I’m an upbeat nature lover with a hearty laugh on a hair trigger, it’s been said that my smile could light a major city. I’m a passionate view-seeking hiker, a travel addict, and a petter of pets–the fuzzier and more affectionate, the better, but lizards are cute, too. Some might call me an obsessive gardener. Okay, only the non-gardeners say it.
Scrambling on the sandpaper granite of Vampire’s Playground, my secret climbing area in the Rampart Range of Pike National Forest, Colorado.If I ran a personal ad in the newspaper, it would read: “Classic model, high mileage, excellent running condition, all original parts, looks like new. Sleek, responsive, powerful. Been to the mechanic a few times for dents and minor repairs, mostly due to incurable case of “Let’s just hike a little farther, build a little longer, see if this snake is friendly, etc.” Runs on standard gourmet food but peak performance achieved with deep belly laughs and frequent full-body massage. Extremely 4 x 4 capable but loves speed on the straightaways, too. Not into shopping for accessories, likes the streamlined look. Keeps the motor clean. Loves the road less traveled. Looking to upgrade to a Lear jet.”
I’ve explored most of Colorado and the Rocky Mountain states, using the Unique Natural Features pages of each successive DeLorme Atlas as my tour guide. I’ve climbed 23 of the tallest mountains in the contiguous United States, most of them solo, none of them with ropes. I’ve laced up my boots in 100+ degree heat, blizzards, pouring rain, lightning storms, and the dead of night. There’s not a month in the year that I haven’t gone hiking. I’ve dipped my tootsies into the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Gulf of Mexico, not to mention the Mississippi, the Columbia and the Rio Grande. I’ve been inside five states worth of caves, both limestone cavities and lava tubes.
Admiring a waterfall along Homestake Creek below Mount of the Holy Cross in the Sawatch Range of Colorado.I’m an eager storm chaser, a meteor shower groupie, and vulcanology buff. I am a very loyal hot springs supporter: I will always vote Geothermal in any hiking party. I’m a morning person, so I appreciate sunrises as much as sunsets but I have fervent green flash goals. I’ve enjoyed a glory, sun pillars, and packs of sundogs but I’m waiting with baited breath for the Aurora Borealis. A red sprite and a tornado would be nice, too.
Celebrating the summit of Mount Yale, 14,196′, in the Collegiate Peaks Range of Colorado with a truly amazing guy, Jason Tottingham.I’ve picked up and pocketed amazonite, calcite, pyrite, smokey quartz, Elestial quartz, mahogany obsidian, fluorite, malachite, travertine, sulfur, and aquamarine from rocky slopes and brought them home. I’m an incorrigible pyro–I’ll fight you for the fire stick around the campfire. I’ve seen four smokes at once from a fire lookout tower and I was near enough to the infamous Hayman Fire of ’02 to have to high tail it out of there.
I’ve been up close and personal with black bears, rattlesnakes, rubber boas, Black Widows, four kinds of deer, a moose and her moose-ling, elk, wild turkeys, eagles, vultures, pygmy owls, foot-long slugs and coyotes the size of St. Bernards.
A few weirdnesses about me: You won’t find me wearing black unless the alternative is outright nudity. (Outdoor gear forgiven.) High pitched sounds incite me to kill; you’ll never catch me listening to Irish folk music or children screaming on a playground except at gunpoint. I will rapidly decline, twitching and impossibly ill-tempered, without fresh air on my face every day, irrespective of season. I am addicted to house porn like Luxe, Dwell, Architectural Digest, and Atomic Ranch. The best cocktail I’ve ever had is sunlight, silence, and solitude. Good massages are currency. I can drive, happily, for up to half a day in the country with no set destination. I do not own a watch or a television. The smell of Douglas Fir woodsmoke renders me nearly catatonic with ecstasy.
Goals include witnessing an erupting volcano, a minor earthquake, and a tsunami–all from a safe distance, of course, and preferably not all on the same hike, but it could happen; donning night vision goggles and going for a walk in the deep forest after midnight so I can see all the animals that can see me; parasailing; executing a perfect bootlegger’s turn in a limo; and petting a cetacean in the wild.
I’m currently canvassing the state of Oregon–and much of southern Washington–for beautiful views, sneaker waves, and blue agate. I’ve done most of the coastline of both, now I’m heading towards the interior in search of sexy rock formations and places to nap in the sun. Southeastern Oregon, and all the cougars in residence, beckon.