After I dropped my sis and her boyfriend (NOW FIANCÉ WHAT?!) Ben off at the airport last July, she sent me this edited text from the airport:
(*edited): Mountains and gear and 5-in-5’s and 14’ers and pastra prima 😉 and tent cards and theology talks and beers and brunch and rummikub and tacos and mt rushmores and coffee and late night Monopoly Deal and waffles and YouTube and tailgating and Sufjan…Oh man…I dare you- Does it get any better???!!! ????
NO IT DOESN’T. IT DOESN’T. IT. DOES. NOT. GET. BETTER!!!!
Our week with Ben and Rebecca started with dropping them off in Minturn (Minurn) while Jillian and I hiked into Missouri Lakes. I am hesitant to say the name Missouri Lakes here because it’s only the most beautiful hike I’ve ever been on plus the most incredible place to camp. Thankfully like 6 people read this blog and most of them are family living in Illinois (hey y’all!). We were virtually all alone that day and night and I’d like to return sometime in those same conditions. I mean…look at these.
We picked them up in Minturn and hiked into the Mount of the Holy Cross trailhead about 3 miles to a nice little dispersed campground. After finding a spot, cooking some tasty backcountry food and taking a nice walk to the river we escaped the mosquitos and played euchre until the competition got too hot (2 games). The actual hike was tough, but the California sea dwellers absolutely crushed it. At one point we were all hanging on through the sour patch kids and thoughts of burgers and beers at My Brother’s Bar later.
Our next days were just Denver dream living. Hours at Denver Bicycle Cafe, grilling by the pool, tailgating at Red Rocks, and Sufjan Stevens. Sufjan Stevens put on the best concert I have ever seen. Just pure joy, fun, depth, and beauty. See him this year if you can.
It’s a beautiful thing to live in a state where vacation is a few hours away. My wife and I just need the mountains sometimes. We feel a restlessness from being away. As if our hearts are misaligned and the quiet of a tent, the stillness of the water, or the sway of the trees realigns it. Or maybe it’s just good time together away from the busyness of the city. Denver might be a small city, but it’s a busy one. And time together in a busy city becomes less natural and you have to make more of a point of it. And when one or more of my siblings are there it’s just that much sweeter.
Seminary is over. Job life begins in 3 weeks. So in the mean time Jillian and I have been LIVING IT UP this summer.
We left on a Sunday (yes a Sunday) afternoon to camp and hike La Plata Peak Monday morning. I was looking forward to starting below tree line and taking in the gorgeous display of wildflowers that spring up mid-July. Side note: Colorado is BEAUTIFUL in the summer time (but don’t let that encourage you to move here because it’s way overcrowded, the rent is crazy high, and I-70 traffic on the weekends is my nightmare. STAY AWAY FROM DENVER). Within the first 20 minutes of our drive we couldn’t even get on I-70 because of a fire. Like an actual fire. We saw flames coming from the trees in Golden and dozens of firefighters manning the hoses. Jillian and I looked at each other like…this is a bad omen. Of all the things you want to happen within the first 30 minutes of a road trip/climbing a 14,000 ft. mountain trip, a fire is not one of them.
We meandered our way around the fire and got back on the highway in good spirits. We exited past Copper and drove over Fremont pass, which was cool because I biked over it and back a month ago. It was easier to drive. 3 miles outside of Leadville we got stopped in a line of about 20 cars. One by one they turned around and we found out that a pretty serious accident closed the one road to Leadville for the next 3 hours. Our trip was shot.
Thankfully we live in Colorado and it turns out there’s more than one place to camp and hike. One hour later we were pulling up the dirt road to Kite lake with plans to summit four (yes FOUR!) 14ers in the morning. Despite getting 30 minutes of sleep total (maybe) that night because of the crazy, tent-blasting winds at 12,000 ft. we set out early in good spirits. Being 80% above 13,000 ft. the hike was grueling and extremely windy, but offered spectacular views and a fun challenge. There’s nothing like bagging four 14ers in one trip. And as a bonus, the summit of Mt. Bross is technically illegal (whoops…).
Great spontaneous trip.
I’M BACK…to blogging. Although I like the idea of me just being back in general. 3 years in grad school really cramped my blogging skills, but I’ve been reinvigorated. While I know it’s been super hard for all my readers during this hiatus, I want you to know that content is coming! I have a ton of projects from the past three years that I’m excited to share and talk about. I want to continue to share what I’ve learned about freelancing, how to start from scratch, and purchasing “starter kits.” And of course I’ll be traveling, photographing, writing, and creating my own personal projects to share here as well.
