Adventures in Courage

Bucket List Adventures in Virtue Courage

Getting the Hang of Hanging out in a Tree

Getting the Hang of Hanging out in a Tree

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Last year I had the misfortune to break my foot and I spent a long, depressing and lonely 3 months sitting in my Lazy Boy with my leg elevated in a cast trying to heal. When my young Orthopedic Surgeon first told me I was going to have to keep my leg elevated in order to heal, I remember looking at him in disbelief and asking him, in all sincerity, I must add, “well, what CAN I do?” and his earnest answer delivered with just the slightest hint of a smirk, “well, you can do anything you want as long as your leg is elevated.” Ya, right, junior. The fact is, you can’t do much of anything in that position other than read, watch TV and research grand bucket list adventures on the Internet. Guess which one held my attention the best for the next 12 long weeks?

Yes, you guessed correctly. I researched and researched away. My fingers clicking furiously over the keys of my trusty but old laptop computer, and boy did I find some cool but obscure stuff out there!

I stumbled upon a website called Vertical Voyages and discovered that right here in my great state an outfitter existed that taught you how to climb vertically up into the branches of a mature and stately live old tree. The technique sounded a lot like rock climbing and upon further research I learned the owner was in fact, originally a science teacher and rock-climbing guide who had branched out, pardon the pun, into climbing trees. He now had a successful business teaching people how to do this using a rope technique he had designed and modified. In one of his adventure classes, he could get you up 50-70 feet in a mature tree suspended from one of the tree branches.

I was hooked and totally intrigued. I needed to try this! This had to go on my bucket list!

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After months of waiting and healing and physical therapy and exercise I was ready to take this adventure on.

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The process of climbing was awkward at first, but not really physically demanding. You were outfitted with a seat harness or saddle and secured in carefully in a harness. Then you had to master the art of tree climbing with ropes, a system where you sat in the saddle, lifted one leg up maybe chest high and put it in a looped rope and then stood up on that foot. Then you pushed a special knot up as far as your hands would reach and sat back down in the saddle and repeated the process, basically inching your way up the tree in this fashion. It was awkward at first and you felt like you expended a lot of energy and got nowhere, but after a few minutes the process seemed to smooth out and you realized you actually were making progress.

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My first thoughts were that this was going to take forever to get way up in the tree but part of the experience of having new adventures is practicing the art of patience. After several more minutes of attempting to climb, I paused for a rest and surveyed my progress. I was about 12-15 feet up and had, in fact, actually made pretty good progress, although my view didn’t feel all that impressive yet, it dawned on me I was getting the hang of hanging out in the tree!

Back to work, I dug deep and worked to improve my technique, remembering to breathe along the way and hold my core strong, this helped tremendously and 20 minutes or so later I was a solid 50 feet up in the canopy of this really cool old White Oak tree.

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Others around me were in various stages of progress, some were as far up as their rope would allow them to go. Others had been able to reach over to one of the huge branches and were perched there like a Robin taking in the sights, others still were already on their way down ready to conquer another tree. Me? Well I discovered that for me being up in the canopy of a beautiful old tree had magical qualities to it. I just wanted to hang there and well, kind of speak to the tree. I know, that sounds a bit corny and more than a little bit quirky, but honestly, that’s how I felt. It was like the tree was alive and talking quietly to me. My senses were ultra alert. I could smell the earthiness of the tree. The leaves sashaying in the slight breeze almost sounded like they were playing a soft instrument, mapping out a calming tune that I just couldn’t quite match with my own breath.

I just sat there in my saddle and harness and hung out, it’s that simple. I felt very at home and at peace. I wondered if this is what it felt like to be a bird or a monkey. Suddenly I envied Tarzan and yearned for a tree house where I could sleep and watch the stars twinkling between the leaves singing me to sleep.

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When it was finally time to descend and return back to earth I looked up at the spot where I had been and I realized I liked the view from up above far more than the view from below. Now, everywhere I go I notice huge old mature trees and I see a quiet beauty in them that I never took the time to notice before. This adventure taught me more about myself than many more adrenaline filled things I have done before, but it will forever hold a special place in my heart.

