Adventures in Colorado

Bucket List Adventures By State in Colorado

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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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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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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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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Don’t Hold the Garlic My Dear

Good Friends Good Friends[/caption]

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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One Long Wheeeeeee

One long Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee: A Bucketlistblogger Adventure

Bucketlistblogger.com Adventure

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This is just an observation, a personal opinion by this author, but I want to pose a simple question to you today.

Don’t you think life is too full up uphill battles and not enough downhill coasts?

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What am I talking about? Think about this for just a second. How many things in life are you “working on” during your lifetime? Maybe this sounds a bit familiar, “I’m working on getting through high school. I’m working on getting into a good college. I’m working on my undergraduate degree. I’m working on getting a good job. I’m working for a big promotion. I’m working on saving money to buy a used car. I’m working on paying off my car. I’m working on getting my credit rating up. I’m working on buying a new car. I’m working on paying off my student loans. I’m working on my retirement savings. I’m working to buy a business. I’m working on saving for my kid’s college education. I’m working on saving for a vacation. I’m working on investing in my future. I’m working on getting into shape. I’m working on losing weight. I’m working on fixing up my house. I’m working on my marriage. I’m working on raising my children. I’m working on” ….

See what I mean? The list of things we spend our time and energy “working on” during our lifetime can be a bit daunting.

When was the last time you heard someone say I’m coasting today?

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Coasting, what do you mean coasting? Are you talking about the word we used to use as kids when we’d ride our bike, “ Wheeeeeeeeeee” Do you mean when we’d hop on our skateboard, push off a few times, and then firmly plant our other foot on the board and just ride, the wind whipping through our hair? Could it possibly mean when we would get the hose out in the summer, wet down an old tarp, run as fast as we could until we hit the wet, slippery surface, and then we’d just slide?

I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of one single adult that I have heard utter any of these words –ever. They are all so darn busy “working on” things that they have forgotten how to coast and enjoy the ride every now and then.

Now that I have you thinking a bit, which was more fun? Of course, all of our childhood work and coast experiences were more fun. Heck, we were just kids playing. The work never really felt like work, but we sure do remember how good the coasting part felt.

As kids we had it all figured out. Sometimes, adults need to take a lesson from the little ones.

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Dylan Scott, owner of Pikes Peak Mountain Bike Tours in Colorado Springs has actually figured out a way to help you remember what it was like to be a kid. His company of expert guides will take care of all the adult issues like having the right equipment, getting a bike that fits you, remembering to bring heavy layers of clothing and wraps for your pant legs so they don’t get caught in the bike chain, they remember the healthy breakfast and full water cooler so everyone can stay hydrated. They have the helmets and make sure they fit properly. They get the park pass, remember to fill up the van with gas, they know the way and they drive you to the top of Pikes Peak.

All you have to do is sit back and let them handle all the details while you enjoy the view up one of America’s most beautiful and majestic mountains. But what happens next is magical. At the summit the guides with Pikes Peak Mountain Bike Tours get everyone organized, explain all the safety rules etc. and before you know it the tour starts.

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You settle into the unfamiliar seat of a bicycle, stretch out over the handle bars and push off on the pedals a couple times thinking, like a typical adult that you have to do all the work. Like magic the bike takes off, no pedaling required, you are just riding at a nice brisk pace and you realize you don’t have anything to do except enjoy the surroundings and. …coast. What???

It took me, a seasoned mom and worrier, all of about 60 seconds of this exercise to be totally overcome by a rush of pleasant childhood memories. Oh my gosh, this was fun! This was exhilarating and the view-oh my gosh, the view was spectacular!

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My only concern was not getting too over-confident and going too fast to handle the corners safely, but my responsible guide up front took care of that, and set a safe and reasonable pace, and all I had to do was just follow along in line, gently squeezing my brakes every once in awhile and then coast.

What a mind blowing, simple and wonderful concept. Why had it been so very long since I did something like this?

We rolled gently down the mountain, a light and cool breeze rolling past, the highway winding its way down like a slow and friendly serpent laid out before us.

At first I was noticeably uncomfortable with the foreign notion of coasting and relaxing. My natural instinct was to find things to worry about. Were we going too fast, was there a car behind us trying to pass. How sharp was the turn up ahead, should we slow down. What if there was gravel on the road somewhere, would that be dangerous. Were we getting too close to the edge, etc. but rather quickly these irrational thoughts disappeared and I realized my guides had it all under control. We were going exactly the right pace; we had a guide in front of us showing us the way and a van with a guide behind us protecting us from traffic and other hazards.

BLB Bike Sam

I really could just relax and enjoy the ride. As this fascinating transformation took place and I looked over at my hardworking 21 year old college son, I saw the pure joy in his eyes as he rolled up next to me and said, “wow mom this is really cool and lots of fun.” I could see that as hard as he has been working to become a responsible adult he could still relish the pure joy of just being a kid again for a few hours. He had vivid memories of the joy of coasting. At that moment all I wanted to do was throw my hands in the air and yell “Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee” all the way down the mountain.

