I managed to do it BIG and within four more days my influenza had triggered an acute appendicitis and I found myself being wheeled in for surgery at 7:30 pm on Saturday night Jan. 2, not what I had been hoping for to ring in the new year!

Again, not the end of the world, but really? Should have bought a lottery ticket, I mean who gets an appendicitis from influenza? Well, the sad saga wasn’t over just yet. After surgery I came home to rest and recover when things took yet another turn for the worse, soon I was dealing with an uncontrollable cough that felt like it was ripping my insides out and tearing my fresh appendix stitches apart. On that magic number, four days later, I was back at the doctor in tears when he explained I now had pneumonia. Yup, I was four for four and it was only days into the new year. At this point I started really wondering “how the hell did I get here?”

It took a lot longer to recover than I cared to commit too or admit but eventually by mid-March I was pretty much feeling like myself with enough energy to have a normal day. I started making plans! I had much to do!

Life was great until April 13, when another series of unfortunate events lead to yet another “how the hell did I get here” moment when I broke my foot late one night. I can’t even pretend it was dramatic or exciting or that I was off on some grand adventure when faced with my misfortune. No, I can only confess to the lamest story of the year. I managed to break my foot getting out of bed to go to the bathroom. I realize that makes me sound like I am 100 years old but if you want the truth there it is. I am big on transparency. I tried making up some more exciting tales and posted a few as a joke on Facebook but the cold hard truth is pretty bland.

At the ER I was convinced it was just a bad sprain and tried to argue to the white-haired physician who came back to report to me. He said, “well, it is broken, in fact, I would have to use the words “shattered” to describe it actually.”

I blinked back at him in total disbelief. I said, “You have got to be joking” when at last I could actually form words. How the hell could I shatter my foot getting out of bed to go to the bathroom?

No, he wasn’t joking. Two weeks with my foot in a boot elevated on the couch while I waited for the swelling to go down, then surgery to stabilize with a plate and screws, another two weeks in the boot elevated on the couch while I let the incision heal enough for a cast. Six weeks in cast with zero weight bearing, elevated etc. Then, two weeks back in a boot, nonweight-bearing before I finally got to two weeks in the boot with weight bearing. It felt like an eternity and the entire time I sat here thinking the same thought, “How the hell did I get here?”

I try to learn a lesson about myself with each new adventure, the lesson I learned throughout all of this is that I am a terrible patient. When I was sick, I was so sick I didn’t care about what was or wasn’t going on around me, but when I was recovering from my broken foot I felt fine, I just couldn’t do anything and it was extremely humbling. I have an entire new respect for the value of my feet!

When I first met my orthopedic surgeon in April I asked him about hiking to the top of a Colorado mountain the end of July. I wanted to make sure he knew I had big plans and that I needed him to get on board so he had me all healed up in time for my Empower Your Estrogen Adventure scheduled for the last weekend in July. He looked at me for a second trying to access if I was actually serious. Then he said “no.” In fact, he actually said “no way.”

If nothing else, I guess I am stubborn because I wasn’t going to take no for an answer. I tried again and explained the urgency of this. I had this trip all planned and there was no way to delay it. I tried bargaining with him, “what if I was the best patient you have ever had?” I pleaded.

At first he stuck with his no, but after weeks of proving to him I really was a good patient, I eventually proved him wrong and the impossible finally became possible. I still can’t believe I managed to do it, but July 7 I got his ok to take the boot off and try actually walking on my foot. Three weeks later, with his approval, I hiked 7 miles round trip up a mountain to 13,500 elevation for the sweetest hike ever. In full disclosure, yes, it hurt, yes, it was swollen like a football, and yes, I was in total couch potato shape so I was ridiculously slow, but I did it, and to me that was all that mattered.

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This was never on the list of things to do in life bucket list style, but in reflection, it was a pretty monumental adventure all around and I am proud that I recovered 100%, now have total clearance to do whatever I want on my foot I am thrilled I was able to hike that darn mountain in July!

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Great Balls of Fire: A Guest Blog

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I am a great believer in the “Plan your Work and Work your Plan” methodology. I have followed these words most of my life, being an engineer, and most importantly during my training for an Ironman. I often see people who plan 75% and wing-it the other 25% of the time. This rarely works out well.
This holds true for those who are embarking on an exercise plan to get into better shape. They know what they want, they know what they need to do, however, they are just not disciplined enough to follow through to maximize their goals and reach their full potential.

Now, I must confess, I have wondered off the path of sticking to a plan and have been met with less than spectacular results. Let me share a story with you.
It was 2009 and I was training to run the St. George Marathon in St. George, UT. It was a qualifier for the Boston Marathon and I was set to qualify with a 3:20. They shipped us 26.2 miles out of town for the start of the race where large bonfires kept us warm in the cold morning air.

As the race was to begin, I lined up with the 3:20 pace runner. The gun went off and we all started to surge forward. Now the marathon is mostly downhill which you would think is a good thing. The problem is this will pound your quads.

