Discovering Mother Nature {#ExperienceOutdoors}

This post is sponsored by Outdoor Project. Check out their fantastic giveaway at the bottom!

I haven’t always been an outdoor enthusiast. In fact, if you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, you likely know that I grew up as a dancer! I began when I was in kindergarten and danced my way through high school and even college, competing for the University of Colorado’s club team. That said, it was during my college years that I “discovered” the pull of the outdoors.

My collegiate dance team used to practice in the rec center on campus, and I’d walk by the rock climbing wall every night on my way into the gym. I remember looking at all of those climbers, tied to ropes hanging precariously from the ceiling. What in the world were they doing?

Eventually, I learned and eventually, I even tried out the whole rock climbing thing myself. And while that sport didn’t stick in my repertoire, I did meet some new friends that helped introduce me to the aspect of the outdoors that did stick: big mountains!

Outdoor Project

All photos by Will Rochfort

The summer between my sophomore and junior years brought my introduction to Colorado’s 14ers {peaks over 14,000 feet in elevation.} As a native, I obviously knew of these monstrous mountains but I had never considered climbing them myself. Then one day, two of my guy friends approached me about hiking Mt. Elbert, the biggest peak in the state. I didn’t really know what I was agreeing too, but it sounded like a fun way to spend a Saturday. Why not?

Evidence it is always best to say ‘yes’ first and ask questions later!

Outdoor Project

None of us had the slightest clue what we were doing. We knew to start our hike early–10am counts, right?–but that was it. As we drove to the trailhead, I distinctly remember digging through my backpack, hoping I brought everything I needed. I had a water bottle {because what was a bladder?!} and a couple of snacks, so I figured I was good there. Thankfully, I knew enough to bring a hard shell to protect myself from the wind. You see, the rest of my layers were 100% cotton–a long sleeved tee, a sweatshirt, and sweatpants–which wetted out pretty quickly as sweat poured from my body. I shivered a lot during that hike and ended up with a wicked sunburn….since I decided a hat was a silly idea.

Outdoor Project

Obviously, I was underprepared for my first-ever 14er. The entire hike was painfully difficult and I vividly remember wondering if I was going to die. But, it worked! We experienced beautiful weather as we reached the summit far later than planned. In fact, it was such a beautiful day that I was able to lay on the top of the mountain for a quick snooze!

Outdoor Project is giving away 44 unique outdoor experiences! #ExperienceOutdoors Click To Tweet

Since then, I’ve stood atop 45 of Colorado’s other 14ers, experiencing hikes and climbs far cooler than Elbert. But I will always remember Elbert as my first. It was that single experience that opened my eyes as to what Mother Nature had to offer. And without Elbert, who knows where the past 13 years of my life would have taken me?

Outdoor Project


Have you heard of Outdoor Project? They just {yesterday!} launched an experience-based giveaway for the month of January, and it’s pretty darn cool. It runs through January 31st, and readers will have the opportunity to win one of 44 outdoor experiences throughout the west, including white water rafting, backcountry skiing classes, climbing courses, and even a camper van rental. {Seriously!} Who knows– maybe one of y’all will win one of these experiences and I’ll be reading YOUR blog in ten years as you detail your first surfing adventure!

No Comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.