5 Great Hikes near Denver (and where to eat afterwards)

Hello happy hikers! I hope this blog post finds you well and in the need for an adventure! I grew up in the Front Range and have been fortunate enough to explore some of the most beautiful places in Colorado.

In my mind, a perfect day in Colorado has a hike involved, followed by an amazing meal. Nature’s not enough, but nature and food is enough! That is why I have compiled a list of 5 hikes near Denver paired with my recommendations of where to eat afterwards.

1 – Hell’s Hole // Tommyknocker Brewery

Hell’s Hole
  • Location: Idaho Springs
  • RT Distance: 9.3 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,916 ft
  • Restaurant: Tommyknockers Brewery

This hike is a gem! It’s about a 45 minute drive from Denver, and is not very crowded. This trail does not end at a lake or summit, but it leads to a beautiful opening in the middle of some gorgeous mountains. It’s an amazing, challenging hike. There is also a campground next to the trailhead, so you can enjoy some quality camping in Arapaho National Forest, too!

After you finish this hike, you’ll drive back through the historic mining town of Idaho Springs where you should grab a bite to eat at Tommyknockers! This brewery has amazing food, beer, and a great atmosphere! They have a giant soft pretzel you will not want to miss! Check out their menu here: https://tommyknocker.com/

2 – Eagle’s View Trail Loop // Aspen Perk Cafe

Eagles view!
  • Location: Conifer
  • RT Distance: 4.2 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,082 ft
  • Restaurant: Aspen Perk Cafe

Eagle’s View Trail is found at Reynolds Ranch Park, right outside of Conifer up 285. It’s about a 35 minute drive from Denver. This trail offers a shorter workout, stellar views down south to see Pikes Peak, aspens, and forest views. There is a huge parking lot, restrooms at the trailhead, and a picnic area. It’s a lovely escape from the city.

After you complete this hike, I suggest you drive further into Conifer and enjoy some grub at Aspen Perk Cafe. They serve breakfast and lunch, and have some awesome drinks. I am seriously in love with their breakfast. Check it out here: https://www.aspenperkcafe.com/menu

3 – Bergen Peak // Evergreen Brewery

A lil woods walk up to the summit
  • Location: Evergreen
  • RT Distance: 10.3 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 2,227 ft
  • Restaurant: Evergreen Brewery

If you are looking for a challenging hike up to a mountain summit, I suggest bagging Bergen Peak. You start this hike in Elk Meadow Park, walking through a field winding through some trees, then you begin to climb. As you go up, there are some viewpoints that make lovely break spots, and then you make it to the summit, feeling satisfied.

After this challenging hike, you are going to need some grub. I definitely recommend checking out Evergreen Brewery. I know I’m suggesting a lot of breweries here, but this one has an IPA Mac and Cheese that makes you feel better after a hard hike. For more information check it out here: https://www.evergreenbrewingco.com/

4 – Gem Lake // Ed’s Cantina & Grill

It’s a gem.
  • Location: Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park
  • RT Distance: 3.4 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 990 ft
  • Restaurant: Ed’s Cantina & Grill

Are you looking for a getaway from the front range but do not want to pay the National Park entrance fee? Well, do I have the hike for you! Gem Lake is located right outside Estes Park near the Stanley Hotel in the Lumpy Ridge section of RMNP. There is no entrance station here, so you can park at the TH without paying the entrance fee. This hike is also excellent any time of year! There are beautiful aspens, views of the town of Estes, and Long’s Peak. The lake is beautiful and if you can, you should climb up the rock formations to see an even more spectacular view!

There are many great restaurants in Estes Park, but I always enjoy Ed’s Cantina. They use fresh ingredients and have so many delicious options. It’s seriously some great Mexican. Enjoy! https://www.edscantina.com/

5 – Mount Falcon Castle Trail Loop // The Cow

Views from Mt Falcon Trail
  • Location: Morrison
  • RT Distance: 6.7 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,601 ft
  • Restaurant: The Cow

If you want to enjoy a hike that is right outside of Denver, come on over to Morrison and hike Mount Falcon. If you park and hike up the Castle Trail, you will enjoy views of Red Rocks Amphitheater, forests, Denver, and end up at the ruins of an old mansion. This hike truly has it all! And bonus: it’s a great workout! Just be sure to watch out for all the psycho mountain bikers (who do not yield) and get to the TH either earlier or later in the day to find a parking spot!

Once you’ve completed this hike, you’re definitely going to want a treat. Whether it’s a great breakfast spread, burger, or an ice cream cone, The Cow an Eatery has an option for everyone. Moooove on over to their website to learn more: https://thecoweatery.com/

Alright friends, there you go! I will definitely write about other hikes near Denver, but I thought I’d leave a taste here now. I hope this inspires you to get outside, hike a little, and enjoy some delicious food!



