Thursday, January 20, 2011

My Newest Winter Addiction

Living in the Pacific Northwest I am surrounded by new opportunities to get out and play. It's just a matter of choosing which sport to get into next! At the end of the rafting season two very awesome people, Aleson & Tobias left me with little choice. They gifted me a snowboard so I had no excuse not to try it.

(Beautiful scenery heading up to Mt. Hood)

Being from Minne-snow-da, it’s hard to believe that I have never been into any winter sports. My brother would always convince me to go to the top of a huge hill with him and sled down. I would always get scared and bail out of the sled just to roll all the way down the hill. Needless to say, going fast on snow doesn’t come natural to me. In fact, it scares the shit out of me. But, seeing as I was gifted this beautiful and classic Kokanee snowboard, I am determined to give it a try.

(Typical view of me on the Kokanee)

My friend Kayla got the privilege of giving me my first lesson. Her first question, “Are you goofy or regular?” Since I didn’t know the answer, she gave me a test. She stood behind me and pushed me. Since I stepped with my left foot first, I was probably regular. We spent the next hour on the bunny hill and getting used to side slipping, turning, and keeping me upright. After a few good runs, we decided to meet up with the guys and give a bigger run a try.

(My fearless snowboard instructor, Kayla Applebay)

For the most part it went pretty well. I did take a few good falls and some other random smaller ones. My friends were awesome and made this a very memorable day. By the end of our adventure, I was thrilled and excited to go back for more. Kayla warned me that I have to give snowboarding 3 good days before I can decide if I like it or not. I’m hooked after day one. This weekend I’m looking forward to returning to Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort and giving it another try. This may just be my newest winter addiction!

(The crew - Kayla, Jonathan, Me & Tyler)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Winter Home

(Charming Chalet)

As luck would have it, a perfect winter home opportunity stumbled across my path. I currently reside in a charming chalet tucked on a hill with a view of Mt. Adams. Chalet you may ask? I wondered the same thing! I basically have my own detached living space from a house but use the bathroom, kitchen & laundry inside. I even enjoy modern conveniences such as wireless internet, an endless supply of DVDs with a comfy coach to watch them on and warm cozy queen sized bed.

(View of half the Chalet)

It also offers other luxuries such as a breathtaking view from the toilet. Yes, as I sit on the toilet I get to watch the sun illuminate the massive snow covered Mt. Adams. But that’s not all this place has to offer.

(Mt. Adams trying to hide behind the evergreens)

There is a whole trail system (which I still have to get figured out) right here too! It’s amazing to have the option to come home and go hiking until my little heart desire.

How far did I go to find a place like this? Not far at all. This charming chalet is located 1.5 miles from my job at Wet Planet Whitewater in Husum, WA. I have the option to commute via bike or Monte Carlo to work.

I am happy to call this my home for the winter months. Heck, there’s even a lama here too! Special thanks to my friend Alexa for traveling to Australia, the Grand Canyon & Europe to make this possible. What a true friend to leave her place allowing this to be my winter home. :)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Thank You 2010 - Bring it on 2011!

2010 was full of many changes for me. I rang in the New Year in New Orleans while on a road trip in the Southeast. After my new found love and appreciation for whitewater kayaking, I ended up going back to the Southeast in April for a kayaking trip. This trip confirmed my need to work in the outdoor industry which led me to applying for a seasonal job at Wet Planet Whitewater Center. After a phone interview and a 2 week notice, I packed my car & moved to the Pacific Northwest. I found myself in whirlwind of changes including a healthier diet, daily kayaking & outdoor living. Yes, I lived in a tent by the river for 6 months. This experience, unfathomable by most, was phenomenal. I spent my nights cooking under the stars, falling asleep to the rushing river below & waking up to the refreshing air of the great outdoors. I’m currently living indoors for the winter months but am looking forward to returning to my tent life in May. My family was also able to visit me in August and get a taste for my new life here.

(Took my siblings to the local hot springs; Horseback riding in the Columbia River Gorge)

My initial intention was to be here only for a summer; little did I know what was in for! I ended up loving the area, the people and my job. What was a seasonal position turned into a full time year-round career. I am working on marketing initiatives and sales for our 2011 season. Wet Planet hosts numerous team building events, family reunions, wedding parties and so much more. Part of my position is to assist in the planning for these groups. People + Whitewater Rafting = Long lasting memories & tons of FUN! What more could you ask for in your job? I feel very fortunate to have found an industry, career & company I love. Heck, I even get to go kayaking & rafting with my bosses!

(Enjoying whitewater kayaking; Training a new guide so my co-workers & boss had to go rafting)

I recently took a trip back to Minnesota for Christmas and enjoyed the company of family & friends. I was even fortunate enough to be there for 12+ inches of snow. Oh now I miss shoveling… not! For those of you I wasn’t able to catch up with, hopefully next time. But, I always enjoy getting emails from back home. :)

(Sunset in the Columbia River Gorge; Winter is here, Husum Falls on the White Salmon River)

In 2011 I plan to officially become a Washington resident & continue my adventure in the Pacific Northwest. I will be going on a few multi-day river trips and hopefully an international trip this fall. I just wanted to say thank you for all of your support in 2010. I do miss the networking groups, community involvement, family & friends in Minnesota. You are always welcome to visit! I currently reside in Husum, Washington which is an hour and 15 minutes from Portland, OR in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. This is an area of pristine beauty, fine wines, full flavored micro-brews, adventurous hikes, crystal clear waterfalls and so much more. I promise, there’s something for everyone. Enjoy the New Year!