Wilderness Crush Wednesday

Hello, friends!  I hope you guys are enjoying your short week.  I know the school teachers in my family that are actually still plugging away are really glad that they’ve only got four days this week!

We had a really good weekend over here!  Mom and Joel came up Friday night for a quick visit with a very specific purpose.

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We had to climb Cavanal Saturday morning.  Mom and Joel are doing a backpacking trip to the Grand Canyon in August so they want to get as much training in as possible.  I need to make the hike quite a few times too in the next few months because we’re planning on taking Gus on our trip in July, and Little Man needs to get his hiking legs underneath.  So Mom, Joel, Gus, and I took off up the mountain early Saturday morning for a nice little stroll.  John had to bow out, unfortunately, because his knee has been bothering him a bit.  No worries-we picked him up afterwards for pancakes!

The rest of the afternoon consisted of Pitch Perfect 2 and pizza.  We also headed out to the spillway at the dam to check out the massive amounts of water that’s going over.  You may have heard on the news that a good part of the country is underwater at the moment, and our little corner of the world is definitely a part of that.

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The rain we’ve received is historic, and the flooding has been extensive.  Thankfully, our house is situated in an area that hasn’t been affected but the same cannot be said for others.  The good news is we’ve had sunshine for two days, and we’re hopeful that the worst is over.

So, let’s pivot to a new subject.  Is it just me or do ideas for blog posts just pop up randomly sometimes?  This morning I saw someone post on Instagram under the hashtag #WCW-no, my friends, not Woman Crush Wednesday.  We’re talking Wilderness Crush Wednesday! Instantly, an idea was born!

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So today I thought I’d highlight a piece of wilderness that I have a true crush on.  Who knows-perhaps this could become a regular feature!

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If you’ve been reading the blog for any period of time, you know that I’m a true blue lover of Colorado who had the unfortunate luck to be born somewhere else.  Colorado has so many great wilderness areas, and there’s one in particular that I can never get enough of.

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The Weminuche Wilderness is in southern Colorado nestled in the middle of the San Juan Mountains (the best mountains in the world, in case you were wondering).

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The ‘Nuche is the largest wilderness area in the Colorado at just shy of half a million acres of preserved land.

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There’s several ’14ers in the area for you peakbaggers out there, and the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad runs through it.

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We’ve hiked in the area numerous times, and it really is a little slice of heaven.  The pictures speak for themselves, but the area is unequivocally the most beautiful place I’ve ever been.  It is, without a doubt, my biggest wilderness crush!

If I Only Had Talent……

Hello, friends!  I hope everyone is gearing up for a great holiday weekend.  We don’t have big plans around here.  We’ve been experiencing a very, very wet spring, and there’s more rain in the forecast for the next four days.  Which is just as well-John and I have neglected home renovations for the last month so it’s time to get back after it!

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So I thought I’d continue (finally) the 10 Day You Challenge for a fun Friday post today.  When last we left off, I told you about the four books that have made such a big impact on my life.  Today I’m talking about three films that are near and dear to my heart.

Believe it or not, this is almost as hard to narrower down as the books were.  John and I are big TV/movie people, and I absolutely love going to the movies.  There’s a ton of them that I like for various reasons, but I’ve managed to pick three that are particularly special.

1.  When Harry Met Sally

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This one was easy!  I saw this movie for the first time in high school, and I instantly loved it.  I went through a period in college where I watched bits of it every single day.  You know-like an “it’s on in the background” kind of thing.  Needless to say, I can quote the entire movie word for word.  It became even more special when John and I got together because the story of friends falling in love is OUR story.  He even used the closing monologue as part of his proposal!  So this movie has been my number one favorite for fifteen years, and it’s probably not changing!

2.  Dirty Dancing

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I don’t remember when I first watched this, but it has been a favorite for a long time.  Here’s a little secret:  I think I am a born performer without a speck of talent!  Seriously, I desperately want to be able to sing and dance, and I love movies that highlight those talents.  Plus, Patrick Swayze.  Enough said!

3.  Pitch Perfect

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Okay, I know this is a really new movie (especially for me-I only first saw it four months ago!), but, if we base this on movies that I can watch over and over again, this one tops the list.  I’ve seen it countless times in the four months, and, full disclosure, it’s on as I type this.  It appeals to that singer/dancer in me, and I just love it.

