A Backpacking Adventure…

So I have had a crazy summer filled with lots of adventures and there is one kind of hilarious one that I have been dying to share.

One of my close friends from college came out to  visit me during one of my last weeks living in Colorado. We did lots of local hiking but she really wanted to do a several day backpacking trip during her visit. We planned to do a three-day, two night backpacking trip about 45 minutes west of Boulder. We chose the route because it was close and my sister had done it last summer with her friends. Hessie trailhead (Indian Peaks Wilderness) was our start and we were going to hike the trail that runs through the Indian Peaks Wilderness, up to the Continental Divide and down to Rogers Peak Lake and then Moffat Tunnel. I included a map of our route because it is a great one to do if you are looking for a relatively low mileage but beautiful trail in the Boulder/Denver area.

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The first day was a beautiful hike up through the trees from Hessie trailhead (past the town of Eldora). Once we gained enough elevation the trees cleared and the views were amazing. There are also lots of small lakes up there that are great for fishing (we met several fishing groups along the way!). King Lake is nestled just below the divide and was such a gorgeous place to break. If I do the same trip again I would get a permit and camp near that lake (you have to get a permit during the summer for Indian Peaks Wilderness but not James Peak). We hiked up above the lake and onto the divide where we walked to the parking lot and down another trail to Pumphouse Lake. We had planned on hiking further, to Corona Lake, to camp but the site at Pumphouse was so beautiful so we decided to make camp there. The afternoon included some naps, reading and Indian food on the MSR. The real story started around 10:00pm once we were about to go to sleep.

I hadn’t really thought much of the bear warning sign at the trailhead since I have camped and hiked in Colorado a lot and never seen a bear. So we piled our food away from our tents and covered it with pots, pans and our crazy creeks (this has worked well for me in the High Uintas but was a big mistake here). We just turned the lights out in our tent when we started to hear noises outside. It sounded like something throwing things and rustling bags. It was literally terrifying… sitting in our sleeping bags listening to something rummage through our food and not knowing what it was. It was at least 30 minutes of freaking out. We didn’t wanted to go outside because habituated bears can be pretty dangerous and neither of us were about to confront a bear. When it seemed quiet we got out and did some investigating. Whatever it was had somehow taken most of our food but left our pile covering the food intact. We put everything back, got into our tent and started hearing noises again. Instead of sitting there freaking out in the dark we turned our lights on and listened to a podcast/music (not sure this is the best practice but it worked for us). The next morning we were making tea and saw some marmots on the snowfield across the lake… it was probably marmots although a bear definitely makes for a better story.

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They only food we had left was our snacks (trail mix and a few Cliff bars) and a jar of peanut butter. We probably could have finished our trip as scheduled however we would have been super hungry hiking out on the third day. After some though we decided we would keep going and try to hike what we would have done in two days in one day (i.e. hike out to the trailhead). In order to get picked up we had to get service somehow. Luckily we were going straight up onto the divide which was in clear sight of Winter Park. This hike up on the divide is around 4-5 miles and is absolutely gorgeous. The 360 degree views are stunning. We started our decent back down the East side of the divide just before James Peak. The decent is so steep and pretty long (coming up would be pretty rough). There are several lakes nestled into the mountains just below the divide (at tree line). We had intended to camp here (at Rogers Peak Lake) and it would have been beautiful. There were so many incredible wildflowers and great camping spots. We continued around 6 miles down to the Moffat tunnel were my sister picked us up.

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My piece of advice regarding food on backpacking trips is: do your research! The safest thing is probably a bear barrel or hanging your food however if you are in an area with NO grizzlies it seems people generally leave their food inside packs.

Such an adventure!

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Erin

Backpacking CO Route 2018

Life is Crazy!

This whole summer has been crazy. So much travel, adventure and big life changes. I am actually leaving for the Bahamas tonight for my last big trip of the season. It is entirely for field research but should be fun! So overall life has just been super hectic lately. I am going to do a more detailed post when I get back however I just wanted to pop in and say hello… I have been very MIA lately. Some highlights have been my big Europe trip in July, backpacking adventures and a trip to New Hampshire in August as well as starting grad school! I actually just finished my first full week of classes and it was crazy. It has only been a little over a year since undergrad but I forgot how much time classes take. They are great so far though and I am really looking forward to the semester. I will also do some more detailed posts on grad school in the coming months. For now I am going to sign off because my flight leaves in three hours!

