Journal

Monthly Recap // September 2019

Post Heading // Forest Tourist

What went on:

At times it still feels like August just started; I’m convinced that I blinked and the entire month flew by.

To kick off the month, John and I explored the lakes trail in Medicine Bow National Forest together for the first time – or more accurately, the first time where we weren’t walking on three feet of snow or guiding guests. We had anticipated climbing one of the peaks in Med Bow, but the abundance of snow at the base of the route threw us off so we opted for a leisurely hike instead. No matter how many times I hike through the range I still lose my breath at the sight of the shimmering quartzite walls above the crystal clear alpine lakes.

Photo by John Miller.

During one of our days off, we decided to explore the Curt Gowdy State Park outside of Laramie. This tiny park has several reservoirs that are fed by Crow Creek, making it a popular destination for fishers and kayakers. There are also plenty of spots to rock climb and hike, which was what drew us to Curt Gowdy in the first place. We took Koda along with us and hiked along the Crow Creek trail. As the name implies, this trail follows the creek as it moves through the pine forest and around jagged rock walls.

The 3.6 mile out-and-back trail ends at Hidden Falls, a narrow slot canyon with shallow water and a gorgeous waterfall. For whatever reason – either the excessive rain we’ve had this season or the wealth of snow during the winter – the water in the canyon was up to our waists and the waterfall that is normally visible from the trail had changed its flow and was behind a boulder instead.

Wading through the frigid water in the slot canyon in only my underwear with Koda fearfully following my lead was hands down my favorite part of the day. Spending time in slots brings back memories of my very first big adventure outside in 2016, and it reminds me of why I fell in love with the outdoors in the first place. The fact that I was able to explore with Koda this time around made it extra special, and even though he was hesitant at first to swim deeper into the slot canyon he happily retreated into my arms while I forged ahead.

After our escapades in Medicine Bow and Curt Gowdy, our adventures slowed down considerably. Work picked up the pace as we entered the peak of the summer season, so most nights after work I simply went home and collapsed into bed. Near the end of the month John and I were able to score four consecutive days off in a row, and we used them to visit Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. I’ve already shared about our time in Yellowstone and will write about the Tetons soon, so I won’t give much away in this post besides the fact that we had a wonderful time.

What I’ve been digging:

During our long drive to visit friends in Boulder at the end of the month, John searched high and low for a podcast for us to listen to that isn’t our default The Moth. He stumbled upon Terrible, Thanks for Asking and man am I glad he did. The podcast “asks real people to share their complicated and honest feelings about how they really are. It’s sometimes sad, sometimes funny, and often both.” We listened to the episode titled Tell Me About Yourself, and it resonated with me way more than I thought it would; I was straight up cackling as we drove through Fort Collins. I haven’t listened to any other episodes yet, but I’m completely sold on Terrible, Thanks for Asking.

I hesitated to make rock climbing after work one of the things I’ve been digging this month because it seems to pop up in every monthly recap post, but I just couldn’t help myself. It seems like we discover new and amazing places to climb on property every month, and August was no exception. Of course, it wouldn’t be an after work climbing session if we didn’t model some products for Dirt Chalk Bags.

Photo by Julianne Mahoney.

I might have mentioned before that I’m working on writing a guidebook for rock climbing at Brush Creek Ranch; while it’ll only ever circulate among employees at the ranch, creating the guidebook is great motivation for me to explore new parts of the property to find potential climbing spots. That’s how my friends and I stumbled upon a consolidated group of boulders that was hidden right under our noses, with quality routes on each rock. Since finding this hidden gem we have spent countless nights climbing until sunset, usually accompanied by loud music and bottles of wine. We dubbed the area “Over the Garden Wall” and it is one of my favorite spots on property.

Post Heading // Forest Tourist

Here are my intentions for September 2019:

  • Find time to unplug once a week. Working on a ranch in the middle-of-nowhere Wyoming has forced me to disconnect throughout the day; after all, you can’t go on social media if you don’t have service. That being said, I’ve noticed that as soon as I get home from work or sit down to eat the first thing I do is bust out my phone to get my fix. I want to be more intentional with how I spend my free time and avoid just mindlessly scrolling. I haven’t decided yet if I want to dedicate certain time frames or even entire days to being without my phone, but I’ll probably do something along those lines.
  • Explore new surroundings. One thing that I’ve noticed about myself is that I can fall into a rut of spending time outside in the same familiar spaces. Don’t get me wrong, I love to find new spots to adventure, but whenever I have only half a day or a few hours to get outside I tend to gravitate towards the same areas. As my time in Wyoming comes to an end I want to prioritize getting out and finding new places to spend my time.
  • “It’s not about you.” Erin Outdoors shared this quote on her Instagram recently and it really stuck with me. It’s so easy to take everything personally these days; every response or lack thereof to a text message, every casual remark from a stranger, and even other people’s behaviors. It makes complete sense why we do this – after all, humans are deeply narcissistic creatures – but living life with the attitude that everything that happens is directed towards you can make you bitter and prideful. I want to try and veer away from that vain of thinking and attempt to not take everything so personally.
  • Surround yourself with the type of energy you want to cultivate. Whenever I find myself stuck creatively, mentally, or physically, the best fix is to reevaluate the type of energy that I surround myself with. Being around people with positive attitudes that are pushing themselves creatively is great motivation for me to push myself as well.
  • Take Koda on more walks. While I’m hard at work on the ranch, Koda stays at home and plays in the yard with three other dogs. Thus far it’s been a great arrangement: he gets to run outside with his friends all day, and by the time I come home from work he’s tired and ready to cuddle. Since I essentially live at a dog park, Koda no longer depends on our daily walks for his exercise. Even though it isn’t exactly necessary, I want to fall back into the routine of taking Koda on a long walk every day. The time spent outside together is good for both of us.

What are your intentions for September? Let me know in the comments, or shoot me an email at indiaclaire.ft@gmail.com. All photos in this post were taken by me unless otherwise specified in the caption. 


 

I'm a climber, dog mom, and a hater of plastic. I like seeking wild adventures and sharing them with people.

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