‘Rock the World With Your Spirit’
I have been following Jennifer’s adventures for quite awhile now. I always thought the content was great, and enjoyed seeing the Denver area and wherever else she would travel. It is so cool to see her passion to flow to her kids and her dog too! I am also pumped that she modeled for Wild and Co, which is a super cool company based on a movement for conservation and getting outdoors. Read more here!
I am 37 born and raised in Denver CO. I moved away to Kansas and Florida for work and family but returned home 2 years ago! I have a BS in Health Science with a minor in Biology from Wichita State University. I unexpectedly became a mother at 19 to my daughter Bayli… she just turned 18 in January! She is about to graduate high school not only with her High School diploma, but also her Associates in Science and will start Nursing School in the Fall. Brycen is 12 and loves write and play basketball, football, hike and backpack and wants to be an Architect. When I found out I was pregnant with Bayli, I decided to give up the opportunity to run track in college and raise my daughter. My husband and I then decided to have our son Brycen when Bayli was in kindergarten. I worked in the healthcare field until about 10 years ago when I took the dive into marketing and event development and management. I have a long Haired German Shepherd and spend the majority of my time in nature hiking, skiing, backpacking, paddle boarding, roller blading or running. Along with running competitively, I played basketball since I was 5 and still enjoy finding pick up games around Denver. On any day, you can find me at my favorite hangout spots in Denver with my dog … Recess, Postinos, West End, Señor Bear, Highland Tap and Burger or Occidental… usually riding my roller blades or bike there when it is nice out. I am the first born in my family in the United States. I love wine and cooking and read about a book a week. The first book I ever fell in love with was Z for Zachariah which I read in 5th grade. My current goals include running the Pikes Peak Marathon, hiking Mount Whitney and the Half Dome and to get my Sommelier I.
What do you do for a living, how did you end up in that field?
Currently, I am a marketing consultant to two local businesses in the retail and restaurant industries. I enjoy supporting small local businesses that allow Denver to continue growing but also keep the city true to it’s original roots. I came into the marketing field by chance when the City Manager of the town I was living in in Kansas came to me with an idea of developing a new department within the city. He wanted someone who could promote the city as a destination as well as develop new exciting events for those in the community to enjoy. His overall idea was to increase the quality of living to his residents. I have been passionate about serving my community and the businesses within it since!
When did you first start enjoying the outdoors?
As a Denver/Colorado Native the outdoors have been apart of my life since day one! My father is an avid mountain man – adventurer. Skiing, hiking, backpacking, fishing, hunting… he loves it all and shared his passion for the mountains and outdoors with me. He taught me so much about how to be safe and prepared while out in nature and today I often venture out alone for a few days with my German Shepherd to enjoy the solitudeness of the back country! The mountains are truly where I feel most at peace and most myself!
What is your favorite place to explore?
The mountains… but I also love the water! Honesty, if I can be outside moving my body through a new landscape I am happy! Colorado will always have my heart and I still marvel at how beautiful and vast this state is, but I really have enjoyed venturing out to other states such as California, Nevada and Utah recently. Many people dream of traveling abroad (which I thoroughly enjoy as well) but if people only knew all the United States has to offer in terms of outdoor activity and different eco systems and landscapes, I feel more would focus on exploring right here in our very own backyard!
How many of the 50 United States have you visited? Favorite?
I have visited 30 of the 50 states… outside of Colorado, I would say the mountains in California are beautiful. You can hike Mt. Whitney which is the tallest peak in the lower 48 states and also visit the lowest point (Badwater Basin) in the Western Hemisphere all in the same day! I did this backing trip with my son, his friend, cousin, ex-husband this past October and it was amazing.
How many countries, where?
I haven’t traveled all that much outside of the U.S. but I have been to Mexico numerous times, London and Dusseldorf. My father moved to the U.S. from Dusseldorf when he was 15. I was raised in a very German household and have actually considered moving there! I love Germany, the people, the history and all of the old castles. There is also some amazing hiking in Germany that I would love to go back and do. Just Google German Alps or Painter’s Way… all of which are at the top of my bucket list!
Best hike you have ever had?
I strive to provide Bayli and Brycen with the same experiences my father provided me in the outdoors and mountains. To date, my favorite hike would be when my son hiked his first 14er… Mount Elbert. We car camped in my Jeep the night prior so we could wake super early and be on the trail for sunrise. Mount Elbert is not very hard but there is 3 false summits. It was pretty entertaining watching my young son excited for the summit to be in sight and then for him to realize he still had further to go. He was tough, wanted to quit, got whiney and then pushed through and conquered the summit! I made a sign so once he hit the top he could hold it for pictures. He asked me the night prior “Mom, you made me a sign saying I climbed Mount Elbert, but what if I can’t reach the top?” All I said was… “I know you will reach the top. He smiled and said then I know I will too!”