Hard work and responsible decisions are the mainstay of adulthood, but don’t forget that it’s perfectly healthy to sit back and coast every now and then, and just enjoy the ride and the view.

To book your Pikes Peak Mountain Bike Tour visit www.bikepikespeak .com, ask for Dylan and tell him your friend Jackie The Bucketlistblogger sent you! I promise you, he’ll know who you are talking about!

BLB 2 S and J

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

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Bucketlistblogger Needs to Refill Her Own Bucket

Bucketlistblogger Needs to Refill her Own Bucket

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It’s a simple pleasure, one that is far too often taken for granted, not even noticed in our busy lives, as we rush here and there, but a Colorado Rocky Mountain sunset can be as spectacular as anything I’ve ever seen. It can also help me refill my own energy bucket!

As a busy business owner, my daily quest to share my passion for health and fitness, and help clients in their own sports nutrition journey, takes a fair amount of energy. So does my greatest joy being a mother and wife. Sometimes I too, can start to feel overwhelmed with to do lists, grocery shopping, meal prep, work, and family obligations, not to mention my own fitness goals and training. Just because my husband and I own a sports nutrition store doesn’t mean we aren’t real people and deal with the same day to day challenges you do.

Periodically, when my own energy starts to feel low, I have to remember to pause and give thanks for the simple pleasures in life, like watching a Colorado sunset, somehow it helps me fill back up my own energy bucket.

This might sound strange, but I believe we give to others from our own “bucket of energy” and like a simple math equation, if you give away without refilling your own bucket you are soon going to have a problem and your bucket will be totally empty leaving you nothing to give to others. How we all refill our own energy buckets is a very personal thing. I’ve been a slow learner over the years with this lesson, but I am starting to get it. I have learned that if I stop every now and then and give to myself my bucket stays full and I have the passion and energy to give to others. For me, refilling my bucket can be as simple as an afternoon nap, a ride in the mountains with my family, a hike or simply slowing down to enjoy a Colorado sunset.

It may not be fancy, and it may not be large, but my patio is just big enough for two rockers and a cup of hot coffee in the morning or a small glass of red wine in the evening. My patio perfectly frames my front seat view of Pikes Peak and the front range. I really couln’t ask for more.

While rocking on my patio in the evening, I see the blue Colorado skies as the bright ornages, saucy pinks and teal blues mix against the black outline of the mountains, like a bright box of sun melted Crayons.

When the sun sets on a summer evening I love to watch the sky light up behind the mountains, casting a fast moving kaleidoscope of colors as darkness begins to fall. Soon the sky lights up in a spectrum of rainbow colors, blue as far as the eye can see. As darkness falls a calmness settles over me, allowing me to end my busy day with a simple ritual that always seems to set my day right, even if it went wrong! It helps me refill my bucket.

Simple, pure, peaceful. It helps me remember why I am doing all this in the first place! As night sets I retire knowing I am ready for another day.

Sunset 3

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

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Butterflies and Horse Shit

Butterflies and Horse Shit

Butterflies are delicate, beautiful creatures that effortlessly seem to float in the air dancing from wildflower to wildflower.

They seem perfect, dancing only in the wind with each other like the new found love between lovers.

Newlywed love is like this, it gathers attention where it goes, it wraps the lovers in a cloak of intimacy and makes the world seem shiny, new and beautiful.

Last week as we vacationed with great friends and celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary in the Rocky Mountains we embarked on a hike to a waterfall and mountain stream. My love for wildflowers was indulged as I found myself on the trail winding slowly higher and lined with Columbines, Primrose and Chickweed. The farther from the road we ventured the more butterflies seemed to dance around us around each new bend.


The combination of fresh mountain air, tall Ponderosa Pines tickling my senses, majestic peaks, charming birds and flirty butterflies brought out my romantic side. The perfumed mountain valley lined with wildflowers was intoxicating. Caught up in the moment it was easy to feel the love of great friends, and a charming husband, in fact, it was perfect and felt like a scene in a movie “The Sound of Music” that is until I stepped in a big pile of horse shit unceremoniously dumped in the middle of the trail. Black flies hungrily circling like miniature vultures. I found the irony along the trail amusing to say the least!

“What the heck?” I thought as I jumped off the trail into the tall grass.

“Where did all this come from?” I questioned my friends. “How can this perfect scene be marred by something so stinky and smelly?”

That’s when it hit me – what a metaphor for married life! Life isn’t perfect – it can be beautiful one minute and then messy, stinky and even smelly the next!

Hopefully you’ll be blessed to fall in love and share your life with your best friend but take this advice, sometimes your path life will be smooth and breathtakingly, almost painfully beautiful, and sometimes, usually when you least expect it, life is nothing more than a pile of poo!

