I thought maybe they were played out….with all the tourists and the hustle and bustle of Aspen.  I thought maybe I didn’t even care about the Elks.  I was wrong.  They are perfection, they are magic, they are so much more than I deserved to experience.  I am grateful.  I am full of nothing but admiration and respect for those peaks and every other peak I have had the pleasure of hiking.  That’s something that needs to be clear…the mountains are the heroes in all of this, without a drop of doubt.

What I’ve been listening to:

“But if nothing dies tomorrow, why remember yesterday…

When an hour or more of sleep might do you good?

It’s the wish I can’t remember, it’s the thing you’ll never say.

And I’d do it all again, oh, if I could.”



A hidden bee



uhhhh, double up, uh uh


during the slick descent of snowmass







Never Hurry and Never Worry

“Why did you do all this for me?’ he asked. ‘I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.’ ‘You have been my friend,’ replied Charlotte. ‘That in itself is a tremendous thing.  I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.”

“Wilbur never forgot Charlotte. Although he loved her children and grandchildren dearly, none of the new spiders ever quite took her place in his heart. She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.”

E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

Climbed Capitol…FINALLY!  It was a day for the books for sure!  I got a ride up to the trailhead.  I didn’t even think about asking for one, but someone just came by and said, “Hop in!”  It was a nice couple in a fancy SUV.  With that, the day started out Ace!  The approach flew by, it was easy terrain and it was straightforward.  Making the way up to K2 was just a matter of boulder hopping.  The ridge was scrambley and fun, albeit loose in a few spots.  The knife Edge was fun and got the old ticker beating just fast enough to convince me that I still have some life left in me!  I had the summit to myself, the weather was perfect…no grumpy clouds.  Headed back down after basking in the sun for a little bit.  Saw a big rascal of a bear right by the trail.  When I got to the upper trailhead, a voice in the dark said, “Hey!  You want a peach!?”  A nice peach farmer and his friends gave me some free juicy peaches.  They asked me how many people were in my hiking party and I told them that it was just me.  “Are you fucking shitting me!?  You just did this by yourself!?  And all in one day!?”  They asked me for my info for future hiking adventures and gave me a ride down to my car at the lower parking area.  They were a lively fun bunch!  It felt like they were characters from a book.  Sometimes it’s all very surreal and I feel like maybe I dreamed about this before it all happened, but I can’t quite remember…can’t quite tell if my mind is just playing tricks on me.  Whatever all this is…it’s a good trick or a good dream or a good book; full of highs and lows and laughs and magic.


The Bells


Below Capitol Peak


The Ascent of Capitol



More of Cap


That one famous spot…Knife Edge


Nothing but views






Oh man. Generally, I want to keep my writing as positive as possible…but sometimes I get so low that I don’t even know how to keep my eyes open.  Sometimes a wave of debilitating sadness crashes over me like a rogue wave.  I think it’s important to be honest about the lows.  Climbing Lindsey was a real struggle.  Some things were really bothering me & some drunk guy tried to get in my car with me, it all just threw me off.  I drove past places that triggered memories.  I don’t know…seemed like everything was good in Chicago Basin…and then I lost the positive energy.  It took me two tries to climb Lindsey.  It’s 22.25miles round trip.  The first day I got about 1mile from the summit, clouds were rolling in, and I had no drive to push through anything.  I wasn’t physically tired, my gas tank was full, but my head was spinning.  I turned around and walked all the way back to my car.  Accomplishment for the day: 20 miles to nowhere.  I was ready to just call it all quits that night, just be done with climbing peaks for a while, be done with everything for a while, maybe go to the cabin and just get off the grid for a bit, disappear.

I started to question myself, question my motives. Had I been travelling down a path of self-deception? Was this all about the mountains and love and magic and wonder…or was I just an asshole living out of my car, bagging summits, in some stupid egotistical attempt to do something beyond the limits of what was expected of me…like it would make my existence actually mean something?  But then I called my mom and talked…ya know, just talked through things.  I got my shit together and made the summit of Lindsey the next day.  I blasted tunes the whole way, put myself in the zone, zoned out, pushed through, and found myself happy again.  Happy that I still had the ability to do what I set out to do. And then, the sun began to set…the clouds turned pink, the sky was this crazy gradation of a million different tints of blue and purple, there was a lightness in the air, and the road I walked felt like home again.  Suddenly, I remembered exactly what this was all about.