If you ever get the chance to join a Vertical Voyages Tree Canopy Climb you simply must do it. I am blessed that I had a broken foot that forced me to slow life down, and in the process I found a treasure of an adventure that changed me a little bit the day I finally hung out in a tree.

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Rootn’, Tootn’ Gun Shootn’ Good Time

Rootn’, Tootn’ Gun Shootn’ Good Time
Empower Your Estrogen Adventure

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Calling all Ladies! Beat the winter blues by joining the Empower Your Estrogen girls for a wintertime girlfriend adventure right here in Nebraska!

We are calling this one “A Rootn’, Tootn’ Gun Shootn’ Good Time” with a weekend of shooting, yes real guns, and snowshoeing, sledding and more!! We are going to have a rootn’, tootn’ gun shootn’ good time and we want you to join us!

Where:

Ashland, NE at Mahoney State Park where we have rented a adorable cabin complete with a cozy fireplace, and guess what, you don’t even have to pee in the woods on this adventure!

When:

January 29-30-31, 2016
We will meet at the cabin at 6:00 pm Friday January 29 to kick off the event and Check out is 11:00 am Sunday January 31st.

What:
How does this sound? We have a full weekend scheduled to ensure it’s full of fun, laughter, adventure and getting you out of your comfort zone! The list of activities includes: yoga, snowshoeing, sledding, gun shooting, games, and all the Empower Your Estrogen fun you can handle! On Saturday we will participate in an instructor led full day NRA Ladies Handgun class!

Cost:
The cost of the adventure is $275 per person and includes all activities, gun and snowshoe gear rental and instruction, food, beverages, and lodging. (Note: the cabin sleeps 8 but we will be bunking together in some rooms, you can bring a cot if you like) You just need to handle travel expense to get there!

What to bring:

Warm winter clothes for outdoor hikes, snowshoeing and sledding, toiletries and your favorite book to share with others. We will have the snowshoes and sleds for you. Guns, ammo and shooting instruction will be provided at the gun range. Bring your bright smile and a great attitude willing to try new things, make new friends and renew old friendships, we will handle all the rest!

For Fun: Bring the funkiest hat you can find for our funky hat snowshoeing group picture and a cowboy hat for the group gun shooting picture!

Sign up today and reserve your place! Spots are limited so don’t set this aside to think about it. Give yourself the gift of this weekend and come home refreshed and recharged!

Registration is only open from today through December 15 and is on a first come first served bases. We need payment in full at the time of registration, if you live in the Omaha area please give Vicki a check or cash. Because of our upfront costs on this one your registration is not accepted and a spot held for you until payment is received. If for some reason we don’t get enough registrations to fill this event we will cancel and offer a refund on Dec. 15 but we fully expect to fill up and to fill up quickly! Space is really limited so register as soon as you get this!!!!

If you have any questions please feel free to give us a call. Jackie can be reached at 720-260-1660 or Vicki at 402-980-0262.

This is going to be so fun!!!!

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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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Do You Look Like a Hooker Too?

One day as I was wandering the quant little town in the Midwest full of mysterious antique shops, bed and breakfast inns and other little shops I strolled into one called the White Horse Antique shop. As I pulled open the old wooden door I was met with the crisp clean smells of handmade candles mingled with a strange spicy older smell, one of sage, old oak and wool. Interesting combination. The cheerful silver haired proprietor smiled an award-winning grin and greeted me with a welcoming “are you a hooker?”

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“Say what?” I thought, a bit taken aback.

“Well, no.” was my reply.

“Oh you look like you’d be one of my hookers!” she quipped in a friendly way.

Not sure if I should laugh, deny it adamantly, or maybe run for the door, I hesitated for just a second.

“I teach primitive rug hooking and have a group of several hundred women who shop here for their rug hooking supplies. You looked like you might be a hooker!” She explained, as if that made perfect sense.

