While I may be a champion freeskier and competitive ultra-mountain biker, I suck at running. I’m not sure if it brings back bad memories of being tortured by sports as a fat teenager in high school, or that I’m just not genetically bred for it, but I will certainly never be good at it. Yet now that my knees are recovered from eight knee surgeries and my brain is healing from tumor removal, I suddenly am drawn to this silly sport. Having never been good at meditating, it feels like an opportunity to clear my brain without all the rush and concentration of the speed of skiing or biking. My Akbash livestock guardian dogs also provide intense motivation, as they love to stop working on the farm and do what dogs do — explore, sniff and trot.
And that is exactly what I would rather call my form of running: “trotting” because it’s not about speed. I just plod along, sometimes for hours at a time. I love the sense of adventure I get out of it — exploring a new area or trail, watching the leaves turn, the snow fall and generally just enjoying the little simple things in life.
In fact, I’ve almost never enjoyed the little things in life more than right now. After brain surgery this summer, I was just hoping to live and breath. Then I was re-learning how to walk and talk. Then I got to experience the joy of being outside for the first time, feeling the sun on my skin, breathing non-hospital icky sick air. And so, on the 29th of September, I wanted to make a statement about my return and appreciation of this wonderful life I have. For the second time in my life, and first time in too many years, I entered a 10k, with my doggies of course! That day, I woke up and my scar was sore, but I pried myself out of bed and went for it.
The run was steep and challenging, which reduced the dogs to walking even before I felt the need. My goal was not placing, but just doing. I wanted to soak in the view, enjoy my happy working dogs, smile and have fun. If only we could all teach kids this at a young age, especially in this age of over-competitiveness! One third of the way into the run, I realized I did not see any markers and was lost — a couple extra bonus miles later, I was back on track and climbing the steep Jumbo Mountain trail, leaving third place far behind and now solidly in last place.
But I was LOVING IT. This run/walk represented my return to life.
So there I was perusing Facebook as my day was winding down, and that’s when I stumbled upon Osprey’s Blues and Brews Giveaway. I’ve always wanted to attend Blues and Brews, so entering the giveaway was really a no-brainer; the incredible tent by Colorado Yurt along with the two Osprey packs only sweetened the deal and added to an already incredible prize pack!
I spent several minutes (okay, maybe a bit longer) daydreaming about the possibility of winning the contest, picturing myself in Telluride Town Park listening to legends like The Black Crowes and Otis Taylor while sipping on (or maybe chugging) tasty glasses of Colorado microbrews. I thought about what colors my new Osprey packs would be – I thought about how wild it would be to even win two new Osprey packs, and I thought about how serene and luxurious it would feel to “glamp” in a tent referred to as “a dwelling for the soul.” Then reality hit me and my fleeting thoughts reminded me that I’ve never won anything, and I likely wouldn’t start now. It was a nice dream though!
It was only once I completely forgot about even entering the contest that I received a message from Osprey saying: “Congratulations! You won the Blues and Brews Giveaway!” Well, holy guacamole, Batman – the odds were definitely in my favor this time. I quickly began making arrangements to pack up and head to Telluride for what would turn out to be an unforgettable weekend thanks to Telluride Blues and Brews, Osprey Packs and Colorado Yurt.
While I was still riding high on a wave of, “is this really happening?” the mail man assured me it was when he delivered a great big box of new Osprey packs right to my door! My plus one and I packed up our new Porter 46s with all of our overnight glamping essentials and our new Talon 22s with our daily festival supplies and headed out the door for our trip to Telluride!
The tent by Colorado Yurt Company was pitched in a prime camping location in the far corner of the campground behind Telluride Town Park. We could even see the stage from our patio (and yes, you read that right – there was a patio)! In true glamping nature Colorado Yurt Company ensured we had all of the essentials – and then some. It was luxurious to camp in a tent so big you could walk around in it; the tent included a full-size bed with two comforters, a leather chair, a power strip, a heater, a rug and more.
This year was Telluride Blues and Brews’ 20th anniversary, and they did not disappoint. The music kept people dancing even when Town Park turned into a mud pit and the rain had no end in sight. The grand tasting was incredible; we were able to sample a couple dozen different microbrews in the course of three hours, and let me be the first to tell you they were all unique and delicious. Old man winter even made a debut during the grand tasting as the snow capped peaks surrounding Telluride came out of the fog – it really was the icing on the cake.
