Adventure -- It's my beating heart.

Adventure. It's defined many different ways by many different people. I mean, I can define adventure in a different way throughout the course of one day. Adventure can be an epic journey into the high country, conquering a mountain peak, or a short walk by the river. Shoot, an adventure can be meeting someone new and connecting, getting to know one another. I love adventure -- on any scale and at any level. Adventure is like the beat of my heart - it keeps me going, it exhilarates my whole being, it literally and metaphorically pumps my blood. 

I was recently ill for the whole month of April. Out. Laid up in bed for days at a time. I would feel healthy again, go outside, try to have a little adventure and BAM - in bed again for a whole day. It was a challenge for me. A challenge to just chill, relax, and not to push it. No skiing. No running. No biking. Hardly any yoga. Once May came around and I was feeling better I wanted to jump back in full force. Bike, ski, run... I wanted it all. I had to SLOW DOWN, remind myself to ease back in, and enjoy the simple adventures. 

So over two weeks I eased back in. A short trail run in the red dirt, clouds drifting above and flowers blossoming. An "epic" mountain bike date that ended with me pushing my bike up the trail, in the dark, exhausted and cold. A hike up my favorite trail, overlooking Mount Sopris - a constant inspiration. And two days of climbing, thanks to a close friend who supported and pushed me to get back on the rock and face some heavy fears rooted deep in my psyche from a climbing fall last year.

 Shane @ the Fins in Thompson Creek 

Shane @ the Fins in Thompson Creek 

And just this Saturday, I got my yearly ski up that inspirational mountain that looms high above Carbondale in all its glory. A six mile hike and skin to the peak of Mount Sopris at 12,996ft, with four other amazing women. A perfect 29th birthday celebration for Courtney. It was grueling, yet so satisfying. My body, strong yet not as strong as it was. We started the morning around 5am at the trailhead, coffee streaming through our veins, hooting and hollering before we began our trek up. Skis and boots strapped to our back, we hiked for just under two miles to the overlook meadow. The sun rising, beaming behind the Holy Cross Wilderness ridgeline, illuminated Sopris peak in a pink hue.

Leaving our shoes behind we started to skin through the woods, over minimal dirt patches, up to Thomas Lakes. Playing a game of leap frog with two guys heading up, we passed the trees and into the Thomas Lakes Bowl. Just slick and steep enough that ski crampons would have been helpful (Kendall was crushing with those crampons). But at least falling is entertaining, if not momentarily terrifying that one might slide all the way down the pitch.

 Sliding and sitting! 

Sliding and sitting! 

About half way up the bowl my legs started giving way. This was definitely the most activity I had done in weeks, like 5 weeks. Especially after two days of rock climbing. I'd go about twenty steps and bam, my quads would seize up. Harnessing by breathe I would stop, slow my breathing, moan, and after a few moments do it again. Every twenty to fifty steps, I would stop. Aching. I felt like I was birthing a child through my legs. Intense. Once to the ridge I stretched, ate some salts, and layered up to stay warm from the howling winds. We cruised up the ridge to the summit. Cider and birthday cake to celebrate the birthday girl and reaching the summit! All worth it. No matter my quads thoughts. 

 The skin up! Photo Credit: Hilary Gross

The skin up! Photo Credit: Hilary Gross

The ski down was so delightful! Spring corn, a pocket of fresh turns, and four other magnificent women smiling as each cruised down. A party ski down the "best backcountry blue" and then to seriously wrap up the ski - Courtney crushed a backcountry pond skim. We skied out to our shoes, packed up, ski pants off, and hiked back to the car, chatting about how we take care of our hair and onward to brunch. It was a true adventure. And better yet, it was a lady adventure. Thats a whole different category! 

 Decision Making. Photo Credit: Hilary Gross 

Decision Making. Photo Credit: Hilary Gross 

I realized every moment can be an adventure as long as I keep my eyes open and notice what I am experiencing, how it is impacting me, what it is showing me. I am interwound in my adventures. 

Adventure is what I make of it. Sometimes things don't go as planned, sometimes my body might come to a dead halt, sometimes I might push for more, taking myself to my limit. And what I am realizing is no matter what happens it really is all an adventure. Life is full of momentary adventures, be it a 6 hour journey up and down a mountain, an afternoon of climbing, a blind date, being sick for a month, or a daring conversation with a loved one. It's those moments that bring out the truth, allowing me to discover who I am -- my core values, my fears, my truths, and my joys. Adventure is my beating heart. 

 Summit Adventures. Happy Birthday Courtney! 

Summit Adventures. Happy Birthday Courtney!