By now I was more than a little amused and intrigued and took my time wandering the tiny old rooms of the vintage Victorian cottage turned into antique shop and rug hooking supply business. As I entered the back room I had to side step around Samuel, the resident mutt who was sunning himself in the afternoon sunlight taking a nap in front of the register counter. He wagged his tail at me, but other than that didn’t bother to move until he made eye contact with me and could sense I too was a dog lover. Then he jumped to his feet making his 12 years appear more like 1 or 2 with his enthusiasm. I petted him for several minutes as I took in the assortment of silver jewelry, colorful scarf’s, primitive rungs, unique primitive antiques and shelves of beautifully colored wool.

Taken in by the charm of the place instantly, and the warm smile of the owner and teacher, I too, signed up for the next class. I had no idea I wanted to be a hooker until I strolled into her store and was instantly beguiled by the wondrous items covering the walls.

A couple months later I returned for my afternoon class and was delighted when after meeting at the shop to select my rug kit I was escorted back to her private residence half a block away for my actual lesson. Samuel the mutt strolled along with us to the house. The house was as charming as the shop, also full of antiques and beautifully done rugs. We set up class in a small but sun kissed sunroom converted to a dining room and over the next 3 hours I was patiently taught how to work the burlap with my hooking tool and pull the wool through the small openings creating a loop and slowly filling in the blanks of my first rug. At break time we were even treated to an intoxicatingly delicious homemade cherry pie a la mode.

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It was a delightful afternoon and I have discovered while I might not be a natural hooker I do enjoy spending my evenings working on my new craft!

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Look in the mirror; do you look like a hooker too?

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

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Shit Happens Get Over It!

Shit Happens Get Over It!

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It happens to everyone, nature calls. The question I had to ask is what exactly happens when I am enjoying the great outdoors and nature calls? I don’t want to seem look a goody too shoes here and I understand the basic mechanics but the question begs to be answered.

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Now I agree I had bigger problems that I should have been worried about like where would we sleep in the great outdoors? What kind of critters lived out there and how many of them might be interested in a toasty warm sleeping bag and excellent cuddlier? How difficult were the trails and would I get blisters on my feet? Would I be able to keep pace with the group? All these were relevant questions but the one that nagged me the most was where was I going to poop?

Suburban soccer mom’s are not supposed to worry about these things, at least according to convention, that is if we stay in the safety zone of PTA meetings, football and soccer practice, bible study, grocery shopping, work, dishes and general family nurturing the quandary of where and how to poop and pee in the wild would simply not come up. However, I am a self-professed adrenaline junkie, and as my husband describes me, at best a complicated woman.

See, I just can’t color between the lines. I want the best of both words so I flip back and forth between the world of my adventures and momville. Because of this I have to ask the questions no one else seems to want to ask.

When I interview a guide for a potential bucket list adventure I tend to be direct and cut to the chase pretty quickly. Let’s get to the meat of the situation, “where am I going to go potty and what conditions do I need to be able to handle?” I timidly toss out there.

Once I get the facts I can then begin to process the situation. Usually the unknown is worse than the reality. I like a good adventure, just not a bodily function surprise. It causes me stress, because I am a 50-year-old mother of three, I have the bladder of a pea and the minute you tell me I can’t go, face it, I have to go! The more I try to forget how bad I have to go the worse it gets so I figure I might as well put it on the table and let these young guides know what they are dealing with, heck it only seems fair.

On a recent epic adventure to Utah which would entail four days and three nights of back country camping in the desert I had to face the reality that I would be peeing behind a lot of rocks and at some point in time I was going to have to do the decidedly unladylike duty of pooping in the wild.

“Or dear Lord” was all I could think.

When I finally got the courage up to ask my guide and share my concerns with him we bonded instantly as he kindly and yet directly outlined the options. What won me over however was the sweet way he took my concerns, and those of the other women joining the adventure, to heart and came up with most enchanting solution ever!

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On the first day of the trip as we set up camp he presented us with a homemade Homer bucket complete with a toilet seat, garbage bag liners, kitty litter, zip lock bags, hand sanitizer and even a toilet paper holder! Then just like a hero on a white horse he headed into the bluffs and located the perfect three-sided shelter of rocks and proceed to set up our throne worthy of a queen! He had thought of everything!

