When I flew back home to Colorado for my sister's college graduation, my birthday quietly came and went with a sunset drive through Red Rocks with my father. Leave it up to Michael and my amazing friends to sneakily and stealthily plan a woodland birthday surprise when I returned back east. 

As they jumped out smiling from behind some trees at Wawayanda State Park, I just about cried and peed my pants. They had strung feather garlands in the trees, collected moss for the tables, and put together the most beautiful picnic spread I've ever seen in my life. This was the first time I've ever been surprised and I can't imagine feeling any luckier--my face hurt from grinning. 



Raised on the back of my fathers roadbike, cross country snow sled, backpack--bundled up in blankets or awkwardly bouncing around with an oversized helmet--there was no place too cold, too far, or too high for my parents. Well...there was that one time I began to turn blue on top of Pikes Peak. And that other time we got lost in a snow storm while skiing to a yurt and my mother's belly was the only thing that could thaw my toes. But regardless of some certainly coincidental circulation issues, I've sprouted up as a healthy and active human with a obsessive compulsion to be constantly en route to some new park, lake, mountain, historic site... I have traveled abroad a bit but there has been a resurgence of a desire to explore my home country more thoroughly, especially after Michael bought me a National Parks Passport for my birthday last May. Its astounding how many parks are out there for us to enjoy. 


his last weekend we canoed around Wawayanda State Park. The canoe rentals were $15 for an hour for both of us and we nearly had the entire lake to ourselves, save a few other kayakers and fishermen.