Colorado’s Ute Mountain Ute tribe moves into solar, sees potential for significant growth

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享High Country News:In the southwest corner of Colorado, the sun beats down on the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation. High desert runs to the horizon in every direction, broken only by imposing mesas and Sleeping Ute Mountain. Just under 2,000 people live on the 580,000-acre-reservation, which sprawls across Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. But as temperatures rise with climate change, utility bills rise with them, and the Ute Mountain Ute tribe has begun transitioning to 100% renewable power — a movement towards energy sovereignty they have been forging for almost a decade.Nations, states and communities around the world are establishing rapid decarbonization goals, including Colorado, which declared a target of 90% carbon-free energy by 2050. With increased pressure for immediate, large-scale changes to energy infrastructure, international policies for expanding renewables have played a critical role in increasing solar technology’s accessibility and efficiency. By combining this evolving technology with local knowledge, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe is generating energy solutions rooted in its community.“Our tribe likes to think outside of the box and take risks, and we believe in renewable energy,” said Tribal Community Services Director Bernadette Cuthair. In its first major stride towards net carbon zero, the tribe is building a large-scale solar array through a partnership with GRID Alternatives Colorado, an organization that helps low-income and underserved communities access renewable energy technology and job training. The $2 million project includes 3,500 solar panels that will offset at least 10% of the reservation’s overall energy usage, eliminating about 1,515 tons of greenhouse gas emissions by year one.The tribe is considering building a large-scale renewable energy business to serve national markets, increase tribal revenue, and provide more training and jobs. “The solar array we’re building now is a 1-megawatt project, but we’re looking into what we could do with 200 or 300 megawatts next,” said Cuthair. “This is just the beginning for us as far as renewables.”The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates tribal land in the Lower 48 states has the capacity to supply 17.6 terawatt-hours (TWh) of solar power, which is more than four times the total electric energy generated by the U.S in 2018. Through renewables, the Ute Mountain Ute and a growing number of tribes are empowering their communities and land — and helping the nation as a whole transition towards a more sustainable energy infrastructure.More: The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe goes solar Colorado’s Ute Mountain Ute tribe moves into solar, sees potential for significant growthlast_img read more

EIA: Coal plants ‘uneconomical in most regions’

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:U.S. coal power generation plunged by 30 percent in the first half of 2020 off an already-depressed base, shoved out by natural gas and renewables amid low energy prices linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new figures from the Energy Information Administration.Since its peak in 2007, U.S. coal consumption has been on the decline. But the trajectory of its fall has been getting steeper, and 2020 looks set to be an unprecedentedly terrible year for the sector. Electricity generation accounts for more than 90 percent of U.S. coal consumption. In 2019, coal generation fell to a 42-year low, dropping by a record 16 percent. That record low does not look like it will last for long.Renewable electricity output rose 5 percent in the first half of 2020, and natural-gas generation surged by 9 percent in the lower 48 states, the EIA says, with gas-fired generation hitting a record U.S. high in late July during the typical summertime peak.Natural gas was already the leading source of U.S. power generation by some distance, with a 38 percent share in 2019, followed by coal (23 percent), nuclear (20 percent) and renewables (17 percent). The EIA’s renewables tally typically does not include behind-the-meter systems such as rooftop solar, a rapidly growing market in many parts of the country.While coal power’s slide is helping to reduce carbon emissions, the reasons for its decline are largely tied to another factor: money. With average monthly Henry Hub natural gas spot prices down more than 30 percent in the first half of the year, to $1.81 per MMBtu, and more than 180 gigawatts of wind and solar plants now online across the country, coal plants have simply become “uneconomical in most regions,” the EIA says.While low-cost natural gas is the most immediate threat for coal power generators and their fuel suppliers, renewable energy is becoming a more serious competitor in parts of the country, notably the ERCOT grid in Texas. In ERCOT territory, most of this year’s decline in coal generation has been replaced by renewables rather than gas, the EIA says. Gas-fired generation has actually declined slightly in Texas this year.[Karl-Erik Stromsta]More: U.S. coal power generation plummets 30% in 2020, EIA says EIA: Coal plants ‘uneconomical in most regions’last_img read more

