#BackToBasicsJanuary Wrap Up

Earlier this month, I decided to join Marisa (Uproot from Oregon) in her quest to get back to basics in the month of January. More about that here.

So a few days past the end of the month, I’ve been reflecting on this endeavor and the changes that came from it.

Back to Basics January // lgsmash.com

How’d it go? 

Overall, pretty well! I brought my lunch every day except 2 – one day I failed to plan ahead and one day was a team lunch at a taco place and I don’t not eat tacos. But for the most part, I planned ahead and actually ended the month with extra money in my bank account. Grabbing lunch out is expensive! Win!

Alex and I definitely focused on eating the food in our pantry and, although we ate out a few times for dinner, it was a much more conscious decision. Planning ahead for a night out made it feel *that* much more special because it wasn’t a ‘well, shit, we don’t want to cook dinner…let’s grab something out.’ Our first dinner out was a planned date for dinner and a movie; after cooking dinners and packing lunches for 2 weeks, eating at Chilis felt like such a treat. We also used gift cards and coupons when we did eat out so we also saved some money – double win! 

What I found to be the most impactful to my daily routine was drinking 16 oz of water before I left for work. As a gal who tries to drink enough water but usually fails, guzzling down 1/2 a Nalgene in the morning was a super easy way to make sure I took a step in the right direction. Because of that extra water in the morning, I made a concerted effort throughout the month to drink 3 full Nalgenes each day and could feel the difference on days I didn’t drink up. Bonus? My skin feels (and is visibly) less dry, clearer and more radiant. Win! 

Last but not least, I didn’t really count my exercise per week but feel pretty good about the exercise I did do. I’ve been hitting up the climbing gym at least twice a week with friends and Alex and have worked in short runs during the week. In just the month of January (and really, in the last 2 weeks!), I’ve seen a surge in my climbing technique and strength. So even if I didn’t get sweaty 4x a week, knowing that I’m betting my climbing is good enough to call this one a win, too. 

I’ll definitely be carrying these tactics with me into February and the rest of the year. I think the key to my success was picking attainable goals – these were things I’ve been meaning to do for a while – and sticking to it. Alex also hopped in on a few of these goals (packing his lunch, reducing our eating out) so knowing we were in it together helped keep both of us accountable. Yes, it sucked to sometimes eat a boring lunch instead of run out for Chipotle on ‘Free Burrito Day’ but at the end of the day, I was proud of myself for sticking to my goals and putting off instant gratification for long term success (and extra money in my pocket!)

Teriyaki Glazed Turkey Meatball Bowls

You know those days when, bam! the universe gifts you with an extraordinarily good day for no reason? That, my friends, was my reality earlier this week.

What happened exactly? A couple of things happened at work that made me feel really proud of myself. A long, leisurely walk in beautiful 70* weather to cash in on my Toyko Joe’s ‘addict’ card for a free lunch. Feeling inspired, I used Pinterest to find a recipe to make for dinner – something I have never, ever done before. As I shopped for the couple of outstanding ingredients at Sprouts, I earned $2 using my Ibotta app.

I mean, what a day! Independently, these things would be awesome but on one day? Couldn’t smack that smile off my face.

When I went home, I set to work making my Pinterest recipe, Teriyaki Glazed Meatball Bowls. It’s not a secret in real life or on my blog that I’m not a big fan of cooking; I hate how much (perceived) time it takes to make a ‘fancy meal’ (read: not beans and rice). But that night, when the universe blessed me with a terrific day, I cooked a fancy-ass dinner.

These photos? Not so fancy ass because I live in a dark apartment and don’t own a fancy camera. Check out the original recipe here for legit food photography photos.

Teriyaki Glazed Turkey Meatballs // lgsmash.com

This meal came out SO GOOD! Again, the universe was shining down on me. Where I usually burn or overcook some aspect of a recipe, no such luck this time. Well, that’s only kind of true. I didn’t burn any FOOD. Paper towel on hot burner? Definitely caused some smoke.