My 20 Thoughts on Gilmore Girls for their 20th Anniversary

Picture this: it’s the year 2000, you’re watching the WB, and the screen turns black, the words “Gilmore Girls” flash across the screen while the song “There She Goes” by The La’s plays in the background. On a busy street, a woman walks into a diner (with her own mug!) and begs for coffee. The owner is hesitant to give her any, but reluctantly agrees. After an awkward man tries to talk this awesome chick, a young girl sits down complaining of the cold and asks for lip gloss.

You wonder to yourself “What is this show? Who are these women? Why am I hooked?” That my friends is how I imagine I would feel if I were sitting on a couch watching the very beginning of Gilmore Girls.

Now, it’s the insane year of 2020 and Gilmore Girls just turned 20 years old. I decided to rewatch the series because, hey, why not? I’m in my bed on a Saturday afternoon while the sun is shining and I should be hiking, but instead I’m yelling at Emily for being a mega jerk to her maids and at Dean for being a massive manipulator. Ah! What is wrong with me? And why does this show have me all caught up in my feelings?

There are many reasons Gilmore Girls is addictive. Especially for a 20-something girl like myself. First of all, who doesn’t love a good mother-daughter story that is full of friendship, fast talking, and sometimes unnecessary drama? Secondly, Stars Hollow paints a picture of a dreamy, quirky life that anyone would be lucky to experience.

I have compiled 20 thoughts (aka hard opinions) on Gilmore Girls through my re-watching experience to share with you all. Spoiler! There will be spoilers! But it’s an old show, y’all should know what the deal is by now. Here we go!

1 – Dean is not a good boyfriend (or person). One of the first things he tells Rory is how he watches her and knows her schedule. Ok, I know he’s a teenage boy, but that’s creepy. Then he makes her a car, gets all insecure when she doesn’t say “I love you” back, and is a MEGA manipulator when Jess comes around. Oh yeah, then he cheats on his wife with Rory later. I don’t like him. He’s too much of a teenage boy, and sadly, he never seems to grow out of it.

2 – Paris should have been valedictorian at Chilton. Why is it even a plot point that Rory gets to be top of her class after all the episodes we watched where she struggled in so many of classes? I think it’s funny how Paris says it’s fine with her that she did not get to be valedictorian because most of them turn out to be failures later in life, but still, she deserved the title.

3 – Emily needs to let the idea of Lorelai and Christopher go. Call it a plot point or whatever, but Emily continually trying to push together two people who time after time chose not to be together is too much. Yeah, they get married at one point, but it does not go well. Also, season 7 was not real. Oy with the poodles already!

4 – I have no idea how Madeline and Louise became friends with Paris. I would love some backstory. That’s all.

5 – Jess getting attacked by a swan is hilarious. It’s definitely one of the best things that happens to Jess. However, he did not need to be so moody about it when hiding it from Rory at her grandma’s.

6 – Lane’s band is the best part of every episode they’re in. Don’t @ me. I espically love when they go on tour

7 – The first time Kirk appears his name is Mick. This is weird in and of itself, but what’s even weirder is that no one knows who he is. AND in the third episode actor Sean Gunn played “Swan Guy” before he was introduced as the regular and beloved character of Kirk. His character has a lot of plot holes, but he’s so quirky and I love it.

8 – Lorelai’s grandma was known to be dead in season 1 episode 3! But then she magically appears later to be Emily’s worst nightmare. Also, what the heck was her visit that one time to Lorelai’s house where she just looked around for a hot second then leaves? I don’t get it. I’d love any theories y’all may have. Also! The grandma later plays the aunt. Crazy.

9 – Richard and Emily should be proud of their daughter. Frankly, if Lorelai was my kid who left when she was 16 with a baby and she now opened and runs an inn, I’d be hella proud! In my opinion, the only reason they’re still mad at her is because she chose a lifestyle that isn’t centered around money.

10 – Emily is so fake. I’m sorry if it seems like I’m harping on her, I just really can’t stand her. Sometimes she’s funny, but that is a rare occasion. I honestly just don’t like seeing her trying to manipulate situations and then say she has nooo idea why people are mad. However, she does care about her people, she just does it in her own special way. I also love who she becomes in the Netflix special “A Year in the Life.”

11 – WTF happens with Rory? She starts out SO sheltered and grateful, then BOOM she goes to Chilton and starts to love the privileged life. It gets even worse when she goes to Yale and starts to hang out with Logan’s crowd. That’s a whole different discussion though. Also, her arc in the Netflix special is not flattering, nor is it surprising. After all, she did sleep with a married man and now she’s pregnant with an engaged man’s baby (theoretically, the audience isn’t told who the father is).

12 – Michel is a very underrated character. He’s very snarky, witty, and an under-appreciated comedic relief. Sure he’s difficult, but he’s important and beloved.

13 – Speaking of underrated, Sookie is amazing. I don’t think anyone would disagree with me on this one. Did y’all know that the woman who played Drella, the harp lady, was originally going to be cast as Sookie until Melissa McCarthy auditioned? Boy am I glad McCarthy got the role because she’s funny, sweet, and the perfect yin to Lorelai’s yang.