Through mile 17, I was keeping up with the pace runner and feeling good about life. My IT Bands were starting to tighten, but not badly. I knew that I would have to stretch them out to continue at this pace.

Then it happened. At mile 18, there was an aid station with drinks, food and a medical tent. Outside the medical tent were several people with plastic gloves on rubbing a Ben-Gay type product on peoples legs. That was the ticket to help my IT Bands. I had never done this before, usually I just stretched a bit and ran through the mild pain. They rubbed the magical crème on my thighs and off I went. I felt great.

However, my running shorts were rubbing on my thighs. Soon, I noticed that not only were my thighs feeling that “hot” sensation, but so was my crotch. That was my “Great Balls of Fire” moment. The Ben-Gay had wicked its way up my thighs to my crotch via my running shorts.

Boy, did that sting. Luckily, I still had an extra shirt on. I stopped at a porta-potty, folded it in 1/3’s and put it inside my running shorts. It alleviated the pain somewhat, but my race was over. Bye, Bye Boston. I finished at a little over 4 hours and was glad to be done. I got my medal and ice cream bar and sat down in the park by the finish line. My pain had subsided, but running the last 8 miles with my crotch on fire was no bueno.
The moral of my story is, make your plan and stick to it.

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I Left it All on China Wall

China Wall

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Being a Jeep lover and an adrenaline junkie it should come as no surprise my eyes lit up when I heard our Jeep dealership sponsored Jeep Trail Rides periodically throughout the year. They would pick the trail, send the invite and lead the rally to the 4 wheeling adventure of the day. The best part was they would then carefully lead you through the steps of breaking in your Jeep on a real deal jaw breaking 4-wheel drive trail Colorado Style. White knuckling was considered just part of the initiation process for me.

China Wall is one of those trails that if you are a newbie can seem fairly intimidating and depending on the amount of snow received in the previous winter or the power of the spring run offs, the rocky, rutted and steeply angled trail can leave the more faint at heart trembling. The day we tackled it was rougher than normal according to a few Jeep veterans, but by then we were committed because the trail is so narrow once you start you can’t really go back until you have done the scary stuff.

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There must have been 30 Jeeps that day all creeping along the trail like an army of ants dutifully following a leader. One by one we took a deep breath and putting the game for anything Wrangler in 4 wheel drive Low I excitedly pushed the gas pedal and took my turn. This was it, now I was committed, like it or not, now I had to push on no matter what came next.

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Anticipation can be a good thing and a bad thing. That day it was a bit of both for me! This was what I’d always wanted to do, and this was a perfect way to test the waters so to speak, but like anything else that you have never done before, I had a case of the nervous jitters anyway. I had recruited my youngest daughter as my adventure co-pilot that day, she was torn between admitting she was excited, maintaining her teenager life- is-so-boring stance, and a tad of fear that she was with her mother instead of her father for this particular adventure. When I took one last look at her before we started the steep assent up China Wall I thought I could see fear in her eyes, I grinned and faked a round of rousing confidence and said, “Here goes nothing!”

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I don’t think I convinced her I had things under control exactly. Nevertheless, onward we drove. Up, up, and up.

On the right the trail dropped very suddenly into a deep gully. The trail was only one vehicle wide, very rocky and with a Jeep Wrangler suspension we bounced up and down, right and left and everything in-between. Rowdy, the Golden Retriever hung out in the back and seemed to be enjoying the rib, rattling ride up more than anyone else, but then again, he’s a Golden Retriever and is game for anything!

The steeper it went the rougher it got. With no idea what to expect next and knowing I was totally committed to following through, if only because there was no earthly way to turn around and go back at this point, I was like a fighter pilot on full alert, half scared to death, and half excited like a kid waiting for Santa!

At the top of the first stretch things calmed down a bit, the trail wound around the Aspens and Ponderosa Pines, but at least here you could see more than the spare tire of the Jeep in front of you so you could get some perspective.

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I relaxed and took it all in including a deep breath of fresh mountain air. Feeling instantly more confident, it was about at this point in the adventure I started feeling pretty proud of myself for jumping into something I’d always wanted to do, but had never gotten around to actually doing! Even more pleased with myself because I was doing this one on my own with out having the comfort of my very capable husband by my side. Under normal circumstances, he’d be here and he’d be driving, which would allow me to just sit back and enjoy the ride and not worry about all those pesky details like not leaving the bottom of the Wrangler on the trail or God forbid roll the thing and crush the life out of my child and myself! But reality was wicked and he was out of state working a new job and if I was going to do this I was going to have to pull out those dusty big girl panties and just do it myself. With confidence oozing out of every pore by now, I felt good! “Life was good! Would you just look at me and what I am doing,” I thought.

About then things took a dramatic turn for real. Suddenly, the cute little caravan of Jeep Wranglers came to a quick stop. There were big boulders on all sides of us and the trail had been snaking up and around for quite awhile. I waited. Soon curiosity got the better of me and I jumped out and snapped a few cool pictures to prove I really did this badass trail. As the curiosity started to take over I wandered up the trail, passing a half dozen or more Jeeps all waiting patiently for whatever came next.