This unforgettable weekend came with a little bit of everything: we ran into some old friends, made some new friends, danced in the rain, got sunburnt, enjoyed killer views complete with rainbows and snow, drank just the right amount of beer and enjoyed the local scene.
Thanks to Osprey Packs, Telluride Blues and Brews and Colorado Yurt Company for a truly unforgettable experience!
As I swopped and ledge-dropped in Moab at Bar M, I realized that Mountain Biking without a brain tumor is much more fun! At the last minute, I was able to represent Osprey Packs at the famous Moab Outerbike festival! Western Spirit and I teamed up just before the official opening of the event to teach some Rippin Camps for both men and women. I crammed all my ramps, teeter-totters, switchback cones, bridges, log piles, Specialized demos, Green Trivia prizes and farm food into my 200,000 mile Subaru at the 23rd hour, arriving at midnight just in time to get ready for the camps.
As seen in the video above, we started in the park in downtown Moab. Joining me for coaching were the impressive Western Spirit guides Emily Heikennen, Terrin Frey and Chris Abell. We let the group split themselves up by radness, and rotated through my baby step/fear conquering skill building stations. There is nothing more satisfying than watching a total beginner learn to conquer one log then up to 20! Or watching an advanced rider learn to power pedal onto the rear wheel off a ramp or boulder. Folks came from all over the world for Outerbike and these camps! And almost every person demoed one of the most amazing Osprey Hydration Packs.
Want more action photos? I posted all the still images from the camp on my KEEN Rippin Camps Facebook Page. Want to demo an Osprey Pack for free and join one of my Rippin Steep Skiing or Mountain Bike Camps? Visit AlisonGannett.com for more info.
We found this photo via TwoWheelsBetter’s Facebook page and had to share it for all to see. First, we’re curious: Have you ever seen a sign similar to this one in your city or state? If so, what are your thoughts? Should those on bikes adhere to the same road rules as those in automotive vehicles?
For the sake of safety (for everyone involved), we argue that bikes should absolutely and 100 percent of the time stop at stop signs, stop lights and the like. Road rules should absolutely apply to those on the road, whomever they are. But some of the questions raised as comments to this photo posting are this: Should cyclists have to pay bike-specific taxes? Should bike commuters be required to have bike insurance in the same way that drivers are required to have auto insurance?
Let us know your thoughts! Share your answers to these queries and questions of your own in the comments section below.
PHOTO Via: Facebook
Of course here at Osprey, we’d always choose to grab one of our packs and carry it with us to any destination, no matter how far off or close to home. But we’re always excited and flattered to know when others pack an Osprey for an adventure of any kind. In this case, the Osprey Quantum pack was picked by Bicycling.com editor Matt Allyn, who carried it with him to the Tour de France. Here’s what he had to say about it!
Prior to leaving for Corsica to cover the 100th running of the Tour de France, I was searching for a backpack that would suit my needs as a one of Bicycling’s videographers for the race. I needed to haul a 15-inch laptop and an assortment of production gear, including my DSLR, microphones, cables, and adaptors. That made the Quantum my top choice. The pack includes plenty of pockets to stow and organize my gear. The zippers have handy pull-tabs that made accessing the main compartment easy. The ridged back panel was comfortable and breathable even with the backpack completely full. The laptop sleeve has a 15.4-inch capacity and it held my 15-inch computer securely. An additional sleeve kept my iPad safe and I used the internal zippered pockets for smaller items like keys, a GoPro camera, and iPhone chargers. A few other travel friendly features: side compression straps to secure small loads, side pockets for water bottles, and a removable waist strap.
The saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” refers to a notion that a complex idea or large amounts of data can be conveyed or absorbed with a single image. While that may be true, I would argue that the saying relates to me in that a picture is worth a thousand words of inspiration, to go see that place or do that thing. Here in the outdoor community, we are continually exposed to many amazing photos of landscapes and destinations, with people doing activities we do or wish we could do. I have to admit many of my trips have been motivated by seeing a photo of a lake surrounded by mountains or red-orange desert canyon, and then I plan a backpacking trip to an alpine lake, or realize it’s been too long since I rappelled down a sandstone cliff. But my favorite images are the ones that inspire me to do something new, an activity I’ve never done, or a place I’ve never been to.