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Love,

Erin

Denmark Travel Diary

I have finally been able to get to some of my travel posts! I am currently on my big Europe trip traveling around with my sister. We are in Nice, France right now but I was able to get my Denmark travel diary done on the train rides. In general I really loved this country! It is so beautiful and the city of Copenhagen is a great place to be. I am a little jealous of my friend who lives there!

Day 1- Just a note, that first picture is from the plane just before landing and I was just so impressed by how many wind turbines there were. I had never seen them in the ocean! I got to Copenhagen around 12:30pm on Sunday after a flight from Denver to London and then London to Copenhagen. I was extremely jet lagged but needed to stay up as long as possible so I could get on the right time zone. My friend picked me up from the airport, with Carlsberg beers as welcoming gifts. We rode the train back to his house in Hellerup. This town is very cute with lots of nice houses, flowers and a great beach/harbor. My friend’s boyfriend had a delicious danish lunch waiting for us so we ate open-faced sandwiches before taking a train to Klampenborg. It is only one or two stops and probably walkable (definitely an easy bike ride). First we walked around the deer park. It is a really pretty park which would be great for picnicking or biking through. There is a manor several kilometers from the entrance because the property used to be a hunting home for nobility. We saw several species of deer, including the fallow deer which I had never seen before (they have very fuzzy, wide antlers). After walking a little ways we headed to Bakken which is the world’s oldest amusement park. it was created in the 1500’s (I can only imagine what that was like). You do not have to pay an entrance fee so we just walked through the park and got some ice cream cones. Some of the buildings definitely channel a historical look with sloping roofs. They have lots of horse drawn carriages for rides around the area. From here we walked across the rode to the sandy beach for a swim. The water was chilly but so refreshing and really woke me up. It was a really nice, sunny day so there were lots of people! Back at home we had a traditional dish called Flæskesteg, which was amazing! Apparently it is usually made around Christmas time. We finished dinner around 9:30 and the sun was just starting to set (I forgot about the whole more sunlight thing). We walked through the neighborhood to downtown Hellerup and the beach/harbor. There is such a nice rose garden there as well.

Slide1Day 2- This day was pretty much entirely exploring Copenhagen. I woke up to fresh coffee and croissants (such a treat!). My friend and I went out around 8:30 and he took me on a long walking tour of the city. We started with Christiania which is an artist community in the city that sort of follows its own rules. There are lots of colorful buildings and beautiful art. You can’t take pictures inside so I only have one from the side entrance. It was a Monday morning so it was pretty dead but they usually have lots of food, music and shops. From here we walked along side the canals, past Church of Our Savior. I had no idea that Denmark is comprised largely of islands. There are so many canals in the city and just walking around is so nice, especially along Nyhavn. Nyhavn is the postcard Copenhagen with the colorful buildings and boats lining the canal. I would note that this area is so packed! It can be a little difficult to navigate with all the people so I recommend timing this well so you aren’t there during peak times. There are lots of great restaurants and cafes along here that would be so lovely to eat at. From Nyhavn we headed along the water towards the mermaid statue. Honestly this is not very worth it. It is very out of the way, tons of tourists are there and it is really small. I recommend just seeing it from the boat tour. There is a great view of the opera house, statue, royal houses and church along that walk though. From the mermaid we headed past the Gefion Fountain and St. Albans Church to the royal houses. The palace was burnt down several times so the royal family now lives in several houses that belong to noble families. The lutheran church is there as well so we walked through it, the ceiling is pretty cool! By this time we had walked a ton and were super hungry. We ended up walking a ton more to get to Gasoline Grill, a burger place that had been recommended to my friend. It was worth the walk! We ate in the park nearby before walking through the crown jewel palace to the botanical gardens. It was Monday so the butterfly garden was closed but we had a nice time checking out the plants and flowers. From here we walked through some nice market plazas that I definitely want to check out more when I come back. We walked through the Royal Copenhagen store (very beautiful but expensive tableware) and then had coffees at the top of the Illum, enjoying nice views of the city. We ran a couple of errands before heading back to Hellerup. Dinner was another traditional meal of Frikadeller and then we watched the world cup semi-finals.