Cemetery Runs

first_imgWhat if we told you there were expansive urban parks with miles of car-free roads and beautiful scenery that most runners completely overlook?  There’s only one catch: There are dead people in those parks.The South is home to a number of rural garden cemeteries, which were built in the 1800s and designed to be green spaces enjoyed by a city’s public. Some may think that running through a burial ground is too morbid, or even disrespectful, but many of these cemeteries host concerts, picnics, and walking tours. And more urban runners are finding them to be a peaceful destination for logging road miles without the hassle of traffic.“All it takes to overcome that feeling of morbidity is to walk through here once,” says David Moore, executive director of the Oakland Cemetery Foundation. “It’s so much more than a place to bury the dead. It’s a place to celebrate life.”Tim Grotenhaus is a runner and race director who lives next to Riverside Cemetery in Asheville, which is known for its famous literary residents and hilly terrain. “The cemetery is basically a park; it just has bones in the ground. It’s a good place to reflect while you’re running.”Here are three regional cemeteries ripe for running.Hollywood CemeteryRichmond, Va.  Paved paths roll through small valleys and over hills in this cemetery with pockets of graves and memorials set amongst trees and shrubs. Hollywood sits on the edge of downtown Richmond, making it a popular run for city dwellers. Several vantage points inside the cemetery overlook the James River. You could stage an entire run within the borders of the 135-acre cemetery.Famous Residents: James Monroe, our fifth president; John Tyler, our tenth president (famous for vetoing most bills passed by Congress in an attempt to keep federal government small); Lewis Ginter, inventor of the mass-produced cigarette.Must See: The Pyramid, a 90-foot granite pyramid built in 1869 to commemorate the 18,000 Confederate soldiers buried there.Ghost Story: The Poole Vampire breaks out of the mausoleum tomb of William Wortham Poole. Also, a cast-iron statue of a dog comes alive and roams the cemetery at night.Riverside CemeteryAsheville, N.C. Miles of paved, skinny roads circumnavigate this sloping cemetery speckled with ancient oak, poplar, and dogwood trees a mile from downtown Asheville. The narrow paths twist past marble mausoleums of this 87-acre cemetery established in 1885. Follow the roads to the bottom of the cemetery and you’ll be faced with a monster climb coming back out. Download an iPhone app with a map and self-guided historic tour, and the Thomas Wolfe 8K takes runners through the cemetery every October.Famous Residents: Thomas Wolfe, author of Look Homeward, Angel; William Sidney Porter (O. Henry); James H. Posey, a bodyguard to Abraham Lincoln.Must See: The False Angel. You’d expect to see an angel at Thomas Wolfe’s grave, but in fact the most prominent angel in Riverside towers over a Methodist preacher’s wife’s grave. This same angel was misidentified by a newspaper reporter in 1930 as the statue made famous by Thomas Wolfe in Look Homeward, Angel, but Wolfe claimed he’d never laid eyes on the statue before. Muse or not, it’s an impressive angel.Ghost Story: Riverside is home to a number of Confederate soldiers, including a Robert E. Lee relative, and an entire Confederate regiment has been seen marching in formation at dusk. Also, a macabre group of zombie enthusiasts have been known to hang out at the cemetery dressed as zombies at night. Seriously.Oakland CemeteryAtlanta, Ga. Oakland covers just 48 acres, but its narrow streets cruise through an oasis of magnolias, oaks, and roses not far from Peachtree Street, making it a popular destination for Atlanta runners. The Bell Tower sits in the center of the cemetery at the second highest point in the city of Atlanta. You can run a couple of miles within the cemetery, or include the adjacent Grant Park for a longer run. Hop into the visitor’s center for a self-guided tour map. Join hundreds of runners for the Run Like Hell 5K on October 2. oaklandcemetery.orgFamous Residents: Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone With the Wind; Golf great Bobby Jones. You’ll recognize his grave by the pile of golf-balls that pilgrims leave next to his tomb.Must See: The Lion of Atlanta, a sleeping lion sculpted from granite from Stone Mountain, marking the graves of 3,000 unknown Confederate soldiers. The archangel Gabriel, on top of Governor Joseph Brown’s Monument, is also impressive.Ghost Story: In the Confederate portion of Oakland Cemetery, listen for the “roll call of the dead,” as soldiers’ names are called and responded to with “present.” Some visitors have also reported seeing apparitions of Union soldiers hanging from trees.last_img read more