So there you go!  I hope you guys have a fabulous holiday weekend, and I’ll catch you next week!

What’s your favorite movie?

The Joys of Humidity: A Race Recap

Well, I did it!  I survived what was probably the busiest teaching year I’ve had yet.  Being a senior sponsor is no joke!

I, along with my co-sponsor and principal, took our senior class on their two-day senior trip Thursday and Friday, and I’m happy to say that everything went well!  As far as I know, nothing untoward happened, everyone had a good time, and we didn’t lose anybody.  Definitely a win in my book!

Sunday was graduation, and it was a little bittersweet for me.  Graduation represented my gateway to summer, but I was sad to see this group go.  They really are a great bunch of kids, and I’ve enjoyed them so much.  It was hard to see them go!

All the roses they gave me at graduation.  I love these kids!

All the roses they gave me at graduation. I love these kids!

Now there was a day in between our senior class adventures and our annual day of freedom, and I ran a little half-marathon!

Dad and I went to Joplin to run the 5th half-marathon in our 12 in 12 in 12 series, and, I gotta say, Friday night I was seriously questioning my sanity in scheduling a race right after a two-day class trip.  Spoiler Alert:  It worked out ok!

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The Joplin Memorial Half is put on every year in memory of the victims who died in the horrific Joplin tornado four years ago.  The funds from the race go toward a different rebuilding project every year, and this year the money is going to build a playground for the autism center in town that was completely destroyed.  Although Joplin has done a lot in the four years since the devastating twister, you can still see evidence of storm damage, and it was really wonderful to be running a race for a cause.

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We had a 6:30 start time, and Dad and I arrived downtown around 6.  As we took care of pre-race stuff, the day was already starting to get muggy, and it was a possibility that we may be swimming thirteen miles instead of running them.

I knew from studying the elevation chart that this race was all hills, and I wasn’t looking forward to that.  Hills are some people’s jam, but that’s never going to be me!  The elevation chart wasn’t lying.  The entire course was up and down, but it actually wasn’t too bad because the downhills were very forgiving.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have my Garmin for this race, and that led to a pretty funny incident at the beginning of the race.  For the first four miles, we had a pacer just a little bit in front of us.  We were hanging with him, but he was little too far ahead for me to actually read what his sign said.  For some reason, I got it into my head that he was the 2:10 pacer.  So I’m running all out, starting to hurt, and thinking “I feel like crap and can’t even keep up with the 2:10 guy.  What is happening!??!”.  Finally, we pull a little bit closer, and it’s not the 2:10 guy-it’s the 1:55!  No wonder I felt awful!

We readjusted the pace, and spent most of the next several miles cruising up and down the hills.  By mile 9 the humidity was starting to get to me so I had to employ a little more of the walk/run method than I would’ve liked.

I knew I wasn’t going to be able to beat my 2:05:56 from last race, but we were on track to be just a minute or so off of that.  Until mile 11.5 that is.  All of the sudden, I just felt this intense pain on my right pinky toe.  I didn’t know what was happening, and it hurt so badly that I stopped and ripped off my shoe and sock to see what was happening.  My entire toe was blister!  Of course, there was nothing that could be done about it on the race course so I quickly put my shoe back on and did my best to run.  It was more of this weird run/walk/hobble combination but it was something!

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Dad and I crossed the finish line at 2:09:29 which is now my second best time, and, yes, I was as tired as I look in this picture.  All factors considered, I’m pretty happy with that time!  Now that summer time is here and I have a ton of extra time, I’m planning on adding a bit more speedwork to the schedule.

The next two races are going to be tough for various reasons, but I’m really excited about them.  We’re heading to Kentucky in just a few weeks, and then Colorado in July!  The Colorado race, of course, is going to be followed by our backpacking trip, and I can’t wait to get into the mountains.  Summer is looking good!

Currently: May

Hello, friends!  So right now I’m doing my best to keep my head above water which explains the absence around this little ‘ol blog of mine.  The good news is IT’S THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL!  The rest of the week is still going to be crazy with senior trip, our next half-marathon (Missouri!), and graduation, but at about 4:00 on Sunday I will be free as a bird.  I can’t wait!

