Category Archives: Outdoor Adventure

The Angel & the Grinch



Today is the summer solstice – the first official day of summer.

After a cooler May, I’d say summer is here; most of June so far has been hot-hot-hot and dry. I know this not only from feeling the temperatures, but from watching the mountains change.

I love how the Angel of Shavano and her partner the Grinch illustrate this on Mt Shavano, one of the 14,000 + ft peaks in the Sawatch range. I’ve drawn a ragged line around these snow features in the top image (from June 8 when they were about at their prime), so hopefully you can see how the snow has changed them in the past few weeks.


Mt Shavano, May 30 2016

Everyday I see her from a bit different perspective as I go about my day in the valley where I live. On May 30 my husband and I took a hike to “the Crater” in the Arkansas Hills. It was a stormy cool day and the snow had just barely begun to melt.

Mt Shavano June 8, 2016

Mt Shavano June 8, 2016

Here they are on June 8 during an early morning jaunt on the close-in trails just above town – the grinch is peering into the angel’s armpit with his grinchy grin.


Mt Shavano June 14, 2016

On June 14, from Franz Lake just outside of town, I noticed that the angel’s one arm had become detached…and the grinch’s mouth was becoming part of his eye.

Mt Shavano June 15, 2016

Mt Shavano June 15, 2016

The next day, from up on a mesa outside of town that arm was even more melted.

[You can click on any of the double images above for a larger view of the images.]

Mt Shavano June 20, 2016

Mt Shavano June 20, 2016

and today…on the solstice both the angel and the grinch are really no longer recognizable. They have melted into the mountain for the summer.

And time continues to march on.

12Apr2012AngelAlthough I have not kept exact records of the comings and goings of the angel & the grinch, each season I love to watch them come and go. The angel makes appearances in the winter only to put on her winter blanket again. During one of our worst drought years she was almost gone by the end of April (image to the left is from April 2012).

Nature is a wonderful storyteller for what is happening in our world – whether it is watching the snow accumulate and melt from the mountains, the tides of the ocean ebb & flow, or just watching the light in the day change as the season changes.

What are the cycles in nature you enjoy watching? Or if you haven’t done so in the past, what might you watch to help you feel the passage of time?

I’d love to hear how nature tells you stories.




ExploreColored_smP.S. I’ll be taking a little storytelling break over the summer as I go on some exploring adventures with my husband. Check out my illustration to the right to see some of the places I’ll be visiting!

If you want to illustrate some of your explorations I invite you to join my mermaid community and get your musings adventure ebook! You’ll also receive my monthly mermaid tales, and in July while I’m away I’ll be sharing a few of my favorite coloring play sheets again – including the one on the right. Click here to check out all of the details and sign-up.


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Filed under My Salida Backyard, Nature, Outdoor Adventure

Sandy Adventures


A few weekends ago my hubby and I took a spontaneous overnight – to a five star location. No — not a fancy hotel room, but a room with a view at an absolutely magical location.


We live about a one and a half hour drive from Great Sand Dunes National Park and we try to make a visit there each year in late winter or early spring. We have a wonderful room in our trusty camper van, Gandalf,  which almost ensures a five star view.

Footprints-inSand1_smOur spontaneous visit this year happened to fall on opening weekend of the park’s campground (which, due to budget, is closed in the winter until April 1) so our room with a view was extra fantastic (image above)…and access to our adventures just steps away.

Always about wondering aimlessly in the dunes, our adventures lead us to treasures that nature has left behind at that particular moment in time.





Or what man may have added



A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.
~ Wilderness Act 1964


As the sun set on our weekend adventure I reflected on the beauty of our great earth and how fortunate I am to be able to behold and enjoy her magic.

How do you behold and enjoy the magic of our great earth? Please do share in the comments – I always love to hear from you!






P.S. To remind me of our sandy adventures I created this musing in my Daily Musings Journal. I love playing with the sensual lines that appear in the dunes!

You can still get your printable version of the 2016 Daily Musings Journal here. And the Musings Adventure Journal – an undated version of this fun format will be available in mid May. Click here to sign-up to receive updates.


Filed under Creative Play, Creativity, Journaling, Musings Adventure, Nature, Outdoor Adventure, Playing

Fun Convergence of Create, Play & Thrive


We arrived at the hut – after about a 5.8 mile ski – on this gorgeous big blue afternoon. There were ten of us in this group, and I was honored to be part of it. This crew – who call themselves “Hicks on Sticks” have been hut tripping together for years, and it was Tim & my first adventure with them.


Selfie on New York Peak ridge (Elevation: ~ 12,400 ft)

I’m in my element when I get to play outside in the wilderness – especially when mother nature bestows beautiful weather (new powder is also included in the beautiful weather category for winter hut trips, but the sunshine works, too)

I like knowing my body enjoys taking me to these remote places (even if she does whine sometimes).

I love being in community with friends – new and old.

When I head into the back country there is little space for creative play tools in my backpack, but I always try to bring something to write with and on. At the huts there will generally be a big sketchbook that is the log book/guest book.

At Polar Star I found a brand new sketchbook that no one had yet written in. There were several others – and in the most recent I found entries from the end of December 2015 at the very back of the book.

