Winter Fun – Colorado Style

adventure of the week, colorado, Colorado Events, Environment, family, food, outdoors, Scotland, Travel

Colorado is shockingly mild in the winter months. Sure we have days or weeks of bitter cold or 6 feet of snow every year or two, but for the most of the winter, it’s not bad. This means that we get spoiled with having great days to play outside in the winter. While we can’t do all of the fun that summer usually brings, we have the option to play in the snow without being totally frozen. Of course, this can mean some innovation.

Between Dog Sledding and Ice Castles in late January we visited a family friend’s property. This Scottish-born gentleman has a nice spot of land outside of Breckenridge in a town that barely exists on the map (if a few houses along a dirt road count as a town…they do in Colorado anyway).

The landscape of the property hearkens to the dramatic hillscapes of Northern Scotland and while I talked with the owner and his lovely wife I learned that they chose the spot for that very reason. In fact, the snowy blanket that covered the hills was almost identical to that of what I saw in the area surrounding Glencoe four years ago.

Add to the landscape a homemade bar inside of a shed, as anyScottish transplant would have, and a fire pit, some beers, and a fewsnowmobiles and we had a winter party.

Only around 9,000 feet above sea level the weather was manageable, but chilly with a high humidity. Thus, a fire was built, via gasoline and broken pallets. We made beer slushies with the snow, and sippedcool ciders. The snowmobiles were taken into the hills and onto a small frozenlake, that perched delicately on the edge of the property. Avoiding unsettlingthe ice fishers we ran snowmobile circles on one part of the lake, draggingpeople behind on skis, snowboards, sleds, and a precarious pink flamingo tube meant for a more casual swimming pool life.

While the snowmobiling was fun, as any action sport is, thebest part was meeting new people and talking over a drink. It was great to talkwith friends new and old about their memories and new stories. My husband’sfamily is always full of laughter and love and a good tale or joke. While theydon’t always agree on politics and lifestyles, they always agree to love eachother and have a good time, which is something anyone can get behind.  

Sláinte!

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Emerald Lake – RMNP

adventure of the week, colorado, Environment, Nebraska, Travel

Another Adventure of the Week for your Saturday reading and another one in the endless nature and beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park!

I went with a co-worker and my step-daughter to hike the trail that is a total of around 3 miles in and back again. This is a far more busy trail than others in the park, and even starting at 5:00 a.m. meant there was a fair amount of people upon our arrival at 7:00 a.m.


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How lucky we are to live in #Colorado #rmnp #rockymountainnationalpark #emeraldlaketrail #mountains #adventure #hike #wild

A post shared by Rebecca Lee Robinson (@beccaleephoto) on While I was surprised at the amount of people, it did not take away from the beauty of the hike, and it was exciting to see so many out-of-towners, including a family from Germany. There is real value in getting to live in such a beautiful place and getting to share it with others.

The trail is unique in that it is lined by elegant little lakes creating a pleasant and beautiful view from just about every spot on the trail. In addition to the lakes there are great cliff and rock faces that allow for stunning views of the area. One can easily see for miles and truly take in the majestic wonders of alpine regions.

If you are looking for a good mid-range hike that is easy to accomplish in 2-3 hours, this is a great option for family groups and those note used to the altitude.


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sunshine and the #mountains will always bring me joy. #rockymountainnationalpark #rmnp #emeraldlake #colo #foco #coloradowoman #travel #getoutandplay #explore #womantraveler #travelblogger

A post shared by Rebecca Lee Robinson (@beccaleephoto) on For those seeking animals, I ran into numerous critters along the way, mostly birds, and a very friendly chipmunk. This is a great trail for kids to explore nature and work on animal identification.

Of course the whole point of the trail is the lakes, and boy do they impress!

Nymph:

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Dream:

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Emerald:

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HAPPY TRAVELS!