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Then I saw it. Right there in front of me the trail took a sharp ninety-degree turn to the right and then just dropped. Before my wondering eyes I could see a dozen of the Jeep dealership staff all standing around on various sides of the trail helping guide and direct the poor sap whose turn it was, as he tried to navigate the simultaneous turn and drop of the trail. To complicate matters, there had been a lot of run off that spring and the trail was deeply washed away and rutted, leaving huge rocks exposed right in the middle of the road.

Each driver had to carefully position their vehicle at the start in just the right spot so that when they inched forward the vehicle could both clear the nasty rock below them and still be in a spot so that when the Jeep rocked forward it did not fall into the next series of rocks. The men on the side would squat down and watch the Jeep as it inched it forward bit by bit until it finally cleared one hurdle and pushed on to make it past the next one.

“Holy crap!” I apologize for the language but that is honestly all I could think at this point. Suddenly, my big idea to go 4-wheeling in the mountains seemed about the stupidest thing I had ever come up with. Desperately I looked around for a way out.

There was none. Jeeps were lined up before mine as far as I could see and as far behind as I could see. I scanned the crowd for a sympathetic face. Maybe someone would do this for me? Mostly I saw my own fear reflected back at me in the other drivers, but a couple of the more seasoned drivers just grinned an ornery grin back at me and one even laughed and told me everything would be just fine, ya right!

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I watched in horror as the six Jeeps before me all inched their way past the obstacle. Some did better than others, many of them sounded like they were leaving thousands of dollars of variously important Jeep parts behind as they scraped along the rock. I swear one even looked like it was going to roll over because the driver got too far to the right side.

The moment came, I had no choice to but to assume my position in the drivers seat and pull forward. My daughter was speechless as reality set in for her, hell even the dog layed down, as if he couldn’t bear to see what was coming next.

When my beautiful black Wrangler with only 25,000 miles on it took the lead spot I was pretty sure there would be nothing left of it by the time this day ended. Motherhood responsibilities took over and I kicked my daughter out and made her stand on the sidelines, presumably to take the pictures, but honestly, I viewed it as my last show of love for a child who would soon be motherless! At least I would save my baby!

I stuck my head out the window and did a hasty confession to the Jeep staffer charged with motivating me to push the accelerator and launch my own death fall.

“Um, hi, I um, have no idea what the HELL I am doing! Are you sure I have to go this way? “ I uttered as fast as I could.

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“You will be just fine. Just follow my signals and only watch me,” he answered. I looked around. I could suddenly see a potential problem. A dozen men stood all around me ready to offer helpful advice. “Just watch him,” I repeated to my self.

Deep breath, ok, I tentatively pushed the gas. Nothing happened because the tires were up against rocks and I had not given the vehicle enough juice to go up and get on the first rock. I tried again, still very fearful to give it too much gas and launch myself like a rocket to a surefire death.

It took about a half dozen tries with my eyes locked into whomever he was standing beside me waving me on. Finally, the Jeep lurched up and forward and I instantly hit the breaks.

“Turn the wheels all the way this way,” he said. I complied.

“Now go forward until I say stop” he said. I complied.

Then my stomach hit the floor, I think Rowdy passed out, and I threw up a little in my mouth, because all of a sudden the Jeep rocked forward and to the right. My right wheel had dropped into the vast hole between the big boulders. As this happened, my back rear tire went airborne. I was certain this was it. My husband was going to kill me once he found out what I was doing. Then it dawned on me it wouldn’t matter because I was already going to be dead!

“It’s ok,” mister whoever he was said from behind me.

I am sure the look on my face was priceless about now because I could not figure out how in the HELL things were ok right now! Eyes as wide as saucers I stared at him, ready to bolt like a scared deer, if I could only figure out what way to go.

“You just need to give it gas now. You might here a scraping sound, but I will tell you if you need to stop. OK?” Mystery man directed me.

With no other option in sight I complied, but to say I might hear a scraping sound is putting it mildly. I heard only ear shattering, this must be expensive as hell scrapping sounds for what seemed like hours as my Jeep crept forward.

Finally after what seemed a lifetime I heard what’s his name say enthusiastically “You did it!”

“I did? Really? Are you sure? Did I mess anything up on my Jeep?” I asked.

“No you are good, I swear!” He grinned back at me!

Wave after wave of relief washed over me! I searched the crowd for my daughter and found her riveted to the sidelines. I am pretty sure she will never admit it but I hope secretly she was even just a tiny bit impressed at what she witnessed me do that day because I was scared to death and I did it anyway!

Another bucket list adventure for the books for me, but the lesson learned is that no great thing ever came from my comfort zone. I was the only female that day driving and I realized just how scary life could be when you can’t see what’s ahead in life, but maybe that’s the way it is supposed to be. When I think back on this day, if I had known what I had to do to get past that part of the trail, I know darn well I would have chickened out. Because the trail and life don’t work that way though, once I made the commitment and get on the trail in the drivers seat, I had to keep going even through the unknown parts where I had butterflies in my stomach and even when I could finally see the biggest fear I had to face. Just commit and do it.

