On The Page: Juan Rivera’s Colorado, 1765

Last summer when my mom came to visit, she bought me a present: Juan Rivera’s Colorado, 1765. Fresh off my trip to OKC where my Spanish colonial history obsession was kindled by stops in Santa Fe and at the Pecos pueblo I had stopped in at Ouray’s Buckskin Bookseller to find a copy of the journals of the Dominguez-Escalate expedition. The owner pointed out this new release from Western Reflections Publishing (yes, I’m still slowly purchasing their entire catalog).

Steven Baker scrupulously traces Rivera’s expeditions to southwestern Colorado. Apparently there was some controversy about whether Rivera had gone to Moab or to Delta. I loved the detailed tracing of his route. I’m a map and geography nerd and the territory traveled by Rivera is my home ground. He passed by Chimney Rock then, on his fall expedition, up through the Dolores River canyon to what is now the west end of Montrose County and then over the Uncompaghre Plateau to Delta.  I find myself just astounded by what they were able to accomplish with such limited information!

This beautiful hard cover wasn’t cheap (thanks Mom!) but it is filled will gorgeous maps drawn by Gail Sargent of each section of the journey as well as photographs of many locations with notations of trails traversed by the expedition.

I’m so glad that this book has joined my library. I think it’s incredibly important to know the history of the area where you live and I learned so much (and added a few hikes to my list and … bonus! they’ll be spring accessible!).

This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

Las Vegas!

In the car on the way back from the airport, a friend texted me, “Vegas? That’s not your style.”

I would counter that a little bit of everything alongside a big helping of adventure is my style, but I digress.

Last weekend, I traveled with some friends and my mom to Vegas to see George Strait in concert (with Lyle Lovett!!! and Robert Earl Keen). While seeing King George was the headlining event of our weekend, we had a lot of fun “doing Vegas.”

Amanda and I caught a flight out of GJ Thursday afternoon and started the party as soon as we got into the terminal. We even bought our tickets months apart and sat next to each other.  Once we landed and checked into our hotel, we immediately set out in search of food and then engaged in heavy duty people watching at the Cosmopolitan.

The next morning, my mom arrived and we headed out for brunch and some sight seeing. My friend Helen and her husband arrived mid afternoon and we had some celebratory “we’re all in Vegas” champagne at the hotel before heading to dinner and some after dinner drinks. While most of the crew headed to bed, Amanda and I went out for some dancing.

Saturday was more sight seeing but the big event was that evening. It was time to see George! There was a lot of “Do you think he’ll play this song?” talk and general excitement as we got ready for the show.

Our dinner before the show was actually one of my favorite moments in Vegas. The food was good (we ate at Tom’s Urban in NY-NY) and we might have discussed Pure Country a lot. Mom ordered ghost pepper wings and basically stared down the waitress when she was warned that they’re the hottest pepper in the world. And then, to top it all off, as we stood up after dinner Mom reminded me she wanted to ride the roller coaster at NY-NY before the concert. So we did. I might have laughed at her the entire time. I’m kind of a pro at laughing at people on roller coasters.

The show definitely did not disappoint. (Okay, well, maybe I could have listed to Lyle Lovett open for another hour and George play all night but reasonable expectations are important.)

I sang along to each and every song. When I grew up, George Strait was in the tape deck on the way to every camping trip (except when the Mariners were on) and the sound track to more than a few family gatherings. On top of that, he’s the best looking 65 year old I’ve ever seen. Anyway.

The next day, everyone other than Amanda and I had to catch early (or really really early) flights so the two of us enjoyed a lazy morning getting out of the hotel, hit up their (free) Sunday bloody mary and mimosa bar, had one last brunch on the Strip and then headed to the airport.

I had been sort of nervous about this trip: it was a motley group of people and the common denominator was … me. In the end, it was fantastic. I even get to tease my mom for the time she forgot to tip the Transformer for the rest of time: “Bumble Bee need tip.”

Happy 8th Birthday Sprocky

Sprocket turned eight on Sunday. We woke up to snow gently drifting around the house and a couple of inches on the ground. I soaked up the loveliness of the light, some coffee, and the comfort of the couch for awhile before I remembered it was my sweet boy’s birthday.

