Chasing Adventures Around the Rockies

My buddy Rob and I set off on a 2 week road trip around the rockies. We had a rough idea where we wanted to go but nothing was really set in stone. Not a single hotel was booked prior to the day of, which made it super fun and created unlimited possibilities where we could go. We did have a few stops we needed to make along the way. We put in roughly 4220 miles of driving, 8 states, 4 ski resorts, 6-7 National Parks/Forest/Monuments, and countless hours of laughing and fun.

Day 1: Open Road

Hit the road right after my X-rays on my left thumb. Oh yeah. I had a good fall the night prior skiing and jacked up my thumb. Was not sure if it was broken or what. Figured it was best to get it quickly looked at. Not broken but the tendons/ligaments might be messed up. I can wrap it and deal with it when we get back, which post trip MRI results showed that I tore my UCL.. This put us behind schedule but thankfully we were technical winging the trip :) We made our way to York, NE where we finally had to crash for the night. Next day, we had to finish off the drive to Steamboat Springs, CO. We were going to visit the Hala Gear headquarter to meet everyone. Super awesome to put names and faces together. After meeting everyone we headed to Copper Mountain.

Day 2: Hitting the Slopes - Copper Mountain, CO

We meet up with my friend Marni, who sadly just blew out her knee before we got there. She works for Copper and was able to hook us up with some cheap lift. Took full advantage of that and we hit the slopes hard and fast that day. Followed it up with a few pints and some food with her.

Day 3: Hitting the Water

Waking up we checked out the weather and snow reports for surround resorts. Not blown away by anything we decided to continue onward to our next stop, Grand Junction, CO. We were meeting up with Nadia Almuti (my Hala Ambassador manager) and Alex Garhart (Sales Rep for Hala) for a day of paddling.

It was my first time SUPing a river with whitewater. Plus Rob has only been on a board a handful of times. So this was going to be fun! They had all the gear for us to use and we hit the water. I fell in love with running rapids and I see a bright future with this passion.

After a super fun time on the water we walked (a few miles lol) to a local brewery for a tasty meal and some beers. Nadia and Alex were awesome host and put us up for the night too. Thank you both for the awesome time and I look forward to our next time paddling together!

Day 4: Hitting Ding and Dang Canyon

Nadia was telling us about this hike in Utah we might want to check out. I took one look at the website and instantly knew we had to check this place out. We hiked up Ding and came down Dang. Was about 7 miles round trip, which we got there around 2pm. So we had limited time due to daylight but wanted to make sure we made the most of it and we most certainly did!

Just finished up Ding. Now for a break to refuel, get lots of water in us, and head down Dang. So far this place is amazing!

Day 5: Sunrise at Bryce Canyon Before Las Vegas

We tried to get to Bryce before the sunset but due to getting pulled over that didn't happen. So instead we grabbed a cheap hotel in Bryce. This is Rob's first time seeing Bryce and my second but my other time was in the summer. I'm crazy excited to see how this place transforms.

All wrapped up at Bryce we had to hit the road to Las Vegas. We were meeting up with Paul (Rob's dad) and Mark (Rob's uncle) to spend Superbowl weekend with them. We had a 2pm tour with Frank Cullotta annnd he is not one you want to keep waiting. Who is Frank? Well let's just say he was a mob enforcer. We were listening to his book titled "Cullotta: The Life of a Chicago Criminal, Las Vegas Mobster, and Government Witness" Yeah you read that right. This guys was apart of the Hole in the Wall Gang and affiliated with other mobs/gangs. I am not going to give away any more but it was pretty awesome experience. Paul is a huge mob fan and set the whole thing up.

After the awesome tour with Frank we headed back to the hotel (Rob's parents time share) before hitting the strip. Started off at the Luxor to see Carrot Top, which I laughed my ass off. Gin and Tonics flowing all night we knew we were in for a fun night lol. After Carrot top, we headed to The High Roller to get a better view of the city, with it being my first true time in Vegas. We then checked out more of the city before heading back.

Day 6: My Face Hurts Ha!

Title sums up the night of comedy shows we saw. During the day we checked out more of the city and placed our bets for the Superbowl.

Day 7: Game Day BABY!!!

Time for the Superbowl! Buuut first Rob and I went out walking around the strip for me to see what other hotels and casinos are like. We then meet back up with Paul and Mark to watch the game hoping we win some money! After the game Rob and I went to the "Old Strip" to see it all lit up.

Day 8: Drive Time to the Slopes

Had a blast in Vegas but time to hit the road and head back into Utah. We decided to make a stop at Zion National Park even with the sun setting in an hour. We drove around Zion for a bit before we could not see anything. Then continued onward to Sandy, UT for the night

Day 10: On the Road Again

We were planning on going to Jackson Hole but they got hit with a crazy storm that made the whole Teton Village area loose power. They going to be shut down for a week maybe longer. So instead we decided on going to Grand Targhee Resort, but before we can ski we got to get there

Day 11: Skiing Hoth?! Hard to Tell :)

The weather was crazy. Forecast was showing rain for the next few days.. We were hoping to see some snow higher up in the mountains. It sure did make for one heck of a day skiing. I will never forget day of skiing that's for sure.

After a crazy day on the slopes, we hit the road to explore the area more. We drove up to Island Park to see what that area was all about. We then headed back to Victor area (where out motel is) to the local brewery for some beers and pizza to plan out our next day.

Day 12: Searching for a Lonely Peak

With it raining the past 24+ hours, we decided to move on. Looking for snow we landed on Big Sky but we needed to drive through Western Yellowstone to get there. What a beautiful drive that was! Made a few stops along the way to enjoy the views before getting to Big Sky.

We ended up skiing the afternoon away. Hands down my favorite and best day skiing! Found some untouched knee to waist deep power :)

Day 13: Hitting the Road and Counting the Years

Waking up in our Bozeman hotel we had the option to either go ski again or hit the road for the long drive home. With yesterday being such an amazing day skiing I thought it would be hard to top that with skiing again, might as well finish the skiing on the highest of highs. However, I came across this picture of a canyon and thought it would be pretty sweet to check out along the way. Heck even it even sounded cool. Devils Canyon Overlook.

Day 14: Pit Stop at a Devilish Monolith

Being in Gillette, we figured we might as well make a stop at Devils Tower National Monument, since I have never seen it. WOW! What a site to see! We popped the top off the Jeep to get a crazy awesome experience driving up to the base. Afterwards, we drove straight back to Minnesota

Looking Back

This was one heck of an adventure! Loved how everything flowed and we were never in a hurry to get anywhere. This allowed everything to just sort of fall into place. No issues getting a place to stay, which most of the time it was cheaper with us booking the night of. Plus we were not picky where we stayed at all. We both drink our breakfast, snacked during the day, and enjoyed an awesome meal at night typically at a brewery. No injuries (minus my torn UCL but I did that prior) or issues with the Jeep. Super happy to make some new friends, see an old friend, and had a blast in Vegas with Rob's Dad and Uncle. Seemed like everyday we were doing something different, interesting, exciting, and tested our skills in multiple ways. It set the bar high for future road trips to come, but we are up to the challenge :)

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