Twilight on the Trail

first_imgI’m done for the day. The office has worn me down sufficiently for one nine-hour period. My head hurts from squinting at the computer screen, my body feels heavy from inactivity, and my back scolds me for sitting for so long.As I burst out of the door and into the evening sunshine and spring breeze, I spread my arms wide to soak as much of it in as possible. Every bit of radiation, every fresh, unfiltered oxygen molecule that passes over my skin… I thank it for waiting for me, and apologize for neglecting it all day from my fluorescent-lit cell. As I stroll towards my car, my bike smiles at me and quietly says, “I’m ready. Are you?”The grind. The man. The rat race. They have a way of sapping your energy and getting you down, but there is no better cure for that than pedaling into the woods and playing games with physics and nature. Time accelerates, and the duration of four favorite songs, played at excessive volume, finds me at the trailhead.As I downshift and begin pedaling up the hill to start my loop, all angst and negativity from the day has evaporated. Those same oxygen molecules now flow into my lungs, through my heart, and then on to the atrophied limbs that are screaming with joy for the exercise. Even brutal exertion feels more like a gift than a punishment on a day like today.I reach the summit after a 45-minute climb, take a sip of water, and stare out at the sunset and back at civilization. This is what I was put on Earth to do. That other thing…I only do that to allow me to experience places like this. My boss couldn’t track me down in a million years out here.Seat down, knee pads on, and I’m in reaction mode. The world around me turns to a blur as I focus on a descent that is very familiar, yet still remains one of my all-time favorites. Conditions are perfect. The recent rain has made the dirt beautiful and tacky, and I giggle as I put my foot out and drift around an off-camber corner. There is something very liberating about laughing out loud in spite of the fact that no one can hear you.Riding my bike is a humbling experience. Every corner, root, and jump is a puzzle that I can only partially solve. No human being has ever had a perfect run on any trail. There is always room for improvement and learning, and that is part of what keeps drawing me back for more.What is work? The events of the day until this point are nonexistent as my bike dances underneath me. New life is emerging all around as the grip of winter releases, and I travel alone at dusk in my place of sanctuary. I used to try to explain this feeling to non-riders. I have given up. The scope of human communication cannot accurately depict the feelings that it brings to me, nor can it describe the sense of satisfaction afterwards. As I dance with my partner in crime down the mountainside, it truly feels like a part of me.I triple over three roots, rail a corner, and shift my weight back as my suspension soaks up a rock garden. In the blink of an eye, my front tire hits a wet rock and swaps out. It’s scary how quickly crashes occur on a mountain bike, I’ve never experienced anything quite like it. Before I know what is happening, I have somehow wrapped my right leg all the way into the frame, and the bike and I are an intermingled heap as we accelerate towards the unforgiving ground.I see stars. My upper leg is crushed in a vice that the bike has somehow created. The pain is beyond anything that I have ever experienced. I tumble to a stop, and involuntarily scream in agony to the empty woods. My mind is racing to make sense of the situation; it all just happened so fast. As if on cue, a cold breeze hits my sweat-drenched neck to signal the onset of night.I lie back in the ferns and close my eyes. The pain is still unbearable, and my mind races to assess the situation. Who did I tell that I was coming out here? Nobody. Did I see anyone at the pull-off or on the trail? No. How long will it be before anyone knows I am gone? It’s five miles of singletrack to the nearest form of civilization.My leg is still throbbing in pain and beginning to turn the dark hue of a deep tissue bruise, but I did not feel or hear the horrible snap of a broken bone. Ten minutes of counting my blessings and gathering my thoughts on the forest floor, and I am back on my bike slowly rolling downhill.I exit the trail and turn onto the uphill fire road that will reunite me with my vehicle. The last hint of daylight is fading from the sky, and the warmth is quickly following suit. In spite of the shot of pain that accompanies every other pedal crank, the work keeps me warm.Sometimes, the knowledge of how something could have transpired is just as powerful as the actual events would have been. As I limp my bike up to the roof rack on my car, I do so with a dire awareness of what could have happened, and the peculiar feeling that I have some things yet to do in this life.In spite of the pressures that the world places on me, it is time to create a vocation for myself, rather than just a paycheck.  My time on this earth is too short to do something that is not fulfilling.My parents had it right when they repeated to me, “Never confuse having a career with having a life.”last_img read more

