Atlanta And BeyondAmanda
Atlanta & beyondest. 2009

Happy New Year, Slightly Late | Big Colorado Adventure

So it’s been a while since I had time to blog about random stuff. Thanks to all of you, we’ve been pretty darn busy for many months now. But for the past few weeks, I’ve been working on a personal project… actually… since the beginning of this year. Sometime around the beginning of every new year, a theme for the year emerges. Sometimes we decide, and other times the universe decides for us. The universe decided that this year should be our year of getting organized. 

Colorado backpacking trip

We’ve spent a lot of money at Ikea. A lot more than two people who aren’t in college should. Our office has been our main focus, but it’s spilling over into every room in the house, and into our working habits as well. The upside to being organized is that you are more efficient. And with our greater organization and efficiency, we’ve finally been able to do the previously unimaginable – have personal time. It started with little things, like going for walks with the dogs. Then it escalated into having a day off once a week. And then I got a really wild idea and started calling up friends and planning to see them. Only a couple of people hung up on me, which was a pleasant surprise.

Camping and backpacking in Colorado-1

And so, what you see here in these photos is the final planning stages of my latest Big Adventure. Except this time, it will include another person (and a dog!) in addition to me and my camera. Happily, the always incredible Beth and her faithful sidekick Sprocket from 3Up Adventures will be joining me on this latest adventure. Actually, I gotta give credit where it’s due here. She’s not just joining me, she’s really put together the whole trip. The weather’s been a bit nuts (will it snow? will it rain? who knows?), and Beth came up with an awesome plan for exploring Utah and Colorado that avoids snowy troubles. Thanks Beth!

Camping and backpacking in Colorado-2

Traveling has always been a passion of mine, as you all know. And this year is going to be a banner year for Big Adventures. I’ll be visiting some bucket list locations, like Glacier NP and Joshua Tree NP, as well as having another house on wheels adventure with Jessie and our fur babies up the east coast. Last week I started reading a book by Michael Lanza, who’s an editor for Backpacker magazine, called Before They’re Gone: A Family’s Year-Long Quest to Explore America’s Most Endangered National Parks. Fortunately, the book is not as long as the title. 

Camping and backpacking in Colorado-1-2

We’ve been constantly bombarded with news about global warming for several years now. We know it’s happening. We know it’s bad. We know we’re making it worse with all of our modern conveniences. But mostly it seems like a fairy tale. Disconnected from our day to day life. I’m over here, nature is out there. But that nature out there is hurting and changing and disappearing. By the time our kids are our age, there won’t be any glaciers left to walk on in Glacier NP. The magical Joshua Trees are dying. These landscapes that we’re supposed to be preserving for future generations are being radically and permanently changed. And there’s nothing to be done to stop it.

Camping and backpacking in Colorado-3

So what can you do? Get out your hiking boots, dust them off, and go see some of these amazing places. Make some photos. Take a kid with you if you can. It is guaranteed to make you a happier and more creative person. Next summer, on August 25, 2016, is the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, so there’s lots of cool programs happening in a national park near you. Find something that sounds fun and go do it. Oh, and keep recycling. 

Amanda Summerlin
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