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So my friend, what’s next on your list?

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Styx and Stones

Styx and Stones
I think one of the absolutely coolest things to do is attend a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado. It simply has to be on everyone’s bucket list as an experience that can’t be matched at any other concert venue in the world!
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A couple summers ago we kicked off summer with a bang by attending the 70-80-s rock band tri-fecta at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Ted Nugent reminded us what free speech and guitar playing are for by opening the concert with classics like “Cat Scratch Fever.”

A bit later, REO Speedwagon took us back to our glory days with “Heard it From a Friend” and their classic song written about hiking in the Rocky Mountains with “Ridin the Storm Out”. As the stars started to fill the Colorado night sky we heard them serenade us to “Take it On the Run” and the rock ballad “Keep On Loving You”

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Styx then brought the starry night home with “Come Sail Away” “Renegade” “Too Much Time On My Hands” and “Babe”!

High School in the 70’s- 80’s in the Midwest was a special time of innocence and bands like REO Spreedwagon, Styx, Rush, ADCD and legends like Bob Segar and Jackson Browne made a lasting imprint on my soul. It was a time of discovery, of lasting friendships and it helped shape me into the person I am today.

As I sat that night in early May surrounded by the towering Red Rocks that naturally made one of Gods’ most beautiful Amphitheatres, and watched rock legends take me back in time, I was flooded with memories of a simpler time.

Music can make such a difference in our lives and while Tommy Shaw and others serenaded me I suddenly found myself appreciating my youth and the dear friends I shared my life with during those early years.

Modern singers like Eric Church say it best in his current hit “Springsteen” in the lyrics:

When I think about you
I think about 17
I think about my old Jeep
I think about the stars in the sky

Funny how a melody sounds like a memory
Like a sound track to a July Saturday night “Springsteen”

Everyone should make sure they get to see a rock legend performing under the stars at Red Rocks in the Rocky Mountains.

So my friend what’s next on your list?

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BREAKING NEWS! Join us on the first ever Couples Adventure Empower Your Marriage Moab, Utah

BREAKING NEWS! Join us on the first ever Couples Adventure Empower Your Marriage Moab, Utah
The guys have been really feeling left out of all the fun so this time we have created an epic adventure and we are inviting our better halves! It’s called Empower Your Marriage Couples Adventure trip to Moab, Utah October 9-12, 2015 and this is a groundbreaking and exciting trip that you and your spouse do not want to miss! (Meet Friday afternoon in Moab, Utah, have adventures Saturday and Sunday and head home Monday October 12)

This adventure is for couples, comrades on the adventure of life but instead of mowing the lawn, running the kids here and there; this weekend it’s all about just the two of you and why you are together in the first place!

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Picture This!
Close your eyes and picture this! It’s midmorning, the sky is bright and sunny with not a cloud in the sky and yet you are about to make a surprise entrance intro a crowd of unsuspecting people in a way worthy of the introduction scene to a Mission Impossible movie! Imagine the feeling of rappelling off a 120-foot sheer rock down into a crowd of unsuspecting onlookers taking the easy way on a hike from the parking lot. As the crowd looks up with amazement suddenly a badass team of comrade’s rappel in, showing the rest of the world it’s a hell of a lot of fun to the take the unconventional route!

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Get out of your comfort zone as a couple
Now, imagine that priceless feeling you only get when you have just really pushed yourself outside the normal limits of life and done something so amazing, exciting, daring and bold that even your mother would be impressed? On second thought, maybe you shouldn’t tell your mom! That’s the kind of feeling the girls who put these weekends together love!

Our goal is to arrange the most adventure packed, wild west weekend that you have ever had and while we do that we are going to see new places, do new things and tap into our inner wild child just because most of us have long lost touch with that part of ourselves. Can you see the look of astonishment on the faces around you as you nonchalantly smile to the amazed strangers and give them that “ya, we just did that kind of satisfied rock rappeller look?”

Spots are Limited
The Empower Your Marriage Adventure spots are very limited and fill up very quickly so if you have made the New Year resolution to kick it up a notch in your relationship this is the opportunity of a lifetime and just what you have been waiting for.

Empower Your Adventure founders Jackie (Bucketlistblogger.com) and sister Vicki (IronGirl) have partnered with the worlds best and hunkiest guides at Front Range Climbing Co to offer this once in life time opportunity. The adventure will begin Friday afternoon October 9 where we will meet in Moab, Utah and continue through Monday October 12. We will backcountry camp in the stunning Moab, Utah desert under the brightest starry nights you can imagine. We are going to Moab for a power packed weekend of badasery big time, full of rappelling off Moab’s spectacular 120 foot arches, rock climbing the stunning bluffs, hiking, camping, bonding, while we recharge our batteries and make new life long friendships! Nightly campfire chats have proven to be one of the many highlights.