After Lindsey, I thought I had recharged…thought I had this all dialed in.  But when I got to the Elks, I lost it again.  Cried like a big fat baby.  Cried so hard, I couldn’t even breathe.  It was just a culmination of everything.  I try to brush things off, try to keep my chin up.  I am FAR from perfect, but I try really hard…all the time…and it seems like somehow it always falls apart in the shittiest way possible.  That said, I do have to recognize that this is a theme in my life…and maybe it isn’t the whole world that is pitted against me…it’s just me against me.  Gotta stop screwing myself over. Maybe I just cling too tightly to things, maybe I need to let some shit go, expect nothing, get back to the root of it all: do things purely for the sake of doing them.  I’ve been so rigid and shy for so long…I feel like I don’t even know how to be real with people anymore.  I’m so sensitive to the littlest things.  I really gotta toughen up.  Really gotta lighten up!

Anyway, I didn’t climb anything in the Elks.  I just missed Lake City and the San Juans.  Those mountains feel like home, like the definition of happiness.  The weather was hit and miss while I was there, but I got a few good days in the mountains.  I played a pretty fair amount of basketball and I felt really good.  My shot is finally coming back, and may even be showing signs of getting stronger…it’s all a meditation, ya know?  I can just focus on my follow through, focus on each dribble, be in the moment, my mind is nowhere but right there.

At a certain point after being back in Lake City, it felt like I was just stalling…I felt like things were alright again…and so, I headed to Crestone Peak.  I’ve been fighting some pretty extreme fatigue and I keep getting really light headed…I don’t know what it is…probably some combo of depression/lack of sleep/poor diet?  Despite all that, I was motivated!  But then I slept in (dammit)!  Weather was supposed to roll in around 4pm.  This trip was gonna be 20 miles and 6,850 ft in elevation gain, without an early start I didn’t know if I could pull it off in one go.  I decided to throw my overnight pack together and just get up there, get as far as the weather would let me get for the day, and sleep by the lakes if I had to, then get an early start the next day! I cranked the tunes and got to walking.

When I got to the junction for the Peak, all I wanted to do was take a nap.  The sun felt so good.  I tossed my pack down and spread out, face down, like a dead person.  This older foreign guy thought I WAS dead, haha.  I had passed him earlier, when he saw me again he yelled “HEY!”  I sat up and waved, said “I’m ok.”  He came over to where I was and started talking to me.  I couldn’t tell exactly where was from, but English was clearly his second language.  He started telling me about the meaning of life, about how important it was to live a life in the mountains, to move freely in high places.  It seemed kinda magic and divine.  He also bragged that he had the blood pressure of a young boy!  He told me about how amazed his doctor was by his health.  He said he owed it all to the mountains!  “All my life, I been mountaineer!”

He asked me what my plans were, where I was headed.  I told him I was going up the Peak.  He decided he ought to let me know all about Class 3 hiking.  He told me that I would be climbing with my arms and legs and maybe even my teeth.  He told me how he had climbed 34 fourteeners.  He got out a map and showed me where I would be going.  I told him that I had been there before, that I had done Humboldt and the Needle last year.  He raised his eyebrows and asked me how many peaks I had climbed. “51” I said.  “Like 5 and 1, 51!?” he asked.  “Yeah.”  He didn’t go on about the daunting details of Class 3 hiking anymore.

Some other older guys came up and joined us.  They asked if they could crash the spot and use it as their campsite, and I said “Sure!” We made small talk…talked about mountains we had climbed, all while I eyeballed the clouds surrounding the area.  I checked my phone and the weather looked like it was going to hold.  It was definitely kinda late to start the climb over the pass, go down the pass, then go up the gully to Crestone’s summit, come back down, go back over the pass, and come back to the campsite……….but I just had this feeling that it was all gonna be okay.  And as much as all the guys were really nice, I kinda just wanted to be alone.

I ditched my heavy pack and put the essentials in my day pack.  Off I went.  The climb up the gully to the summit was pretty straightforward and fun.  I hung out with the handsome views, snuck some pictures, and headed back down.  The sun was setting just as I got back to the summit of Broken Hand Pass.  The timing worked out just right!  It took me a minute to find my pack in the dark…but once I did all the guys told me they were glad I was safe and they congratulated me on making the summit.  I thanked them and wished them luck on their adventures for the next day.