Last spring I saw a picture on one of our athlete’s Instagram pages. It was Timmy O’Neill doing a via ferrata in Telluride with some friends before the Telluride Mountain Film Festival. They were all in their best ballerina poses, with the ground far below them. Our headquarters is only an hour and a half from Telluride but I’d never heard of a via ferrata there. Via ferrata is Italian for “iron road,” but in climbing, these are typically routes across or up rock walls in which you enlist steel cable to secure yourself to and installed ladders, steps or bridges to travel on when there are no rock steps. They are more popular in Europe than the U.S. but there are a couple scattered around here nonetheless. After seeing Timmy’s picture, I did a quick Google search and found a route description on SummitPost.org. Turns out it was built by Chuck Kroger in the mid-2000s. A local climbing legend, Chuck forged and fabricated the iron steps himself and finished the route just before he passed away from cancer in 2007. It is named the Krogerata in his honor.
After sharing Timmy’s photo with two of my friends here at Osprey Packs, we decided that the morning before a music festival we were going to in Telluride’s Town Park last summer we would go find this via ferrata and do it. After the weekend, we shared pictures with the office and our own social media sites from the trip. People got excited about it and asked details, but like too many adventures, people put it to the back of their mind and didn’t just go do it. Than this summer, a year later, the three of us were again going up to Telluride for another music festival and remembering the buzz our trip across the via ferrata created and how much fun we had. I sent out an all-office e-mail with pictures from last year and basically said ‘We are going here, we are doing this, meet here, at this time, on this date, I’ve got gear, you bring beer’.
You know you work with cool people at a cool company when you get a huge email response from everyone, but you really know it’s a cool group of people when 14 of them actually show up the next morning. After some gear dispersion and a quick safety/procedure talk, we set off. We got all fourteen across, some had never slid on a climbing harness before and had plenty of the ol’ shaky leg on the exposed sections. We all had fun, we all felt accomplished and it personally felt good for the three of us to introduce something new to those eleven friends and co-workers.
Here’s what Lindsey Beal had to say after putting on a harness for the first time ever:
“As we were traversing the most exposed part of the Via Ferrata my Elvis legs really started to kick in. Every muscle in my body was shaking. A big thank you to the veteran climbers in front of me who were physically moving my carabineers for me and to the continuous words of encouragement from those right behind.”
So next time you see that epic Jimmy Chin photo or your friend posts a picture from her recent mountain bike trip to Crested Butte and your first reaction is: “I want to do that!” Hold on to that excitement, that motivation and do it. Or if you’re someone like me who doesn’t always lack the motivation but likes to share the adventure and see the excitement when people try something new or go somewhere they’ve always wanted to go then send out that picture worth a thousand words of inspiration and say ‘We are going here, we are doing this, meet here, at this time, on this date, I’ve got gear, you bring beer’.
-Chris Horton, Osprey Product Guy
Find inspirational pictures and follow us on Instagram
Also Osprey Athlete Timmy O’Neill
And Osprey Product Guy Chris Horton
Nothing like an alien brain tumor the size of tennis/baseball to spice up my summer! For the past two years, I had noticed that my coordination and memory were just not spot on, but I attributed it to stress and my insane work, play and farm schedules. But starting in February, things began to get very strange: First I fell asleep at the wheel about a hundred times from the Outdoor Retailer show to Silverton, Colorado. Then I forgot to pack entirely for my three week Canadian adventures and my KEEN Osprey Rippin Chix Camps at Crystal Mtn, Red Mtn and Whitewater. I ceased to pay all house bills, insurance or do any invoicing or sponsor updates and, what’s worse, didn’t even notice. I actually forgot to catch a plane to Reno where I was the keynote speaker for Microsoft and a roomful of CEOs. But the straw that broke the camel’s back was on June 30th when I almost burned the house down cooking our piggy’s bacon for breakfast. While I was oblivious to my actions and just moving through life like everything was normal, Jason was most definitely freaked out by my behavior. It was if there was another person who now inhabiting my body.