Slide1Day 3- We took a train to Hillerød in the morning to visit Fredriksborg Castle. This was by far the most beautiful castle I have ever seen. There are such beautiful views from the town so we stopped there for some pictures. There are also some cafes there that would be fun to try! You walk across a bridge to get into the courtyard where there is a beautiful fountain. Originally we weren’t sure if we were going to get tickets to go in or just explore the courtyard and gardens. We ended up getting tickets and I am so glad we did. The interior was incredible. I was especially impressed by the ceilings and chandeliers (so ornate!). My other highlight was the church (yes inside the castle). We hopped on a tour for a bit before exploring by ourselves for a while. I cannot imagine only one family living in a place that big. We walked around the grounds next, which we just as amazing. The crown emblem is literally carved out of a hedge on either side of the canal that runs from the water fountains. We walked out the other side of the garden and though the other side of town to the train station.

Slide1Day 4- We headed out early to pick up my sister, Meghan, from the airport (she came on a 8:15am flight from Stockholm). Meghan and I ate some food before heading to Helsingor for some more castle adventures. This town is definitely worth a visit whether or not you decide to see the castle. There is also a maritime museum and some interesting things. The castle was costs around 120 krone and neither of us were dying to see it so we chose to skip the castle and just walk around it and down the shore. I am pretty sure this was the home of a noble family so it is not nearly as big as the Fredriksborg castle but it is right up against the sea which was very cool! After walking around the castle we headed back through the town, exploring, taking pictures and hitting up a thrift shop. We hopped on a bus to Humlebaek. This stop is worth it if you want to see the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, none of the exhibits caught my eye at the time so instead of going in we walked along the rocky beach and then up along the street (the house and gardens are all very nice).

Slide1Day 5- I took my sister into Copenhagen so she could see everything. We did some shopping along the main streets and walked around for a while. For lunch we went to Dalle Valle which is an affordable buffet that has lots of danish options. After lunch we walked to Nyhavn for a boat tour of the city. I highly recommend seeing the city via boat. They take you along the canals and point out all the important landmarks and the history in both Danish and English. We went with Netto boat tours which was 50 krone per person.

Slide1Day 6- We went back into the city with the sole purpose of reserving our train tickets to Germany. If you need to make reservations or get international tickets in Copenhagen make sure you leave a lot of time because we spent at least an hour just waiting for our turn. We then grabbed a bite to eat outside of Tivoli and then walked back through the city. We were pretty tired by that point so decided to head back to Hellerup to get packed up. We walked down to the Hellerup beach for a swim because it was very hot and sunny. The water was even better than the first day! Our last little adventure involved a very long walk to University of Copenhagen for my friend’s BBQ. It was so much fun! Lots of dancing, drinks and good food.Slide1

This part of my trip was truly amazing. I love love love the city of Copenhagen and it was so incredible to see my friend again!

Erin

Major Life Update

Clearly I have taken a major hiatus from blogging. I was starting to feel like I just did not have the time and was questioning why I was blogging in the first place. A big part of both being busy and questioning what I am doing began with a huge career step that I was not really expecting to happen right now. I will be attending Utah State University as a PhD student in a biology lab. My research focus will be looking at the effects of anthropogenic disturbances on the physiology of the Bahaman Rock Iguana. It is going to be a long but exciting journey that will likely take the next six years of my life. I will be moving up to Logan, Utah in early August. Working out the details for this has taken lots of time and thought which has led to some neglect in other areas of my life. I am very excited however and have begun to plan out and my lists of priorities for the coming year. I have the fall semester almost entirely figured out, including classes and research. The last piece that has caused some stress is housing in Utah. I did not realize just how hard it is to find housing when you don’t live in (or close to) that place. With most of the details fleshed out I have started to think about some other things, including my blog.