I hightailed it back to my car…or I tried at least.  My left leg was really bugging me and my back shot sharp pains so deep they felt like they penetrated my soul.  It’s like being stabbed with a knife sometimes.  But it goes away quicker if I don’t think about it too much.  You can think your way through a lot of physical pain, you’d be surprised…or maybe you already know that?  I need to get better at thinking through the mental pains though.  Maybe that’s why I hike?  Maybe to get through tough physical stuff you have to use your mind.  And to get through the mental stuff you have to use your body.  I don’t know.  But maybe?

Anyway, slowly but surely I made my way to my car.  When I got there I remembered that there was a meteor shower.  It was really something to see!  I tried to sleep, eventually…but no luck.  I drove back to Westcliff and pulled off the road somewhere…slept for a couple hours, and then drove up to the Elks.

And here I am again.  Back at the Elks.  And here is the thing…I am SO FORTUNATE to be able to do all this.  It isn’t always super easy, but I have to remind myself that this is AMAZING!  I get to see so much beauty, I get to be so free, I get to feel so strong, I get to triumph, I get to see my dreams through!  That’s not anything to be afraid of, or dread, or blow off just because things outside of hiking get hard sometimes.  Life is life…it’s both amazing and incredibly difficult…there are gains and losses…time ticks away regardless of circumstance…and so, I just have to keep positive…keep my chin up and make the most of it all.  Why cry? I have so much to smile about!!!!!!!!

Family: I LOVE YOU!!!!!  Thanks for being there for me, always!  ❤ 




View from Round Top in Lake City



Sunshine Summit…from Mill Creek


My Cellular Bananular Telephone.  Had a dream about grabbing a bull by the horns.  I felt it was a sign that I should get my act together…get to it!


Broken Hand Pass


Coming over the pass


🙂 Looking out to Memories of Adventure: Kit and Challenger


Kit Carson in the Background









Sunset, near the top of Broken Hand Pass




All Good Things

Here’s what I can tell ya:

Life is generally VERY VERY VERY VERY GOOD!  There’s definitely tough stuff and there are awkward phases, but sometimes I can’t even believe how good life is.  I love the mountains!  The more time I spend in the mountains, the better I get at seeing that everything that happens in life has a purpose.  I don’t need to preach or pour my heart out.  I guess, I’m just really grateful for all these good things in life that I get to experience.  I have 8 fourteeners left to finish the 58.  Regardless of numbers and semi-egotistical pursuits…regardless of any attempt at quantifying the “achievements” in my life…regardless of all that…the mountains have taught me some of the greatest lessons in life and have given me some of my happiest days.  I hope to continue adventuring in high places, I hope to continue to meet great people, keep getting better as a human being, keep taking too many pictures, keep making magic memories.  I have faith in people and life and myself.  I am beyond grateful for all the good things that I have had the pleasure of experiencing on my own, and the magic I have been able to share with others.  I am grateful for support and kindness and silliness and goofiness and everything in between.  I’ve kinda been going it on my own for a long time, and I think I’ll probably always be a little aloof, but I’m not afraid to make memories with good people anymore.  Finding a purpose in life is essential to happiness, I think.  I don’t really care if I ever become a “real” writer or a “real” photographer or anything like that…I just like being out in the mountains on a good day.  That’s it!  Because being there is always the first page of a great chapter…from there everything else just falls into place the way it needs to.  I can’t write very well lately, but I hope that some sense of what I am trying to explain shines through the fogginess of my brain.

“Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run, but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant.”

-Hunter S. Thompson-

What I’m Listening to these days:



LC San Juans=MAGIC


Stood on top of Redcloud 4 times during my LC visit


The Last of my 14ers in the San Juans 


Coming through the Chimney on Sunlight with my red pack like Santa!


Totes Ma Goats


Between Sunlight and Windom


Summit Block on Sunlight




The Catwalk, Eolus


Camping Spot for Sunlight, Windom, Eolus, and N. Eolus


2 Days of Saddle Blazing the LC San Juans. 2nd day was more epic thanks to Crazy Horse!



Binky getting some lovin’ at the Bluegrass Festival


Thad! 🙂



How ’bout them Cowboys?