Essential items for summer hikes/winter hikes in your opinion.
WATER!! You can survive without food much longer than you can without drinkable water. Also, one of Hans (my father’s) favorite words of advice for setting out to explore is: “Layers are Life”… dry socks are a huge. You can always remove a layer, but you can’t put on more layers once out in the wild. I also always tell people to download the map of their hike or area they are exploring before losing service. A first aide kit can make a huge difference in case of an emergency. And last, I should be better about this personally, but tell someone where you are going and how long you expect to be gone. Oh and recently added to my essentials, a fog horn. It can help people find you if you fall or get lost off trail and it also works well with scaring away mountain lions.
Most comical hike/adventure story?
I would say it is a cross between Capital Peak, hiking the Four Pass Loop from Aspen to Crested Butte or hiking down to the Colorado River between NV and AZ carrying my inflatable paddle board and then paddling 8 miles up river to hike back out. We camped on the river bed!
Scariest hike/adventure story?
I was backpacking outside of Helen Hunt Falls in Colorado Springs with my then 10 year old son and my German Shepherd Tytus. We were sound asleep in our hammocks and at about 3 am I hear Tytus growling the most mean growl I have ever heard him make. He is truly a gentle giant… but my eyes flew open to the sound coming from his body. I knew immediately something was wrong. I grabbed my flash light to look around and found eyes of another animal about 50 feet from where we were sleeping. It was a mountain lion. I do not tie my dog up so I was worried he may try to chase the cat off. I do not hike with weapons and stated thinking of a plan to protect my son and I. Tytus handled the situation so perfectly and I think saved us from serious harm or even death. He did not budge from standing between us and the cat. His hair stood completely up. He weights 150 pounds as is, but that early morning he looked twice as big. I trusted he had my back and decided my best bet was to build the campfire back up as big as possible to hopefully scare the cat. I also thought I could use a stick as a hot poker if the cat did attack. The stand off between us and the cat lasted about 45 minutes although it felt like forever! Luckily, my son never woke up and we lived to hike many more days!! It was after this situation that I started carrying a fog horn after reading that are great for scaring off mountain lions.
Upcoming trips planned?
I plan to do a long road trip to Glacier National Park this summer as well as through Utah, Nevada and Colorado.
Favorite outdoors gear/lifestyle companies? Any local?
Let’s start with footwear… Chaco and Vasque boots! Once at my campsite or after a long day of skiing my go-to shoe is my Glerups. They are made of wool and extremely warm and so comfortable. I think REI as a brand does a great job with their gear and we are so lucky to have the largest REI in the U.S. right here in Denver. I wear a lot of local Colorado apparel such as Be Hippy, Yo Colorado, Wild and Co because… gotta love those Colorado born and raised companies supporting our National Parks! I am big into hammock camping; hiking into the back country and sleeping in my hammock. Eno Double Hammock nest in my go to. I also couldn’t live without my Pocket Rocket Stove Kit. It is small to carry but allows me to make hot water for my MRE’s, coffee and is great for getting a stubborn camp fire to start! I also carry REI’s MyFak First Aide kit because safety first! I always carry my JBL Clip 3 for music around the campfire, a fog horn to allow people to find you if you fall or get lost and it also works as a weapon to scare away mountain lions. Last, I definitely enjoy packing in some wine to sip on while relaxing with my music and campfire. My friend owns Mesa Parks Vineyard in Palisade, CO. Their wine is so great and has less sugar than most, so no hangover and restful sleeping for the next day of hiking! Life is all about balance.
What does conservation mean to you?
Conservation to me is a simple yet extremely important idea. In my mind it is two things… respecting and nurturing our planet. Literally one of the best shared motto’s is “Leave no Trace.” It represents respect to our environment by leaving our planet the same way you found it. The second part is trying to give back; plant a tree, pick up trash, reduce your use of your vehicle or practice better waste management… this in my mind is nurturing our environment!
What can we do to make sure our parks and wild lands stay clean and pure forever?
Please see above! Conservation!! Nurture and Respect our parks and wild lands!
Thank you for adding so much perspective to the outdoors through your eyes. I am enjoying hosting such awesome explorers and look forward to meeting many more individuals. Your work is amazing and I hope you, your kids, and your pup choose to explore as often as possible!
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