Forest Bathing // Shinrin-Yoku

Shinrin-Yoku is the Japanese practice of “forest bathing”. Forest bathing is fairly self explanatory; just take a relaxing walk under the forest canopy, breath deeply, and soak in all the health benefits. It’s a popular preventative health care practice in Japan. I’ve always noticed a significant positive shift in my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual state after spending some quality time in nature but I’ve never really understood exactly what attributed to that. Vitamin D, fresh air, and exercise are all fabulous benefits of getting outside but there are many other scientifically proven benefits to forest bathing. Some of these benefits include: improved mood, reduced stress, increased energy, reduced blood pressure, and accelerated recovery. One of the most impressive benefits is boosted immune function. Trees emit organic compounds that actually support our natural killer cells (cancer killing cells) and decrease our stress hormone levels. Literally forest healing! How fricking cool is that?! Nature is so incredible and so powerful. I enjoy forest bathing with my husband and dog! I take conscious, deep breaths and touch the forest floor and fallen leaves. One of my favorite things to do is to just stop and listen to the silence of nature, it’s beautiful. Get curious- touch, smell, listen, observe, and bathe in the forest.

Kaua’i Paradise

The last of our pictures from our honeymoon in Kauai!! I fell in love with this island. We already want to go back to do more and see more of its wonder! These are miscellaneous pictures that we took throughout the trip. Here is a little mini travel guide of things we recommend doing in paradise!

Kauai To Do: 

  • HIKE the Kalalau Trail along the Na Pali Coast to Hanakapiai Beach (4 miles roundtrip)
  • SNORKEL at Tunnels Beach, Ke’e Beach, & on the Na Pali Coast
  • BOAT with Na Pali Experience along the Na Pali Coast into the sea caves
  • SWIM at Hanalei Bay Beach (and jump off the pier!) & Queen’s Bath
  • EAT as much seafood, fresh fruit, & sushi as possible but a few of our favorites were Trucking Delicious, Sushi Girl, The Dolphin, St. Regis Makana Terrace, Wishing Well Shaved Ice, Kauai Bread Co., Shaved Ice Paradise, & Foodland (they have tons of yummy local stuff and their poke is delicious)
  • DRINK fresh coconuts from fruit stands, Kauai Juice Company, Kauai Coffee Company, Aloha Maid canned drinks, Aloha Juice Bar, & Koloa Rum
  • LUAU at Smith Family Garden in the Wailua River State Park
  • MEET locals at Ha’ena Beach Park, Hanalei Beach Pavilion, Hanalei Pier, & Hanalei Farmer’s Market
  • PACK as light as possible, only the essentials (no closed toed shoes!)
  • RENT a jeep, snorkel gear, & surf or SUP boards
The prettiest church ever in Hanalei. They have a ceremony in Hawaiian every Sunday.
In a red ginger forest fairyland. Pure bliss!

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Boreas Pass Camping Trip

Over the weekend we camped at the summit of Boreas Pass near Breckenridge in Summit County! We were all itching for an extended dose of mother nature so we packed our packs and hit the road. Spontaneous camping trips are so fun! It was not a far drive from the Boulder/Denver area at all and it was so incredibly beautiful! We camped pretty much right at tree line so around 11,000 ft. There were even still a few patches of pink (bacteria) snow on the mountains. We found the perfect camping spot nestled in the trees with a stunning panoramic view. There were tons of wild bluebells, indian paintbrushes, and purple daises all around. We ate completely paleo while camping- cashews, apples, sliced turkey, hard boiled eggs, and cracklins/pork rinds. It’s most efficient to bring protein rich foods backpacking and camping. I love unplugging and running around with Tyler and Waldo in the mountains!

home is wherever we are together
home is wherever we are together
view from our spot
view from our spot

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Maroon Bells

The #1 thing we wanted to do while in Aspen was to hike the Maroon Bells! It’s the most photographed place in Colorado and for good reason. It’s been on my Colorado to do/bucket list for years now. I was seriously in awe the whole time just soaking up the vast beauty of the lush valley surrounded by 14,000 ft peaks and aspen groves.