Well, How about ’em?




The Waterfall


The Hot Spot


Maybe one day I’ll get good at climbing…if I do…I hope it’s here!



😉 The Sea Life at God’s Crag


Mad Dog climbing barefoot


Mad Dog





Joey STILL hates me 😦



Small moments can be profound. Feeling small and feeling the power of the whole world around you is huge! It doesn’t take a million dollars to have that feeling and it doesn’t take a glorified journey over the seas and up high mountains to get there; sometimes all it takes is a little walk or maybe getting up before the sunrise or staying somewhere after everyone else has gone. I like being small, I like this big world, I like being alone but not feeling lonely, l like the feeling I get when I know wholeheartedly that I am in exactly the right place at exactly the right time. So often, we marvel at the flashy things or we get caught up in trying to “be somebody” or we want appear a certain way…but I like catching the details of a ladybug’s spots while I sit on the side of a peak, or spotting the freckle on someone’s pinky finger, or finding elaborate doodles on discarded napkins. Dare to be small, dare to find magic in unassuming moments, dare to see the beauty in a pebble in a boulder field on a mountain, dare to stop talking, dare to listen to the wind beneath the wings of the owl in the barn, dare to do things for the sake of doing them, dare to forget about your “big break”, dare to be alone for a moment in this great big world…and smile before the ride is over.

14ers climbed so far this year: Quandary, Pikes, Sherman, Belford, Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, Bross, Huron, Elbert, La Plata,  Princeton, Longs, Castle, Conundrum, Yale, and Shavano.

And then there’s this http://foundmagazine.com/

Thanks for the link Dale!



Sparky at sunrise on Longs Peak


From Keyhole on Longs: it’s a true dance looking back and forth at the moon and the sun


Sunrise on Longs




Sunrise before hiking up Sopris


Sunlight through the ceiling Near Winfield


Carbondale hike with Cousin Heather







La Plata’s Summit View


Flower on Sopris


The Homestretch on Longs


Butterfly on the descent of Castle and Conundrum


Summit of Shavano before the Hail Storm


Summit of Yale




After the steep glissade between Castle and Conundrum


Descent of Longs


The Trough on Longs


Outhouse at the Matchless Mine


Mt.Hope with Twinkle and Guthrie (while Ali did Quail)


Three riders in Leadville






A visit to Heather’s




Heather and her best pals at sunset




CUTENESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The puppy named Honey at the Laundromat


School is OUT!

It’s not about writing like they told you to in English class. It isn’t about numbers. Perfection does not exist. Balance is temporary and finicky for a reason: to keep you moving. It isn’t about being like anyone else or beating them. It’s about the moment. It’s about being open to the actual adventure…open to-‘engage in hazardous and exciting activity, especially the exploration of unknown territory.’ Everything I have done is small and fairly insignificant on a large scale. But I can tell you a good story about every town I have been to, about the people I’ve met, the mountains I’ve climbed, the horses I’ve ridden, the crazy jobs I did, and all the times I’ve embarrassed myself. For me, it’s not about quantifying anything or putting a grade or a time limit on things. Life isn’t a race or a test. School is out. Breathe freely and live your fleeting and finite life!

“Some of his classmates mocked him for earning his keep as a janitor, but others were mesmerized by the stories he wrote of his wide-roaming life…” (Haley, pg. 3)

“He quit in a rage and became a hobo, riding the rails and experiencing the penniless subculture of vagrancy. To his surprise he met brilliantly read men among the tramps…” (Haley, pg. 2)

-Wolf, The Lives of Jack London by James L. Haley-


South Park, CO


South Park, CO


Buena Vista, CO


Buena Vista, CO


Don’t know his name, but he was nice, and he let me take his picture






Summit of Huron June 9, 2016


Getting up to no good @ 14,000ft!



I thought, I’ll just stretch my legs today and take it easy…but ended up feeling good and climbing to the top of Quail Mountain…in my bball shoes…totally unintentionally.


Quail Mountain summit (13er)


For being such an easy peak, Huron sure has good views!


Last year at this spot, as I was descending, I told these poor old ladies they had another mile to climb and another 1,000 vert ft. but really they had only a few switchbacks left.


Just out of the trees on Huron


Sunrise on the Decalibron Loop with my new ice axe 🙂