Day 1,758 – Thankful for a Perfect Song for a Wanderer to Jam Out To, Borderlines by Hollow Coves

Somedays there is one little moment that seems to stick out as one that was so full of joy that it seems to jump out of my memory. Today that moment came on my drive up to Eau Claire. With only a handful of miles left to drive I turned off my podcast and was thinking about my trip to Colorado. I was quickly replaying some of the highlights of my most recent outdoor adventures. My grin grew and I figured there was only one right thing to do.

I rolled down the windows. A couple of clicks on my phone and I had a perfect song pulled up to jam out to for the last stretch of blacktop before the office. Borderlines by Hollow Coves.

For the next few minutes I wasn’t commuting to work. I was lost in a wonderful mix of the present and memory, wind rushing through my hair, singing along to a song that resonates with my wanderer soul, and enjoying every second of it.

I may not be crossing any borderlines today, but I sure was smiling as if I were.


I came here alone with a fire in my bones
Plans of distant dream
A traveler at heart with an unknown path
In a world full of sights unseen
Now I sway to and fro like a pendulum
To push and pull on the sea
With shores to the side, to go with the tides
Oh, walk on my own two feet

Cross the borderlines
Let’s live on the other side
See the way this world
Can come alive
Cross the borderlines
Let’s live on the other side
See the way this world
Can come alive

I came to the shore with an urge to explore
The lands of the great unknown
The rhythm inside as I opened my eyes
To see the world unfold
Will you come with me to the sights unseen?
Where no man’s gone before
Let’s take to the road, a life of our own
In search of something moreTo see a different light
That shines on the other side
That shows us there is more to this life

Cross the borderlines
Let’s live on the other side
See the way this world
Can come alive
Cross the borderlines
Let’s live on the other side
See the way this world
Can come alive

And we go to the mountains where our freedom calls
And we pray to the boundaries that are keeping us at home

Cross the borderlines
Let’s live on the other side
See the way this world
Can come alive

Cross the borderlines
Let’s live on the other side
See the way this world

Can come alive

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Ryan Henderson / Matthew Carins

Borderlines lyrics © Secretly Canadian Publishing

Day 1,757 – Thankful for Lessons from the Mountains

One of the reasons I enjoy trips into the wilderness like this past week are the lessons I am able to take away from the experience and then apply to other aspects of life in the future. Quite often I know I could learn the same lessons without the experience, but there’s something about the openness in my mind during those trips. If I boil that down a bit I am pretty sure it is due to the extreme state of serenity and being present that isn’t quite the same in “real life.” That extra space, focus, and peace seem to allow my brain to see things more clearly then.

This trip was so similar in many ways. Here are a few of the lessons that have been running through my head over the past few days.

Everyone hikes their own mountain. We all have our own mountain and follow our own trail. Each of us has a different goal, a different why, and a different drive. Rather than minding others’ mountains I should focus on hiking mine. Always remember to help others when they need it on their mountain, but in the end it is their mountain to climb. Remember to not judge, envy, or curse the mountain of another. Mine is perfectly mine as long as I truly choose mine just as theirs is perfectly their own.

Pushing beyond fear can lead to incredible experiences. When doing something that causes fear I must remember what the worst case is. Will I die in this scenario? If so, maybe I shouldn’t do it unless I’m positive it is the last thing I wish to do. If I am very unlikely to die, I must be smart and safe, but I should also push past the fear. But what if I die? What’s the real loss – it was going to happen eventually anyway. So often the most beautiful, serene, and truly joyful experiences live just past fear. By avoiding all risk I would also avoid true joy.

Preparation helps create beauty and success through adversity. The more I prepare for all the possible contingencies the more likely I am to find success when confronting an obstacle.

The further away I am the more easily I can see the full picture and set my direction. The tighter I focus on each footstep the more likely I am to lose the trail. By focusing on each individual footstep one can climb the entire mountain. By focusing on the entire mountain I can quickly be intimidated by the size of the task at hand. The right answer to step back, set the vision, step close, and take one step at a time.