Because of all of this insanity, today felt like a great day for a catch-up post so how about a little Currently?

Currently: May

Current books:  I just got The Heir in the mail, and I’m right in the middle of it.  This is a new book in The Selection series, and it picks up with the former characters’ daughter.  I really enjoyed all three of the first books.  They’re easy to read and pull you in pretty quickly making them perfect for the beginning of summer.

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Current music:   Pitch Perfect 2 comes out on Friday so I’ve been listening to the soundtrack from the first one non-stop.  I’m a wee bit addicted to this movie!


Current guilty pleasure: I’m on a popcorn kick, and I’ve been going through bags of Skinny Pop like there’s no tomorrow.

Current food:  This morning I made a FlapJacked smiley face because IT’S THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL!

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Current shows:  After a several year hiatus, I got back into Dancing With The Stars this season.  John has watched most of it with me, and we’ve really, really enjoyed ourselves!  There are three couples that are so good that I can’t decide who I want to win.

Current wish list:  A very tall privacy fence

Current needs:  A very tall privacy fence

Current triumphs: I am finishing this year with all my ducks in a row which is no small feat.  I really feel like I’m going into the summer without any items left on my “to-do” list school-wise.

Current bane of my existence:  Unfortunately, Max’s behavior is the current bane of my existence.  About a week ago, he started jumping and/or climbing the backyard fence.  He’s doing it completely randomly and a lot.  It’s gotten so bad that we’ve had to keep them in the garage while we’re gone during the day.  John and I are at a loss as to how to stop him, and it has caused now small amount of stress and anxiety.  I love the little guy, but this is driving me crazy and something has to give.

Current celebrity crush:  I’m sure I’ve said this before, but I used to have a HUGE thing for Patrick Swayze.  I watched Dirty Dancing again the other day which reawakened that.

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RIP Patrick.

Current indulgence:   I have been full-on indulging my horrible Diet Dr. Pepper habit.  I figured that’s something I need to wait and tackle when school is over so I’m enjoying it while it lasts.

Current blessing:   I’m blessed that, comparatively, my problems are very small.  Over the last week while we’ve been so on edge about Max, it’s occurred to me a few times that, if that’s the biggest thing we have to worry about, then we’re pretty lucky.

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Current outfit:  Except for dressing up for graduation, from this moment until August I will be living in hiking and running clothes.

Current excitement:  I really don’t think you have to ask, but, in case you haven’t been paying attention, IT’S THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL!

Current mood:  Excited with a touch of anxiety

Current link:   Heather is basically my blogging hero, and she’s written another great post about the filtering that goes on in social media.  Check it out!

What’s going on with you currently?

Tips For Backpacking With Kids

Well, hello there.  It’s been a hot minute since I last posted, but I know there’s at least a few of you out there who are familiar with the world of a teacher so I’ll just tell you that we are down to the last six days of school.  Imagine the chaos that has been my life for the last few weeks!

The bright side is I was able to de-stress a little bit by FINALLY getting out into the woods for some backpacking this weekend.  I am ashamed to admit it, but it’s the first trip we’ve been on since our big trip last summer.  Remodeling hell is responsible for that, and I am going to be so glad to get that behind us!  As we were driving to the trailhead, I told John that next spring, when we are in the new house and no longer have to worry about “projects”, we’re hiking every weekend!

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This particular trip was special because we took a group of newbies.  My sister-in-law, brother-in-law, niece, and two nephews wanted to get out and experience primitive camping so we took the group out for a short stretch of trail.

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Mostly the trip was about getting their feet wet.  It was really important to us that we make it a good experience for the kids so that it’s something they want to do more of.  Today I thought I’d share some tips on how to accomplish that!

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1.  Don’t pack on the miles

This weekend we went about two miles to camp, and I am not kidding you when I say they were complaining at the half mile mark.  Hiking can be overwhelming for tiny humans who are not used to it so it’s best to introduce them to it in small increments.

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2.  Keep it light

John and I usually carry about twenty pounds in our backpacks, and I’m fairly certain that’s more than a 1/3 of my six-year-old niece’s weight.  Loading kids down with a ton of weight will not only make them miserable, but it’s not good for their little bodies.  My advice is to let them carry something so they get the experience, but keep it really light.  The bigger boys carried their sleeping bags and an extra change of clothes, and my niece carried a small day pack with clothes.  No one was heavy!