2014 was once again a year of tremendous transition, maybe the biggest of my entire life. I mean, are there any decisions more life-altering than getting married? Looking back on 2014 I’ve realized that I have been taking less pictures and shooting/editing less (personal) videos. Part of that is the insane stack of books I’ve read over the past year and the countless hours devoted to class. But that has not stopped me from enjoying friends, celebrating new marriage, and creating memories on a weekly basis. Life is settling (hopefully) into more of a rhythm, less transition, and for the first time in a long time I have a pretty good idea of what the new year will look like before it begins. And that’s actually something I am excited about. Less change means more opportunity to grow deeper roots and invest on a more consistent basis with the people in Denver. A growing theme in my life and these year-in-review posts is that I always remember the people in my life before anything else. Whether it is the biggest powder day, the time we dressed like idiots and rode in a bike parade, or another perfect 85 degree Wash Park BBQ, I can’t help but think about who was there. The pictures in this blog are not solo shots or the ever-popular “selfie,” it is people who have loved me, I have suffered alongside, I have rejoiced alongside, and they are the most important part of my story. In 2014 I was once again most thankful for friends and family and the stories we wrote together.
The moments from 2014 that I will remember the most are:
ringing in 2014 with the Oh Hellos
I write this from Heritage coffee/bike shop in Chicago right now. We are just a few hours away from welcoming 2015 in my sister’s apartment transformed into the Grand Budapest Hotel. Look for many Wes Anderson style instagrams coming soon…
I love how there are so many people in my life that are down to go out and climb a mountain at the drop of a text. I love it even more if I get to take them up their first one. I’m not a fourteener expert by any stretch of the word. In fact, I didn’t travel above tree-line until I was 20 years old. I know…how embarrassing. But I remember the first time I climbed Longs Peak, the nervousness, the fear, the excitement, the unexpected lull and occasional restlessness of hiking for 9 hours. Living in Denver, I am an hour from that thrill at all times. It’s something I love about living here.
Taylor is one of the most aggressive dudes I know. Just in life. Rugby, bullfighting, living alone in the woods, growing a massive red beard, he’s a freakin’ man’s man. He is also one of the most compassionate and loving people I know. So when you get the chance to spend 6 hours on a mountain with a guy like this, it’s more than just hiking, it’s transformative.
I’m so thankful I get to walk through Seminary sharing life, theological conversations, and dreams with this awesome man of God.
I’m so thankful for beauty and the world’s largest playground in my backyard. Cheers to years of exploring more of the Rockies.
It’s your classic midwest girl meets southern boy and falls in love story (darn those southern guys are smooth). Molly and Austin, simply put, are two of the coolest people ever. Just by being around them you can tell how much incredible love they have for each other. They took the opportunity to put that awesome love on display for their enormous group of friends and family at their wedding on June 7, 2014 at Spruce Mountain Ranch in Colorado. What started as a mountain-side gorgeous ceremony with heartfelt vows turned into a BBQ, concert, dance party extraordinaire. Molly and Austin’s friends and family know what it means to have a great time and show their joy-filled support for the newly-wed couple. After a fantastic party, they capped it off with something I have never witnessed at a wedding before, a pyramid with a bride/groom top. New (for me) and fun wedding traditions never cease to amaze.
Thanks to them for letting me capture their beautiful day.
Veronica and Russ are the definition of a fun couple. I was hired to capture their wedding day, but they made me feel like I was invited to the party. The ceremony was absolutely beautiful with custom handmade pews brought in and a flower laden wedding altar under a huge tree. The reception was unlike any celebration I have ever been a part of. From the wedding party to the family to the guests, there was an incredible joy to the night. I have never seen 200+ people march around a wedding venue and make a giant tunnel before in my entire life. One thing after the next, Veronica and Russ showed how well they have loved people throughout their life as their friends and family gladly returned the love and support at their wedding.
What an unbelievable way to start a life together as a married couple. Cheers to the Ehlinger’s!
One of my favorite things about professional creative work is collaborating with other minds purely for the sake of cultivating cool things (versus simply doing work for self-promotion, greater influence, and money). Of course I run a business and therefore will always be selling myself and trying to make money, but the most fun projects are ones where you get to see passion and creativity meet.
Earlier this year I made a video for an Indiegogo campaign called Current Pumps. They are doing some awesome work in Africa trying to revolutionize subsistence farming. I believe in this project and the team that is behind it.
A few months ago National Geographic contacted them and asked if they would enter a contest with a chance to win $50k. I’ve linked the contest as well as the video I made for them below. Check it out (click the link) and share it with your friends!
This summer was awesomely packed for me! Besides the biggest event of all (my own wedding) I had a blast filming a bunch of other weddings. Here is the trailer for one I filmed at the beautiful Spruce Mountain Ranch on May 30th.
Sara and Jed are the true definition of a Colorado couple. They take advantage of having a best friend to do all sorts of adventures with including biking, hiking, playing in the mountains, etc. In other words, they know how to have fun. Their wedding was no exception. What an incredible celebration they put on for themselves and their great friends and family. I’m so glad they let me share in the day and capture it for them!