14 – Lane is a saint. She is such a loyal friend to Rory. As the pair get older, Lane is so patient with Rory and spends so much time listening to her best friend complain about all her privileged problems. Lane is also such a good daughter. Sure she rebels against her mom’s way of life, but she still shows up to all the Bible studies, weddings, choir practices, etc. Even when she first moves out to live with her band she checks in with her mom, upholds her moral values, and inquires with others to make sure Mrs. Kim is doing well.

15 – Lorelai read Wild. And then she actually went out to California to hike some of the PCT. This was a crazy plot point to me. First, she strikes me as the type who would have seen the movie not read the book, but she was a die hard ‘book’ type with all the other women at the motel the night before starting the trail. Second, it wasn’t very clear to me what she was searching for in her not so attempted-attempt of the PCT. As random as this was, though, I loved this little storyline.

16 – Luke is too emotional. I get it, he’s been harboring feelings for Lorelai for forever, but that does not mean he’s Rory’s dad in season 1. He totally flips a switch when he finds out Rory is dating Dean and says how much he hates him. Then when Lorelai confides in Luke that Rory’s dropping out of Yale, he starts yelling about how he’s going to follow her around and escort her to classes for the next year. I get it, he’s invested, but for me it’s too much. Also, I don’t understand his relationship with Rachel, I think he’s a huge grump, he never changes, and he just lets Lorelai walk all over him literally for years. I really don’t like him, I know that’s an unpopular decision, but still.

17 – Jess matures the most out of everyone on this show. Starting out as an angsty teen who only cares about music, books, and Rory was cool, even though his general attitude sucked. After he runs away though he grows up so well! He cares about Luke, his dad, and his mom. He gets his life together and does it in his own, unprivileged way. Also, I love how he’s the voice of reason to Rory when he finds out she dropped out of Yale. Team Jess 4ever.

18 – Lorelai’s platter of Pop Tarts in season 1 is revolutionary. I know what kind of mom I want to be now, and it is all thanks to her.

19 – Logan was Rory’s ultimate downfall. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like Rory was on a good trajectory before she met Logan, but falling into his social circle does not help. Logan puts her on such an emotional rollercoaster, his family is evil towards her, and if she never met him she never would have stolen a yacht or dropped out of Yale. I’m glad she rejects his proposal, but I was not pleased to see that they were having an affair in the Netflix special.

20 – I wish I could eat like the Gilmore Girls. They’re bottomless pits and manage to stay so skinny! It’s a TV show, I get it, but I still wish I had their super power.

Wow, that took me way longer than I thought it would! But hey, it was fun. Thanks for coming along with me on this journey! I’m curios as to what your thoughts are, too! Please share in the comments!


My 3 Favorite and Least Favorite Pieces of Gear on the Colorado Trail

During 2020, I was laid off both my jobs. I was angry, lost, and completely clueless. As spring melted away and unemployment continued to loom over me, I planned a thru-hike of the Colorado Trail. This trail had been one of my dreams for years, and the year of COVID seemed like the perfect time to attempt it.

I first sat down and planned out my mileage, zero days, resupply points, and camp spots. Ultimately I did not stick to the plan I made, but it was good to have an itinerary to go off of.

I then took a look at all my gear. I had acquired quite a bit over the years! I decided to buy a few new items such as a new pot, stove, and some socks. Most of these items were purchased via the REI Outlet, where there are normally great deals! However, the real test of my gear happened on trail. Below, I am listing my 3 favorite pieces of gear and my 3 least favorite pieces.

Keep in mind that everyone prefers different things when they are on trail, so what worked for me may not work for you. My hope is that these lists will inspire you to try new things!

Ok, Let me start with my favorites!

1 – MY TENT!

I have the most amazing ultra light tent. It is a GoLite, and unfortunately they are not made anymore! But I have to brag on it. I got a lot of flack from fellow hikers because it is a 2 person, and they thought it was wayyy too big or whatever, but here’s the thing: it’s not! It literally weighs 2.5 lbs, and it is a SNUG 2 person tent. I love it. It holds up well in the wind and rain and packs nicely. Not to mention it dries quickly, too. I kept my backpack inside each night and considered this orange tent my home.

My perfect GoLite tent

2 – My Spot GPS

I used a Spot Gen 3 device for the CT. This option was perfect for the trail! I had the CT Databook and Guthooks downloaded on my phone, so I was always able to make sure I was on the trail, was able to check where water sources were located, and get updates on trail conditions. My Spot Gen 3 was then used to send out my location each night when I made it to camp. I bought a flex plan, so I only had to pay a $25 start up fee and an additional $15/month. This allows me to turn on and off payments based of when I need to use the Spot. Not only was the price excellent, but I was also able to set up my messages ahead of time and set up the numbers they would go out to. This helped my family and friends track my progress while on trail, and it let them know I was safe.

