Dull Mountains

When the Mountains are Calling and You Cannot Go

By | Philosophy | No Comments

“Go back?” he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!” So up he got, and trotted along with his little sword held in front of him and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit We all have reserved tickets for the pain train. That’s the closest I can come to accepting the truly dreadful things in life—death, decay, and departure of loved ones. The pain train offers…

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breakingbadcanada

Life in Kickstarter America

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I remember the first crowdsourcing campaigns that surfaced in my social media feeds. The majority of requests came from musicians hoping to release music, designers aiming to give life to their video games, or inventors bringing new gadgets into the world—fun, creative, ideas. Crowdsourcing websites began as a way to drag deferred dreams into existence, but in recent times they’ve become portals to far less whimsical notions. In many cases, they are the difference between life and death.   While the most visible crowdsourcing site, Kickstarter, is focused on artistic…

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Beautiful wilderness.

Can the Outdoors Industry Save the Outdoors—and Its Own Soul?

By | Philosophy, Travel and Adventure | No Comments

Before you read this article, let’s agree that the marketing wizards who came up with the concept of “power couples” deserve a place on the podium of “worst campaign ideas ever”. Or maybe a seat at the table in one of the lesser rings of hell. More on that later. My friend and colleague Doug Schnitzspahn recently penned a compelling editorial at Elevation Outdoors about the future of the outdoors. It’s a great read and it brings up some difficult truths about the outdoors industry. Honest conversations can be tricky…

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Wells Maine

Seasons of Change

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Why do we love the sea? It is because it has some potent power to make us think things we like to think. ~Robert Henri Somewhere in the night, deep into the heart of the midwest, I look at the passengers in my vehicle. My newly-minted wife and longtime best friend Sheila is asleep with our dog Mystic in her lap and Fremont, our other dog, is sprawled out on the back seat. We drive through the darkness together back to Colorado to resume the life we’ve known for years…

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Sugarloaf Mountain Boulder Colorado.

Trials of Life, Backyard Edition

By | Cloud City Chronicles, Colorado Adventures | No Comments

I never know who to root for in those predator / prey nature specials. Usually, the narrative is set up so that if you’re introduced to the lion first, you root for the lion. If it’s the gazelle, well then you’re hoping it speeds away to live another day. In real life, the roles of hero and villain are more subjective. Now that we have a small piece of genuine wilderness in the Boulder foothills, we have an unedited look at the trials of life. I’ve lived in Colorado 17…

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Daruma doll in Colorado. What a creep!

Best Summit Hikes: Denver to Vail Now Out!

By | Colorado Adventures, Travel and Adventure | No Comments

To order a copy of my new guidebook Best Summit Hikes: Denver to Vail please follow the link to Amazon! Only $9.99! And please feel free to leave feedback on Amazon – thanks, thanks, thanks! Having a book published is a unique experience. For months or even years, it’s your raison d’être, a project that requires focus, creativity, and in my case, a lot of time outdoors. Then there’s the photography, the map making, the fact checking, and regulations. And finally, back and forth with editors, designers, and then… radio silence. Life…

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Fremont does his patented move, the "gold rush".

The Golden Touch

By | Cloud City Chronicles | No Comments

O Gold! I still prefer thee unto paper, Which makes bank credit like a bark of vapour — Lord Byron, Don Juan I’m not the first person in Colorado to have visions of gold dancing in my head. Long before the promise of gluten-free cupcakes and mega-hip tech companies, dreamers made their way to Colorado — before there even was a “Colorado” — to partake of the great Gold Rush of 1858 – 1862 (Colorado wouldn’t become a territory until 1861). The ‘59ers were similar to the more famous ‘49ers…

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bunkhouse2

The Mines of Cloud City

By | Cloud City Chronicles | No Comments

There’s gold in them hills!! Less interesting is “There’s tungsten in them hills!” and perhaps even less inviting, “There’s bismuth in them hills!” Turns out we have all three on our property, along with a few other radioactive, naturally occurring elements such as thorium and uranium. Mining history in our community, Sugarloaf, is fairly interesting, especially if you like Cold War conspiracy theories or Pepto-Bismol.  Let’s start with everybody’s favorite arc-welding metal, tungsten. “Tungsten” sounds like it could be a private, east coast college: “Oh, I didn’t know you were…

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Cloud City Cabin, Boulder Colorado

A Cabin in the Woods

By | Cloud City Chronicles | No Comments

The sequence of events that added up to Sheila and I owning our cabin and land would be nearly impossible to reproduce; therefore the question, “How were you guys able to find that land?” would require a long, convoluted answer. The short answer is something like this: Mountain land values went down after the 2013 floods; our site wasn’t affected but did drop in price a few hundred thousand  dollars. Sheila was able to convince me to get off my butt and look at the land when she first saw…

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Ye olde Hobart machine

Last of the Dish Dogs

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I still remember the conversation between the five of us like it was yesterday. Rob, Mike and myself were dish dogs — the fast-moving crew who cleaned and organized the plates, glasses and silverware at Glenbrook Country Club. Jeff was an enlightened soul disguised as a waiter, slightly older than us, the only member of the waitstaff who regularly took time to converse with the grunts. Bill was the middle-aged night manager, a quiet, intense guy we all rather liked and the closest thing to a real adult in the…

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Mystic and fremont colorado border collies

Writes of Passage

By | News and Events, Travel and Adventure | No Comments

This blog has been a little quiet lately. I haven’t had time to write because I’ve been spending all my time writing. It’s a good problem to have. Most of the work has been split between my editorial work over at RootsRated (a great outdoors adventure resource) and the creation of my new Colorado summit hikes guide. It’s gotten especially hectic this month thanks to the bizarre and persistent rain that stymied a good month and a half of the typical Colorado hiking season. The accompanying thunderstorms and slow snow…

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Fremont Border Collie Colorado

The Dog Ratio Applied

By | Animals, Philosophy | No Comments

As the owner of two enthusiastic border collies, it’s extra important that they get out on big adventures on a regular basis. Thus, I have created what I call the “dog ratio” — the number of activities I do with them before I can enjoy a day out without them. Don’t get me wrong, I wish I could take them everywhere but certain activities such as rock climbing, mountain biking and mountaineering are not always dog friendly.Thus I follow this ratio as a golden rule: for every 3 outings with…

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