There is little that my pupper loves more than to frolic in the snow. I knew the next move was to get dressed and head out for a run with him; especially since I had to head out for work shortly.

Guys, I forgot my phone.

That means there are no pictures. Which is probably fine. The weather was not particularly photogenic. The clouds were low and the snow was continually falling softly. The quiet, could not be captured on camera (even if it was occasionally punctuated by a plow on 550 below the trail).

But that also means there are no pictures of Sprocket running full out for a block and turning to look at me completely delighted.

There are no pictures of him standing in water just over his paws looking shocked I let him.

There’s no photos of me grinning in the perfect falling snow as I followed his wiggle-butt up the trail to the summit of Boot Hill.

I don’t have pictures of how perfect the little yuccas looked under their blanket of snow and how SP came to check them out with me.

There’s no video of him doing his best mountain bike impression zooming down hills to catch me after deer scents distracted him so I could get ahead.

There’s no capture of him nudging my hand before trying to get me to chase him on the path beside the river.

We put in almost five slow, snowy miles and I think I grinned the entire time. Back home, I ran in the house to capture this shot of me and my boy on his birthday. I’m a ridiculous dog owner but there’s nothing ridiculous really about loving a pup that loves life and helping me love life as much as he does.

Women Who Inspire: Launching Damsel NOT in Distress

Starting today, it’s time to bid adeu to 3Up Adventures.*

A lot has changed in my life, and more and more often, the world around me seems to be changing just as fast. I have grown substantially by embracing my ability to do things—I’ve worked on renovations, become passable at maintaining my vehicle, and feel pretty empowered to tackle projects and experiences of all kinds.


This blog will largely continue to be a record of my own activities and projects. One of the things that has always motivated me to write here is to create a record of places I’ve gone and things I’ve done first and foremost for myself. On the other hand, I do have some wonderful readers of this blog. It is a new goal of mine to bring you stories of other women doing inspiring things. I am not entirely sure what form that will take but I am excited to build that space.

Thank you so much to you all for following my adventures. I find the feedback that I get from readers who are inspired by *me* super inspiring.

 

What’s Changed? Where do I follow along?
  • Update your RSS feeds/readers to follow http://damselnotindistress.com/blog/. All new blog posts will be made only on Damsel NOT in Distress, although I’m attempting redirect 3Up traffic and links to the appropriate posts here.
  • Facebook made me start an entirely new page claiming my name was misleading to readers so you can find me there under “Damsel NOT in Distress.”
  • My Twitter and Instagram handles have simply been updated to the new name.

*3Up was named for my ex, Sprocket, and I all riding on our quad together. 3Up, the corollary for a couple and their dog instead of “2 Up” on a motorcycle.

Cochise County Highpoint: Chiricahua Peak

After hanging out in Tombstone, I was ready to do some hiking. It was time after a long fall full of working!

The hike to the summit of Chiricahua was exactly what I needed. I made a foray up Peak 9308 with some off trail travel but aside from that summiting Chiricahua and Flys was seriously just a beautiful ridge walk in the park. Considering my low level of fitness and activity, this was highly appropriate.

In the 12 mile hike, I didn’t quite hit 3,000′ of gain but I did check off another Arizona County Highpoint taking me to 80% on the list!

Badass

I’ve been called a badass a lot in the last few years. And to be clear, I don’t think I’m a badass. I think I’ve been gifted with an immense amount of straight up stubborn. Half of what I achieve, I do because it just needs to be done and I’m looking for the way I can do it by myself as cheaply (but nicely) as possible. Anyway, a thought occurred to me last night as I fell asleep:

When I was seventeen, I asked a guy to our tolo (apparently the PNW term for a Sadie Hawkins dance, thanks for the learn, wiki!). I had a black eye from a bad hop when I asked him but impetuous high school me didn’t let that stop me. My dad found the black eye bit alternately horrifying and really amusing. Fortunately, this guy was a baseball player and he said yes so it didn’t bother him too much. The dance was nice but nothing really came of it.

Over the following summer, we actually reconnected and went on a few dates, we (or at least I) had a lot of fun. I, however, was a massively awkward girl who had never kissed anyone and had no idea how to help him make the leap to so much as holding my hand. We went to homecoming together but it was massively awkward and I didn’t know how to make it better and thus it just ended.