After I just about killed myself with the now infamous bacon incident, Jason called our local rural Paonia doctor and begged for something to be done immediately. Dr. Meilner obliged and called every hospital within a two hour radius to see who could perform a CAT scan at midnight on a Saturday night. Finally Saint Mary’s in Grand Junction could take us, and Jason coaxed my almost lifeless body out of bed and into our ancient Subaru. Strangely, the alien tumor made a potent move at that point, and about the last thing I remember was directing Jason to where the hospital was located. Next thing I knew it was two days later, I was suddenly entering surgery at the Ann Shutz neurosurgery center at University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora. I couldn’t understand why all my family had flown or driven in to see me — luckily I didn’t comprehend the papers I signed, as this surgery is most deadly (hence the sudden arrival of all the family). Next thing I knew, I woke up in the ICU, which was a scene out of the bionic woman TV show, and my brain was clear and sharp. Immediately I demanded my dental floss, much to the glee of the hospital staff, my friends and family, and especially Jason who had not left my side; my feisty normal self was back! Again, I had not known that many people take several years to recover their memories and often have partial paralysis, although I did have amnesia from the bacon moment onward and most of June was a more than a bit blurry.
I’ve been out of the hospital for just over a month now, and can’t believe how fast the recovery is — way easier than it was for eight ACL/meniscus/articular cartilage knee surgeries! I’m back to working planning the upcoming ski and bike seasons, which I love (thanks Osprey!), walking and hiking, lots of farm work and joyous harvesting, fracktivating and planning a big keynote speech next week for the EPA, The Whitehouse and The Green Sports Alliance. More than anything, I notice the wonderful little things in life — a great night’s sleep in a comfy bed, petting the dogs, eating our amazing food and kissing my amazing guy. I’ve reflected on how amazing my life has been — how I have gone after everything like it could have been my last opportunity. And even though I am a bit petrified for my full body PET scan and three spinal MRI’s on September 6th, I feel confident that my neurosurgeon, my naturopath and my naturopathic oncologist Dr. Nasha Winters and my Ketogenic Diet with the Namaste Health Center in Durango will take me to a whole new level of health and well-being. Cheers to this wonderful life — the sky is blue and there is a big puffy white cloud that is so pretty, and I’m actually able to go eat four squares of organic dark baking chocolate right now!
Some call it the modern Woodstock of our electronically-entranced generation; we saw it as a weekend to ditch your current day job and personal worries in exchange for wearing the brightest and most ridiculous clothes you could find and dancing with the hundreds of thousands of strangers from across the nation.
For the Electric Forest Festival, people from all walks of life gather from all regions across North America (Canada included) to the tiny (435-person) town of Rothbury, Michigan. There, they come together for weekend to become whoever they may want to be and to enjoy the constant and wide-range of music from a variety of timeless and new artists alike. By day, the temporary inhabitants of this festival would lounge in hammocks, ride the Ferris wheel or watch the bluegrass shows from underneath the shade of the towering trees. It’s not until 10 PM, when the sun sets, that the forest becomes illuminated by the thousands of electrified colors, sounds and people. Then, the going gets weird, and in the depths of the Sherwood forest you’ll experience things entirely anew: a trading post with time-traveling cowboys from the 1800s, a silent disco of live performances that can only be heard with headphones and large neon lights that give the trees life during these witching hours of Festival.
Electric Forest Festival is metamorphic experience because for just one weekend, nothing is as it seems and weird is totally the state of norm. Our Osprey crew who attended Electric enjoyed the diverse crowds, the incredible installations of the forest and the memorizing performances by the artists. We appreciate anyone who stopped by our booth to say hello, buy a pack or grab a free coozie. We hope to see you there next year! In the meantime, here are a few of our favorite snapshots from the weird weekend of Electric Forest.
All photos were shot and edited by Pat de Souza, fellow festival attendee
We’re fortunate that we live in the age of social media — because it’s increasingly easier for our friends, fans and family to send us shots of their Osprey Packs in action. Take this shot, for example, Tweeted to us by Leon McCarron, who wrote: “Really enjoying the Xenith 88- possibly my fav Osprey pack so far! Here it is at the top of Ireland”
A few short words and a beautiful shot are all it takes to give us the inside scoop on where you took your pack. Much the same way a sturdy bike and a great pack are all it takes to make an amazing and photo-worthy adventure! So: Where will you take your pack?
Thanks, Leon McCarron, for sharing!