Six-Pack Invitational

first_imgDid you do two trail works this year? Did you write your letter of intent? Did you pay the master of ceremonies $20? Did you bring a six-pack of good beer? Is your game tight?If you answered yes to all of the above questions then you could have taken part in the 18th year of the Six-Pack invitational. Harrisonburg, my old stomping grounds, has a rich and vibrant cycling community with events older than many of the riders that take part in them. One such event is the Six-Pack Invitational, where riders put it all on the line to be crowned the Invitational Winner.This grassroots downhill race, while a quest for glory, is also how much of the surrounding trail work gets done. And with traditions such as a letter of intent declaring your participation, your ride ante of a six-pack of beer, and the mandatory swig of Jaeger for all top 10 riders, you got yourself a rowdy good time.This year was no different, with Thursday night’s party revealing the starting list as names were pulled out of the hat. Sandy forced the committee to get creative, but smart thinking prevailed and it was decided that Boone’s Run would be the downhill of choice.Saturday came quickly and riders pedaled up the downhill, scoping lines, and discussing which were best.30 SECONDS! 15 SECONDS! 5, 4, 3, 2, 1! The first rider is off, and ripping down the trail. Nervous anticipation sets in as you wait your turn.Results are kept secret until after the UNIs, and then announced at the party that night. UNIs you ask? Just the Universal Fixed Gear Championships, a 2-3 lap race on fixed gear mountain bikes after a spirited beer chug and Lemond start. Check the video below of 2011’s UNI race!2011 Fixed Gear Universe Championships from Scott Wootten on Vimeo.That night saw Collin Vento, local Harrisonburg ripper, crowned as the 2012 Invitational Winner, and Sue Haywood taking the ladies title. Jaeger was had, many many many beers were drunk, pump track laps were ridden, more beers were drunk, and all in all a great time was had. Events like this keep cycling fun and lighthearted. Think you have what it takes to be the 2013 Invitational Winner? Just get those trail works in and don’t forget your six-pack…last_img read more

Weekend Pick: Ride the Guest River Gorge or Blue Suck Falls Trails

first_imgSeptember can be a magical time in the Blue Ridge. Just this morning, we awoke to temperatures in the mid-60s, giving us just a taste of fall before the mercury rises into the standard 80-degree range. Of course, we could still see a scorcher or two before autumn sets in with earnest, but peak summer is behind us for the most part. But as we transition into the fall recreation season, this does not mean you need to pack the swim trunks in the attic. There are still plenty of opportunities to get your refreshing dip on in the mountains. In fact, it’s the perfect time of year to make a swimming hole your trail destination. Start in the morning when the air is crisp and cool, and by the time you work up a sweat and make it to the river or waterfall, it will be warm enough to jump in and cool off. What could be better than that?Luckily, here in the shadow of the Appalachians, nearly all trails lead to, or through, some sort of water feature. Hiking into these beautiful places is fine and dandy, but if you have a mountain bike, riding in only adds to the adventure. Plus, air drying is a snap on the first downhill. We put the spotlight on biking to waterfalls in our September feature Wheels and Waterfalls. North Carolina’s DuPont State Forest was the focus – it is the “Land of Waterfalls” after all, and a mountain biking hotspot – but there are plenty of other places to ride to waterfalls in the northern region as well. Whether you are an expert in the saddle or are just looking for a leisurely pedal, there is something for everyone.For the advanced rider, check out Blue Suck Falls near Millboro, Virginia. This 4.5-mile singletrack loop in Douthat State Park has everything: steep climbs, steep downhills, and scenic views. If you are looking for a gentler, more family-friendly ride, head a little further south to the Guest River Gorge Trail outside Coeburn, Virginia. This rail trail traces the path of the river providing scenic views of rock bluffs, hardwood forests, and waterfalls. Either option is a great way to take advantage of cool morning temps and hotter afternoons.View Larger Maplast_img read more