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3.  Camp near water

We camped right near the river, and the kids had a blast swimming.  It provided all kinds of entertainment, and the pure joy on the kids’ faces was evident.

4.  Bring good food

All you backpackers out there know that food on trail is not exactly gourmet.  Don’t get wrong-I honestly like some of the dehydrated meals, and it’s the only time I ever eat Pop-Tarts so I wake up enthusiastic for breakfast.  However, we didn’t feel the kids would be quite as excited about our “Just Add Water” meals.  So instead we packed in hot dogs, baked beans, and macaroni in cheese with marshmallows for dessert.  I’m positive that made a difference in the general moral of the group.

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5.  Give them a job

We told the little boys to gather some firewood, and they attacked the project with gusto.  They roamed all over the woods, and you could clearly see how proud they were they were to contribute.  Giving them a little responsibility really made them feel like they were active members of camp.

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All in all, it was a really successful trip.  Here’s hoping it’s the first trip of many for these kiddos!

The Countdown Is On

Hey all!  I’m checking in way late today, but it’s Thursday and I am in the mood for a stream of consciousness kind of post today!

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1.  I have been ten different kinds of crazy for the last few weeks because we are deep in the middle of state testing.  I administer most of the tests which isn’t necessarily a hard job, but it does get a little stressful making sure all of your bases are covered.  I’m ready to go back to my regular schedule!

2.  However, I probably won’t have much of a regular schedule left.  By the time testing is all said and done, we’ll have about seven days of school left.  Trust me-the kids will be long checked out mentally by then so it will be a struggle to get them focused for those seven days!

3.  I find myself a little more mentally checked out than normal this year, and I can only think of one reason.  Because of the class that I teach and the group that I sponsor, I spend A LOT of time with seniors.  They developed senioritis in about March of their junior year, and I think it’s rubbing off on me!

4.  Enough about school-let’s talk about my favorite subject!  I think John and I are finally going to hit the trail next weekend!  We haven’t gotten to do any hiking in ages since we’ve been deep in the middle of our remodeling nightmare, but we’ve decided to take a break next weekend to introduce some family members to the great outdoors.  It will be a small, low-mileage trip because we’ll have wee ones along, but I am so ready to out into the wild that I’m not picky.  Fingers crossed the weather holds out!

5.  Speaking of hiking, I need to fill you in on our summer plans.  We’ve finally nailed down what backcountry trips we’re taking.  We’re going to start it off with Dad and I’s July half-marathon in Colorado Springs followed by a week in the backcountry with Dad, Caite, Justin, and Alex.  Once we come off that of that first week, John, Dad, and I will say goodbye to the others and head to Wyoming for about a week and a half for more wilderness adventures.  It’s been a big topic of conversation in our family for the last month or so which is making me ridiculously excited.

Just a scene I'm looking forward to!

Just a scene I’m looking forward to!

6.  I don’t think I’ve mentioned it, but I got a Viviofit for Christmas and I am now obsessed with getting my steps in everyday.  Fun fact:  This is not super easy to do on days I don’t run.  It really shines a light on just how stationary I normally am during the day, and it’s been really effective in helping me change that!

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7.  I tried another new recipe with my Flapjacked pancake mix last week, and it was hands-down the best one yet.  I made these Garlic Cheddar Biscuits to go with dinner, and they got enthusiastic thumbs up.  I have a feeling they’re going to become a staple at our house.

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8.  Let’s talk books for a second.  A few months ago I talked about discovering JoJo Moyes and how much I really loved her novels.  Well, I’ve since read all of them except two, and she is definitely making it onto the list of “Top Favorite Authors.”  Her books are engaging, the story lines are interesting, and the books read in such away that I fly through them in about two days depending on my available reading time.  Bonus:  For those of you who have already read Me Before You, I found out they other day there’s going to be a sequel called After You.  It comes out in September!

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9.  One last thing I wanted to fill you guys in on.  In addition to teaching, a few months ago I started a new venture.  I’m now the area coordinator for CETUSA, a cultural exchange student organization.  I am having a blast placing kids with families for next school year, and I can’t wait to meet the students when they get here in August.  If any of you local folks are interested in hosting, hit me up!

