Weekly Round-Up #9

The Down to Earth expedition is doing something the world needs a lot more of: using passion to influence change. Michaela Precourt is a visionary, she hopes for the children of the future, and wants to “instill hope back into education.” This hope lead her to found this expedition where she and a team of athletes are creating real-life curriculum through studying the effects of climate change in the arctic, recording it, and sending the videos back to schools. Their mission and its effects are authentic, “Down to Earth is filming a series of human-powered expeditions dedicated to education, effects of climate change, and how to live sustainably.” Here’s part 1 of their film series:

In response to last week’s blurb about women choosing not to have children, here’s another thoughtful and funny article defending procreation. Katie Arnold highlights the positive in raising children, and how bringing children into an adventurous life can be difficult at first, but pay off later. She also doles out a few tips, “Once a month, enlist the kids to help purge the toy bins and donate to those in need. Your minimalist obsession equals their real-life lesson in sharing and compassion.”

Sarah Castle and Alison Wright didn’t just want to hike the John Muir Trail, they wanted to give back while they did it. Over cups of coffee and topo maps, The Cairn Project was born. The non-profit exists to get teenage girls, of all backgrounds, outside. In one year, the duo have raised over $30,000 to be distributed to partner organizations through small grants.

Should wilderness be free? I’ve thought about and researched this topic quite a bit in the past few weeks. In Utah, there’s long been debate about a toll in both Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons. Essentially, the amount of users far outweighs the resources, and taxpayer dollars don’t bridge the gap anymore. Heather,from Just a Colorado Gal, shows that Colorado is experiencing similar issues: too many users in too little space. Are we entering a new era where we have to pay in more places that we play?

 

7 Foods to Grill that Aren’t Meat

Tis the season for outdoor barbecues, sunset beers, and camping! As a vegetarian (or someone trying to cut down on their red meat consumption), it’s easy to feel left out when the grill master is yells out “Order up!” for all the hot dogs, burgers, and bacon he’s just grilled to perfection.

Have no fear! There is food for you yet my dear herbivores!

Aside from the traditional veggie burger or tofu dog (which really have come quite a long way), there are heaps of other items you can grill that aren’t meat. And if you grill with enough flare, you might even steal some jealous stares from your burger-loving friends.

1. BBQ Seitan

Need I say more? This recipe from The Spruce is a classic take on the hearty staple of seitan. It requires minimal prep, just cut and marinate the pieces, throw them on a soaked bamboo skewer, and grill ’em up!

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thespruce.com

2. Grilled Onions

It goes without saying that you can grill any kind of vegetable, but this grilled onion recipe hits the nail on the head. Perfectly charred sweet onions are the brilliant side you’ve been searching for to accompany your BBQ seitan.

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chefsteps.com

3. Sweet Potato Skewers

I swear, put anything on a stick and I’ll be excited to eat it. Equal parts sweet potato and onion, these skewers, once drizzled with some tahini sauce (or sauce of your choosing), are the bees knees and super easy. Feel free to add/subtract whatever veggies your heart desires.

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naturallyella.com

4. Mexican Street Corn

Oh my yum. I first tried Mexican street corn when I was climbing down in El Potrero Chico, and while this isn’t quite the real deal, it comes dang close. Although the idea of putting mayo on your corn sounds a little out of place, trust me, it works.

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seededaetthetable.com

5. Peaches

It’s like a mini peach cobbler! Halve the peaches, take the pit out, spread on a little sauce, and let grill for a few minutes. While this recipe doesn’t call for it, I recommend placing a dollop of ice cream in the middle and spreading some pie crumbles on top. YUM.

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tastespace.wordpress.com

6. Din Tai Fung Tofu

While the black vinegar in this recipe may be hard to come by, I would be amiss to leave out grilled tofu in my vegetarian grill edition! Packed with flavor, and so easy even your cooking-inept friends can do it.