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Our Guides are the BEST!
Our guides at Front Range Climbing Co will take care of everything from, providing camp meals, permits, and finding the best adventures possible. We will be with professional guides every step of the way and they will provide all the climbing gear, ropes, and instruction that we need to make sure everyone on this adventure can participate in creating life long memories.

Front Range Climbing Co will customize the trip to our exact needs and offer us adventures that everyone can participate in. You need no special knowledge or prior climbing experience to participate. On our own custom Tough scale this adventure would come in at rating of a 6-7 so you have plenty of time to dust off your old hiking boots and get your spring zig back into your zag!

The Empower Your Marriage Moab, Utah Rock Climbing and Rappelling Adventure 2015 is offered at the staggeringly great deal of $485 if you register and pay in full by May 31. You will need to provide your own basic backcountry gear such as a backpack, sleeping bag, small 2 man tent, hiking boots and comfortable outdoor clothing. That’s it! We make it really easy!

REGISTER TODAY ONLINE!
All you have to do is say “HELL Yeah and click the link below today to register!”

Click Here to REGISTER Today What are you waiting for!!!!!!

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Empower Your Estrogen Gets Rocky Mountain High and Wet and Wild in 2015

Taking on water

Ladies! Are you ready to get Rocky Mountain high and then mix it up with a little wet and wild?

Got your attention? Good! The girls behind Empower Your Estrogen are planning an epic summer mountain experience that you will not want to miss! Trust us!

We just wanted to get your attention, it won’t be THAT kind of a trip! This isn’t a party girl trip it’s a Rocky Mountain adventure girl trip!

This is your chance to summit a mountain, yodel at the top in your superhero costume with the Bucketlistblogger and Irongirl and then soak in the breathtaking mountain vistas that surround you on Friday July 31, 2015. But that’s not all! On Saturday morning, August 1, we will get wet and wild while we go white water rafting down the spectacular Royal Gorge, Colorado’s own version of the Grand Canyon! After a day of thrilling excitement on the rapids we will spend the afternoon at The Abbey Vineyard in Canyon City for some rest, relaxation and refreshments and retreat to our secret mountain back country camping spot among the Ponderosa Pines for a second fun filled evening of campfire and chocolate! Mountain summits and white water rafting all in one trip! Add a little campfire fun, a Tough Tiara Challenge or two and a stop at The Abby Vineyard and you have an epic adventure!

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We have worked with our favorite guides at Front Range Climbing Co and made all the arrangements for you. We will meet Thursday evening and set up camp in the spectacular Rocky Mountains and enjoy a quiet campfire night. Friday we will rise early and hit the trailhead at the crack of dawn so we can enjoy the challenging alpine hike to one of the most beautiful summits in the state. This will be a mountain hike on a rocky trail only (no ropes and harnesses needed) after the hike we will return to camp for laughter, stories and our famous Tough Tiara Crowning!

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On Saturday we will white water raft down The Royal Gorge on Class IV and V white water rapids past the 1200 foot cliff walls and over Sunshine Falls, Sledgehammer & the Narrows! This will be wet, wild and very exciting! Experience two of the most breathtaking outdoor treats Colorado offers all in one girl power weekend!

You will need basic backcountry camping gear such as a small two-person tent, sleeping bag, good hiking boots and appropriate jackets for the colder Colorado temperatures at the summit. According to our custom rating scale this adventure promises to be a 6 on the Tough Girl Scale. You will need strong legs and big lungs! Our hike will be approximately 7-9 miles round trip!

Not sure if you are in shape to handle a mountain hike? No problem, For an extra $25 Coach Vicki, the Irongirl will create a 4 month long training plan custom designed for this advenutre for you so that you can start walking and hiking now and be ready for the challenge of summiting a mountian! Time to put some zing in your zap!

Our hunky guides with Front Range Climbing Co will take are of all the transportation from Colorado Springs and food, keep us on the trail, show us the best alpine hikes in the state, ensure we are having a great time and hand deliver us to the best white water rafting guides in the state for the thrill of a lifetime on Saturday!

This trip is going to be epic and full of great stories all for the amazing package price of only $299. This trip will be limited to 15 brave and crazy ladies and it’s a steal so don’t miss out! Email Isaac@frontrangeclimbingco.com or call 719-632-5822 today to book your spot!

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Empower Your Estrogen Moab, Utah Rock Climbing, Rappelling and More 2015!

Ladies! For Your Eyes ONLY

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Attention all ladies! Close your eyes and picture this! It’s midmorning, the sky is bright and sunny with not a cloud in the sky and yet you are about to make a surprise entrance intro a crowd of unsuspecting people in a way worthy of the introduction scene to a Mission Impossible movie! Imagine the feeling of rappelling off a 120-foot sheer rock down into a crowd of unsuspecting onlookers taking the easy way on a hike from the parking lot. As the crowd looks up with amazement suddenly a badass team of comrade’s rappel in, showing the rest of the world it’s a hell of a lot of fun to the take the unconventional route!