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When I invited women to join on the backcountry adventure several had turned me down because of “other” things, obstacles like work, family, travel time, expense, back aches and more were listed as why they couldn’t join the fun. It wasn’t until I probed a little deeper did I get an honest answer here and there. The honest truth was they couldn’t imagine pooping in the wild but I have to say it really wasn’t that bad and with the improvised system created by our ingenious and intrepid guide it was practically the Taj Mahal!

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Don’t let your fear of the unknown keep you from the adventure of a lifetime. Face it everyone poops, and shit happens! Get over it, deal with it and move on! Time is wasting!!

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

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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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Empower Your Estrogen Moab Rock Climbing Trip 2014

Empower Your Estrogen Adventure Tour with Brian and Isaac of Front Range Climbing Co 2014

Calling all Girlfriends! Empower Your Estrogen Adventure Tour!

Ladies, have you ever secretly wanted to do something so outrageous and insane that even you were impressed? Here is your once in a lifetime opportunity to raise some hell, get out of your comfort zone, live a sinfully dangerous life, reconnect with the sisterhood of girlfriends and enjoy the slumber party of all slumber parties! How about if we throw in some Thelma and Louise kind of adventure and a little spectacular scenery and a healthy dose of physical fitness?


March 13-17, 2014 Vicki and I are embarking on a once in a life-time, take no hostages, and don’t ever look back, kind of a life changing adventure, and we have used our amazing negotiating skills to be able to offer it to you-our girlfriends!

We’ll leave Thursday March 13, 2014 from Denver, Co and drive across the gorgeous Rocky Mountains to Moab, Utah where we will set up camp and enjoy a fun night of pre-bonding! Friday and Saturday we will climb all day and explore the amazing arches, learn to rock climb and master the art of rappelling and belaying each other! We will share laughter and tears and we will rediscover ourselves along the way. Sunday we will climb just half day and then we will head home, back to reality, fully empowered and recharged to go back to changing the world one day at a time!!

This is your chance. Don’t over think it, don’t fret about the money, don’t make the mistake of thinking your poor family can’t get along without you for even a few days and don’t you dare let the thought that you can’t do this get in your head. You can do this. You will have fun. You will learn something about yourself. You will be amazed at what you really can do if you just allow yourself the chance. This trip is perfect for beginners but will thrill even experienced climbers. Our guides will tailor the climbs to specifically fit our desires and abilities. We Promise.

Think about just exactly how much fun this would be, a group of crazy ass, hard working, hold the entire world together kind of women out camping and climbing in the wild under the stars in breathtaking Moab, Utah. By night we would sit around the roaring campfire in our comfy sweatpants happily sipping wine and eating chocolate under the stars and by day we’d all put on our big girl panties, step into our harnesses and learn to rock climb with the best rock climbing guides in the Rocky Mountains! Yes, we have arranged to bring our own hunky team of rock and rope handling rock climbing guides to teach you, keep you safe and push you out of your old comfort zone into something wild and exciting. Imagine rock climbing the arches, rappelling down the rock faces and bonding with new girlfriends!

How can you pass this up? This is your chance to cross off that next adventure off your bucket list! This kind of a life changer only comes along once every millennium and you need to get off the fence and sign up!
Not only have Vicki and I figured out the where, when and how’s of it all. We have negotiated an unbelievable rock bottom; you aren’t going to believe this price of $175 per person (if we get 6 women to sign up with us!) If our group has less than six other women the price goes up to $350 each –(which is still a steal of a deal) we have the hunky guides, amazing location, pristine rocks and all the expertise you need to be safe, have fun and enjoy a little life on the wild side! Front Range Climbing Co has all the necessary gear we’ll need. We just need our girlfriends with a “can do kind of attitude!” to make this the memory maker adventure of all time!

Ready, do it! Sign up right here, right now and join the fun. We guarantee you won’t be sorry!

Just imagine the stories you’ll have to tell your grandchildren! Ha Ha!

Please join us!

Jackie the Bucketlistblogger and Vicki the Irongirl

Check out Front Range Climbing Company at www.frontrangeclimbingco.com, or read the TripAdvisor Reviews here Trip Advisor Review of Front Range Climbing Co
or call Jackie at 720-260-1660!