Always leave at least one mountain behind to haunt my dreams. The desire to hike it will bring me back to it in time more so than the desire to climb another mountain again. The mountain isn’t going anywhere before I go 😉

Great lessons for me to remember and apply to life. Great reminders of why I need to travel into the wilderness more 😉


Day 1,756 – Thankful for Dream Momentum

Over the past few days we’ve been packed into a Honda Pilot with two people in each of the three rows of seating. We drove a total of well over 2,400 miles over blacktop, concrete, gravel, rock, and dirt. On the mountains and trails we hiked many miles and went well over 7,000 feet up in total elevation gain. We had rain, sun, heat, cold, frosty rocks, and wind. Much of the time everything went as well as or better than planned, but there were also a few times when things didn’t work out as we’d hoped. We went to bed early and rose by 3:15am each day to get out the door by 4am so we could be well on the trail by 5am. We put in a lot of work on this trip.

Why did we do it? There are certainly more than a handful of very accurate answers including:

  • Because we could
  • To enjoy the outdoors
  • To experience new wilderness activities
  • To explore
  • To push ourselves physically and mentally
  • To rejuvenate and re-focus
  • To become closer to the people we are meant to be
  • To satisfy our wanderlust
  • To enjoy time together doing something we love

While all of those answers are true to a point and 100% acceptable, there is something else that really drives me to to things like this. Technically, I guess there is one reason split three ways 😉

Dreams. Something like this comes from initially from one person’s dream. “I want to summit a mountain.” Once the dream is thought up it can be manifest. After the dream is completed it will quite often lead to another dream – “I want to climb a 14er.” From that dream this trip was sparked.

From this trip, the completion of a dream, more dreams spring up.

“I want to climb more mountains – specifically these dozen or so, including multiples in one day.”

“I want to bring a camper out to Colorado for an entire summer to climb as many mountains as I can.”

“When we get older we should hike the 400-ish mile Colorado Trail together.”

“I’m coming for you Mt Massive!”

“I want to watch a sunrise from either Hope Pass or atop Quail Mountain.”

One simple dream, completed. Another dreamt up from the success of the first. A bigger dream completed. More dreams, grander in scale, created through the success of the second. Dream momentum. That is what I am thankful for today, the dream momentum each of us has as a result of an intensely awesome experience like this.

Dream momentum, worth every single ounce of blood, sweat, tears, and sacrifice. One of the greatest forces in all of life… and now my boys and I have it rolling stronger and stronger. I can’t wait to see where our next sets of crazy big dreams take us!


Day 1,755 – Thankful for a Cup of Coffee in the Presence of Majestic Behemoths

Nothing like starting the day off with a hot cup of coffee on a cool morning while sitting out on the deck… especially with a view like this!

What a perfect start to our last day in the mountains. Chilling out, sipping a mug of hot coffee, enjoying the quiet that is only broken up by the sound of hummingbirds flying a few feet from my head, and savoring the view of the mountains in the distance. What made it even more serene was the sight of both the mountain we climbed yesterday, Quail Mountain, and the mountain I’ll be back to climb one day, Mount Massive. My eyes slowly shifted focus from one to another and then to the rest of the range in front of me.

I didn’t have a book. I only used my phone to take a photo. I didn’t listen to music. I simply sat and existed in the presence of the majestic behemoths in front of me. It was perfect. Another moment I’ll hold in my souls for eternity.


Day 1,754 – Thankful for Preparation and a Lesson from Mick Jagger ;)

Last night we drove out to the trailhead for our hike that we were supposed to do today. With our plan of heading out before the sun came up we like taking time to know exactly where we’re going for the next morning. Imagine our surprise when we were stopped a couple of miles before the trailhead by barricades. We looked at the signs and found out the road was closed due to construction. Due to the length of the trail this addition of five miles knocked it out as an option.