Truthfully, I was really pleased with how easy the recipe was to follow and how taaasty the glaze was. Because my standards for my own cooking are pretty low, I was looking to Alex to be the ultimate decider. The icing on the cake of an already kick-ass day? My husband not only enjoyed the dinner I made but went back for round 2 on the meatballs. Win!

I post this recipe not because I think I’m awesome at cooking (clearly, I’m not) or that I took really beautiful food photos (clearly, no) but because if you’re like me and don’t like cooking or don’t believe ‘it only takes 30 minutes!’, I want you to know if I can do it, you can do it! This did take a bit longer than 30 minutes but wasn’t overly involved.

Teriyaki Glazed Turkey Meatballs // lgsmash.com

INGREDIENTS
Turkey Meatballs
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 inches fresh ginger, grated
  • ½ tsp soy sauce
  • 2 whole green onions, sliced
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
Teriyaki Glaze
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 inches fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Chili Garlic Sauce
Rice
  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • Green onion, sliced, for garnish
DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, ginger, garlic, green onion, egg, breadcrumbs, soy sauce and 10+ cranks of black pepper. Use your hands to mix together until well combined.
  2. Roll the meatball mixture into small balls and place on a baking sheet lined with tinfoil. Bake for 35-40 minutes, rotating halfway, until meatballs are golden brown.
  3. While meatballs are cooking, begin cooking rice according to package instructions.
  4. While meatballs are cooking and rice is cooking, begin preparing the glaze. In a medium sauce pan (make sure pan will be able to hold meatballs comfortably), combine soy sauce, water, brown sugar, grated ginger, rice vinegar and sesame oil. Stir over medium/low heat until brown sugar is dissolved.
  5. In a separate bowl, dissolve cornstartch with enough water to make a pourable liquid. Pour this into the glaze and turn up heat to medium high while stirring. Stir until glaze thickens and remove from heat.
  6. When meatballs are fully cooked, add them to the glaze and stir to coat.
  7. Build your bowl by spooning meatballs on top of rice, drizzling an extra spoonful of glaze and garnishing with sliced green onion. Enjoy!

1 Month of ClassPassing (#LiveTheSweatyLife)

DISCLOSURE: ClassPass offered me a trial month of classes at no cost to me in exchange for my honest review. If you sign up though the affiliate link at the bottom of the post, my account will be credited $25. As always, opinions and thoughts are my own. 

For the past month, I’ve been cheating on a traditional gym membership with a trial membership with ClassPass.

ClassPass Review // lgsmash.com

What is ClassPass?

ClassPass is a new way to workout in your city. For one rate, members have access to a number of gyms across the city. Rates vary by city but are between $79 – $99 a month – on par with a membership at a boutique fitness studio. In Denver, there are more than 50 gyms participating with ClassPass and the team is adding new gyms rapidly.

How does it work?

With ClassPass, you can search for classes and studios online. The website is super intuitive and allows users to search by class time, neighborhood, exercise type or studio. Once you find the class you’d like to take, you simply click the ‘Reserve’ button and you’re all set! When you arrive for your first class at a studio, you’ll need to fill out the studio’s ‘first timer’ paperwork so they have you on file. I was nervous that the studios wouldn’t know or understand what ClassPass was when I showed up because it’s a new program in Denver but no one questioned me; in fact, a few instructors were excited I was their first ClassPass-er!

What I Love

So many things! I really enjoyed my month using ClassPass – here’s why:

UNLIMITED CLASSES. With ClassPass, you’re able to take an unlimited number of classes – the only restriction is that you’re only able to take 3 classes at each studio.

TRYING STUFF. Want to try a new yoga studio? Interested in finding out if you like crossfit or spinning or martial arts? ClassPass is for you. There’s a wide variety of studios on ClassPass allowing you to hop into classes that would usually cost money to attend.

CHANGE UP. Because you’re not limited to one studio, you don’t fall into the dreaded routine where you feel burnt out by taking the same classes with the same instructors at the same time.