Over the past few days I sort of re-realized my reasons for blogging. I thought a lot about why I started this project in the first place. During my senior year of college I was feeling very burnt out and overwhelmed by work. I have always loved school but at this point it had begun to feel like work I had to do and not at all like what I wanted to be doing. I think there were many factors that contributed to this feeling that were both circumstantial and stemmed from my own mental state. As my future plans have solidified and I begin to prepare for the years to come I am realizing that I am jumping straight back into the world of biology and academia. I do love this world but I learned in college that I need to have a creative outlet that is not in that world in order to continue to be happy and productive. So in essence I am getting back into my blog but will be making some changes.

In 2016 I had started reading and exploring different blogs. I had started my own in December of 2016 but was really just experimenting. As the year progressed I realized how much I was in need of a creative outlet. There are a lot of things I wish I had done differently that year but now I am going to take this opportunity to change some things. While I very much want to continue blogging, I am going to change my posts a little bit. I want to put a lot more time and effort into single posts which is kind of tough considering I am about to be in graduate school. Because of that I will probably not be posting as much, but I will focus on quality. I also want to rethink my content a little bit, but I will do a bigger post on that in a few weeks.

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Erin

Capsule Wardrobe Challenge

This is super delayed but I still wanted to get my capsule wardrobe post up from April. It was probably my favorite so far! I chose blue as my staple color and tried to use yellow as a background and for accessories because I am loving how bright and happy it makes me feel.

Denim dress: A classic denim dress or skirt is a great wardrobe staple for casual days. I really liked adding this into my challenge because it was so comfortable and looks fantastic. J. Crew has a great simple option and I also love this Madewell denim shirtdress.

Striped dress: This was the first time I included two dresses in one capsule wardrobe. I don’t usually do it because it can be a little harder to made multiple outfits out of two dresses. I chose these to very intentionally so one would fit under the other and still be comfortable. This is a fantastic, affordable blue and white striped dress from J. Crew Factory.

White t-shirt: You can really never go wrong with a white t-shirt. I highly recommend having several in your wardrobe. They are so easy to style, very comfortable and incredibly versatile. There are lots of options out there, so I will only link a few but I highly recommend doing your on research to find those of quality, that aren’t too see-through and that are your style. I like this Madewell one and this J. Crew shirt. Also this one is also has a fun little twist in the back. Reformation also has multiple options that take the classic white tee in a different direction.

Blue button down:  A button down continues to be essential to the capsule wardrobe challenge. It is just so versatile and easy to manipulate in different ways. L.L. Bean always has great quality button down shirts also Reformation has some more summery styles.

White sneakers: Like the white t-shirt, white sneakers are a wardrobe staple that can be dressed up or down depending on the day. I have Converse but am highly considering the classic Stan Smiths. Vans (slip ons) and Keds have some great options as well. I actually wore my sisters Keds for this challenge.

Day 1:

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Day 2:

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Day 3:

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Day 4:

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Day 5:

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Thanks for stopping by!

Erin

Casual Trail Walking

SO this post is going up much later than I expected. I had a whole bunch of posts planned and started for the end of April but the WiFi in Nebraska would not let me upload any pictures no matter what I tried. So I am just going to be releasing all those posts from April throughout the next week.

This is the perfect spring/summer casual outfit. I love it! It is so comfortable but also very cute and great for warmer weather. My mom and I headed out for a walk on Earth Day on Bobolink Trail in East Boulder. It is a great trail for mountain views and it follows a nice little creek. I haven’t had great internet here in Nebraska so finishing blog posts has been tough.

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Shirt similar, Shorts similar, Sunglasses Amazon, Shoes Keds, Hat similar

Erin

Rainy Days

The last couple of days have been really rainy (we even had a little snow). We always need moisture over here so it was a great way to end the week. I spent some time getting cozy with a book and a good cup of tea on Friday and went out for a fun adventure on Saturday. The rain gave me a great excuse to try my new rain gear. I really loved both the umbrella and the yellow rain jacket! They have held up well so far and I love how the umbrella covers so much.

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I hope you are having a good weekend!