We went back to our rental and went through well over a dozen options before settling on Quail Mountain. Before that time that peak wasn’t even on our radar. It’s not one of the fabled 14ers and isn’t heavily traveled. Based on what we read it sounded like a pretty solid alternative nonetheless.

Our hike today was quite possibly my all time favorite Colorado hike, it was spectacular! The incline certainly kept me breathing heavy, but the views more than made up for it. The trail was perfect! We started in a pine forest and then worked into a aspen forest, each step of the way included a breathtaking view of the mountains all around us. There wasn’t a single step that didn’t include a chance to see something beautiful.

Once atop the peak we saw more mountains all around us than I could count. There were lakes, fields, old mining cabins, and all types of awesomeness in seemingly all directions. My mind is still blown when I think of everything we saw on the trail. It was awesome!

What I’m thankful for is twofold.

First, I’m thankful for preparation. Had we not checked out the trailhead the night before we would have been in a really difficult spot and wouldn’t have had nearly as many options. Thanks to getting ready the night before we had time to come up with a new solution.

Second, I’m thankful for another reminder of how right Mick Jagger was back in the day. “You can’t always get what you need, but if you try sometimes you just might find you get what you need.” Funny how The Big Dude Upstairs knows better than I do what I really want. I thought climbing Mount Massive was the plan and would have been awesome. Instead The Big Dude knew I would enjoy Quail Mountain more than any hike I’d ever done in Colorado. Sometimes adversity provides an opportunity to find more joy than we would have expected. Today was one of those times.


Day 1,753 – Thankful for Hitting the Trails Early and My Son’s Appreciation of Mountain Hiking

Day 1,753 – Thankful for Hitting the Trails Early and My Son’s Appreciation of Mountain Hiking

This morning started off pretty early, 3:15am to be exact. We were wheels up by 4:05 and on the trail before 5am. No one else was on the trail and we were able to start our bike under the stars.

The early morning hours make the mountains even more majestic. As the sun comes up the lighting continues to change the beauty of the rocky giants. Being the only ones around in that magical hour is beyond awesome.

What made that even better was sharing that time with my sons. Their appreciation for the outdoors, nature, hiking in the mountains, and going on crazy adventures like this warms my heart immensely. During the hike I was able to spend time with each of them solo as well as together. Their joy and gratitude for what we were experiencing totally made this trip all worthwhile.

My smile grows and my heart is filled with joy as they talk about ideas they have for future adventures!


Day 1,752 – Thankful for The Courage of Teammates

Tonight’s blog post involves a bit of a long story, but quite honestly, the full story gets in the way of the intent of my blog tonight.

One of our core values is simply “Do Right.” This means doing the right thing even when the right thing can be very difficult to do. Often it takes a great deal of courage and integrity to do the right thing. When trying to do right we also have barriers to work through, including helping your boss see your right course of action. That scenario takes guts.

Over the past couple of days I’ve seen teammate live into this value. Their courage and determination to stick to their guns created a solution that was wildly more positive and right than it would have been had they not had the courage to act.

I am beyond grateful for the courage they showed recently!


Day 1,751 – Thankful for Stumbling Upon Trans-Disciplinary Life Lessons

This morning I was working on a project with several team members. In the past I’d work very closely with everyone on a similar project to choreograph the entire event. In many ways I was working to drive the project forward. The results would be mixed and I’d feel a combination or stressed, exhausted, and frustration.

Today was very different. I gave a clear goal with loose direction. My teammates all were free to work on the project and adapt as they saw fit. Everything didn’t go as I had planned, it went much better! The feelings I had afterwards were joy, happiness, and positive.

What was really the difference? In many ways it was similar to what I’ve recently learned about writing. The more I push the worse I do. If I breathe, relax, and let go there is success. This doesn’t mean to simply relax and good things will happen, quite the opposite. I have to work hard to prepare and create the space necessary to let go and create. Time and energy must be spent focusing and clarifying the vision first in order to allow others to shine.