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Now, imagine that priceless feeling you only get when you have just really pushed yourself outside the normal limits of life and done something so amazing, exciting, daring and bold that even your mother would be impressed? On second thought, maybe you shouldn’t tell your mom! That’s the kind of feeling the girls who put these weekends together love! Our goal is to arrange the most adventure packed, giggle fest of a girls weekend that you have ever had and while we do that we are going to see new places, do new things and tap into our inner wild child just because most of us have long lost touch with that part of ourselves. Can you see the look of astonishment on the faces around you as you nonchalantly smile to the amazed strangers and give them that “ya, we just did that kind of satisfied rock rappeller look?”

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Picture you and a dozen of your 30ish-40ish-50ish suburban PTA soccer mom comrades on the adventure trip of a lifetime because you are part of the next Empower Your Estrogen Adventure! Spots are very limited and fill up very quickly so if you have made the New Year resolution to kick it up a notch in your life this is the opportunity of a lifetime and just what you have been waiting for.

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Empower Your Estrogen founders Jackie (Bucketlistblogger.com) and sister Vicki (IronGirl) have partnered with the worlds best and hunkiest guides at Front Range Climbing Co to offer this once in life time opportunity. The adventure will begin Thursday morning April 24 and continue through Sunday April 27. We will backcountry camp in the stunning Moab, Utah desert under the brightest starry nights you can imagine. We are going to Moab for a four day weekend of badasery big time, full of rappelling off Moab’s spectacular 120 foot arches, rock climbing the stunning bluffs, hiking, camping, bonding, and celebrating our womanhood while we recharge our batteries and make new life long friendships! Nightly campfire chats while we sip a celebratory glass of wine and indulge in a little chocolate treat while we crown the Tough Tiara winner of the day have proven to be one of the many highlights. It’s like a girls retreat and an adrenaline charged slumber party all wrapped up in one!

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Our guides at Front Range Climbing Co will take care of everything from transportation from Colorado Springs to Moab, Utah, provide all our food, and make all the special arrangements. We will be with professional guides every step of the way and they will provide all the climbing gear, ropes, and instruction that we need to make sure everyone on this adventure can participate in creating life long memories.

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Front Range Climbing Co will customize the trip to our exact needs and offer us adventures that everyone can participate in. You need no special knowledge or prior climbing experience to participate. On our own custom Tough Girl scale this adventure would come in at rating of a 6-7 so you have plenty of time to dust off your old hiking boots and get your spring zig back into your zag!

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The Empower Your Estrogen Moab, Utah Rock Climbing and Rappelling Adventure 2015 is offered at the staggeringly great deal of $379, includes transportation from Colorado Springs to and from Moab, Utah and all food, technical gear and instruction. You will need to provide your own basic backcountry gear such as a backpack, sleeping bag, small 2 man tent, hiking boots and comfortable outdoor clothing. That’s it! We make it really easy!

All you have to do is say “HELL Yeah and call today to register!”

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Call 719-632-5822 Front Range Climbing Co today to register! Remember, there are only 10 available spots on this trip offered at the blow out price of only $379 all-inclusive per person. I guarantee you because this is the coolest trip of a lifetime spots will fill up quickly and only the first 10 to register will get to attend!

As an added incentive if you register and pay in full before February 24, 2015 you get the discounted early bird price of $339! That’s a savings of $40!!!

If you register and pay in full before March 8, 2015 you get a discounted price of $359! That’s a savings of $20!

If you register and pay in full before March 8, 2015 you get a discounted price of $359! That’s a savings of $20!

DEADLINE to REGISTER MARCH 8, 2015!

What are you waiting for!!!!!! CALL Right now! 719-632-5822 and say these magic words “Hell Yea!”

Cancellation Policy:
Full refund available with no penalty prior to March 24. After March 24, 80% refund unless we can fill your spot.

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No Pain No Gain I want to Climb The FANG!

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No Pain, No Gain, I Want To Climb the FANG!!

I know you have heard this saying before; I think we all have at one time or another. The words do ring true, in more ways than one.

A few years ago I took a leap of faith and tried rock climbing as an impulse as a part of my bucketlist. It started innocently enough when I got a Groupon in my email and it caught my eye. My thought process went something like this; “Oh cool, look at that neat picture of the guy rock climbing in Garden of the Gods Park” “Wait look at that, they say anyone can do it?” “I wonder if that means I can do it?” “It looks really intense but I’d love to be able to say I had gone rock climbing.” “Hmmmm… OK, I am in” I literally called the guide company and described myself to them and made them confirm that yes I could do this.

While I was rock climbing my guide started telling me about ice climbing and as the unexpected adrenaline junkie that I am, my interest was piqued. This time the thought process went like this; “I really like this rock climbing thing, ice climbing sounds really extreme but pretty impressive” “Do you really think I could do that?”
“well, if he thinks I could do it than maybe I can” “ Hmmmmmm… OK, I am in” I asked him three times that day if I could really do this. He said yes.

