That is how long it has been since we returned to Colorado. Can you believe it?! Either can we!
We have been repeatedly asked the past nine weeks, “How’s real life?” Well, folks, real life is not so bad…and who is to say our ten weeks in a campervan wasn’t real life?
We have settled back into our home in Breckenridge, one of Colorado’s ski towns. Eric has lived in the area, Summit County, for nearly four years. I had the pleasure of joining him here in May from Colorado’s Front Range and never looked back. As the colors rapidly change around us, it reminds me of how much has changed since we returned. Eric started his new position and has already traveled numerous times, both within the states and overseas. Within the first week of returning, I had three job interviews, three job offers, and one very tough decision. And there’s more – read on.
Options are awesome, but stressful too. After a few mind-numbing-what-do-I-do days, I finally made a decision and accepted a great position with an organization called Friends of Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC). Friends is a non-profit that supports CAIC in their efforts to educate and raise awareness in regards to avalanche safety and practices. As only the second paid employee of the organization, I have a big job at hand – further the organization’s reach, exposure and fundraising. I am excited, nervous and overjoyed to truly combine my non-profit experience with my education in parks and recreation. Wahoo! And now both Eric and I work from home, easily clocking 10 hour days – almost too casually done when your work is steps away from your kitchen and bedroom. Regardless, we are both very excited about our new positions and enjoy that excitement side-by-side in our shared office.
Upgrades are appreciated because it’s, well, an upgrade. You guessed it! We upgraded our campervan. Do not get us wrong, it was a bit hard to say goodbye to the memories and nostalgia that was our ’99 VW campervan. The rickety machine made it 6,000+ miles without too many hitches and was truly home for us over the summer. But, once we both officially were working from home, we knew we wanted to make the road a lifestyle. The Winnebago Travato that we purchased is incredibly more ‘cush’ than it needs to be – however, it rocks. Shiny, new, reliable, spacious, and STORAGE for days!
Most important of all – We will not allow adventure to stop and go. Regardless of returning to a mountain town with hundreds of single track and peaks in our backyard, it was still an adjustment returning to work, taking care of a home, and managing our time so that we had time for each other, the dogs and ourselves. However, you will not hear Eric and I complain about it. We love how we live because we guarantee the adventure is continual.
Since returning, we have climbed, run, biked, and partied. We celebrated Eric’s best friend’s wedding in a beautiful Ohio backyard. We treated our finger tips to razor-sharp limestone, transitioning from trad climbing to sport as we prepare for a Christmas climbing trip to Mexico. We stretched and strained our lungs on bike and foot, adjusting to the 10,000 ft. of elevation we live at. We tried new ventures and returned to some others.
Over Labor Day weekend, we battled the urge to climb vs. the urge to try something new. We had found an event on the ski resort of Grand Targhee, Idaho, which can be found up and over to the west side of the Grand Tetons of Wyoming. This event involved mountain biking. Mountain biking is something I have always wanted to try, after many miles of road, tri and cross riding. So, after much deliberation, we went for it and it was a mighty good decision. Beer, bikes, mountains, AMAZING people – win, win, win.
With our two dogs in tow, we drove to the Wydaho Bike Festival and spent three days demo-riding gorgeous bikes cross country and down-hill from the top of the ski lift. Through changing fall colors, rain and a few ‘oh-shit’ moments, I rode into a new passion, a new channel of enjoying all things outdoors. The first ride Eric took me on was in Breckenridge on a friend’s bike. Yikes – the bike felt weird, not a part of me. I thought the rocks were going to flip me over and the switchbacks pin me on my back. Ever so slowly, I got more comfortable over the course of our two hour ride. But then came Wydaho. I will let Eric explain:
“I will start out by staying there are so few people like Heather that are always so excited to try something new, a different challenge, even it could result in a crash, blood loss and even broken bones. But, like everything else she goes after, it was with eagerness and a big smile that she grabbed her first demo bike and jumped on the chairlift. We unloaded at the top, Grand Teton in view, and without hesitation, she jumped on the bike and headed down the single track. Now that first lap was, well, understandably slow. Walking switchbacks, dismounting even the smallest drop, and maintaining a slow, downhill pace that required her to pedal up hills that normally others would jump. Fast forward two days and she’s dropping her shoulder and bike deep into bank turns; allowing, if only a little bit, some air between the tires and the ground over drops; and catching people on the downhill. I am so looking forward to more two-wheeled, dirty, muddy adventures with her!”
Eric would know – he is down-right good at mountain biking (and everything he does, really). Expect a Heather-sized mountain bike to join our gear-garage in the near future!
And now, a couple of weeks later, with some running, biking and sport climbing in-between, we are making the drive back from Indian Creek. Here, we got back to trad climbing again, placing gear in the Creek’s iconic splitter, sandstone cracks. We described this place in one of our first blogs when we visited here in June – there is something very, very special about this desert, where no one has cell reception for miles and no civilization, besides a historic ranch, resides. The desert has a calling…similar to the alpine, it is a place where nothing else matters. It is just you, the climb, the moment, the place.
It was a blast to be back. Star-studded skies above the campfire, clean rock to climb, friendly-as-all-friendly of people. Excitement as both Eric and I pushed the grades and difficulty of the climbs on lead! Just us, the climbs, the moments, and the place.
With scuffs, bruises, swollen hands, and aching feet from the constant cramming and contorting that is crack climbing – we finished the weekend at Red Rock Café in Moab on Monday morning. Delicious coffee and bagels topped off the joyfulness of the experience. Groups of all varieties gathered there – rock climbers, mountain bikers, ATVers, the like. As I enjoyed my hot coffee that cool desert morning, I could not help but notice the three guys sitting at the coffee bar. They looked as if they had been camping, potentially road tripping. The café’s music was blasting upbeat tunes attempting to curve the sting of some people’s Monday’s.
The next song started to play – ABBA’s “Dancing Queen”. All three of these grown men loudly sang every single lyric. It was a hilarious 8am scene and café visitors smiled or laughed. Their happiness and joy of the simple things was infectious.
I am sure you have noticed already – our blog has a new look and a new name. There is a reason for it beyond the fact that “10weeks1campervan” is no longer relevant. Throughout those ten weeks of living in 40 square feet with one another and our two dogs, enduring both flawless and stressful days in the alpine…we were reminded of something. Something we believe is pretty dang important to living a life well lived.
The new title, “10weeks1lifetime”, means a lot to us – while we certainly had many big and small adventures this summer, we have a lifetime of them left. We all have heard the sayings — “live each day like it is your last” or “live life to its fullest”. Eric and I have always strived to do many sorts of things, see many places, and collect experiences and moments, rather than things. We do not plan on stopping.
We hope you will continue to read about our adventures on and off the mountain and hope you share yours with us! Cheers and until next time.