Comments
So excited! Maybe this is the carrot I need to get me going.
Posted @ Thursday, January 23, 2014 8:42 PM by Colleen cewflies@aol.com [Delete]
I’d like to go if we get the required number of participants. Does the $175 include lodging and meals or are we camping out?
Posted @ Tuesday, February 04, 2014 11:00 AM by Stella Juarez stella@stellaskitchen.com [Delete]
Ladies, as of now (2/4/2014) we have 7-8 going on the trip and that is enough to give us the $175 per person rate with Front Range Climbing Co!

The $175 fee with FRCC includes all the gear, the guides, permits and instruction we need to have fun and be safe! We are planning on camping to keep the other costs down. FRCC has some camping gear we can borrow or you can bring your own. Additionally, FRCC will be driving their 15-passenger van from Colorado Springs to Moab, Utah so you can either ride along or if you prefer you can drive yourself. Food, camping and the customary gratuity for your guide is extra.
Posted @ Tuesday, February 04, 2014 12:05 PM by Dan Classen d_classen@me.com [Delete]
Hi ladies!! Is there a spot for one more?!! I would be driving myself from the Carbondale area. Let me know so I can get Friday off of work if you have room!! Thank you!!!
Posted @ Thursday, February 27, 2014 10:33 PM by Jeanine Jmcnomd@gmail.com [Delete]

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Five Steps to Creating Your Own Bucketlist

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Why do you need a bucket list? A bucket list serves as a life goal list or a guide for focusing on your dreams. When you don’t have a life goal list it is far too easy to spend all your time, energy and money doing things that really aren’t important to you. Suddenly, you realize years have passed you by and now you can’t make these dreams happen. By creating a bucket list or life goal list you have a blueprint for your specific dreams.

How do you go about creating your own bucket list?

First, spend some time daydreaming. Let go of your adult imposed restrictions. Stop thinking of all the reasons why you can’t do something you want, and re-learn the childhood practice of daydreaming. Make some quiet time in your busy world, and practice letting your thoughts go into a world of pretend.

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Ask yourself the question “where would I like to travel to today?” Sit back and imagine what it would feel like to travel to some exotic special place. What would it feel like to sit in an outdoor café in France or ride a bicycle through the vineyards of Italy? How would you feel standing on the top of Mt Everest after climbing for days? What would it be like to jump from a plane with a parachute strapped to your back? How cool would it be to know how to make a gourmet meal for friends and family?

Daydreaming is often a lost art on adults. We tend to get too caught up in the day -to -day responsibilities of life and somehow stop indulging in our ability to daydream. Over time we lose that gift. When you make time to pretend and daydream again you will be amazed at how quickly your mind can start dreaming up exciting adventures.

Second, get out a blank piece of paper and just start brainstorming your ideas. Write down your daydreams. Where did your mind take you when you let go and let it take the lead? At this point in time, do not logically think about whether or not it is realistic or feasible to actually what is on your list; just write down your ideas.

Third, step back and take a closer look at your brainstorming list. Did you write down places you wanted to travel to or did your list consist mainly of adventures you wanted to have? Maybe your list included things you wanted to learn or events you wanted to witness in person. Now, try arranging your list into general categories such as travel, adventures, new skills, events to see etc. It is important to remember that there are no rules here. Your list is your list, it is right for you and that is all that matters.

Fourth, spend some time looking through magazines or travel books for inspiration. Do a little research and determine what parts of the world you would like to see, a visit to the library or a travel TV channel are often great sources of inspiration.

Fifth, visit online sites like www.squidoo.com/100things and bucket list online for ideas. The Internet provides a wealth of research opportunities from travel blogs, how-to sites and more. I found that by visiting Internet sites like www.squidoo.com/100things inspired me and helped me identify things that I really wanted to do but just had not consciously thought of yet.

Now that you have a solid start to your bucket list, share your ideas with friends and family. Having a bucket list is only the first step. Now you know what you want to with your life and the time is now to get started!

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

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