Erin

Around the Web

This month has been a crazy one so far. I am still in such a place of transition, attempting to find my way and figure out my next steps in life. I almost definitely will be attending graduate school next year and am in the process of making some big decisions in that regard. I have been able to do tons of reading and have loved getting caught up on all the current books. I loved both the book Big Little Lies as well as the TV show, although I did not love the way the TV show did the ending (I know they are trying to set up for a second season). Anyways, here are some things that have been on my mind lately:

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Hunter for Target: I have had this marked in my calendar for the last month and was so excited when it launched on Saturday. I will start my saying it definitely will not be as high quality as Hunter, which is why I was a little surprised to hear about this collaboration in the first place. Hunter has always been about quality and while I love Target, it definitely is not normally a place to buy high quality items. Women’s tall rain boots were delayed but they have some great items. I love their kids items. They are all so cute, plus kids grow so fast that having a cheaper option for rain gear is great! I bought the yellow rain jacket which I absolutely love. I also got the bubble umbrella in pink, which is so cute. It doesn’t rain a ton where I live so I have been really wanting something cute but I don’t really need to splurge on quality since I rarely use it. I do have a nice North Face rain jacket for hiking and backpacking trips but wanted something for day use around town. I am also eying this sweatshirt. I tried it on in store and it is so flattering!

Friendships: This year one of my goals has been to focus on friendships. It can take so much time and effort to maintain relationships once they are no longer part of school or work. Since I graduated last year I have started to realize just how much more you have to work when it is not already worked into your daily schedule. Although I was already well aware of the things on this list, it served as a good reminder to reassess my goals and put some extra effort into my friendships, especially while I have the time to do so.

The Simple Sophisticate Podcast Episode: I loved last week’s podcast episode from the Simple Sophisticate. It was an interview with M.L. Longworth and I am so excited to read her books. I also just really enjoyed hearing about France from her. She also talked about some great summer sandals that am very curious about.

Get Better Mindset Talk: My dad sent me this talk a few weeks a go and I didn’t get around to it until yesterday. It is all about the mindsets most people have and how they  revolve around being good and proving ourselves. Hedi Grant Halverston introduces the “Get Better” mindset as an alternative to the “Be Good” mindset. I found it to be useful and it couldn’t have come at a better time for me.

Erin

A Perfect Spring Day

This week has been so crazy. I went to some incredible sessions at the Conference of World Affairs at CU. One was on Technology, Science and Agriculture and sparked my curiosity in how we produce food as well as how we teach younger generations about where our food comes from. That is not something usually included in schools, especially high school, so I am so curious about how it can be integrated into the classroom in public schools. The other session I went to was on impactful books. Although I have such a long reading list right now, I can never pass up an opportunity to learn about books that have been life changing for people. One book that intrigued me was Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges, which is a collection of short stories. One speaker shared Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain, as one of her books, and I am reading it right now!

I also had an amazing day shooting for RockHill Designs on Thursday and wanted to share some pictures. This is the white top I am wearing, its perfect for spring and summer (here is a similar one and here is another with that same hem)! I am going to do a bigger post with some RockHill favorites next week, but here is a sneak peak. I chose my favorite behind-the-scene shots:

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I hope you have a relaxing (and warm) weekend!

Erin

Book Review: The Bookshop on the Corner

Happy Monday!

This book review is going to be a little shorter than the last but I have been reading a lot lately and really wanted to keep you all updated on my favorites. I recently read The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan and loved it. It has actually been on my radar since last year and I finally got the chance to read it. It is the story of book lover named Nina and her journey. Her passion for books is very strong and she can’t imagine doing something that does not bring that love into her life every day. The catch is that she also is not a risk taker and struggles a bit with having confidence in herself.

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When the library Nina works at closes, her whole world is flipped up side down. She has no idea what to do. A crazy idea hits her, to run a bookshop from a van. This story takes you through this whole endeavor and her relationships with the people she meets from taking a giant leap of faith.

Several moments in this story helped me remember how important it is to be good, to help those who might be in a much more difficult situation than my own. This seems pretty vague now but makes much more sense when you read the book. I don’t want to spoil anything and this is one of my favorite parts! Beyond just helping others, I thought a lot about how much we jump to conclusions and see people how we want to see them, not how they really are or how they want to be seen.

It is overall just a great read that is very heartwarming while also being a quick, easy read. I am looking forward to reading some more of Colgan’s books!

Erin