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fried dandelions.com

7. Balsamic Garlic Grilled Mushrooms

Mushrooms might be my favorite vegetable, and marinating them in balsamic and garlic definitely seals the deal. These mushrooms are so easy. 30 minutes marinating and a few minutes on the grill make this recipe an instant winner.

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closetcooking.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are your go-to grilling recipes?

Reflections on a Marathon

There are plenty of things I thought I might never do. Running a marathon was one of them.

For at least ten years I’ve put “run a marathon” on my bucket list, or my one-year list, or any other goal-oriented list I made. I can recount my goals for 24, 25, and 26, and all include running a marathon.

I finally got around to it.

The thing about running a marathon is this: if you want to do it, you can. Not to put off the years of hard work and effort that elite runners put into it—I’m speaking to the first timers, the wannabe’s, and the slightly interested.

If you want to run a marathon, just do it.

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On my 26th birthday I registered for my first marathon. I was tired of putting it off until the next year, because eventually I would be 80 and wishing I had done this thing I had spent so many years wishing I had done. There’s a quote I rely on, etched into my journal, that reads, “How you spend your days is how you spend your life.” I realized, on the celebration of my 26th year on earth, that I’d spent a lot of days (9,490 to be exact) waiting to do something, to be somebody, to finally cross things off my bucket list.

26 would be the year I stopped wanting and started becoming.

As I sat in a coffee shop with a good friend of mine, I found a marathon, I registered, I downloaded a training plan, and I set my mind to it.

It really was as easy as that.

For ten weeks or so I ran four days a week. In that time, I traveled to Mexico, had a fluke knee accident, came down with a cold that left me in bed for four days, and never ran farther than 10 miles.

I don’t recommend it.

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If you’re going to run a marathon, train for it. Give yourself enough time to develop your athletic base, endurance, and most importantly, your mental fortitude. Fortunately for me, climbing strengthened my mental muscles and, it turns out, I’m mentally stronger than I ever gave myself credit for.

Leading up to the marathon, when I felt I hadn’t had enough training due to circumstance, I told my friends my mental game would get me through. After all, nearly everything is 90% mental, 10% physical, right? For a marathon, however, I’d cut it down to 60/40.

I leaned on examples of extraordinary individuals. Like the young women who runs half-marathons despite frequent seizures. Or the man with no limbs who climbs mountains. Or any other individual who disregards the resounding “you can’t,” and shows them they can.

We drove up to the start line around 6:30am. I finished off a cup of water, went to the bathroom, and did a few jumping jacks to warm up. My husband and brother-in-law were running together, and I was prepared, and excited to run the race solo.

I headed to the start with my running vest equipped with some extra GU’s, a bottle of water, my phone, and headphones.

When the gun went off, I was elated.

Part of me never expected to make it to the start line.

Even a week before the event I thought about calling in and switching my registration to the half-marathon. I’d only run 10 miles. I didn’t want to disappoint myself. I didn’t want to disappoint my husband. I didn’t want to fail, and have to tell people I hadn’t met my goal. Before I started that marathon, I still believed that having not tried might be better than failing.

I started out slowly, treating the first mile as a warm-up. I began near the back of the group, with maybe ten people behind me. But it felt comfortable. I didn’t need to go out with guns-ablazing. My number one goal was to run the entire race. My number two was finishing with an average 12 minute mile (5:24:00).

Running had never felt so good.

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Before I knew it I was coming up on mile 8.

Then mile 9.

When I passed mile 10, I was in unchartered territory. From then on, every mile was a new record, the official furthest I’d ever run.

Mentally, I was prepared. I knew I could get to mile 20, because I knew I could run 10 miles. Once I got to 20 I knew I could run 6 miles. That was my mental game plan.

It worked.

 

The miles kept passing, and I kept running. Until mile 22, I never felt the need to distract myself.

Those last four miles, though. Damn.

It took a lot to run the last four miles. My legs were aching, knees wanted to buckle, and my hips were so stiff. But I’d run so far, I couldn’t quit.

When I passed the mile 26 marker, I kicked it into high gear.