Ok, I’m out of here.  Have a great weekend!

If you could be an exchange student, what country would you want to visit?  Any great new authors I need to read?

Follow The Yellow Brick Road: Garmin Marathon In The Land Of Oz

Hola!  I’m in a particularly good mood today.  I know it’s Monday, but, as of this writing, we have 15 days of school left.  The finish line is near, and I am so ready for it.  This year flew by, but it was a pretty intense one since I added an AP course to my roster.  I am definitely ready for the mental break.

This last weekend Dad and I traveled to the land of Oz for our fourth half marathon of the year, and today I’m going to give you a quick run down of it.

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Honestly, this recap will be my favorite kind-short and sweet.  That’s because this race was fairly uneventful in the best way possible, but let’s begin at the beginning!

Dad and I got to Olathe, KS about 8:00 Friday night.  We had a little BBQ, drove to the start line at Garmin Headquarters to make sure we knew where to go the next day, and then headed to the hotel to crash.  Last week was an especially stressful one at work so I was going into the weekend exhausted, and I had absolutely no trouble falling asleep.

We left the hotel about 5:45 so we’d have plenty of time to pick up our packets.  We had been a little worried about the weather, but, as we made our way to the packet pick up, it looked as though the rain was going to hold off for a little while.

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We took our t-shirts back to the car, pinned on our bibs, and had time to take a few pictures.  We were trying to get a picture with the Garmin sign in the background, but, instead, got photobombed by Jay from Memphis which is how he introduced himself after we took the picture.  He was nice enough to snap another shot.

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We got in the corral around 6:30 ahead of the 6:45 race start.  And, yes, corral is singular.  There were a ton of people, and the race definitely could have benefited from separate corral starts.

We took off right at 6:45, and that’s when things got interesting.  On the Garmin Marathon website, it says “This course lives up to its flat and fast reputation.”  Let’s just say they need to change their website.  Although I didn’t go back and study it afterwards, the course most definitely was not flat.  I swear we did nothing but long uphills and steep downhills for the first 6 miles.  As we ran into hill after hill, I was getting pretty ticked and composing a strongly worded tweet to the race coordinators in my head.

Around mile 5, I felt a slight twinge in my knee so I took the ibuprofen I had stashed in a baggie in my sports bra, and, I’m happy to report, I had no knee pain for the rest of the race.  The course finally started to flatten out around mile 7, and at mile 8 we entered a tree-lined bike path.  This part of the course was welcomed relief from the hills!

Despite all the hills, I was feeling really good.  My legs never really got tired, and I knew we were running for a PR (for me).  Around mile 11.5, it started to sprinkle, and, as we entered the last 3/4 of mile stretch, the wind really picked up.  I felt myself starting to hit the wall, but we were so close!

We crossed the finish line at 2:05:56 which is almost a four-minute PR for me!  Literally the moment we finished, the skies opened up and it started to pour.  We could not have timed it better!

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Despite my annoyance at the misrepresentation of the course, I really liked this race.  It had a really fun feel to it, and it certainly is the current forerunner for best medal.

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I really attributed my better showing at this race to my commitment to putting in the miles since the last race.  I made sure I got at least two 10-milers in the last few weeks, and I hit 25 miles a week.  I knew it would help, but I was a little surprised by just how much!

Now we have number 4 in the books.  Missouri, we’re coming for you!

5 Places I’d Move Tomorrow

I’ve changed a lot in my thirty-one years, primarily in the last ten.  I could write an entire post on the subject, but one of the biggest changes for me is my desire to move to (relatively) faraway places.  When I was younger, I probably would’ve been in the running for “Girl Most Likely To Live In Her Hometown Forever”.  I loved traveling, but I couldn’t conceive of leaving my little Oklahoma hamlet or moving more than ten minutes away from my family.

Oh, how times have changed.  When John and I got together, it became clear pretty fast that our future was in a different part of the state, and I had to get used to the idea of living 2.5 hours away from all of my near and dear.  It was definitely rough-going at the beginning, but now, six years later, it’s just normal for me.

I credit that initial move with changing my perspective, and opening me up to the possibility of moving even farther away.  Over the last six years, John and I have dreamed almost constantly of moving to the mountains, and, though it may not happen until retirement, it is very much something we are planning for our future.