TRAVEL BUG. Traveling for work or pleasure? ClassPass is available in 20+ cities and is expanding like crazy. When you’re away from home and in a ClassPass city, you can sign up for classes just as you would at home. This is AWESOME! While I don’t travel as much as I used to, I remember feeling frustrated at not knowing where I might be able to take a yoga class and wasn’t interested in paying an extra $20 drop in rate. ClassPass is a sound solution – find a class near you at a convenient time and GO!

Considerations

Overall, I loved ClassPass but did find a few aspects to consider before signing up.

THREE CLASSES. While classes are unlimited, I can see that allowing only 3 classes per studio to be limiting. If you find a studio you really love, it could be disappointing to know you’re not able to go once a week during a month. However, the 3-class-limit resets with your next month’s membership. Personally, I found that in my first month, I did not go to (or want to go to) a studio more than 3 times so I don’t see this as a huge detractor.

NEW GIRL. If you’re not an outgoing person or if you’re someone who’s not comfortable always being in a new or unfamiliar situation, ClassPass might not be for you. A nice aspect of signing up at a gym is that you find the ‘regulars’ who take the same classes at you or maybe you’ve convinced a friend to sign up with you; working out with people you know keeps you accountable and is more fun! With ClassPass, you’re constantly the new girl without the opportunity to form a regular group or regular workout time (see 3 Classes Rule above).

LOTS OF YOGA. When ClassPass first launched in Denver, the majority of the schedule was full of yoga classes. I am certainly not one to complain because I could use a lot more Namaste in my life but I know yoga and pilates aren’t everyone’s jam. In the month I participate, ClassPass added martial arts, dance and pole fitness classes so I expect as ClassPass continues to grow, studio selection will become even more diverse.

Overall Thoughts

I loved my month of ClassPass. It’s great for people who are looking for a new gym, people who’ve recently moved to a new city or people who travel frequently and still want a way to workout. It’s perfect for someone who’s not ready or not interested in committing to just one type of exercise, someone who wants to dabble in a variety of classes.

Would I lay down my own money for ClassPass? I definitely would! I’m a gal who likes some routine in my schedule and I do enjoy seeing familiar faces in my fitness classes so I’m not sure I’d love this for the long term but I really enjoyed access to new gyms across Denver. I took a few yoga classes at different studios, a ski-fit class, a barre class and a spinning class. There are so many gyms on the schedule that I’d still like to check out – like the Dailey Method or YogaCross. And if I was still traveling frequently for work, there would be no question if I’d continue using ClassPass; HUGE benefit right there!

As of the time I’m posting this, ClassPass is in 22 cities – check to see if ClassPass is offered in your city here.

Interested in signing up? Click through, get out there and #livethesweatylife!

Learning to Ice Climb at Silver Plume, CO

Basic Ice Climbing School // lgsmash.com

This week, Alex and I took Before we knew we were heading to Ouray for New Year’s Eve, Alex and I signed up for the Basic Ice Climbing School at the Colorado Mountain Club. In hindsight, we should have waited to go to Ouray until we’d taken the class but such is life.

The Basic Ice Climbing Class included 1 classroom session and 1 field day. On Monday, our classroom day, we reviewed gear needed for ice climbing, safety protocol and then stepped out to the climbing wall to practice swinging the ice axes.

Saturday was our field day and we met our team before sunrise to carpool out to Silver Plume, a small town 45 miles west of Denver, right off I-70. The approach in was short – 15 minutes – and included scrambling in crampons. Our instructors set up 4 ropes and we spent the next 5.5 hours climbing and belaying each other up the ice. We had 1 instructor per every 2 students so we students were afforded personal attention and coaching as we climbed. I ended the day so much more confident in my technique and ability to ascend the ice.

Silver Plume is a really great place to get many repetitions in if you’re looking to practice your technique. Because of its proximity to Denver and short approach, this site is very popular on the weekends so I recommend starting early. Alex and I would like to head back in the coming weeks for additional practice and are considering a second long weekend trip to Ouray, now that we fully understand the mechanics of ice climbing.

