Lists

If I don’t post my Atlanta bucket list, do I still leave Atlanta?
This is the struggle and lately it’s been a constant battle of emotions in my head and heart. I am beyond thrilled to be going home. I am thrilled to breath the mountain air and to be in a place, knowing I am taking the next steps towards my dream. Yet, I am sad to be leaving. It seems like it’s too soon. I’m just beginning to feel known and moving back to Colorado feels a little bit like starting over. I’ll be in the same city, but a different me [also, my new roommates are the rents, but they will probably have more fun than me with all my studying. I’ll be asking them when they’ll be home…]

I would be lying if I said that I haven’t changed at all since I arrived in Georgia. I’m thankful for these changes because each and every one of them have made me stronger. They have taught me how to better love one another. They have taught me to have my own opinion and worry less about what other people say. This adventure has taught me about risk, but most importantly about trust. Trust that He will provide and equip us with the necessary things to go out and honor Him.

If you are laying in bed wondering if you should move to another state, run the marathon, start the blog, change your job, travel to another country or whatever else is challenging you right now the answer is yes. Do it. Take that leap of faith.


Here is my Atlanta Bucket List – places to go and food to eat before I leave the City in the Forest. There is room for improvement so write any other ideas you have in the comments! I will update this post as I cross things off the list —-

Places to Eat:

  • Home Grown
  • Ria’s Bluebird
  • Buford HWY
  • Heirloom BBQ
  • Flying Biscuit

Places to Hike:

  • Max Patch, NC ✔️
  • Cumberland Island
  • Providence Canyon
  • AT Approach Trail ✔️
  • Lulu Lake Land Trust
  • Springer Mountain ✔️
  • Brass Town Bald
  • Yonah Mountain ✔️
  • Tallulah Gorge Floor

Other Places to Go and Things to Do:

  • BAPS Shri swaminarayan mandir Atlanta
  • North Georgia vineyard ✔️
  • Braves Baseball Game
  • Savannah
  • Find rooftop views of downtown
  • PCM farmers market
  • Picnic @ Piedmont Park
  • See pandas in Atlanta

Photos are from my latest excursion – the AT Approach Trail from Amicalola Falls to Springer Mountain, and back. This was a challenging – long – hike that had decent elevation variability and is possibly my favorite hike in Georgia to date. We had fantastic weather and completed the hike in ~6 hours! As I prepare for the Ultimate Hike at the end of April this was definitely good training.

Escapades at the Polar Star Inn


We started off strong at the trailhead; packs strapped to our backs, skins on our skis, boots locked in. With one foot in front of the other we glided along the road, slowly climbed up into the trees and away from the car. The weather was prime, not too cold-not too hot, with the sun barely peaking out from the clouds. It looked like snow was on the way.

About 1 mile in on this 6 mile ski we started to have boot problems. I guess that’s the price you pay for only doing a big backcountry trip 1x per year. The skin on our feet was fresh – asking to be rubbed raw. To try to prevent and further blistering we stopped to apply moleskin/electrical tape to the affected areas [Side note – in a trial between electrical tape versus athletic tape for bandaging needs athletic tape wins].

Fast forward down the road to the turnoff @ Nolan Creek. We stopped for a few drinks of water, to ditch a layer of clothing, and refresh ourselves for the final 2 mile stretch. Based on the trail information we were about to climb steeply through an Aspen glade, turn onto an old jeep road, and then finally around the bend would be the hut – the Polar Star Inn. It was here at the turn in the trail that I decided to eat an orange. Such an innocent little cutie that tasted refreshing on my tongue, however less than 5 minutes later I was not feeling so hot. 1 minute later and my orange painted the snow. Poor Leah, she also yakked, and so began the #yakpak. We would try to recruit members for the rest of the trip.

Aside from up-chucking the entire contents of my stomach on the side of the trail I felt fantastic afterwards. We tightened our straps and set off for the last remaining miles. Through the Aspen glades and Pine forest switchbacks ran up the mountain. Always a manageable slope but always hard. I could hear my heart beating in my chest and my breathing become labored as my muscles worked to bring me closer to warmth – one slide at a time. At some point [I’m not really sure where] my legs became so very tired. I remember counting to 100 steps in my head. To me this seemed manageable. I thought, “I know I can take 100 steps. After I do that I can rest, or keep going”. 100+ steps later and we rounded the bend with this beauty in our sights – I have hardly seen anything more wonderful.