Bellarmine Prep Homecoming, 2003

The moment that I remembered last night was walking into CenturyLink Field (then Quest!) for a WSU football game that my aunt had given me tickets to. Mike was working for a construction company of some kind that summer. A prep school kid driving a late model Civic, this seemed slightly out of character but he jokingly but with a certain level of earnestness told me about the concrete truck driver who was a “badass.”

“That’s what I want to be when I grow up,” he said.

“A concrete truck driver or a badass?” I asked.

“A badass.”

“A badass, okay then.”

Maybe he grew up to be a badass, I don’t know. We never really hung out after that awkward homecoming. Facebook does tell me he grew up to be a stock trader that appears to live in a house and be pretty normal.

Embarrassingly, looking back, I mostly rolled my eyes at that comment. I couldn’t particularly see this guy, that I really quite liked, growing up to be a badass and it didn’t even occur to think about badassery in my own life. I definitely didn’t think to be a badass and kiss him. The word “badass” sounded kind of crass and redneck. At the time, I was planning a life saving the world from the horrors of climate change in academia, not living this life (I don’t even have words for what I’m doing).

I knew I was brash and a little bit obnoxious— another friend’s (shitty) boyfriend in response to something about me said, “Feminists are fat, ugly embittered women who can’t get a man.”A rather critical and religious classmate told me she could spot me flirting “from across the quad” (which is hysterical because… see, I think I scared the high school boys).

My friends would cringe because I was the definition of “too much.” I was loud in public places and ridiculous. I hope they loved me for it. In college, my friends used to say, “Do it, Beth, you won’t” and I’d joke about having a dollar for everytime they said it. Maybe I was just a badass the whole time and just forgot for a few years (six?).

So cheers to you, Mike, I hope you’re a badass. I think I’m owning my title in 2018.

Thanksgiving 2017: Tombstone & Bisbee, Arizona

My original plan for Thanksgiving was to head down through western New Mexico and do a few hikes but as home building would demand, I had to make a return at IKEA in Phoenix before Sprocket and I had an empty RuthXJ to adventure in. So, after braving the Saturday morning return line, we took off for southeastern Arizona. My plan for Sunday was to hike Chiricahua Peak but that left us with ample time to explore the rest of the day.

I was a terrible blogger who is out of practice at taking photos but we did some touristing in Tombstone and Bisbee. We struggled a bit in Tombstone because it seemed that all there was to do was tourist but I was pleased to discover that Tombstone Brewing has some pretty solid beers and that Bisbee is adorable.

2017 In Review: By The Numbers

Ha. Ha. Ha.

2017 was about numbers in the bank to put a (heated, insulated) roof over my head. But, for posterity’s sake (as if the global posterity cared about my numbers), here is my 2017:

Hiking:

I’m still working at resolving my weird boundary issues with running and hiking for 2018 but anyway, that’s my own obsession with data integrity. Anyhow, I hiked 150 miles in just 29 outings (down from 44 outings in 2016 and fifty in 2017). I PROMISE MYSELF TO BE BETTER TWENTY-EIGHTEEN.

Photo: David Wherry

I only summited sixteen peaks in 2017, down from 43 in 2016 and 56 in 2015. Considering the amount of free time I (did not) have, I actually don’t fret about this too much because when I made time to hike, I climbed big things. 2017 featured my highest average peak height ever. And apparently I did some steep stuff because I surpassed my 2016 elevation gain despite being wayyyy down in peaks and miles. (Admittedly, 2015 and 2016 were padded by some low elevation plains high points to achieve list completion eventually.)

I did get six county highpoints: San Juan County, Utah’s Mt. Peale, Navajo County, Arizona’s Black Mesa, Nevada’s Storey County highpoint Mt. Davidson, Jackson County’s Clark Peak and Eagle County’s Mount of the Holy Cross in Colorado, and Arizona’s Cochise County highpoint Chiricahua Peak. I’m only three peaks from finishing Arizona (80%), and three quarters done with Colorado (76.56%). I’m hoping to make a really solid run at Colorado next year. I have a lot of big but awesome peaks left in my home state!