Cheesin with safety

3 – My Solomon X Ultra 3 Low Aero Hiking Shoes

I know what you may be thinking “You didn’t use Alta running shoes?? Are you even a thru-hiker??” To which I say, “Yeah, no, I didn’t use those. Get over it.”

The truth is, a lot of people I saw didn’t wear Altas! Everyone has different preferences, so don’t judge the feet of others! I chose these Salmons because they were on sale by like $100 on the REI Outlet, and the pull laces are magical. They offered a lot of support and traction, both of which I need in a hiking shoe (especially when hiking 20+ miles each day). These puppies aren’t waterproof, but I liked that they let my feet breathe. I wore them on a couple of hikes to break them in before the start of the CT, but I didn’t experience any blisters during the whole trail! Well, besides the weird exception of a blister that formed underneath my toenail, but that’s a story for another day. Bottom line, these shoes are great!

Also in this picture you can see my trekking poles. They weigh a pound and are the $60 REI brand, but hot dang, they were sturdy and useful. Highly recommend if you’re hiking on a budget!

Bridge pic. Classic.

Ok, now it’s time to talk about my LEAST favorite gear I hauled for 486 miles! This was my first thru-hike and I just sorta sucked up a lot of pain during the 23 days I spent hiking cause it was a short amount of time, but in the future, I’ll definitely switch up my gear.

So here are my 3 LEAST FAVORITE items of gear from the CT:

1 – My Freakin’ Bear Barrel

That’s right, I hauled a bear barrel for 486 miles. In a normal camping world, I love the practicality of my bear barrel. I own a “Backpackers Cache – Bear Proof Container” which is easy to open and holds enough food for a week! It’s honestly not a bad item at all, it’s just not ideal for long distance hiking due to the weight.

If I were to retrace my steps while planning, I’d consider getting an odor-proof bear bag, and would have hung my food. It is very important for hikers to have a bear-proof food storage system while hiking, especially in Colorado (our black bears love human food). I know some hikers had their bear hangs broken into, so it is a risk you have to be willing to take. I never had a problem with bears trying to break into my bear canister, but it was not my favorite item to carry.

Do you see it??

2 – Books

With each resupply, I would glance at my book and think “hm, maybe this next segment I’ll read” but alas, I never got further than a few pages in. I was too exhausted to read at the end of a hiking day, so I should’ve just stuck to audiobooks (which I still did). Bottom line, don’t carry the extra weight unless you know for sure you’ll be Reading McQueen.

This was night 1. I read 1 story.

3 – My Backpacking Pack

As much as it pains me to say it, I really wasn’t a fan of my pack. I used my 65 L GoLite bag that I bought in high school. It held everything I needed (and more), but it also was awkward and too big. I am looking forward to buying a new pack, and would love your ultra light suggestions in the comments!

The green beast. The best love/hate relationship.

Annnnddd there you have it! My three favorite and least favorite pieces of gear I used on the Colorado Trail.

Remember, you’re the one who will carry all of your gear! When I started the trail, I was so insecure when I saw the folks with tiny backpacks and weird looking tents. But as I went on, I realized that 1) I was hiking faster than them and 2) I could carry everything I had! Screw other people, if you can carry everything you have and it’s not killing you, don’t worry about it.

Anyways, I hope this inspires you to get out there in your own way! You can do it!

What are some of your favorite pieces of gear?? I’d love to hear below!


Why You Should Know Your Enneagram!

Wow y’all. I have spent this past week consumed with learning more about the enneagram and it has been fascinating. Whether or not you’ve read all the books, took the tests, or have never heard of this thing, I believe it is a super valuable tool. 

For those of you who may not know what the enneagram is, it is a personality assessment that assigns you a number 1-9. Each number is specific to personality patterns and interpret how different people interact with the world around them. I’ll give a breakdown of each number later on in this post. 

I first took the Enneagram for a job interview a few years ago. At the time I was a preschool teacher and served in my church nonstop. I was of course diagnosed as 2, which is “the helper”. “Ok, sure, that makes sense,” I thought as I read through how 2’s sacrifice their own needs for others. And this is where I left it for years, not engaging with any more research or curiosity revolving around the enneagram. 

That is until about a week ago. To be honest, I’m not sure what made me want to learn more, but I started listening to the “That Sounds Fun” podcast with host Annie F. Downs. She has now had two series called Enneasumemrs, where she interviews a guy and girl of each number in order to gain a better perspective on how every number functions. It is fascinating! I first listened to the 2’s because I wanted to gain a better understanding of the number I was assigned. Through listening to the interview, however, I quickly realized that I may not fall into the helper category. This made me want to learn more! So I kept listening to each podcast, and with every number, I drew a lot of similarities between myself and every number. 