Why I Still Watch

first_imgI hit rock bottom as a sports fan in July 2007. I was sitting in my living room watching the Tour de France, rooting for a Kazakh rider named Alexander Vinokourov. I don’t know what drew me to “Vino,” or, for that matter, what makes any of us root for certain athletes. I guess I admired his tenacity.Five days into the three-week race, Vinokourov—a favorite to win the overall title—had crashed in a ditch and watched the field ride away from him, all but ending his hopes of donning the maillot jaune in Paris. But Vino didn’t give up. He fought back and dominated an individual time trial in Stage 13, then won again in the mountains two days later. I remember pumping my fist and shouting at the television when he crossed the line that day, bandaged and defiant.Maybe I was tired of rooting for Americans in the Tour. The prime culprit, of course, was Lance Armstrong. But in 2006, my heart broke as I watched the people’s favorite, Floyd Landis, bonk in a crucial stage 16 and lose 10 minutes to the field. Then, the very next day, I went hoarse shouting for Landis as he roared back to stun everyone and win by 5:42. I still remember bolting out my front door after that stage and riding my mountain bike as fast as I could for three hours, so inspired by what Landis had done.Four days later, Landis won the Tour de France … only to have it all soiled by a positive synthetic-testosterone test that made him the first Tour champ in 102 years to be stripped of his title.When Vino charged to his second stage win the following summer, I thought there was no way he was dirty. The sport he loved was in too fragile a place for him to cheat. I should have known better. We all should have.Four days after his thrilling time-trial win, the news broke: Vino had tested positive for blood doping. He and his team, Astana, were thrown out of the race. This meant Danish rider Michael Rasmussen was the Tour’s new leader. Rasmussen was promptly disqualified for lying about his whereabouts during pre-Tour drug testing (he later admitted to doping from 1998 to 2010). Organizers scrambled. Cynics bellowed.Cycling was disgraced, and I was exasperated.Less than two weeks later, Barry Bonds broke Henry Aaron’s all-time home run record, belting his 756th dinger on August 7. Bonds, of course, would prove to be one of the dirtiest players in baseball history, a first-ballot Hall of Famer whose greed turned him into a pariah and has thus far kept him out of the Hall.I considered giving up fanhood altogether—no lie. I didn’t feel like I could trust what I was seeing anymore.Most distressing, yet upstaged by the hubbub over who was cheating and how, I felt like the real victims—we the fans—were irrelevant. Landis and Vinokourov didn’t know who I was, and they never would. They didn’t care that I had rooted for them, that I had winced when they fell short and celebrated when they came back. They didn’t care that they betrayed me.We were powerless, our only option being to stop watching bike racing entirely, which seemed even more unfair than their cheating.Of course, I was hardly the first to feel that way. In the 17 Tours de France that took place from 1998 to 2014, nine men won the overall title. Only four of them remain untainted by cheating.This year’s Tour begins in the Netherlands on July 4. After two straight years of mostly clean racing, I’ve noticed that my confidence as a fan is coming back. The best GC rider in the world, 2013 Tour champion Chris Froome, seems genuine when he says, forcefully, time and again, that he is clean. I will root for him this year, just as I did last year until he crashed out.But like a jilted lover, I will maintain a degree of caution in my rooting to protect myself.I like to think the climate is different now. When the entire peloton was dirty and seemingly every other major leaguer was on steroids, the internal culture was one of acceptance, if for no other reason than to show solidarity. Now, thanks to ample public shaming, more effective testing measures (though some believe cyclists have caught up and may be duping us again), and stiffer penalties, cheaters are forced to wear a brighter scarlet letter if they get caught. I believe that has deterred a fair number, certainly more than the prospect of betraying additional fans.But as we get reminded every so often (like when three-time Boston Marathon champion Rita Jeptoo tested positive for EPO last year), it will probably take another generation to truly cleanse our sports. The other day I read a story in USA Today about Alex Rodriguez’s pursuit of Willie Mays on the home run list. A-Rod (A-Fraud or A-Roid also work) was within five dingers of Mays, who happens to be Bonds’ godfather. Bonds told the paper he was rooting for Rodriguez—a serial steroid user—to pass Mays.“Any time anybody in the game does something that’s a great accomplishment, the game of baseball should celebrate that. No matter what,” Bonds said. He couldn’t comprehend how anyone could root against A-Rod. “Why hate on something you’re paying to see?” Bonds said. “I don’t understand it. He’s entertaining us.”I guess. But Bonds still misses the point, which is not surprising. These transgressions are not your favorite actress getting a boob job. This is purity stained. Trust pissed on. By people we will never get to ask why.Maybe all our modern scrutiny has made it feel worse. Maybe it was just a rotten generation of athletes and duplicity was inevitable. Take Vinokourov, for instance. After serving a two-year ban for his 2007 test, Vino returned to the pro tour and, in 2010, allegedly offered a Russian cyclist named Alexandr Kolobnev 100,000 Euros in the middle of a breakaway to let Vino win. According to a report in the Swiss magazine L’Illustre, which broke the story, Vinokourov denied the allegations. “I won because it was I who went the fastest,” he said. Now Vinokourov manages his former team, Astana, wielding significant influence in the sport he helped take down.And finally we come to American sprinter Justin Gatlin. Gatlin won the 2004 Olympic gold medal in the 100 meters, but in 2006 he tested positive for synthetic testosterone and was banned for four years (he also tested positive for amphetamines in 2001). His biggest sponsor, Nike, dropped him.Gatlin served his ban and came back to run the fastest 200-meter time in the world last year. Many feel he is the sport’s second-fastest man behind Usain Bolt. The IAAF even nominated Gatlin for Athlete of the Year—which, incidentally, prompted German discus star Robert Harting to ask the IAAF to rescind his nomination for the same award.Hoping to capitalize on Gatlin’s return to the spotlight, Nike re-signed him last year, a move that prompted a wave of condemnation from other Nike athletes and runners—and reminded us where morality ranks in a sports world built around money and fame.Sometimes I still ask myself, “Is it safe to be a sports fan again?” I’m still not sure. It takes a lot longer to mend a heart broken by betrayal than inferior performance.last_img read more