We’ve debated back and forth on which mountain town we’d love to call home, and today I wanted to highlight a few of them that I have been in the running over the years.  I even managed to include one non-Colorado town on list!

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1.  Kalispell, MT

Let’s talk about the odd man out first.  I loved Kalispell.  We were there a few years ago when we took a trip to Glacier National Park, and it is such a cool little town.  It serves as the gateway to Glacier, and the beauty that is that park is just minutes away.  Of course, that means that Kalispell has a lot of tourists every year so that could be a pro or con depending on your perspective.  I don’t see us ever actually moving there because it is very far away, and, let’s face it, I haven’t evolved that much.  However, if the perfect opportunity fell in our laps, I wouldn’t turn it down!

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2.  Pagosa Springs, CO

I have loved Pagosa for as long as I can remember.  I’ve been traveling there since I was a little kid, and its always held a special place for me.  In practical terms, it has a good mix of old downtown charm and modern conveniences.  Plus, it is nestled right in the middle of the San Juan Mountains which just happen to be the best mountain range ever.

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3.  Buena Vista, CO

Just strictly based on the town itself, Buena Vista would be our number one pick.   Other considerations have dropped it down a few spots on the list, but this town is one of the coolest I’ve ever been to.  There’s just a neat vibe about it, and I love that it is almost completely devoid of big chains.  Every time John and I talk about it, we wish those other considerations were different so Buena Vista could be our spot.

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4.  Ouray, CO

It’s touristy, it is far away from everything, and there’s not even a major grocery store.  Not necessarily great recommendations for a great place to live full-time.  But (you knew there was a but!) it is a quaint little town where you really can achieve that old cliché of time-stopping.  Plus, although I’ve never seen it, I have this feeling that when it starts to get late in the season and all the tourists go home, you’re left with a close-knit community where everyone knows everyone else.  It certainly doesn’t hurt that it is surrounded by the most staggeringly beautiful mountains I’ve ever seen.  They don’t call it Little Switzerland for nothing.

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5.  Durango, CO

Put simply, it is my favorite town on the planet.  I love the downtown, I love the old movie theater, I love the Durango-Silverton Railroad, and, of course, it is the home of my very favorite restaurant.  Unfortunately, I’m not the only person who feels that way, and, as a result, real estate is through the roof expensive.  Not exactly the best plan for retirement!

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Right now moving to any of these towns is just a dream, but we’ll get there someday!  In the mean time, it’s really fun to visit :)

Do you live far away from your family?  What town would you love to live in?

Currently: April

Hey guys!  I’m back!  Last week was really busy between Book Fair, a junior field trip (yeah…), and keeping my mileage up so blogging was down on the list a little bit.  But I’m checking back in today with a Currently post for April so here’s what’s up!

Currently: April

Current books:  Every few years I revisited the Anne of Green Gables series.  They are some of my favorite books, and I love going back and reading all of Anne’s adventures.  I recently decided it was time to do it again, and now I’m on the second book in the series.

 

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Current music:   In preparation for the second movie coming out next month, I’ve been jamming to the Pitch Perfect soundtrack a lot.  You do not want to be in my car with me these days :)

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Current guilty pleasure:   Married At First Sight.

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I know this show is controversial, but I’m always fascinated by sociological experiments and this one definitely fits the bill.  I think it is incredible how you can bring together two complete strangers who are then actually capable of making a marriage work.

Current nail color:   My fingernails are back to plain, but my toes are a very lovely turquoise.  I’ll spare you the picture of my feet.

Current drink:  Tea and water.  Repeat.

Current food:  I had a great mail day this week.

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A new stock of Flapjacked came in so I’ve been all protein pancakes all the time.  In fact, John was out-of-town over the weekend so I may or may not have had them for dinner.

Current shows:   Game of Thrones Season Five started last night, and you know we were front and center for that.  It’s going to be a tumultuous next few months…..

Current wish list:   The main thing I’m wishing for right now is for little elves to come into our house at night, and magically finish all the remodeling projects we still have left to do.

Current needs:   I suppose I need to go shopping.  I’m senior sponsor this year which means I have Senior Tea and graduation coming up in the next month which requires some level of dressing up.  I absolutely hate to shop so this is not a task I’m looking forward to.