I highly recommend the CMC’s Basic Ice Climbing School. Low time commitment (especially compared to the Basic Mountaineering School) and a super fun skill to learn for even more winter adventures. There are a few additional sessions of Basic Ice this winter; check the schedule here to sign up!

For peeps who are already ice climbing badasses, The CMC also has a Technical Ice Climbing School, too, where you’ll learn how to lead ice climb, among other skills.

3 Years, Post-Op (Osteochondritis Dissecans + DeNovo NT Surgery)

Every year, my knee surgery anniversary sneaks up on me. Honestly, without participating in this research study, I wouldn’t even think twice about how long it’s been since I went under the knife.

But here we are, 3 years after 2 knee surgeries – my right knee in October 2011, my left knee in December 2011.Post Surgery CPM // lgsmash.com

By participating in the DeNovo research program, I signed up to meet with my doctor in regular intervals (6 months, 12, months, 18 months, 24 months, 36 months, 48 months, 60 months) to report on my progress. In those appointments, I fill out a questionnaire about my progress. For me, the questionnaire is super easy – post-surgery, I’m able to do everything I wanted to do and more without knee pain. Win!

One of the questions I answer each time is, ‘Would you elect to have this surgery again?’ and without hesitation, I absolutely would. Of the 7 surgeries I’ve had to address my Osteochondritis Dissecans, DeNovo has been the most effective. I regularly receive emails from those of you in similar situations – facing the unknown of surgery and recovery – wondering how I’ve held up after surgery and if there’s light on the other side of surgery. And, for me, the answer is a resounding YES! Each person will have a different experience but if anything, I’d like to be inspiration of what is possible to achieve with Osteochondritis Dissecans, with DeNovo surgery.

Urban Trail Running // lgsmash.com

Surgery of any kind doesn’t have to be the end of your active life. After each of my surgeries, I’ve managed to recover and thrive – playing competitive volleyball in high school to running 14 miles up a mountain as an adult. With patience, perseverance and a positive attitude, surgery and injury is just a minor bump in the road and you’ll be back on your winding, adventurous road in no time.

 

Game Changer: Walmart Grocery To Go (#WalmartGrocery)

In the past four months, I found myself swamped. Too busy with work or too brain fried after a long week to workout, see my friends or even grocery shop. I know that sounds so pathetic but it’s the truth. Work consumed so much of my time and energy that when it came time to do anything outside of the bare minimum, it usually didn’t happen.

Really, the invitation to try Walmart Grocery to Go couldn’t have come at a better phase in my life. An online grocery shopping and delivery service? Sounded too good to be true.

Fortunately, it IS true!

Walmart Grocery to Go is super easy to use. The site is set up with all the categories you’ll find in a grocery store – snacks, beverages, frozen, etc – and then further segmented within each category so you can quickly find exactly what you’re looking for.

Walmart Grocery to Go Review // lgsmash.com

As I added items to my cart, I focused on staple items I could use as an anchor for building dinners. As I mentioned in my #BackToBasicsJanuary post, Alex and I have a ton of accessory items in our pantry; what we really needed were lean proteins and leafy greans.

Once you’re finished ordering, you’ll be asked to select a delivery time. You must be home to accept the groceries and, fortunately, there are convenient time windows throughout the day. You’ll also see if a truck is already making a delivery in your area during certain time windows which helps Walmart be more ‘green’ and deliver more efficiently! There is a delivery charge which varies between $3-7 based on the different time windows – more popular times are more expensive. Your first delivery, though, is free! 

I selected 8-10 p.m. for my delivery – mostly because I knew I’d for sure be home but also because I saw a truck would be headed my way anyway. Bonus points!

Just before 8 p.m., I received a call from my driver letting me know he was 5+ minutes away. When he arrived, he introduced himself and let me know a few of my items were out of stock but I wouldn’t be charged for them. He then pulled out my bags from the truck and off he went.