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Travel Freedom with Fitness

colorado, Environment, family, musings, Nebraska, Travel

When I started college in 2011 I did not fully ascertain that it would mean as many sedentary hours as it did. My Bachelor’s is in Journalism and a second degree in History, as you can imagine this means being sedentary, reading, typing, editing. Sedentary. Add a Master’s which was another year of sitting on my butt and I began to realize I could not be as active as I wanted to be.

What I mean by that is that by not consistently being active I was stuck in a loop of not being able to endure the hikes, tours, and active adventures that I wanted to do a whim. Why I thought it would be different is a bit of a muddled mess.

My parents grew up with midwestern parents that moved from being farming/ranching families into sedentary white-collar types. Add some poor genetics prone to diabetes, hip dysplasia, heart disease, obesity, and some cancers and you have a family that doesn’t look too good. Of course this is exacerbated by inactivity, a carb and fat rich diet, and sedentary jobs and you get me at a much less fit, higher weight than I ever wanted to be.

SO I made the decision over the last few years, post grad school, and with some stumbles, to keep moving. Keep moving in being active, working out, eating better, being healthy. I avoid the fad diets, and extreme weight loss and instead I focus on eating what I feel my body needs for nutrition. I avoid sugar and too many carbs, I eat more veggies, and I go for lean proteins. I try to get fat that is good for me, and not overly processed. I am simply making gains to be healthier.

I want to be healthier so that I can get out and enjoy the world without limitations and with the strength and confidence to do so comfortably. Each step I take on a weekly workout gets me closer to that.

Maybe the most visible sign is that I feel better all around, while the scale hasn’t moved much, my clothes are looser. While I have more muscle and a leaner face, the best part is being able to hike for 8 miles and not feel a complete disaster afterwards.

I have some issues to still overcome, such as being more consistently active (three or more times a week) and being strict with portion control. I have a hip issue that I am trying to find a game plan to treat which prevents bike riding and classes like kickboxing (it’s fun but my hip disagrees). With these goals I am hoping to be able to do more and more active trips, tours, and adventures.

In 2020 I am hoping to hike the Inca Trail. By 2026 I am hoping to add Mt. Kilimanjaro to my list. In between there I am planning on knocking off a few Colorado Fourteeners in between.

I hope that all of you feel inspired to keep active so that those things you love are in reach. If you have any tips, share below.

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Ditching Disposables When Traveling

Allergen-free eating on the road, Environment, food, musings, Travel

If you have been paying attention to much news, you know our plastic use is becoming a serious problem. Not only is it already a pollutant that doesn’t break down, but its becoming increasingly hard to recycle. For 20 years China has been taking plastics from the United States, and other counties like New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Yet, starting this year, there is no more plastic being purchased by China, which means there is a fuck ton, literally, of plastic with nowhere to go.

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With plastic not as easy to recycle, our culture and consumerism is facing the reality that we have way more plastic than we can handle. There are several reasons for this, plastic is often more expensive to recycle and reuse, than getting new oil. There is a problem in that we move plastic around the world before turning it into something, which when a main market is closing its doors, means that we’re dealing with trying to find new markets to reuse and produce. Then there is the blame on consumers, where most of the plastic sent to be recycled is dirty, smelly, and problematic. Learn more here. The other big issue is that amount of pollution this waste has created for China, which is part of the reason it has closed its doors.

Whatever the political dynamics are present, we have to cut down on our plastic use. SERIOUSLY CUT DOWN ON OUR PLASTIC USE. That means in every element of our lives, we need to reduce our waste. This very much includes when we travel.

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I am taking a road trip through the weekend, and my goal is to use the least amount of disposable items possible. This means a level of planning ahead so that I have items to reduce my waste. Here are my tips to reduce my mess, and trash, and to do my part on the plastic problem.

