Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Mike has been plotting a secret Labor Day camping/hiking trip for months, ever since we got back from South Dakota. Usually I'm the trip planner, so I was really excited to see what he had put together. We bought a backpacking stove and freeze-dried meals and like 15 Clif bars, we made a ton of PBJ sandwiches and packed up all of our camping/backpacking gear. Then we drove four hours to Blue Mesa Reservoir, arriving close to midnight.

Then I spent the entire night scrambling in and out of my mummy sleeping bag, running from the tent to the vault toilet.

Over. And. Over. Again.


Thanks, stomach bug.

So, the secret camping trip ended quite abruptly. Mike was planning on hiking Sunshine and Redcloud Peaks -- two 14ers about two hours from our campsite -- on Saturday. On Sunday we were going to hike down into Black Canyon of the Gunnison for an overnight stay, and then we were going to hike back up out of the canyon on Monday.

Sounded incredible.

Instead, we spent Saturday morning driving through Black Canyon to see it from a tourist's perspective (aka the side of the road), then the afternoon driving back to Denver. Mike, of course, was a real trooper throughout my tearful, exhaustion-induced breakdowns (I felt really bad for ruining everything). Always thankful for that guy.

Regardless of the less-than-perfect outcome of the trip, we did manage to have a good weekend...after I spent the next 24 hours either on the couch or in my bed. Monday I felt much better, so we squeezed in a 6-mile hike in Indian Peaks Wilderness to Blue Lake.

And then we topped off the weekend with cream cheese & jalapeno stuffed burgers and Reese's s'mores. (Obviously by Monday night, my stomach was feeling much better!).

Peace, Love, and RuinedTrips.

Friday, August 10, 2012

This Week.

It's been a long week.

A very, very long week.

But I realized it was a week full of learning experiences. Here's what I learned:

I cannot run a mile as fast as I thought I could.
I have the ability to eat donuts 3 days in a row and not gain weight (this is a really great skill to have).
You can't always trust doctors or dentists, and sometimes you are way smarter than them even though they have an advanced degree that cost 94579871656 dollars.
I love hearing Conrad yell my name when I walk in the door: "Ant Isti! YAY!" Melts my heart.
U.S. Bank is annoying. So is Wells Fargo.
I can still cry to my mom when I have a bad day.
My husband rocks (but I guess I already knew that).
When the cat knocks water on to your computer, it doesn't actually break the computer -- it only causes it to make strange random beeping noises that are as loud as a smoke detector.
It's a great feeling when you can go to a restaurant with friends who you haven't seen in a year and begin dinner with a conversation about oral hygiene and how to keep your retainers from getting smelly. (True story, that conversation happened).

I'm glad it's Friday.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sore Legs.

One of my goals for the year was to hike five more 14ers. I've already done four this summer, and plan on doing the Lincoln-Democrat-Bross combo next weekend, so I'll definitely get there. There's something about mountain climbing that is so addictive.

We did Grays and Torreys on the Fourth of July with our friends Laura, John, and Stacy. This was the first multiple-14er hike that I had done, and it was definitely challenging in a different way than some of the others we've done. It's tough enough to mentally get yourself to the top of one 14er, let alone two. I actually thought that getting to Grays was fairly easy (all things considered), but having to climb down the saddle and then back up another pitch left me mentally pooped. Plus, we had to haul it up and then back down Torreys, because there was some questionable weather moving in.

Grays (left) and Torreys (right)

Giving his wife a heart attack

Laura & me

Summit of Grays

The group

Stacy's 5th 14er!

Summit of Torreys

Yesterday, we did Missouri Mountain with our friends Gretchen and Dave, who are 14er crazies. This was Gretchen's 30th summit and Dave's 20-something. I'm just glad I'm almost to double digits! Missouri was probably the prettiest summit we've done, although it had some killer switchbacks through the trees and a long windy walk along a ridge to get to the summit. We had the summit to ourselves for awhile, and the wind died down just as we were eating lunch. Beautiful, beautiful day.

Incredibly beautiful. We walked along that ridge to get to the summit.

Windy and a little chilly!

At the summit

On top of Missouri, with our Cardinals hats!
Summers in Colorado are seriously the best.

Peace, love & Missouri.

Friday, July 27, 2012


Once again, it's been forever since I blogged. Our summer is just too busy!