Ah! I was so confused. What number was I?! Have you ever had this issue? I felt like I could not be defined, and it was making me crazy. I decided to take a test again. I chose a random free one, and it typed me as a 7. I am not a 7. Yes, I have a lot of qualities a 7 possesses, but I certainly am not an overwhelming 7. I started panicking, until I listened to the podcast on 6’s. Y’all. 6’s shared my soul. It’s like they were talking about me and my internal struggles on a podcast! I was not too thrilled to be typed as 6, because while they are loyal and hard-working, they are also anxious about everything. I do not want to be seen for my anxieties, but I certainly am a very anxious person. 

Understanding what number I fit into has allowed me to reflect upon my relationships and how I treat others. It helps me understand why I feel the way I do, but better yet, how to cope with the many anxieties I have. I still have a lot to learn about the enneagram, but the first step of identifying my number has been very refreshing. I plan on uncovering more about my 6-ness through this blog, but I want to encourage you to learn what your number is, too!

Alright, so for you, I put a brief description of each enneagram type below:

One’s: are ethical, perfectionists, and fear making mistakes. One’s desire to be seen as good and have an inner critic that instructs them.

Two’s: Otherwise known as “the helper,” 2’s  desire to feel love by offering sincere, empathetic, and self-sacrificing acts towards others. 

Three’s: Motivated by wanting to be affirmed or admired, 3’s are often ambitions and competent. They desire feeling valuable and fear being worthless. 

Four’s: “The Individualist” – 4’s are self-aware, introspective, and reserved. Fours are often creative and desire to find significance within themselves and want to be viewed with their own identity.

Five’s: Often focused on developing complex thoughts and skills, 5’s are independent and competent. They fear being useless or incapable and are motivated by learning new ways to interact with what is around them.

Six’s: “The Loyalist,” 6’s are committed and desire safety. 6’s foresee problems and often are prepared for any possible scenario by overthinking. 

Seven’s: Sevens might as well be called the life of the party. They are extroverted and desire being satisfied and content at all times. They try to avoid pain or being deprived. 

Eight’s: are the powerful, dominating type. Very self-confident and decisive, not afraid of confrontation. 8’s fear being harmed or controlled by others.

Nine’s: Known as “The Peacemaker,” 9’s are easy going, agreeable, and complacent. They fear separation and desire to have inner peace of mind. 

There is SO much more I could go into detail about! But I thought I’d leave you with a brief overlook at each number so you could get a feel for what the Enneagram is all about. To learn more about each type or take a FREE quiz about what number you are, visit: https://www.yourenneagramcoach.com

How does the enneagram help you know more about yourself? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments!


Let’s Talk About Colorado 14ers

If you’re a Colorado native or transplant, then you are most likely aware of the status hiking a 14er can bring. And if you’re not a Colorado person, you’re probably thinking “what is a 14er?” 

Well friends, let me tell you! A 14er is a mountain that is taller than 14,000 ft, and in CO we have 58 of them! That’s right, 58! I’ve heard people say CO has 100 or 15, but if you want to be taken seriously, you should know the right number. 

Ok, so now that we have established what a14er is and how many there are, let’s talk about how people have turned hiking them into some kind of contest. Ah, it makes me crazy whenever I’m hiking a 14er and there are people talking so loudly about how “this is my 5th one, how many did you do?” or “I can’t wait to summit all of them” or “I thought this one was supposed to be easy!” 

It. Makes. Me. Crazy.

This may sound harsh, but I really could care less if a person is a 14er hiker. I mean on dating apps in CO, it seems like there’s a million dudes who use the classic summit picture as bait to “prove” they’re outdoorsy. In the words of Cher from Clueless, as if! 

I know this makes me sound snobby, but I just really value people who are into hiking for the sake of adventure and not status. Being outdoorsy is not a competition. If you want to hike 14ers because you enjoy being challenged and taking in the views, then yes! Please hike all the mountains! But if you’re someone who is doing it just to prove to people you’re a “real Coloradan” then you might as well not be there. 

This is a very biased opinion from a Colorado local, but I want you to know that it’s annoying if you’re obnoxious about these mountains. So I have three simple tips for you if you’d like to avoid being one of these people.

1 – Stop Talking About It!

Alright, this is so simple. If you are hiking a 14er, don’t talk about how you’re on one! Everyone there knows! Everyone else is trying to get up the darn thing, don’t make it seem like you’re doing something better than anyone else.

Now, if someone asks you about how many you’ve done or something like that, totally answer! So if you were wondering, here’s my answer: I’ve done 14 and I hope to get 20 done by the end of the summer. If it doesn’t happen though, it’s all good.

2 – Know Before You Go

There’s nothing worse than being at 13,000+ ft and running out of water! I ran into so many people over the years who have had this problem on 14ers. They are ready with their summit beers, but are not ready with the most essential liquid. Everyone drinks different amounts of water, but you must be prepared!

Hiking up to 14,000 ft is challenging, no matter which mountain you’re on. The air is thin, the climbs are steep, and altitude sickness can sneak up on literally anyone at any time. Make sure you know the route, have extra food and water, and tell people where you are going beforehand. This will help save you from any unnecessary anguish while you’re trekking, and keep you safe if anything were to go wrong.