Virginia is for Outdoor Lovers! Lexington – Rockbridge County

first_imgThis contest is over.Rules and Regulations: Package must be redeemed within 1 year of winning date. Entries must be received by mail or through the contest sign-up page by 12:00 Midnight EST on October 15, 2016 – date subject to change. One entry per person. One winner per household. Sweepstakes open only to legal residents of the 48 contiguous United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 years of age or older. Void wherever prohibited by law. Families and employees of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and participating sponsors are not eligible. No liability is assumed for lost, late, incomplete, inaccurate, non-delivered or misdirected mail, or misdirected e-mail, garbled, mistranscribed, faulty or incomplete telephone transmissions, for technical hardware or software failures of any kind, lost or unavailable network connection, or failed, incomplete or delayed computer transmission or any human error which may occur in the receipt of processing of the entries in this Sweepstakes. By entering the sweepstakes, entrants agree that Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and their promotional partners reserve the right to contact entrants multiple times with special information and offers. Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine reserves the right, at their sole discretion, to disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry process and to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Sweepstakes. Winners agree that Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and participating sponsors, their subsidiaries, affiliates, agents and promotion agencies shall not be liable for injuries or losses of any kind resulting from acceptance of or use of prizes. No substitutions or redemption of cash, or transfer of prize permitted. Any taxes associated with winning any of the prizes detailed below will be paid by the winner. Winners agree to allow sponsors to use their name and pictures for purposes of promotion. Sponsors reserve the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value. All Federal, State and local laws and regulations apply. Selection of winner will be chosen at random at the Blue Ridge Outdoors office on or before October 15, 6:00 PM EST 2016 – date and time subject to change. Winners will be contacted by the information they provided in the contest sign-up field and have 7 days to claim their prize before another winner will be picked. Odds of winning will be determined by the total number of eligible entries received. One entry per person or two entries per person if partnership opt-in box above is checked. Shenandoah Rides & Rentals Cycling Excursion. Experience the area’s beauty on a half-day bicycle trip. Choose which of our most popular routes to ride and we provide the gear (or bring your own). Ride solo or with a guide. See what you have been missing in the Shenandoah Valley! Brew Ridge Taps Dinner and “Hike. Enjoy dinner and a “hike” for two at Brew Ridge Taps, home of Wafflewiches and micro brews. What is a “hike” you ask? It is our 4-beer sampler! ENTER TO WIN A VIRGINIA ADVENTURE GETAWAY TO LEXINGTON, VA AND A TREK FX 2 BIKE FROM BLUE RIDGE CYCLERY!A TREK 7.2 bike! – Color and style of your choice!center_img Dessert at Sweet Things Ice Cream Shoppe. Savor homemade gourmet ice cream for two. A Lexington landmark for 30 years! Hampton Inn Col Alto Overnight. Enjoy the historic charm of the 1827 Col Alto Manor House with all the modern conveniences.(Applicable only Monday-Thursday. Certain blackout dates may apply.)last_img read more