Last week, four of my best friends from college came out to visit from Missouri. It was so great to catch up, and we had the best time hiking in the mountains, drinking wine in our hot tub in Breckenridge, and just giggling at dinner downtown. I'm so glad they made the trip out and am so thankful for each of them.

Mike was a real trooper and was extremely patient with us and the high levels of estrogen that overloaded the apartment. (Read: bras and clothes strewn about the apartment, 5 cosmetic bags in the bathrooms, and countless exclamations of "Mike, don't come in here right now!").

After church on Sunday

Breakfast at Snooze

City Park Jazz

Hiking Silver Dollar Lake near Georgetown

Next post includes THREE 14'ers :)

Peace, love & good friends.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Summer's Here.

I haven't really been blogging much, mostly because 1) I don't feel that my life is that blog-able right now, and 2) we have been so busy that blogging is at the bottom of the list.

What have we been doing, you ask? Well, aside from the usual pool lounging, beer-kickballing, and social getting-togethering, we have been exploring and discovering new nooks and crannies of the West.

We went to South Dakota -- to the beautiful Black Hills, Custer State Park, Badlands National Park, and Mount Rushmore -- all in 3 days. We came home exhausted, grimy, and $62 poorer due to a nit-picky Wyoming cop (6mph over?! Really?!), but we had a great time.


Custer State Park buffalo

We've also gotten in two good Colorado hikes so far this summer. Colorado summers are my favorite (minus the fact that our state is a tinderbox this year).

Hiking to Murray Lake.

Not having much fun on the way down, thanks to the snow.
Mt. Evans Ascent. 14er number six!

So...yeah. Nothing too exciting, I guess. At least not compared to the posts where I was galavanting about Antarctica. :)

Peace, love, & summertime!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Green Thumb.

The past month has been pure insanity, with weddings and camping trips and drives to and from St. Louis, so blogging has been the least of my concerns!

However, I have embarked on a new journey that I wanted to share: gardening!

It all started with a Yellow Pear Heirloom Tomato plant that a friend gave me. I've been wanting to start growing herbs since last summer, but was lacking motivation to actually buy the supplies and give it a shot. Thankfully, this tomato plant has jumpstarted my drive to have a little garden! For now, I'm going to try the tomatoes (I'm not confident that they'll survive, but what the heck), rosemary, oregano, and lemon balm (can't wait for some iced tea with a hint of lemon!).

My parents and grandparents seem to have been blessed with a natural green thumb, so I'm hoping that gene reveals itself in me along this journey.

Also, I'm leaving out pictures of the tomato plants because they're tiny and they are not as pretty as my herbs :)

Peace, love & green thumbs.

Sunday, May 6, 2012


As you may or may not know, my family is moving to Salt Lake City this summer. 

So are the Penn Family animals.

And instead of flying out in the cargo hold of an airplane (a situation likely to end up in either a dead or cross-eyed cat), Kira is living at 5280 until the family moves! My dad already started his new position in SLC, and so he dropped off Kira with Mike and I on his way through Denver. Mom and Gracie will pick her up when they move later this summer, after the house is sold. 

At first I was a little nervous about having the cat (even though I volunteered), because cats generally annoy me, and I haven't had to face the responsibility of pet ownership since I lived with my parents. 

However, Kira is slowly winning over my cold, cat-hating heart. She is pretty much the only cat I like, because she doesn't smell bad and she doesn't have an obnoxious meow -- except early in the morning, when she demands attention. But that's ok, I can deal with that. She is content with you holding her, she's content with you not. She's happy to meet new people, but she's definitely not going to kill you with kindness or try to woo you with affectionate purrs (she'll probably just rub up against your leg once or twice -- to let you know she's there). Her only vices are knocking over cups of water when you're not looking and gnawing on things like fake plants in vases. Not a bad package :)

{Vice #1}

Mike and I have also found Kira to be a great source of entertainment. We've already found her in bizarre places (like behind our liquor stash on top of our refrigerator). She is adorable when she plays with her beloved hot pink Easter egg, and she's taken a great liking to Mike's backscratcher made of golf tees. She's a man's cat too -- she likes to sit outside with Mike on the balcony and drink beer on Friday evenings.

{Exploring the balcony}

All this goes to say that I am publicly acknowledging my love for Kira. 
And that my family might not get her back. 

Peace, love & kitty cats.