3 – Enjoy the View!

I know a lot of peak baggers who get to the summit, snap a pic, then start to walk away. Now, if there’s weather rolling in or the clouds start to look suspect, I completely understand. After all, you can’t stay on the summit forever. However, if it’s a nice day and you just worked hard to get to the summit, why not stay awhile?

I challenge any and everyone who climbs 14ers to take at least five minutes to put their phones down and look around. Take it all in for yourself. Be proud of your accomplishment and look how far you’ve come. Don’t worry about updating your instagram, or what caption you’ll use, just enjoy being at one of the highest points in the US of A!

Alright, those are just some of my thoughts, but I hope they give a new perspective. Hiking up these mountains is a privilege, not  a right, so remember to take care of these tall beauties. 

Thanks for reading, y’all!


A couple and their pup on top of Mt Democrat
Torreys Peak

5 Tips to Become More Adventurous

If you’re anything like me, you love a good adventure. Sometimes a planned trip over a holiday weekend fits the bill and other times a quest through a grocery store does the trick. Over the course of my life, I’ve been told by friends and family that I’m “the most adventurous person” they know. Honestly, while I’m thankful for the sentiment, I don’t necessarily think it’s true.

Over the course of my life, I have come to the realization that being adventurous is a CHOICE. I can choose to do new, fun things! I can choose to be outside more than inside! I can choose the life I want to live just by taking small, tangible steps. And here’s the good news: you can too!

Anyone can be a free spirit with a fun, adventurous life. The best part about this is that no adventure looks the same! For me, grabbing coffee and going on a hike somewhere new is the epitome of a great adventure, but for others they might want to check out a new bar then go to a concert with a band they’ve never heard of. Adventuring is personal, and below I have come up with 5 tips that can help you kick start your adventurous spirit.

1 – Start Small

When I first moved to Montana in September 2018, I made a point to get to know my new town fast. Scared to go out and eat at restaurants alone, I decided that I would get around to all the local coffee shops to find out the best deals, drinks, and atmosphere. This not only gave me motivation to get out and explore my new town, it also allowed me to get to know the community quickly.

Oh! And I found some great deals. The coffee stand right by my house had a 16oz Lavender Latte for $3.50! Montana Coffee Traders had the best sense of community, london fogs, and oat milk. Oddfellows in the town where I worked had such a killer deal where they’d take off $0.50 if you brought your own mug. Also, all the other little coffee stands were just such a fun experience and a good way to stay caffeinated. 

My point is this: start exploring! If you think you know your neighborhood, chances are there’s something new to see, eat at, or drink at. There’s probably a street you haven’t walked down, art you haven’t looked at, or a place you’ve neglected going to for whatever reason. 

Being adventurous doesn’t require a trip to Peru or backpacking across Europe. It honestly starts in your own backyard. If you start small, you’ll be able to appreciate adventures anywhere and everywhere. Trust me. 

2 – Make a Bucket List

Before I moved to Montana, traveled to Europe solo, or thru-hiked the Colorado Trail, I had these things written down on a list I titled “JUST DO THESE THINGS AT SOME POINT.” You can definitely call your list something else, but the important thing is that you know what you want to accomplish.

Write it down, too! If the list is in your head, you will only think about these things if it pops into your thoughts, but if they’re written down, you can look at them daily and make decisions to get you closer to accomplishing them! 

They don’t have to be big things, either. Recently I started a “BAKE THIS” list with a ton of recipes I want to make. I’m like halfway through it and a couple pounds heavier, but it’s worth it!

3 – Watch the Sunrise

When was the last time you saw a sunrise? The last time I did was this morning! Little miss insomnia (me) woke up at 6 and wanted to hike. I didn’t want to drive, though, so I just walked out my front door and started up into the foothills. I witnessed a pretty, smokey sunrise and enjoyed a nice lil hike in the process. 

Other great adventures I’ve had began with watching the sunrise, too. It inspires me to seize the day, and makes me feel ok about taking naps later. Honestly, watching the sunrise just makes you feel better in general. So give it a try! And if you miss it, you can always catch the sunset!

4 – Tell People What You Want 

I have had so many conversations revolving around the question “What do you want to do?” As an indecisive person, I hardly ever know how to answer this question. However, when it comes to talking about dream vacations, movies to see, or what to have for dessert, I can speak up. Sharing what you dream of with others is a good thing! The good people won’t judge your desires, and they may even have ideas that can help you accomplish your goals. You will also be able to find some like minded adventure partners this way. After all, adventure is best accompanied with community.

5 – Don’t Compare Your Adventure with Someone Else’s

Oof. That pains me to write out because I am so bad at following this seemingly easy piece of advice. Seriously though, how often do you do something you feel super awesome about only to go on social media and see what someone else did and suddenly feel bad about that awesome thing you just finished?! I cannot be the only one who has had this problem. I’ve learned the hard way that comparison is the thief of joy, and I don’t want you to have to go through that either.