My last mile was my fastest.

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I crossed the finish line with tears in my eyes. The volunteer handing out finisher shirts and metals asked if I was alright. I replied, “I’m just so happy!”

I don’t know what else competes for that moment. Never had I felt so accomplished, so tired, and so elated at one time. It was euphoric.

Running a marathon redefined my limits, and what’s possible for me to achieve. I’m no longer sure of the validity of “I can’t,” because can’t is a misnomer. It confuses what’s possible for you now, for what’s possible for you in the future.

You can, it just might take some time.

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The Chasm Between Social Media and Real Life

A few years ago, NPR aired a story about the rise of our discontentment as it relates to the rise of social media. My generation isn’t numb to these effects, in fact, we are arguably the most affected by it.

The rise of social media outlets and our obsession with, and dedication to them, has shown us just how much is possible for our lives. We’re well past the days where word of first ascents came a month later in the American Alpine Journal.

If you’re a woman who wants to be a CEO or a man who wants to be a homemaker, you can find at least one other person who’s done what you’re setting out to do, and find comfort in knowing you aren’t alone.

Literally, anything is possible.

For this, I am so thankful for Facebook, Instagram, Google, and other sites like them. I can figure out who came before me and what they did to get there. I can hop on Instagram, search a hashtag, and find a burst of inspiration to get my butt in the gym.

Along with the good, however, comes the bad.

Like how many times I feel shitty about myself because I don’t feel like I’m doing enough. I have a job and other things I love to do and I’m not out climbing or skiing or running everyday. And the problem with Instagram is it makes it seem like everybody else is.

So many accounts, my own included, display an ongoing stream of outdoor photos, and it’s time to confess: that’s not my whole life.

Don’t get me wrong, I wish it was, and I hope someday it will be. I hope someday I can make enough to set out with my husband and our future dog in tow. But until then, I think it’s important to be honest.

So I decided that going forward I’m going to be real.

For example:

I binge watch The Great British Baking Show.

I scroll through Facebook until my eyeballs hurt.

I rarely read a novel through the first time.

Sometimes I literally groan as I enter the gym.

I get scared when I’m lead climbing.

I get even more scared on multi-pitches.

I love to cook.

Sometimes I take four hour naps on sunny days.

I’m still overcoming my irrational fear of bears.

Some days I feel sad and overwhelmed by my dreams.

I often feel lost.

I consistently question my ability to write or climb or ski.

I spend a lot of time in coffee shops.

I am the definition of a work in progress.

What I’m trying to say is this, before you put yourself up against everyone else on Instagram and Facebook, give yourself some credit for being human, and then some more for all that you’re doing already.

It’s weird and beautiful to be human, and it’s important to recognize that in ourselves and everyone around us.

 

Weekly Round-Up #5

It appears I have quite a problem posting consistent midweek round-ups, so we’re gonna shoot for the vague “Weekly Round-Up” and see if my consistency can be, well, consistent.

I’ve come across so much good content in the last few weeks! We live in an incredible time where information is accessed so quickly and easily.

Millennial Tastes are Driving Marketers Crazy, but it’s Doing the Food Industry Good, an article published by Upworthy, highlights how millennials are driving positive change in general consumption, and in particular, the food industry. There’s been a lot of negative press about millennials in the past year. We’ve been misunderstood, and also ignored. This article is proof of both. But it’s also proof that corporations are starting to take notice, and it’s good for everybody.

I love anything that highlights women taking a stand throughout history. I love it even more when it involves the natural world. The NCPA published this article documenting six national parks that wouldn’t exist if it hadn’t been for the women that championed them.

“In the past 18 months, over 50 bills attacking federal management of our public lands have been introduced to Congress,” begins this interesting and helpful article about five simple ways we can protect our public lands from Climbing Magazine. It’s a hard time to be a human and lover of the natural world, but we can’t remain overwhelmed. It’s time to take a stand for what’s most important. From volunteering, to signing up for newsletters, this short and comprehensive how-to can make you feel a little less overwhelmed and a little more proactive.