  1. Water Bottle
    • Most people don’t know this, but you can usually ask at a restaurant or gas station (with a soda fountain) that also has a water dispenser to refill for no cost.
    • As a back up, look for drinking fountains and as a last resort use a bathroom sink (make sure this is not marked as non-potable).
  2. Coffee Mug
    • You may be able to use a combo water bottle/mug but otherwise having a reusable mug is great for your morning needs.
    • When visiting a Starbucks of Dunkin Donuts, or your local mom and pop, just tell them you have a reusable cup. Even in a drive through I have yet to have a coffee shop bulk, and often they are happy to give you the refill price over a full price.
  3. Reusable Containers
    • Invest in some collapsable ones so that they take up less space! These are great for on the go pastries, full dishes, sandwiches, snacks and anything else you may want. It’s bad enough that most food is in plastic of some sort, why not reduce it’s plastic waste by at least half?
    • This is also a great way to make sure you pack some food so that you reduce eating out and expenses.
  4. Reusable Straws
    • If you feel like you need a straw, or some people just need them, then the more common and popular metal or plastic washable straws are excellent options.

What are your reusable favorites? My next steps are reusable plastic wraps made with beeswax!

Happy Travels!

ditching-disposables

NOTE: In some countries around the world you CANNOT drink the tap water, thus please keep this in mind when traveling.

Wild Animal Sanctuary-Adventure of the week

adventure of the week, colorado, Colorado Events, Environment, Travel

Maybe you are seeing a theme, why yes I do love animals!

This particular week involves Lions and Tigers and Bears…. oh my!

 

And wolves and lynx and bobcat and…. you get the idea.

 

Last weekend I took my Girl Scout troop to the Wild Animal sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado.

Keenesburg is about an hour south of Fort Collins, and around 40 minutes North of Denver. Yet it’s a world away from the traffic, noise, and hustle and bustle that is living in town.

 

Keenesburg is really just a small prairie village that happens to have one of Colorado’s best kept secrets. The only reason it got its claim to fame is due to it being so rural and having extra land for sale and to spare.

Enter the wild animal sanctuary. The sanctuary started as a private project of love by Pat Craig who began rescuing animals that were up for euthanasia or that were being mistreated. Rescues came from around the country from zoos, owners that misjudged their ability to own a predator, and circuses. Before they knew it, they had a lot more critters and needed more resources.

When I was a kid no one could visit without getting special permission. Now the sanctuary welcomes around 200,000 visitors a year! Guests not only visit the animals, they also learn about the rehabilitation process for these often abused and neglected creatures.

The sanctuary specializes in carnivores and larger predators as they are often the hardest to care for. What makes their experience unique is solely the amount of space the animals have to live, yell, have friends, play, eat, and be happy in their captive lives.

In addition to giving the cats their space and a life of comfort, the sanctuary boasts the longest raised walkway in the world. Almost like a boardwalk, a raised platform goes on for over a mile giving guests the chance to view the animals without infringing on their daily lives.

As presented at the sanctuary, the critters don’t feel threatened when people are above them in such a matter. This also improves the visibility for visitors as it gives guests an intimate view without driving animals to discomfort or hiding.

Perhaps my personal favorite aspect was getting to hear the animals call and run like they would naturally. The lions growled and talked to each other. The wolves howled. The bobcats rolled in the grass. Every animal seemed contented and happy, even if his or her lives had not always been that way.

What was sad about the sanctuary is that it has to exist. It’s that more tigers are captive in Texas than in the wild. And that humans are the culprit. While I think baby tigers are adorable there is considerable ignorance. To think baby Baloo won’t turn into a giant bear in a few years. Animals also belong to their instincts. Look at even a house cat, less domesticated than dogs they can terrorize their homes and they’re between 8-20lbs imagine one at 300! Point being, animals deserve not to be mistreated over the selfish whims of people.

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Some of the animals had visible scars, yes scars, from their years of mistreatment while other showed signs of neglect. One obese tiger that as going through rehabilitation had been over fed and under exercised that it was shocking to see them in extra weight. I had never thought an obese tiger was a reality, but lo and behold.

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WAS3WAS1500Yet, trying to move past the sad, is the hope; that with patience, love, education, and action we can end these tragedies. The Wild Animal Sanctuary is changing minds and the world and I hope, if in the neighborhood, you will take the time to be humbled by animals being their natural, wonderful selves.