Wow – no one had made an entry in the new book or in the new year.

I was glad I came prepared with a handful of colored pencils and markers – and got to christen the new log book.


HutSignSince we spent the better part of the middle day of our visit skiing, I didn’t have a lot of time or energy to create anything too elaborate.

I loved the wooden hut sign that is above the entrance of the hut, so I decided to create that star in the log book.

After I was done I asked my friends if they’d be willing to sign the page. (I had done this with friends at a hut another time.) This is when I learned that they called themselves Hicks on Sticks – and that they each have nick names for themselves, which is how they signed. I became Lisa Marie.

Creating & playing allows me to thrive.



heading towards New York Mountain ridge


watching the sun set

and about a bizillion stars join the crescent moon in the sky


making and eating yummy food

and laughing – A LOT!


And for me this was a perfect convergence of create, play & thrive.

How about you? What is your perfect convergence?




GiveGirlJrnlLogoP.S. If you have not yet seen Jamie Ridler Studio’s Give a Girl a Journal project, please check it out!

I’ve already sponsored a girl to receive a journal, and plan to share some of my thoughts on how journaling has affected me in an upcoming post.

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Filed under Creative Play, Everyday Adventure, Journaling, Outdoor Adventure, Playing, Playing at Altitude

Confessions of a Powder Hound


Some moments over the weeks between Christmas and New Year, that included multiple powder days, I thought of my plans for visioning for 2016.

An article in the January 2016 issue of National Geographic — titled “This is Your Brain on Nature” talks about how nature nurtures us and relieves stress.

I know this to be true for me, and spending timing in nature is something I must do. And so I let those planning thoughts go…to be in nature, in the moment.

PowderTrees_smPart of the reason many of us who live in the Rocky Mountains are here is because of the natural beauty that surrounds us. And skiers, like me, love (and really must) take advantage of the snow when it falls in abundance the way it did around the holidays.

I wish I’d kept track of the exact inches that fell during those weeks between Christmas and the New Year, but I forgot in the moment when the snow report said 11″ and we were out the door and headed up to the mountain.

I couldn’t help myself. And I really didn’t need to. Besides my shoulds (i.e. my plans for visioning), I did not have any specific obligations that I skipped out on.

Believe me there have been other times in my life when I had to be at work, I had other obligations, or I didn’t live close enough to take advantage…

and this is why I am grateful to work for myself amongst the beauty that surrounds me.


The National Geographic article also notes that “virtual nature is soothing too.”

I hope you enjoy my images of playing in the snow, but more than that I hope that you find your own way to get out and enjoy nature.


whether it is in a wild back country setting (me and my hubby in an area called the humps)


or in a park near your home (me on a trail along the river that I walked to from my house – and as a side note this is a new trail that our community developed to allow fly fishing access to the handicapped)

So now we’re coming up on mid-January. And my visioning (which always includes nature and space for taking advantage of powder) for 2016 is coming together in bite-sized pieces. I realize that is really my way of working…so I’m learning not to resist. It make the process much easier and more fun.

So how about you?

How is your vision for 2016 coming along? Be sure to include time outside in nature…it’s good for you, and it’s FUN, too 🙂




P.S. Just to be accountable I think I’ll include a bit about my near term visions. They include a few giveaways — of the printable edition of the 2016 Daily Musings Journal and a few quarterly spots in The Journey Within – A Year of Handmade Journals. I hope you’ll stay tuned!!



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Filed under Joy, Outdoor Adventure, Playing, Playing at Altitude

Our “Traditional”


Needles Panorama — do you see me? twice? 🙂

The other day as I was thinking about what I wanted to share about our Thanksgiving adventure my friend Cynthia Morris shared an illustration she created and called “Glow Your Own Way.” She talked about how the holiday times can feel bleak for her because she doesn’t celebrate in the cookie cutter way many have always considered traditional.

T&L_TDI could relate to this, because, for the most part, I don’t celebrate in these traditional ways either. This Thanksgiving was no exception. I was so grateful for the opportunity to get away from it all and spend time in one of our beautiful national parks – the Needles District of Canyonlands.

My hubby and I did take some traditional Thanksgiving dinner fixings with us. I even baked a beautiful pecan tart which I couldn’t resist photographing on the desert rocks at our campsite.PecanTart

Before we left my inbox was filling with holiday super sale offers, and I had been on my computer so much in recent weeks I could not shut it down soon enough for a completely digital free (except taking photos, of course) several days.



We explored the stunningly beautiful high desert landscape




on foot






and by bicycle.LisaPedaling








Each day near camp we experienced the

Sunrisesun rise







and set.Sunset





Each evening we cozied up by a campfire for a bit and then crawled under the covers in our cozy camper van, Gandalf, a few hours after dark.


Many of our holidays are spent adventuring together in the wild and beautiful landscape on this earth, near where we are fortunate to call home. Although we aren’t able to go on adventure on every holiday, I would venture to say our holiday adventures are a bit of a tradition.

What are your traditions this holiday time of the year?

Wishing you a joy filled holiday season following your own version tradition.



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Filed under Adventure Travel, Joy, Nature, Outdoor Adventure, Playing