And a funny goat video.

Enjoy your weekend, friends!

Midweek Round-Up #4

I recently attended the No Man’s Land Film Festival put on my Wylder Goods. It was an EPIC night filled with inspiration, activism, and badass lady crushers. This round-up features non-profits and films from the event.

HEAL Utah is an active non-profit in the Salt Lake City area that’s fighting for clean air. The most negative side effect to being a Salt Lake resident is the inversion we face every winter. Unfortunately, this once wintertime problem is slowly leaking into a year-round problem as we damage the ozone above our beautiful city and mountains. They work tirelessly especially during the legislative session to promote the passage of Clean Air and Clean Energy laws.

Shannon Galpin is a doer. In 2009 she left everything behind to start a non-profit in Afghanistan to empower women through cycling. For five years Shannon had no success, and was unable to find even one female who rode in Afghanistan. After years of learning to understand the culture and the deep-seeded taboos behind women riding bicycles, Shannon was able to establish her non-profit, Mountain2Mountain, to get women riding. Since then, Afghanistan has developed a national women’s cycling team, which has found the support and gained generous donations from Liv cycles.

Save Our Canyons began in 1972 as Salt Lake residents saw the threat of urbanization on the Wasatch Front. They have worked endlessly to protect our wilderness and canyons from development and industry. Through the organization, Lone Peak, Mt. Olympus, and Twin Peaks, have been saved as designated wilderness. As the non-profit grows, they continue to take on new tasks like protecting the watershed, and, currently, raising funds to save Bonanza Flats.

Last note of inspiration: The Edges Film spotlights a wonderful passionate woman, Yvonne Dowlen. Yvonne started ice skating as a young girl, and turned her passion into her career. Even after a car accident and a stroke, both in her 80s, she continued to skate five days a week. I was so inspired by this film, and the fact that at NINETY YEARS OLD she was still ice skating. Age is just a number, people.

To-Do List

I’ve learned in my life that if I don’t write things down they are soon forgotten in the no man’s land of my brain. If this goes for simple tasks like taking a package to the post office, or sending in official forms, won’t it transfer over to bigger, loftier goals I have?

I decided I don’t want to chance it. So here is the beginning of my to-do list. When I started thinking about everything I want to do it quickly became overwhelming, so instead of frantically searching the Google to find everything that should be on my “bucket list,” I left it where it’s add and will add to it as ideas come to me.

  • Run a marathon
  • Climb in Yosemite
  • Climb a big wall
  • Climb 5.13
  • Finish the John Muir Trail
  • Write a book
  • Write an ebook
  • Skydive
  • Learn to climb splitter cracks
  • Run the Leadville Ultramarathon
  • Run the Wasatch Ultimate Ridge Link-up
  • Live out of a car
  • Make the switch to Veganism
  • Donate my time and money to organizations I believe in
  • Become a successful freelance writer
  • Write an article for National Geographic
  • Climb the Getu arch in China
  • Climb in Patagonia
  • Ski in Denali
  • Backcountry hut trip through the Uinta’s
  • Uinta Highline Trail
  • Antelope Island 50k
  • Ski Mt. Superior in Little Cottonwood Canyon
  • Climb in El Potrero Chico
  • Climb in Kalymnos
  • Trail run in Iceland
  • Visit (and climb in) Squamish
  • Ski (and climb) the Grand in Teton National Park
  • Climb Squawsatch in Provo
  • Get Yoga Teacher Training Cert
  • Complete WFR, SPI, and AIARE 2
  • Become a columnist at a major magazine
  • Become proficient in Trad climbing
  • Ski Mt. Hood
  • Climb at RRG, Hueco Tanks, Joshua Tree, Wild Iris, Tensleep, Rifle, Indian Creek, Cochise Stronghold, the Gunks, and everywhere in between.
  • Participate in Horseshoe Hell
  • Attend Burning Man

What do you want to accomplish in this one precious life?