Mountain Mama: The Power of Routine

first_imgJust saying the word “routine” gives me a trapped, suffocating feeling. I’ve resisted it, opting for a job that requires equal parts travel and desk time, which I can do anywhere I can plug in a laptop and grab a cup of coffee.My son starting kindergarten triggered a whole lot of anxiety, mostly because the schedule required a morning drop off and an afternoon pick-up, massive barriers in a schedule I prided myself for being a wilderness of possibility.  I liked the thought of being able to go kayaking or mountain biking any day of the week, for being up for adventure at any time, although rarely did that thought match the realty of my day-to-day life. My workload had kept me so busy that I worked more hours than at an office job.Despite my resistance to routine, the school year rolled around anyway. There was a rigid timeline imposed on our mornings – lunch made, breakfast eaten, dressed, water bottles filled, and son loaded into truck.After the first week of school, I realized that the school day created a rhythm to my day, and even I admitted the power of habits. One of my friends extensively remodeled her house and explained that maintaining a schedule was like framing out the walls in a house. She feared the house would look smaller with walls, but actually knowing where one space ends and another begins provided the boundaries necessary to arrange furniture and consider how to best use space. The same goes for my life. With school in session, I had the hours of eight to three to figure out how to eat well, work out, and accomplish my work. Turns out I’d confused not having a plan with freedom. Actually scheduling my days and weeks allowed me to pursue big dreams like a regular work out schedule and eating foods that fueled me.Doing the same thing at the same time over and over transformed the way I thought. I stopped putting brainpower into motivating myself to go for a run or to prepare healthy food. Indecision became a thing of the past and I just laced up my shoes and dusted off the slow cooker. I felt more centered, gained focus and clarity about how I’d spend the day. Even as I recognized that organizing my life and planning into the available time resulted in fewer meltdowns for my son and fewer last-minute crisis for me, the daily grind felt monotonous. The days merged together, one becoming indistinguishable from the last. I longed to be free exploring the mountains, the rivers, and rainforests, sleeping under a star-filled sky. I wanted to feel unconstructed by time, getting so immersed in flow that time bends, speeds, or stalls. Being fully alive required leaping outside my comfort zone, and so I set about seeking adventures within my daily grind.I relooked at my routine and set aside time with the intention to find the adventure within everyday life. Sometimes it was spending a couple hours in the forest with my son. Sometimes it involved going to a new trailhead to run. Stepping outside of routine, if only a few steps, offered new perspectives. I remind myself to stop worrying about whether the adventure was big enough or exciting enough. Being open to the opportunities and curious about exploring, within the confines of routine has expanded my sense that I’m right where I’m supposed to be, nurturing my adventurous spirit while getting my son to kindergarten.I remind myself of George Elliot’s words. “Adventure is not outside man, it is within.”last_img read more

3rd Annual Asheville Van Life Rally Run Down

first_imgDo you remember your first wilderness experience? Or maybe your favorite wilderness experience? That’s what we were asking folks at the 3rd Annual Asheville Van Life Rally last week at the Wedge at Foundation. Adventure vehicles from all over came together for a night of cold beer, live music, art, and most importantly – van envy. We decided to do things a little different for this one. We joined forces with the crew from the Blue Ridge Outdoors Asheville office, and our friends from Crazy Creek and Nat Geo Maps to find out about attendant’s first or favorite time spent outdoors.Being outside is extremely important to us and everyone who is involved with the Live Outside and Play program. We wanted to celebrate the idea of being outside by finding out what the crowd had to say about their most memorable wilderness experiences. We came to the party armed to the teeth with Crazy Creek Classic chairs as prizes for those who stopped by to chat. The idea was to have the crowd talk to us about their most memorable wilderness experience, then we’d snap a Polaroid picture of them and have them pin it up on a large map of the United States provided to us by Nat Geo Maps. By the end of the night, our map was PACKED with polaroids of smiling adventure enthusiasts. If there’s one thing we’ve learned during our time on the road, it’s that people are very passionate about the outdoors and the gear that keeps them safe and comfortable while they are exploring the places they love. That was reinforced as we spoke to close to a hundred folks who shared fond memories of times spent in nature. We hear it all the time, participants shared their memories of their Crazy Creek Classic chairs that regularly last them 20+ years. All of the van life rallies that we have been a part of have been a blast. This one was no exception. The place was jam-packed with adventure vehicles in all shapes in sizes. There were Toyota Tacomas outfitted with rooftop tents, cross-country motorcycles, and vans, vans, vans! As the sun went down and the music played on, we couldn’t help but sit back and smile. It’s been a wild ride for us this year and as fall starts to take hold we couldn’t be more thankful for being able to attend events like this and for YOU who make it all possible. If you like the gear we’re reppin’, or what we’re wearing, check out some of the sponsors that make this tour possible: La Sportiva, Crazy Creek, National Geographic, RovR Products, Sea to Summit, Mountain House, LifeStraw, and Lowe Alpine.last_img read more