Failure or Fulfillment?

 MAD Hippies Life Rocky Mountain National Park ColoradoIf it’s not obvious to you by now, we love the outdoors! We love full immersion of our body, mind and spirit into the raw and unfiltered wild that surrounds both man and machine.

Our goal is to one day leave the hustle and bustle of modern society and transition into wilderness living. Unfortunately that can’t happen soon enough. Alas, until that time comes we continue to trek often, as much as possible, into the environment of our vision of life together in the untouched and unviolated areas of our nation’s backcountry.

Until that day comes we plan, we dream and we take each failure not as a loss but as a fulfillment of experiences that will provide the essence of a life without  the conveniences that are at the fingertips of everyday life in the big city. Instead of quick solutions that are prepackaged we will become innovative, creative and proud of our accomplishments to overcome what many now see as primitive survival.

Glacier Gorge, Rocky Mountain National Park
Glacier Gorge, Rocky Mountain National Park

A recent hike in Rocky Mountain National Park gave us time to think a little more and consider some of these life changes. The trail, environment, weather and energy output to thrust oneself into an alpine setting in winter, much less any season, is no easy task. Planning, education and preparedness are essential to a safe and enjoyable outing. But that challenge is our gain, forget the positive results we get from each and every trek we head out on, those are just bonuses carrying out in the background. Being in such a place just seems to invigorate us, cleansing our souls, calming our minds and leaving us in such a physically pleasing state that we are able to just sit back and know well the feeling of fulfillment.

Time spent together learning, growing and making memories to share and think back on in years to come.

Taking Shelter From High Winds in Glacier Gorge
Taking Shelter From High Winds in Glacier Gorge

What an amazing day in the high country of Colorado. We knew it would be windy, we knew there was a storm brewing… Prepared as we could be we headed off for a few high lakes to get in a good hike before the weather came crashing down with yet another good ole fashioned Colorado snowstorm. Packed powder underfoot, drifts to the side, we made our way up the trail.

The wind howled over head giving clues to what lay ahead. The views nothing short of high quality postcards around each corner as we managed our way forward going ever higher and deeper into the wilderness.

What came next was just amazing… semi-clear skies and hurricane force winds stopped us dead in our tracks! Knowing full well where we were on the trail and where we needed to pass though to get to our destination it was a no-brainer that we needed to abort this hike and turn back. Bummed? Perhaps a little. But as we like to say, “live today to hike another time.”

We sat behind a large rock out of the incredible winds and realized how, once again, the experience was amazing. Nature was at its finest [raw and real] and we thoroughly enjoyed what we had done, seen and witnessed. There was no failure here, just more fulfillment of life, love and the desire to be in an environment we find so much peace in. Indeed these are the feelings and life lessons we want to go forward with as we continue our life together.

Watch a video of this experience [Don’t forget to turn up the volume on your device to hear the wind in all its fury!].

Peace,

MAD 🙂

Life, Love and Experience

 

It’s not just about hiking…it’s about spending time together, it’s about being in an environment that promotes tranquility, it’s about surrounding ourselves with natural and raw energy, it’s about life and love and how small we are in the eternal and unimaginable universe. Hiking just sets the stage for experiences, memories and discovery.

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Peace,

MAD 🙂

See photos and videos of our experiences MAD Hippies Life

Dream a Little Dream

MAD Hippies Life Mule Deer Roxborough State Park Colorado Can you believe it, we actually took a nap today? Wow, really, are you going to sit there and read the rest of this after an opening line like that? Seriously though, we just had one of those days where we had planned the night before to sleep in, didn’t happen. And when we did get up we were going to go snowshoeing, didn’t happen. And then, after all that we were going to come home and have a old time favorite meal [Frito Pie] and an amazing microbrew [Yeti from Great Divide] to end the evening, didn’t happen. So what did happen?