Photo: Katherine Zalan

Running:

No wonder I’m not feeling my best. I ran 200+ times in 2016 but only 46 times in 2017. I need to be better about moving my body more (I’m headed out in a bit so I’ll be 2/2 in 2018 in a couple of hours!) Despite that cratering of number of times, I did only fall to 184 miles from 345 in 2016.

Training in General:

Didn’t happen. I just gritted my way up peaks because I needed them for my soul. I’m looking forward to living a life that can be much more balanced in 2018 and one of the things I’m looking forward to emphasizing is my fitness goals!

 


Past In The Numbers posts:
2013
2014
2015
2016

New Year’s Eve.

As a kid, my family generally rung in the New Year by playing board games, Monopoly and Risk were favorites. Sometimes some of my aunts and uncles would join us but mostly it was just my family and I. (Except for NYE 2000 where I vividly remember being an 8th grader, dancing on a coffee table singing karaoke in my pajamas at my cousin’s house at 5am…)

In my Christmas loving family, the song “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” showed up in rotation fairly frequently. I wanted very desperately to have someone want me to give them a kiss at midnight. As circumstances would have it, I fell in love with a man who really wasn’t in to holidays or staying up late and I’m pretty sure didn’t actually know that a midnight kiss with your love is a cultural trope. New Year’s Eve 2013 and 2014 I think found him asleep before the clock struck midnight. (I know NYE 2012 did but we all fell asleep because we were at the cabin and it had been dark for hours and 10pm felt like 2am.)

After my divorce, however, NYE has changed significantly. I read an Ask Polly column as night fell on December 31, 2014 and it all clicked into place. (This is not surprising because I have since realized that Heather Havrilesky is amazing.) I might have kissed a 23-year old visitor to Ridgway that night but what meant the world to me was hugs from the people who in the last three years have become a community family to me. I floated home believing at a deep level that my life would turn out in some fantastic fashion at some point. 

Facebook deemed it important to remind me of a post I made in the early afternoon of December 31, 2015: Sprocket and I had just summited Pyramid Rock near De Beque. My plan was to head home for a quiet night with SP and ignore the holiday. A comment from a friend on that post telling me to “come home.” It was the tiny push I needed. I loaded Sprocket in the Jeep and away we went. Tucked into the Jeep in the January chill, I realized my understanding that “The sparkles were everywhere and there wasn’t a hint of darkness to be found” was spot on.  I had feels about not being in Ridgway but I kept them at bay until the drive home.

My 2017 feels are similar to my 2016 feels:

2017 should be a mix of hustle and getting back to my regularly scheduled life thanks to the foundations laid in 2016. I’m so ready, bring it on.

2017 was different in one big way: I could see the results of my sacrifice daily. I lived #shedlife for one really cold week to welcome 2017, weekends until May (with more than a few weeknights tossed in), and just over two weeks ago, Sprocket and I moved into the house.

My lessons this year are so much harder to articulate. I’ve basically let this blog go fallow (sorry! hoping to do better in 2018!) because adventure has been thin (although I do owe you some Thanksgiving break posts). I’ve had to confront some of my lingering feelings surrounding F and what transpired between us. I’ve been too much of a sloth for my liking and have definitely had some feels about how my body looks these days.

2017, however, despite really just being a grind has really taught me one thing: I am powerful.

It seems so odd to say that. It seems conceited somehow but I cannot figure out any other way to describe it. I’ve lost track of the number of people who have looked at me and said some variant of “You’re a badass, you know that right?” (Holla Kat, Wanda, etc.) I do achieve the things I want. I’m still unsure of how to include other people in that drive but I’m here and I’m pushing forward.

I’m not quite sure how 2018 is going to shake out, I anticipate this being a year of settling in. I’m still working some, the better to buy some touches for the house. I’m taking an EMT class in the two night a week and a few weekend days; it’ll be lovely to be back to volunteering for my community by summer. I’m settling into the house which is wonderful but it feels a little slow going to settle in—I simultaneously feel deeply at home because I designed the space and also in transition.

2018: I’m welcoming you with a quiet joy in my heart. I’ll be here in Ridgway, just like the prior three years and I’m so grateful.