Today I’m thankful for some of the life lessons that transcend one discipline. In many ways they seem to be almost universal truths that can be applied to so many aspects of life. By taking time to pause, reflect, and think each day for this blog I seem to stumble upon more and more of them.


Day 1,750 – Thankful for Reminders of Lessons from the Trail, for Focusing on Spending More Time Outdoors

This morning started off with a pre-sunrise hike in the bluffs. While on the trails there were a couple of thoughts that stuck with me. Thanks to the quiet my brain was able to process things a bit differently and I was able to find a different level of clarity than in the noise of “real life.”

In a meeting with a team a quote was shared by a teammate. As it was read aloud my thoughts went back to backpacking in Isle Royale. A very specific moment in which the stillness provided an opportunity to see something clearly and to allow my brain and soul to take Altus appropriate action. Such a subtle yet meaningful moment which easily could have been missed due to the noise and busyness of normal life.

The first of these moments today was created specifically by being in the woods. The second was in the office but came from the woods. The peacefulness found in the woods continues to shape who I am, or, maybe more appropriately, the woods continues to show me who I could be.

While my soul longs for the solitude of the wilderness I’m contented by the regular visits it makes – whether in reality or memory. I’m grateful for the focus I’ve put on getting outside more this year, the impact of the fresh air has been amazing.


Day 1,749 – Thankful for Dad’s Metal Bowls and the Smiles They Serve Up Each Use

There are many items and things that remind me of certain people and events. Many of them sit on a shelf or are stored in a box. Quite often they are out of the way and I almost have to intentionally come across them. They are fantastic at reminding me of many wonderful moments, but they aren’t right in front of me often.

Some of my favorite memory related items are the ones I used on a regular basis. Even though they are in my periphery with stunning regularity the sight of them quickly transport my mind to another place and time. It seems as if they are even better than the other mementos and keepsakes as they are more regularly in my line of sight and usually have a dual purpose, some type of function as well as bringing back memories.

What I am grateful for today falls into the latter category. For a few years I had them stored off to the side as the first items. They didn’t quite match the rest of their kind so I kept them hidden away. Once in a while I’d stumble across them, chuckle, and then move on. Several months ago I came across them and a thought went through my brain. Who cares if they match, they are pretty dang awesome. Now I use at least one of them a few times each week… when I sneak a bowl of Frosted Flakes or have a salad at home.

Dad used to tell my brother and stories about the metal bowls his parents had when he was a kid. He’d explain how all their meals were served in them when he was growing up. For Easter they were transformed into their Easter baskets. Based on all the jokes Dad made Nick and I would joke the the only thing in his Easter bowl must have been a potato. It was a treat, a toy, a meal, and his only friend until he ate it.

We knew them well as Grandma would serve creamed corn or cream of chicken soup in them when we stayed at her house. They are made of stainless steel and there’s a magic to them I can’t explain. Everything tastes better in them. Maybe I’ve just eaten too many meals out of bowls made from the World War II era and they’ve impacted my faculties, or maybe it’s true that everything taste better in them. I know which way I’m leaning. 😉

After Dad passed his wife passed them on to my brother and I. They sat up above my cabinets collecting dust for a while and then I remembered that I hadn’t given any to Nick yet. Once I pulled them down I realized the treasure I was missing out on each time I used a bowl and transferred them to the regular cabinet.

The thing about the bowls I appreciate more than any other has nothing to do with their actual utility though. They help me to remember the smile Dad had on his face whenever we talked about those bowls. What a gift from the simple and ordinary use of a bowl, right?

When I go to the cupboard to grab a bowl there’s always a second when I pause and smile. First I see the stack of ordinary bowls that largely match. Then I look at the small stack of shiny bowls that have no right to be in the cabinet with the others based specifically by looks. I smile as I grab the metal one every time.

Holy Disney moment right here! I am typing this on the back deck with my legs up on another chair. As I was typing there was a loud fluttering sound as a little bird flew right over my head and landed on the chair my legs are on. It just sat there and cocked its head at me for a moment until I obviously bored it. How wild is that?