Well, as fate would have it, or better put, after a long bitterly cold week in Denver we just made it up as we went along. We got up early instead of sleeping in, had our usual morning routine of single syllable words, or grunts..not sure what you’d call it…but after 32ish years we seem to understand each other just fine. Feed the pups, though we never remember who did it, and then rendezvous at the coffee maker for [hopefully] a life awakening experience. We then moved to the couch to drink our miracle elixir and watch the same news over and over again until we can recite it before they repeat it [again].

Finally the question gets posed, “well, are we going snowshoeing?” Crickets ensue as the life giving elixir has yet to kick in as the early morning insanity wears on with the repeating news, repeated drinking of coffee and now a full sentence in the English language is heard as if the world were about to come to an end amongst the echoing sounds of crickets. The response…back to one syllable words, and an often overlooked quote by Jeff Spicoli, “I don’t know.” Nodding our heads in unison as if an agreement of the unknown, we respectfully return to our news, coffee and prehistoric ramblings until one of us would make a decision.

And then it happened, a moment of sheer ingenious inspiration, let’s skip the snowshoe outing with the weather predicted to get bad in the mountains. Ah, yes, we were more than watching the news, we were actually listening too! Instead of throwing all the winter hiking gear in the truck we grabbed our cameras and headed out for a drive instead [fully clothed of course]. The plan now had become an expedition of gathering information about nine of the state parks close to Denver that would be great alternatives to those [like us today] that don’t want to travel in the high country during a winter storm [go figure] and stay close to home while still getting out and enjoying the outdoors. Flash forward, those nine state parks were quickly whittled down to five…then four…and finally three. Is there a pattern forming here, maybe more coffee would help?

Off we went to make good on our plan to do a write up on four, well, three amazing places to go near Denver when the weather is not necessarily cooperating in the cold winter months. Needless to say, it wasn’t really cooperating for us either. Our first step out the front door and we were met with the fresh breath of old man winter, frosty and frigid it was. Determined we headed off, clouds hanging low, icy wind blowing and now snow falling, but wait, we memorized that forecast, we have time before the snow falls…alas, it’s Colorado and the weather will do what it wants when it wants. Still driving, still snowing and still determined. But it is beautiful.

Our first park, Eldorado Canyon State Park. The sign at the entrance said 4-wheel drive or chains required, no problem, we have the 4-wheel drive part covered. Deep, white Colorado powder had blanketed the area for several days and even more was now falling. How wonderful we thought, and it was. We stopped, soaked it all in, walked a little and decided to head off to park number two, Roxborough State Park to the south. A winding hilly foothills highway, with the lanes now obscured by snow and we were beginning to wonder if this was a good idea. Still driving, still snowing and still determined. But it is beautiful. We got to the park and drove through stopping to take a few pictures and admire the ever present mule deer grazing in the meadow as if time really didn’t exist, and why should it? After enjoying the peace of the moment, and now stomachs growling for food, we headed off to our last and final destination, Castlewood Canyon State Park, further yet to the south. Once there the serenity of a cold winter day was really setting in, not to mention our hunger level was beginning to outweigh any and all decisions being made! A short walk, a few pictures and we were off, headed home to finish off our great plans for the evening, or so we thought.

We stopped off for a few food items before getting home. Our illustrious plans now were more of a make it up as we went along, sound familiar? Frito Pie, hmmm, lots of work there. We aggressively attacked a bag of chips as we heated up onion rings and vegetarian [chicken style] sandwiches in the oven. After devouring that we hit a little ice cream we usually reward ourselves with after a long hike…and hey, it was cold outside, all that driving..and well…it tasted good! Our bellies now full we were determined to have a nice imperial stout, didn’t happen. We both made for the bed and took a long nap listening to the sounds of a show we like to watch, Buying Alaska. We love to watch shows like that and dream a little, OK, a lot. And now it only seemed to woo us into a nice late afternoon nap as we fell asleep dreaming of living in a small cabin in the mountains, deep in the woods. We couldn’t believe it, all of our plans pretty much out the window and now taking an afternoon nap. What an awesome day of doing nothing, or not much anyway, and cuddling up to dream a little dream.