Happy Travels!

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I read an article by NPR that discussed the moral and ethical concerns around having a child in the age of climate change. Read it if you haven’t already.

I have been having these same concerns since I was about 13 and took a child development course in middle school, which meant that I had to bring home a fake screaming baby monster…. Which had the effect of making me really consider the child commitment. A good shock factor for protection, but it also opened the door to talking with adults in my life on the moral qualms on what it meant to be a parent in an over-taxed and mistreated planet.

A dear family friend made sure to inform my sisters and I of our choices. That we had them, first and foremost, and that our choices had an impact on others around us. My family is big and classic examples of midwestern protestants that have babies and their babies have babies all before 30. Therefore the pressure was always on us, and the real expectation pressed on us, to have children in our 20’s and pass on the family traits.

My sister’s and I have always hesitated at this idea. Instead we all want our own time and opportunities to travel, get degrees, and make sure we’re better prepared for children. Then there becomes my climate anxiety on what exactly it means for children in the future.

My fiance has a daughter that is 9, and I think very often how much she will be left with in the future. I think of the recent flooding in Louisiana and how it DIRECTLY was influenced from climate change. It was also personal in that one of my best friend’s had her entire home submerged in water. She now has to figure out what can be saved or has to be destroyed. Yet the headache doesn’t end there, because future predictions and melting ice caps mean that many areas will be underwater, soon and permanently. Including many part of recently flooded Louisiana, parts of Florida, New York etc. Learn more here.

src=”http://www.climatecentral.org/wgts/human-caused-flooding/index.html?utm_source=Robinson%20Creative%20Enterprises&utm_medium=embed&utm_campaign=2016HumanCausedFlIt’s not just the ocean rising, but it is the weather that comes with rising temperatures, melting ice caps, cold and hot water hitting together and more.

It’s all around not great news, and YES we are taking a few good, and feel good steps by countries signing contracts and reducing their output. However, the reality is that our children and grandchildren are going to have a lot of issues to sort out.

In Colorado we may not have the ocean to worry about, but rising temperatures in the summer pose risks to human wellbeing, crops, livestock and water supply. By 2050 they’re expecting summers in Colorado to be significantly higher than they were previously. Meaning we can expect a lot more 100 degree+ days. That also causes issues to snowpack in areas that typically have snow reserves later into spring and summer will then run off earlier, which can disrupt natural growth patterns and farming.

Precipitation is harder to determine, but Colorado has had many droughts over the years and with various parts of the state growing dramatically in population, and there being more need for natural resources, it could be the perfect storm for a difficult life.

So here is the kicker. With current estimates on life expectancy, it’s likely I’ll live to be around 80. Or until about 2071. If I’m 32 when I have kids, they’ll be 10 in 2043 and maybe will have kids within a decade of that. If projections are where they expect, for a 2050 estimate of hot, dry, and scary changes their 30s, and possibly their life with those repercussions are frightening.

That’s if things DON’T get worse than they’re expecting. Which, so far, isn’t looking promising. Yet many, myself included, want to be hopeful that times will be ok. While many scientists point out that it’s all too little and far too late. Therefore it haunts me to think that we may just be running out of time to be here and any children I bring into the world will have to fight much harder just to survive.

Terrible images flash into my mind of Mad Max, The Road, and the Book of Eli; desert landscapes, little hope, and near starvation. It’s an abysmal and depressing idea, that may be closer to reality than science-fiction.

Finally, I will leave you with that trailer for This Changes Everything and have you mill about that even though the United States could face terrible strife, it is nothing compared to the horrors that poor countries will have to face and the untold millions that will suffer as a result of our selfishness and lack of care.

No one can know for the future but maybe, just maybe, we could take this all more seriously and make choices, vote, support and demand action to make the hit a little less.

 

Land of Death and Destruction- Climate Anxiety

colorado, Environment, musings, Uncategorized