Surviving it together and still liking each other at the end of the day takes patience, courage and a good sense of humor, just remember to laugh along the way, stop and smell the flowers and watch where you are stepping!


Celebrating my 25th wedding anniversary was a great bucketlist adventure!

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

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Take the Plunge


If you are going to do it, then take the plunge and really do it-don’t hold anything back. “Go big or go home” as the saying goes.

This applies to almost every aspect of life, and it is much harder than it sounds, but it is worth repeating every now and then. Don’t do something halfway and then wonder why it didn’t work out. It doesn’t matter what the “It” is.

In the past 6 weeks life has left us with our heads spinning, but we have done some radical stuff around our house. We agreed to sell our house, sorted, purged, sold stuff, gave away stuff and then we boxed and moved/stored 25 years worth of family treasures. We dealt with the Colorado fires (which hit very close to home) and then I resigned my job so I could work full-time with my husband at our business. That’s an awful lot for just a few weeks, and we were appropriately exhausted!

I wrapped up my job, and then we headed on a week long vacation in Crested Butte with dear friends to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversaries. I have never needed a vacation as badly in my life!

I am now several days into my rejuvenating week long vacation, and I feel like a new woman! I am rested, relaxed, decompressed and properly chilled out! Even better, I have had the time to live out several bucketlist adventures!

The first adventure on the list for the week was to go white water rafting on the Taylor River in Colorado. We chose Three Rivers Outfitters to put our trust in and were very well taken care of and entertained!

When you white water raft in Colorado on a Class III, very technical river, you get assigned to a river guide, fitted with a dry suit (that was not very dry) equipped with a snug life vest, and then properly prepped with the “Safety Speech” where they terrify you with explicit details how to position yourself if you fall out of the boat, and how to rescue another rafter if they have the misfortune to fall out! Then you board the inflatable raft and go for it!

Our guide was a very friendly young man named Nick, who was a recent college grad, EMT, river guide and certified avalanche rescuer. I liked the fact hat we was so multi-talented and ready for any disaster-besides that he was fun!

Nick coached us how to paddle our oars together, taught us our commands: left 3, all 1, all back 3, right 2 and all 1, until the four of us fell into a rhythmic synchronized dance that would have impressed any Olympic team!

I guess 35 years of friendship and 25 years of marriage teaches you to work together well as a team! Anyway, Nick was impressed, and we proved to be an apt team of middle-aged rafters!

One of the biggest tricks to staying in the boat, I soon learned, was to wedge your toes under the seat in front of you as much as possible, so that if the raft took an unexpected jolt you could counterbalance yourself. I was terrified to get tossed from the boat and end up floating like an inflated blueberry Umpa Loompa (note the dry suit) so I wedged my toes in until I damn near hit my kneecaps! The first set of rapids tested my skill and I quickly learned to adjust to the unexpected and powerful flow of the river.

At this point, we rocked and rolled our way down the river with Nick at the helm, and the four of us providing the muscle power. It felt good to work together, and I learned we were good at anticipating each others’ moves, and we quickly learned to appreciate the combined power of our joined efforts.

White water rafting is all about learning to read the river anticipate its obstacles and go with the flow!

I quickly learned you couldn’t fight the power of the river. Instead, you have to learn to work with it. One person can’t row and guide the boat- it takes a team working together.

The huge rocks in the river were fascinating and intimidating also. We learned to read the river, from its smiley faces to its frowns. Smiles are good; frowns are bad; I liked the simplicity of that message.

Nick would direct us where to put our power in carefully coordinated and clear directions so that the raft worked with the river, not against it.

The rocks would divide the river forcing the rushing, frigid, snow runoff water to go around it, thus creating hazards, obstacles and dangerous pockets.

I was struck by the symbolism of this lesson. A river is much more powerful it its energy is not diverted, but instead channeled in one clear direction. It makes navigating much easier and your results are more powerful. The odds are much better you won’t crash and burn or end up going where you don’t want to go.

As I rafted down this gorgeous river I realized the potential strength in our recent decision to join professional efforts to work together to grow our business as a team. Alone we were vulnerable, divided and forced to navigate the dangerous waters of business separately, but together we would be undeterred, our efforts doubled by the combined power and singular goal. It was a leap of faith, but I knew there on the river we’d make the right decision for us.

As we paused mid-river for a break, Nick encouraged us to take “the plunge”; we decided to go for it as a team. Each of us stood on a rock in the middle of the river, guided by Nick, we leaned back into the unknown and took the plunge into the icy, powerful waters. It took out breath away as we hit the 58 degree water, but as we rose to the surface we were rewarded by the knowledge we had overcome our fears and we’d worked together to achieve our dreams.


Don’t be afraid to take your own plunge!

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

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