Peace,

MAD 🙂

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Lazy Saturday Hike

MAD Hippies Life Castlewood Canyon State Park Franktown ColoradoOne of the greatest assets of living in Colorado is the outdoors as you can be on an amazing trail within an hour of any location, if not sooner. Indeed, we have to keep ourselves in check every now and again as to not take such opportunities for granted and remind ourselves of how blessed we are to live in such a beautiful state with many diverse locations, miles and miles of trails and the incredible Rocky Mountains.

Today we once again took advantage of our benefit as we could not decide on a trail to explore. We awoke in a somewhat foggy slumber after the festivities of Halloween the night before and weren’t in the mood to scale a mountain, though getting out on a trail was in order.

Alas, just to the south of Denver is the often over looked Castlewood Canyon State Park. Perfect we thought, far enough away from the city, yet close enough that we don’t have a long drive. Granted we’ve been here many times before, there was still  one area of the canyon we had not explored, the East Canyon. Much more diverse than its west side, the east is virtually without a visible trail leaving the explorer to follow cairns along the way. As such, the east side sees fewer people making for a perfect and quiet lazy Saturday hike!

See more pictures and videos of our experiences

Peace 🙂

MAD

Silence Is Golden

 MAD Hippies Life Chasm Lake Longs Peak Rocky Mountain National ParkHow many ways can you say “WOW” when that moment of anticipation arrives? And yet, there we stood, after several hours of uphill hiking through diverse mountain zones only to find ourselves standing in silence as our goal stood before us. Sometimes there just aren’t words to describe how you feel…silence takes over and facial expressions tell the story of your intense moment.

There we were, our weekly encounter with nature intertwined with our raw unfiltered selves and all we could do was stare silently at the immense landscape before us. Eyes wide, mouths open, bodies numb as nature’s awesome glory held us in its grasp for just a moment that we would know just where and what we are in the vastness of the cosmos and how there is much much more to life than day in day out man made existence.

Our hike on this day was an 8.5 mile alpine journey to Chasm Lake [11,800′] which sits at the base of Mt Meeker [13,911′], Longs Peak [14,259′] and Mt Lady Washington [13,281′] in the high country of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.

Watch a video or see more photos

Peace,

MAD 🙂

And to Think We Almost Didn’t Go

MAD Hippies Life The Loch Rocky Mountain Natioanl Park ColoradoEver had one of those mornings where you didn’t want to get up? Sure, we all have. Today was one of those days, just leave me alone to die. Coffee won’t fix the clouds in my head, Advil won’t get rid of the pain in my body and by and far…I just didn’t feel like being alive this morning. Of course the stubbornness kicked in and I got dressed, put all the gear in the truck and we headed out for a hike in Rocky Mountain National Park that we had never been on before. The Loch [10,200′] is an amazing 6 mile roundtrip hike up to an amazing high country lake surrounded by snow capped peaks! After we made the lake I couldn’t believe I almost didn’t go! Hell, before we made the lake I couldn’t believe it. What an incredible day in Colorado. Awesome weather, great trail conditions and at my side my best friend and soul mate [the “D” in MAD].

See more photos of our experiences

Peace,

MAD 🙂

Changing Seasons

 

The transition of seasons is a time to witness the outdoors raw and untamed energy. Just as the day and night battle for dominance each day, so too the seasons grapple with each other giving way to each other in the perpetual movement of time that asks no one for permission to move forward.

In what seemed like a blink of an eye, the amazing gold colors of the aspens in the Colorado high country have given way to signs of winter. Fresh snow is now becoming the dominant feature, not to mention those cool morning temperatures along the trail. Not to worry, each season has its own unique beauty and the experiences that go with them. We eagerly await the full onset of winter, dusting off our snowshoes and hitting the trail with eyes wide open to see what nature has in store in the coming months.

As we’ve often stated, the same trail in different seasons always produces different and unique outings, we’ll take them all. Our mindset, clothing and preparedness as a whole must also change as we greet each new challenge on its terms bringing with it the understanding that nature is a force to be reckoned with and most assuredly respected.

Peace,

MAD 🙂