Next thing I new I was ice climbing and loved it even more than rock climbing although in ways it is tougher, it really feels good when you have conquered a frozen waterfall with only your own strength and mental problem solving skills. While we were taming this waterfall I was thinking; “ Darn this was really cool. I can’t believe I did this. It was hard but in a good way. I was really challenged by this waterfall of ice.” “I am so glad I decided to give this a try!” He was right, I could do this!

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So, next thing I know I am facebook stalking my favorite guide and finding myself fascinated by his wickedly impressive array of ice climbing pictures when one ice wall caught my attention. I couldn’t pull my eyes away. The bottom line was that I was looking at the most impressive climbing picture I’ve ever seen. “OMG that is so cool. God I wish I could climb that one.” “Wow it looks hard, I am sure that one is way beyond my abilities.” “It would feel so good to know I climbed something that impressive.” “There is no way in hell I could get to the top of that monster. Look how tall it is, it must be several hundred feet high” “I wonder………” “Maybe……..”
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Fast forward to a facebook conversation with my buddy the ice climbing guide. “Hey Dan, you know that really cool picture you have of the tall skinny cascade ice. That is amazing. Ummm. How hard was it to climb. Oh ya…. Ummm. Do you think I could maybe climb that someday?” “REALLY?” “Are you sure, you do remember me right?” I thought maybe I should send him a picture of me just to be sure. I didn’t.

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That was it. The little seed was planted and suddenly it grew and grew. I certainly didn’t expect this one little seed to turn into something so impressive. In fact, when I planted this seed I kind of just haphazardly tossed it out there. I didn’t take care of it properly. I barely even covered it with a grain of dirt. I was sure this one wouldn’t take. I nurtured several other little seeds that I was much more certain would grow but they never really took off. Instead, this one little casually tossed, sadly neglected little seed started to take root. No matter what the odds were against it, this little seed kept getting stronger. That’s kind of what happened here. I mean, a year ago I would have bet every last penny I had that not only could I NOT handle the physical challenge of rock climbing, let alone ice climbing which I had never even heard of, I would have bet that it certainly wouldn’t be anything I actually liked. Will wonders never cease?

I tried it. I liked it. I went back for more. I recruited friends to try it with me. I think I even impressed my husband who knows me better than I know myself.

Now don’t make the mistake of assuming it was easy. This was far from easy. It was scary, it was intimidating, it was overwhelming, it was an adrenaline rush, it was physical, it was cold, it required real mental brainpower, it took perseverance, it didn’t always go the way it was supposed to, I got stuck, I thought about quitting, I questioned my sanity, I stuck with it and tried again and again when I couldn’t make the pick stick, I tried not to look down or really even look up because it was easy to freak out. I just kept trying and then all of a sudden I looked up and I had done it. I was at the top of the ice. I looked down at how far I had come and realized I had done this all by myself. I was hooked.

Jackie and her Guide Dan

It is hard to describe in words what it felt like to do something I really didn’t think I could do. Especially when that something required concurring with crampons on my boots and an ice pick in my hand. Who would have guessed!

Jackie Picking on the Ice

I guess it made me feel strong. Strong mentally and physically, I liked the rush I got when I finally reached my goal and stood on top. I liked the fact that I had done something really impressive all by myself.

Thinking about this as I soaked my tired sore bruised up body it dawned on me, it’s the stuff in life you have to work the hardest at that you really appreciate and feel good about. If it’s easy, anyone can do it.

Going out on a limb, I called my buddy up and spoke the words I had previously only dared to speak. “I want to climb that one, will you take me?” Guess what he said? Yes. Good Lord now I am going to really have to do it! While I haven’t had a chance to actually climb The Fang yet, it is high on my list of important things to do in life. I am hopeful when I get the chance my buddy and ice climbing guide Dan will be there to help me make this dream come true! I will keep you posted, I promise! One day I hope to conquer “The Fang” let’s see if I actually make good on this one, but for now the little seed is growing…

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So my friend, I ask you “what’s next on your list?”

PHOTO Credits Matthew McKinley (thanks for the share!)

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A Lot Can Happen in a Year

A lot can happen in a year

What did you do last year that was exciting?

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-Got brave enough to launch an Empower Your Estrogen Adventure, or two, or three! I was really scared for some reason; I think I was uncertain others would think this adventure stuff was strange or that if I invited others to join I was somehow then responsible for their happiness and enjoyment on the trip. I was really wrong, others were most definitely interested and the women that came made it clear to me that they were there of their own accord and were singly responsible for their own happiness. Several reported that it was life-changing experience. I am so glad I let go of my fear long enough to give this a try. Last year my sister and I put together three trips, we went rock climbing in Moab, Utah, mountain biked down Pikes Peak, Colorado and went on a back country camping and yoga trip in Omaha, NE. WE have more fun adventures scheduled for 2015!