Current triumphs:  After last month’s half, I set a goal to get twenty-five miles a week in until my next one.  Well, the Kansas half is this weekend, and I’m happy to say I kept that training up!

Current bane of my existence:  State testing.  If you are a teacher, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Current celebrity crush:  In honor of the Game of Thrones premiere………….

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How hot is Jon Snow?

Current indulgence:  Yesterday I stayed in bed way longer than normal working on the computer, watching TV, and just relaxing.  It was glorious!

Current blessing:  Summers off.  As my husband reminds me often, this is a luxury, and I find myself more and more grateful for it all the time.  I see how hard it is on John to only have three weeks of vacation a year, and it makes me extremely thankful that I don’t work in a field like that.

Current exercise:   Again, all the running.  When this year is over, I’m dialing way back on the running.

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Current excitement:  I have so many plans all the schedule for this summer, and I can’t wait!

Current mood:  Happy!  You guys know I’m not a fan of spring, but this is one of the rare spring days where the sun is actually shining and the humidity isn’t out of control.  That’s the kind of spring I can get on board with!

Current link:  My cousin shared this over the weekend on Facebook so I’m counting it as a link.

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These two are Cordelia Faye Rigdon and Homer Lee Thomas, and they are my great-grandparents.  I absolutely love exploring family history so anything like this makes my day.  This was taken around the time they were married in the early ’30s, and they were together for over forty years until his death.  I never had a chance to meet Pop, but I had my Memaw for the first 17 years of my life and I’m so thankful for that.

Are you interested in family history?  

I Hike: A Review

So I’ve been a big fan of podcasts for a while now.  I have about five or six that I listen to regularly, and I eagerly anticipate the new episodes.  Unfortunately, I was having a real issue finding a podcast that fulfilled my need to be all about backpacking all the time.  A few months ago, I was searching through iTunes to see what I could come up with, and I found The Trail Show.

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This podcast is put on by four hikers out of Colorado who have thousands of miles between them.  It’s a combo of trail talk, beer talk, and general tomfoolery, and I absolutely love listening them.  Some of the episodes are so funny that I’ve gotten a few strange looks while grocery shopping with my ear buds in.

As I was listening to back episodes, I heard one of the show creators, Lawton “Disco” Grinter, mention a few times that he had written a book all about his hiking adventures.  You guys know I’m a sucker for any book on the subject, and this month when my new Audible credit came up, I immediately added I Hike to my shopping cart.

This audiobook is about five hours long (I could have easily listened to double the stories, Disco!) and is read by the author, which is always my preference.

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While most books about thru-hiking are about one particular trail and organized in a chronological manner, I Hike is a collection of the author’s stories spanning several years and all three of the major long-distance trails in America.

I really appreciated this fresh storytelling style.  Even for a die-hard like me, when it comes down to it, you’re writing about days on end of hiking, and most thru-hiking books can’t help but have a few sections that get a little monotonous.  Instead, I Hike focuses on the people who Disco meets along the way, and some of the more hilarious things that happen to him including eating a gallon of ice cream in one sitting and how it goes horribly wrong and perfecting urination on the go so as not to lose the battle against a horde of blood thirsty mosquitoes.

I Hike isn’t all hilarious mishaps.  Disco shares the heartbreaking, tragic story of his friend who lost his life on the trail, and ultimately inspired him to start his thru-hiking journey.  Towards the end of the book, we hear about Lucky, a thru-hiker missing along the PCT for several days with his friends fearing the worst.  I actually sat in my car for a full ten minutes after reaching my destination just so I could find out if Lucky made it out alive!

This book and their podcast really give you the sense of just how small the hiking community is.  Despite the fact that many of us have never met, you recognize your counterparts, and it reinforces the idea that, every time you step on the trail, you are among friends.

A picture from a hiking trip just because it's my favorite :)

A picture from a hiking trip just because it’s my favorite :)

This particular book gets five stars from me.  I highly recommend you pick it up, and, of course, you must go download The Trail Show.  If you are a lady-hiker, the Red Tent Bonus show they put out is incredibly enlightening and definitely worth a listen.  As they would say on the show, that’s no word of lie.  Have a great day!

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