Not in stock? Kale, frozen halibut and La Croix grapefruit.

Walmart Grocery to Go Review // lgsmash.com

When ordering, you’re given the option of letting Walmart substitute for a like item – I opted for no substitutions. If I had, though, Walmart would have replaced these unavailable items with something similar. I probably could have done this for the kale and halibut but let’s be honest – there is no substitute for LaCroix.

So what was in stock?

Walmart Grocery to Go Review // lgsmash.com

Frozen tuna, fresh chicken breast, grapefruit juice and argan oil for my dry hair.

With a pound of both chicken and frozen tuna, we’ll be able to make a handful of dinners combining these with various items we already have in the apartment.

As Kelly notes in her experience, we are more than pleased with the quality of our fresh chicken. I’d have no qualms about ordering fresh meat from Walmart Grocery to Go again in the future but would probably not opt to buy fresh veggies or fruit – those, I prefer to hand pick.

Would I use this service again? Hell. yes. As I mentioned before, the pace of life in our apartment is lightening speed right now – knowing I can order groceries online and have them delivered on date and time of my choosing is seriously a game changer.

Currently, Walmart Grocery To Go is only available in 3 cities – Denver, CO; San Jose, CA; and Bentonville, AR – with additional cities coming soon. If you’re in one of those cities and want to give Grocery to Go a try, click here to sign up and receive $15 off your first order.

Disclosure: as a participant in the Walmart Grocery to Go program, I’ve received a personal invite and payment for my time and efforts in creating this post.

Hip, Hip, Ouray! (Ice Climbing in Ouray, CO)

Colorado is such a gem. There’s no shortage of awesome things to do, incredible places to see and the best people to spend time with. #Coloradocations are one of my favorite things to do over a long weekend for exactly those reasons. When a trip to Ouray, CO was suggested for the long New Year’s weekend, Alex and I hardly thought twice before jumping in.

It’s a long but beautiful 6 hour trek to Ouray in southwest Colorado. Leaving around lunch time, the hours passed quickly with podcasts and naptime; we rolled up to our VRBO rental just after 6:30 p.m. on New Years Eve. Trip report: Ice Climbing in Ouray, CO // lgsmash.com

With our friends Lucas and Nancy, Justin and Lauren, we made pizzas in the oven, played ‘drawception’ and toasted great friends and fresh hopes when the ball dropped at midnight. Trip report: Ice Climbing in Ouray, CO // lgsmash.com

The next morning, we set our sights on our first adventure of 2015: learning to ice climb at the Ouray Ice Park. Trip report: Ice Climbing in Ouray, CO // lgsmash.com

The Ouray Ice Park is a free park full of super fun ice climbing routes. Much of the ice is man-made and it’s an incredible sight to see. There are more than 200 named routes and all sections are within a 10-15 minute hike from the park’s entrance.

As the park opened just the weekend before and we were there over the long New Years weekend, the park was pretty crowded. We were able to snag an anchor in the section called New Funtier. For this newbie, I was excited to hear that we could set up the anchor up top and hike down to the base. I was less excited when the hike down looked like this and included only a roped handrail. Talk about getting your attention!
Trip report: Ice Climbing in Ouray, CO // lgsmash.com

The hike down was completely doable and looked a lot more intimidating than it really was, fortunately. Of the 5 of us climbing, 4 of us were relatively new to ice climbing but we found it easy to pick up. Unlike rock climbing, ice climbing is a ‘pick your own route’ type of climbing which makes it easy for climbers of all comfort levels to participate. Alex is a lot more fearless than I am and on the same rope, we were both able to climb routes that fit our comfort level.

Trip report: Ice Climbing in Ouray, CO // lgsmash.com

We spent the afternoon climbing and called it a day when the park closed at 4 p.m., just as the water faucets turned on to make new ice overnight.

That night, we opted to spend our first night of 2015 soaking in the Ouray hot springs. After spending a day in a chilly, snowy canyon, the hot springs were a welcome warm up.