If you feel PUMPED about the new restaurant you ate at that had amazing Pad Thai, don’t let the rich girl with a fiance who took a picture of her sushi bring you down. Your Pad Thai was awesome, own it. If you feel STOKED about your first solo night of backpacking, but see a picture of all your friends hiking some mountain together, who cares? You just spent a night alone in the woods and survived! You’re a boss. After all, anyone can climb a mountain, but not everyone can be alone in the woods for a night. 

What you do matters because it’s your life. You can let what others do inspire you to try new things, but don’t think for a second that your adventure isn’t good enough because it wasn’t exactly like theirs. Learning not to compare is not easy, but it is worth it for the sake of your adventurous spirit!

In conclusion…

The life of an adventurer is often unpredictable, but it is never boring. Once you decide to lean into what makes you tick, you will find adventure in everything you do. Give it a try! Remember, start small, watch a sunrise, and take it all in stride. I wish you nothing but the best adventures!


Some early morning reflection

6 Reasons Why Solo Hiking is the BEST

Hi friends! I hope this blog post finds you well! I want to talk to you about why I believe solo hiking is the best thing ever.

If you’re like me, you love a good hike. You love to explore and see new things. But if you’re also like me, you’re often busy when others aren’t and vice versa. Sometimes, you have no choice but to explore alone. If you have never done this before, it may sound intimidating, but I promise you – you can do it!!

I have compiled a list of 6 reasons why I believe solo hiking is the BEST! I hope these sentiments help you feel better about hiking alone and inspire a lifetime of safe solo adventures.

1 – You Decide!

This might be the most obvious reason as to why solo hiking rocks, but it’s totally true. You get to choose where you go! And what’s even better is that you can change your mind!

The best example I have of this was when I set out one day to do a quick hike before work. I had wanted to try to go up Columbia Mountain a little ways just outside of Columbia Falls, MT, but missed the turn off! Arg! I’m the worst at following directions, but instead of panicking, I continued on and ended up in Glacier National Park. I took a short hike up to a lake I had never been to before, and still made it to work on time! The best part was, I didn’t have to approve my plan with anyone else, I just got to follow my intuition. It was great. Solo hiking is about what YOU want, so you get to decide!

2 – It’s Your Pace

There’s nothing worse than being on a hike with someone who sets out in front of you, leaving you in the dust. I’ll be honest though, I’m the person leaving others behind 70% of the time, and it makes me feel so bad! When you’re by yourself however, all you have to do is focus on yourself. You can go fast or slow and truly make it your hike!

Now don’t get me wrong, I love hiking with friends. It adds fun and safety! But sometimes a solo hike where you can choose your pace adds a sense of fulfillment to your life.

3 – You Learn About Yourself

I strive to be self aware, independent, and strong. Whenever I hike I find endless opportunities to challenge and listen to myself. While solo hiking, I’ve felt all the feelings one can have. Some of these include fear, excitement, sadness, loneliness, tiredness, and joy. Believe it or not, I’ve felt all of these during a single hike! It’s amazing what some miles, elevation, and natural forces can teach you about yourself!

Through all of the adversity you can face during a solo hike, you discover what you’re made of. You learn how to think on your feet, make choices that will help get you to your destination or smartly turn around, and to accept what you cannot control. Trust me, solo hiking reveals your character.

4 – Choose Your Timeline!

I love this one. There have been nights before a big hike that I cannot sleep and wish I could just get up and go! But if I’ve already scheduled a meeting time with someone, it’s not an option to get up and go. On the flip side of this, I’ve also had times where I had NO motivation to wake up and meet up with people. However, if you’re alone you can choose what time to leave for your hike. When you’re in control, a sunrise hike can turn into a sunset hike and no one gets upset about it.

5 – You Make Trail Friends!

Connecting with strangers on a hike is a beautiful thing. Sometimes it’s magic! The best experience I had of this was when I was solo hiking the Colorado Trail. I had just gone 26 miles and was exhausted! I set up camp at the next spot by water, and soon the campsite was full of other solo hikers. That night, a group of complete strangers cooked dinner together, shared stories from the trail and beyond, and laughed the night away.

This community would never have formed if it weren’t for people who decided to take a hike alone. From there on out, I was so excited whenever I would run into one of them, and was open to talking to people while on the trail. After all, you never know who you’ll meet!

6 – You’ll Look Like a Bad Ass

Oh this is so true. I have hiked alone for years! And at first I would get offended when people on trail would ask me if my boyfriend was up ahead, but now I smile and say “no, I’m alone!” It is so satisfying.

You can hike alone! People are often worried about your safety, especially if you’re a woman, but for the most part I have yet to ever feel immediate danger while alone on the trails. And when you complete a hike, you get to share about your awesome solo adventure! People will think you’re so cool…because you are! Just remember to always tell someone where you are going, when you think you’ll return, and always bring your phone!