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-I persisted with a dream long enough to see it come true! I had been submitting articles to the editor of Max Sports and Fitness magazine for over a year and one of my articles was selected the year before but at the very end of 2013 she called and asked me if I would be interested in writing 9 feature stories as a contributing author! Again, a flash of doubt made me stop a question whether or not I could do it and then that bold inner child spoke up loud and strong and said yes! I am so glad I did! Nine feature stories turned into 22 feature stories in 2014 and a current set of assignments to kick off 2015! I can definitively say I am published!

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-Rock climbed to new heights in Moab, Utah and learned to rappel! Not only did I rappel I did it off awe inspiring 120 foot Aches!

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-Finally embraced mountain biking and not only went on adventures riding down Pikes Peak and Gold Camp Road and finally purchased a bike of my own.

-Got to see my son graduate from college! I am very proud of all of his hard work and it is a delight to visit with him about world issues and historical events, he has an impressive grasp of history and inspires me to learn more.

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-Turned 50! Holy Cow how did that happen? In my mind I feel about 25 full of ideas for my future and yet somehow I now have a veritable lifetime of experiences to go with all those dreams. I am trying to embrace the woman I am, and all my imperfections and learn to understand what I can and cannot do!

-Sold our business and bought a house. Launched into yet again another career journey!

-Finally completed a 3-minute plank, 50 sit-ups and 1 real pushup! Fitness is forever something I am working on and this was a new level of achievement for me.

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-Went 4 wheeling in my Jeep in the Rocky Mountains with a Jeep Group and got onto some very challenging trails requiring me to learn to embrace white knuckling some wild trails. It was nerve wracking to say the least especially when the Jeep tilted and I had a wheel in the air and the bottom of the Jeep was scraping the rocks below but I liked it!

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-It wasn’t an easy year by any means, in fact, it was downright scary and beyond stressful. A lot changed in our world in a year and it makes me wonder what’s in store for us next year!

So my friend, I ask you “what’s next on your list?”

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Don’t Hold the Garlic My Dear

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Fun on the River!

Fun on the River!

I use my bucketlist as an ongoing outline for things I just must do at some point in my life. People ask me all the time “What’s next on your list?” and thankfully, I never run out of crazy things that I want to do, especially because as I do one bucketlist item I usually discover another two that I want to do hat I never even knew existed! This keeps it simple and fun and I never run out of ideas!

Booking our adventures for our recent vacation, my friend Mike learned about a river float called Garlic Mike’s that came highly recommended by our outfitter Three Rivers. Intrigued, Mike asked more questions immediately. Upon learning it was a recreational river float down the Gunnison River led by a guide who does all the work, ending at Garlic Mike’s Restaurant for excellent Italian Fine Dining on the river, my friend Mike did the only intelligent thing. He signed us up! A new bucketlist adventure was born!

The day of the float we showed up at 3:15 pm and Three Rivers Outfitters followed us the 15 miles down the road to Garlic Mike’s where we left our vehicle and clean dry clothes. They shuttled us back to the Outfitter base where we met up with our EMT, college boy, river guide friend Nick and loaded our cooler of beverages into the all-familiar blue river raft.

This time however, Nick did all the work, we enjoyed the river scenery and good company and sipped on beverages for the next two and a half hours while we floated to Garlic Mikes Restaurant in grand style!

Nick made it look exceptionally easy as he smoothly worked the two extra long oars and smoothly spun river tales and maneuvered us downstream.

When he offered to let me give it a try after hearing about my passion for new adventures I jumped at the chance.

Assuming my post on the center bench I grabbed the oars and pulled, expecting a familiar tug based upon my experience a few days before white water rafting and stand up paddle boarding.

I was as surprised as everyone on the boat when a loud grunt escaped my mouth in a very unladylike fashion.

The two oars had barely moved. Both shoulders screamed in protest. We went nowhere fast.

Looking back over my shoulder at a grinning “Nick The River Guide”, he replied, “It’s hard isn’t it?”

“No kidding!” I came back at him.

“This is soooooo hard!” I complained as I pulled with all my might and maybe moved us an inch or two in the right direction.

Humbled by my 3 minute go as a river guide I let that career idea float away and readily returned the long oars to my able bodied friend Nick and conceded I was not ready for prime time yet!

Finally at Garlic Mike’s we settled in for a delicious meal and good company perusing the menu for our favorite Italian fare.

I realize Italians love garlic and the place was called Garlic Mike’s, but I was still surprised when Robin pointed out her favorite menu item had two asterisks beside it noting it had extra garlic in the ingredients.

After a little bit of marital maneuvering and skillful negotiating, dear friends Robin and Mike came to an agreement. Neither would hold the garlic and they’d just hope they cancelled each other out if the aftershocks were too overwhelming!

I chuckled but realized I was in the presence of true love and had just witnessed the skilled and careful marital maneuvering of a veteran couple.

I got to experience an unexpected adventure that I didn’t even have on my list or know existed, celebrated with friends, realized I couldn’t cut it as a river guide, even in my dreams, and watched as two friends loved each other enough to not hold the garlic!!

I think these two will make it to 50 years!

So my friend, I ask you “what’s next on your list?”

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