It was hard to pass up a day exploring the town of Ouray – popping into shops, indulging in local ice cream. Such a perfect day relaxing and recouping from a whirlwind few months and busy holiday season.

On our last full day in Ouray before heading home, we debated driving out to Telluride for a day of skiing (my most favorite skiing!) or hitting the ice park again. Climbing won (no hour long drive, no lift ticket expense) and we grabbed our harnesses and helmets for some laps on the ice.
Trip report: Ice Climbing in Ouray, CO // lgsmash.com Trip report: Ice Climbing in Ouray, CO // lgsmash.com Trip report: Ice Climbing in Ouray, CO // lgsmash.com

Don’t mind my terrified look. I was mere feet of the ground but couldn’t find a hold for my foot…mini-panic moment. Trip report: Ice Climbing in Ouray, CO // lgsmash.com

While I’m not the most comfortable ice climbing, I certainly enjoyed the experience. The Ouray Ice Park is one of a kind and really incredible to experience; I’m so glad we made the trip!

To note: If you don’t have the necessary ice climbing gear, there are a few shops in town that rent crampons and ice tools. I haven’t yet bought my own crampons so I rented a pair both days from Ouray Mountain Sports ($20) and Peak Mountain Sports ($15). There are also beginner seminars at the ice park and an intro wall where you can take a lap on a much smaller route than in the canyon. There truly is something for everyone – only requirement is a positive attitude, some gear and a love of winter!

 

Let’s Do It! #BackToBasicsJanuary

Like most of us, after 2 weeks of holiday eating and drinking, I’m ready to push the reset button on my eats. While I’ve certainly enjoyed the endless french fries, chips and salsa and New Years Eve champagne, my mind and body are in a sugar and junk food fog! So when I saw Marisa’s Back To Basics challenge, I immediately committed to participating. You can read all the details of Back To Basics here but the gist is exactly what you expect: focus on getting ‘back to basics’ of healthy eating and living.

I’ve customized Marisa’s Back to Basics goals to fit my needs. For me, I know I need to eat out a lot less and move a lot more and my goals reflect that.

Back to Basics January // lgsmash.com

While I’m focusing on limiting my eating out, I’m building in 2 dinners out – one to celebrate a friend’s birthday and one ‘freebie’ for a date night. And when it comes to eating in, Alex and I are really striving to make meals from the food we already have on hand. We have a bad habit of not taking inventory before heading to the store and end up with repeat items and a full pantry of items we don’t often make a point to use.

I’m the first to admit that I’m not a fan of cooking – mostly because I don’t spend any time thinking about what to make for dinner so it’s always a challenge! So I’m relying heavily on Marisa’s Pinterest page, meal planning tips and copious healthy recipes (like ramen!)

If you’d like to participate in Back to Basics, too, hop on in! You can find the Back to Basics community on Twitter and Instagram by using #BackToBasicsJanuary.

One Little Word for 2015: Light

For me, 2014 was all about FOCUS. I picked ‘focus’ as much as it picked me. I spent the first half of the year focusing on a job search. I’d started feeling stagnant in my role and knew it was time to look for a new challenge. I set my sights on the growing Denver startup community. I’ve spent the second half of the year really focusing on my new job, new industry, new ‘normal’. Through the ups and downs of 2014, I focused on the end goal and kept my ‘eyes on the prize.’

In the last days of 2014, as I was thinking about the upcoming year, ‘lightness’ struck me. The word popped in my head and I couldn’t get it out; I knew it was my new word. (read more about One Little Word here.)

one little word 2015 light // lgsmash.com

2015 is sure to be a big year in my little world for a number of reasons. Knowing the changes ahead, though, I want to be light in spirit, remembering to laugh and smile when I’m feeling stressed. I want to keep trials, tribulations and tough decisions in perspective (<–former OLW) and work to maintain a light attitude. And, in the most literal vein, I want to make myself physically lighter by eating healthier and making exercise a priority again.