My brother Robson, Tyler, and I parked at Aspen Highlands and took the local bus up to Maroon Lake. The bus comes every 15-20 minutes and they do this to limit the traffic that drives over the aspen groves root system. Not sure if this is really true or not haha because we saw a few RV’s and other cars driving up so I think they just do it to limit the number of people parking at the trail head. We were actually glad that Waldo was not with us on this hike because the bus was pretty crowded and standing room only by the time we got on.

Maroon Lake is stunningly beautiful! It’s turquoise blue-green and crystal clear. The wildflowers were blooming EVERYWHERE. Again, I am obsessed with Colorado’s wildflowers- we saw daisies, columbines, lupines, Indian paint brushes, blue & purple bells, berry patches, sunflowers, etc. It was a wildflower wonderland. I love fresh flowers but I am pretty conscious and respectful about not picking them so that everyone can enjoy them and so that I don’t disturb the natural habitat. The massive, snowy peaks behind Maroon Lake are breathtaking.

wildflowers approaching Maroon Lake
wildflowers approaching Maroon Lake
Maroon Lake
Maroon Lake

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Exploring the Grottos

Tyler and I recently arrived to Aspen for our family vacation/my dad’s wedding (which is today at The Little Nell up on the mountain- another post on that to come). The first full day here we hiked and explored the Grottos!! It was so freaking cool!! It’s up Independence Pass (probably the world’s most beautiful pass) a few miles from Aspen. When I was researching it, it honestly didn’t look that awesome but let me tell you, it’s underrated! It’s not a long trail but there’s a lot to see and do. The Roaring Fork River runs along the trail so there are tons of beautiful river spots to hang out at and foot bridges to cross and cascades that were literally roaring! Tons of wildflowers which are my favorite. The best part by far were the ice caves! You have to climb down in between some sketchy crevices to get to them but it’s so worth it! There are these huge glaciers down there. Highly recommend this hike for anyone in the Aspen area. Check out our pictures below! We have a bunch more adventures planned for while we are here so stay tuned!

us on top of Independence Pass!
us on top of Independence Pass!
when the cave drips on you haha
when the cave drips on you haha

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Crater Lakes in James Peak Wilderness

Our first high country summer hike this season was to Crater Lakes in James Peak Wilderness! It was exceptionally cool and sunny which made for perfect hiking weather. This was my first real hike where I brought my new camera and it was so much fun taking pictures along the way. Tyler even enjoyed it too! The wildflowers were blooming and there were tons of creeks babbling everywhere from all the snow melt. Truly peaceful. I spotted a few wild columbines and some sweet hydroponic alpine flowers. We crossed over probably 10 foot bridges which are always fun and make me feel like a kid again. We started at the East Portal Trailhead near Rollinsville and it was a 6 mile roundtrip hike with about 1,400 ft elevation gain. The trail was heavily forested but still had great mountain views. We chilled at lower Crater Lake for a while and let Waldo swim/run around. We also climbed some rocks and played on the snow fields. It was really fun sliding down the snow! After a while, I noticed that Waldo’s paw was bleeding and realized that he cut it open somehow so we had to bust out the first aid kit. It was my first backcountry first aid experience and I managed to clean it off and bandage him up pretty nicely! We decided to head back down after that and thankfully he wasn’t limping or in pain. He’s such a tough and sweet boy! He never lets us see him sweat, that’s for sure. We had a great time and plan on backpacking/camping in James Peak Wilderness sometime soon! All the pictures below were taken with my canon rebel camera. None of them are edited due to my lack of expertise in that area. IMG_0354


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Boulder Falls

Over the weekend Tyler and I went to Boulder Falls for the first time ever!! We made the choice not to bring Waldo since we were unsure of the trail conditions and since it’s technically closed. I like to follow the rules (sometimes) but in my opinion, you can’t close nature. C’mon Boulder! The weather forecast wasn’t looking promising to do much else outdoors so we decided to say screw it and adventure anyway!!! I’ve been dying to see Boulder Falls but it has been closed for almost the entire 5 years I’ve lived here. I came to the realization that people safely visit all the time and just go around the closed off rope sign. It was a great day to visit because 1) we were the only ones there so that was really nice and 2) it has been raining recently + snow melt so the falls were raging. The canyon was all foggy and mystical, it was so romantic and relaxing. Pics below 🙂 IMG_2273


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