I hope these little insights inspired you to lace up your boots or tighten your Chacos and take to the trails!

Happy hiking!


10 Facts About the Author

Hi Friends! My name is Michelle, and I am the author of this here blog called Nature’s Not Enough. Welcome to this space!

I started this blog after I finished thru-hiking the Colorado Trail. I hiked alone, and was enthralled by the beauty of my home state. For 27 days I walked from Denver to Durango and discovered first hand how nature is amazing, but it is not enough. I came to find that experiences are richer when shared, views are better gazed upon with hearts who understand, and pop tarts are sometimes what increases your enjoyment of life.

I have compiled a list of ten facts about me below! I hope you enjoy! I look forward to getting to know all of you, as well!

  1. I have a cat named Willow and she’s the best. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some dogs, but my cat is basically the greatest creature alive. Don’t @ me.
  2. I still order kids meals if I can get away with it. They are the perfect size! Seriously, they have just enough food and usually come with a mini drink. It’s the most ideal situation.
  3. My very fist backpacking trip was a disaster! I went with a camp when I was 14 and had no clue what I was doing. I only had a cotton tee-shirt and didn’t know how to pack my sleeping bag sideways at the bottom of my pack, so I literally let it dangle on the outside! Ah, so many mistakes were made.
  4. I’m a Christian. Faith has always been a big part of my life and I believe in Jesus! While faith won’t be the central part of this blog, it will be prevalent.
  5. I love Colorado…and mountains…and hiking…and everything outdoors! Unless it’s really hot…or there are snakes (not a fan).
  6. My favorite flowers are sunflowers. Some of the happiest, simplest moments of my life have stemmed from being around sunflowers.
  7. I aspire to be the mom at a bake sale that sells the most treats! I would love to make some bomb cupcakes that everyone buys and wants to have the recipe for. Sigh. Just a dream.
  8. If I could do anything I’d love to buy a ranch somewhere in the mountains and decorate the crap out of it and own some horses.
  9. Writing this list is very hard, I do not have a lot of fun facts about myself!
  10. I could eat pizza all day.

Well, that was harder than I expected, but I hope you have a better idea of who I am! I am down to earth and want to contribute positively to the world. I am excited to share experiences with you all through this blog!

Thanks for tuning in,


Why Nature is Not Enough

I know what you may be thinking, “this chick is crazy if she truly believes that nature is not enough!” And guess what? I agree! 

Nature is amazing! Being outside is my all time favorite thing. I spend most of my time pursuing a life of outdoor adventure, and have seen some of the most beautiful places on Earth. I believe nature has the ability to humble, teach, and replenish anyone who takes the time to truly be in it.

So why am I saying that nature is not enough? Well, before I go into that, let me give you some background about my life so far. 

I grew up in Colorado and quickly fell in love with running barefoot in the grass. Soon, I realized how much beauty the mountains held and wanted to hike up and ski down them all. (Seriously, it used to be my goal to stand on top of every single mountain and hill in the state). Then I was introduced to backpacking and fell deeper in love with the outside world. Backpacking taught me about the simplicity of life and how happiness is a few steps or a bowl of food away. Spending endless days in the wilderness quickly changes how you view the world. It teaches you patience, strength, endurance, and flexibility. You can’t control nature, it controls you when you’re out there. I love that. I love how rain, wind, lighting, and the sun can humble, teach, and replenish you all at once. 

This passion spurred me to enroll in a semester of National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in college. I spent 80 nights in the Pacific Northwest wilderness learning all about backpacking, mountaineering, sailing, and rock climbing. It was a life changing experience that not only taught me hard skills of living in the wild, but also life long lessons about living in community. I continued to indulge my love of the outdoors by working at summer camps. I was able to guide awesome teenage girls on backpacking and cycling trips. These adventures lead me all over Colorado, New Hampshire/Maine, Nova Scotia, and Michigan. 

These days, I take my restless self on a lot of solo adventures. I thru-hiked the Colorado Trail in the summer of 2020, traveled solo for a few weeks in Europe, and now spend my spare time hiking as much as possible. I love nature! I love mountains! I love everything about it, but I have learned that nature alone does not make life complete (at least not mine). Nature certainly adds beauty, awe, and adventure to life, but it is not able to satisfy all our human desires. Simply put: nature is not enough. 

So that’s the main idea of this blog. I want to help you view nature as a force of positive power in your life, but I also want to explore what else life has to offer. Being in nature can satisfy that sense of awe and appreciation of beauty, but I also have to argue that forming community, being knowledgeable about how to function outdoors, and being connected to the spirit inside of you all add up to being enough. 

I hope you follow along with me on this journey! You can expect to see a lot of random tidbits on this blog, but hopefully you also find a sense of belonging and guidance. I am not an expert on anything, but I am passionate about helping people find out what makes them tick! And if it’s nature, well, you’re in the right place.



Some San Juan Magic