This year, ‘light’ will help me prioritize mental and physical health when it’s easy to let both fall to the wayside during busy days and weeks.

2015, let’s get this party started!

HutTripsGiving: Ben Eiseman Hut Trip

Let’s get one thing straight from the beginning here - getting to this hut is no frickin’ joke. It was super hard and honestly, if I don’t make it back to Ben Eiseman in the winter for a couple of years, it might still be too soon. I’m kidding. Kind of.

Like last year, our friends Brandon and Dan coordinated a Thanksgiving hut trip and Alex and I snagged an invite. Instead of trekking to 2 huts over the long weekend, the group opted to stay at one hut for all 3 nights so Brandon selected Ben Eiseman Hut, a 10th Mountain Division hut just outside Vail. The hut sleeps 16+ people and is one of the more isolated huts, according to the 10th Mountain Division website.

The hike in was 7 long, upward miles. The first couple of miles were gentle inclines but as the day dragged on, it felt like we’d never reach the hut. We knew the last 1.5 miles were really steep switchbacks but knowing didn’t make the doing any easier.

In total, it took us 8-9 hours to get to the hut so warning to future hut trippers, leave the trailhead before 10 a.m. We did not and arrived in the dark which is a little bit disconcerting, especially for first time hut trippers/snowshoers/backpackers (our group had many).

Ben Eiseman Thanksgiving Hut Trip // lgsmash.com Ben Eiseman Thanksgiving Hut Trip // lgsmash.com Ben Eiseman Thanksgiving Hut Trip // lgsmash.com

Overjoyed to finally reach the hut and exhausted from trekking with heavy, heavy packs, we started the fire and prepped the hut for those who were still out. A short deliberation about eating Thanksgiving dinner that night ensued (hunger vs. exhaustion) and ultimately, gorging on the heavy ass food we carried in won. And almost immediately after, the entire cabin called it a night and passed out in a matter of minutes.

Ben Eiseman Thanksgiving Hut Trip // lgsmash.com

The next 2 days were spent doing whatever the hell we wanted. We built really fun (and not very safe) sled hills outside the hut. We played Farkle, Trivial Pursuit and Cards Against Humanity multiple (+multiple) times. We read books and magazines. We cooked and ate 10+ packs of bacon (10+ because I lost count). We drank Mountain Margaritas. We listened to and sang along with Shake It Off too many time. In short, we had a blast.

Ben Eiseman Thanksgiving Hut Trip // lgsmash.com

Ben Eiseman Thanksgiving Hut Trip // lgsmash.com Ben Eiseman Thanksgiving Hut Trip // lgsmash.com

Ben Eiseman Thanksgiving Hut Trip // lgsmash.com

Ben Eiseman Thanksgiving Hut Trip // lgsmash.com

Ben Eiseman Thanksgiving Hut Trip // lgsmash.com

Ben Eiseman Thanksgiving Hut Trip // lgsmash.com

Ben Eiseman Thanksgiving Hut Trip // lgsmash.com

Blurry photo courtesy of dim lighting and too much wine.

Ben Eiseman Thanksgiving Hut Trip // lgsmash.com

Ben Eiseman Thanksgiving Hut Trip // lgsmash.comWhile the trek in was painstakingly long, our time spent at the hut was fabulous. Almost to the point that short term memory loss could kick in and trick me into hut tripping at Ben Eiseman again in the near future. Almost.

The sunrises and sunsets were absolutely stunning and the views from and around the hut were incredible. The hut itself was so spacious and beautiful. The company was hilarious and awesome and the food was the best I’ve had in the backcountry. One of the best part of hut trips is knowing that the other 15 people who are at the hut with you are just as crazy about the mountains as you are. We come from different walks but our passion is the same: Get outside, have fun, do things you love and be with people you enjoy.

But back to Ben Eiseman: It’s well worth the hike if you’re prepared for what you’re getting into. I probably wouldn’t recommend this hut to a first timer but it is doable – ours survived and are excited about future hut trips and snowshoeing.