We spent the next few days exploring the area [ahem, skiing fresh POWda], playing hearts, eating tasty stew, sauna-ing, and staying incredibly warm due to a wood-burning stove.

What I came to realize on this trip is that there is immense power in pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zones. When I was first learning to ski again [after a brief hiatus on the snowboard] someone told me that in order to learn control you need to experience the feeling of being out-of-control. Now, I urge you to practice this safely…but he was right! You don’t definitively know your one-rep max in weight lifting until you attempt the damn-thing and totally fail. This is where your limit lies and signifies where we can grow.

As we approach the new year, I want to remind myself of what it means to step out and enter the ring. I can expect some of what 2017 will bring [moving back to Colorado, starting medical school, traveling to Thailand], but I know there will be lots of surprises in between. Bring it on 2017!

Stay Classy//San Diego

It was Monday and I was wiped. I flopped onto my hotel bed, exhausted. I was in San Diego for a conference that had me walking back and forth across the length of the convention center from one grand ballroom to the next. It was jam-packed with science but I was determined to escape and see a bit of San Diego, so I “rested my eyes” for 15 minutes and crossed the street from the convention center to the Gaslamp District of San Diego. A neat little district in downtown San Diego [a little too touristy for my taste]. From there I hailed an uber to whisk me away to the famous Balboa Park.

I had no plans, only that I wanted to explore and I heard there were trails at the park.

Tucked away in the middle of the park is a hidden gem – the Japanese Garden. The space boasts a collection of bonsai, cherry trees, and koi fish. Meandering paths lead you along, with stepping stones and waterfalls throughout. It’s a beautiful place. If you are in San Diego with an extra $8 in your pocket it’s worth every cent.


Other places I ventured that I recommend? I thought you would never ask —

For good eats –

  1. The Blind Burro – their quesadilla is GIANT so come hungry or be willing to share. The jalepeño margarita is pretty good too.
  2. BeShock – Two words. Ramen and Saki.

Short trip, short list.

Saki, saki, saki 

Bomb, bomb, bomb.

Max Patch Mountain

When I first realized that I wouldn’t be spending Thanksgiving with my family I decided I wanted to go camping. Lately, I’ve been using Instagram to inspire all of my adventures and I had seen pictures of this place called Max Patch. Not only does the name sound fun, but the photos people were posting were beautiful so I decided I just had to see it for myself.

Max Patch is a bald mountain located near the Tennessee and North Carolina border. About 1.5 hrs from Asheville, North Carolina and ~4 hrs from Atlanta. It was originally cleared to act as a pasture for sheep and cows, and was occasionally used as a landing strip for small aircraft. Today, they maintain the space with controlled fires and mowing so Max Patch remains a “high” east coast mountain that when standing on top you can observe the rolling vistas of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Due to the fires in North Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee there was a fire ban where we were headed and since I don’t own a ton of camping gear my friend Lydia and I borrowed a bunch of stuff – camping stove, sleeping pads, and a lantern mainly. [Shout out to Lydia’s friend]. When we woke up in a cloud on Saturday the camping stove came in clutch. From the safety of our sleeping bags we ate chicken noodle soup from a can for breakfast and honestly, I don’t think homemade soup would have tasted any better.

The rest of the trip flew by as we packed up our things and headed out on the Appalachian Trail. The trail runs right over Max Patch so we chose to go North and hiked part of the way towards Lemon Gap – now I just want to know why it’s called lemon gap… But when we returned to Max Patch the clouds had finally lifted and the view I had come to witness opened up in front of me.

It. Was. Amazing.

Some adventures aren’t glamorous. Sometimes you need all of your clothes + sleeping bag to stay warm. Sometimes you can’t see all of the vistas and sometimes you eat chicken noodle soup for breakfast.

My advice though? Keep on, keeping on because all adventures are important and from the – sometimes – wise Craig Huey, “we are in training”.

For what you ask? For life, and whatever it chooses to throw at us.