– a guest blog by Mark Cortinas –
In a world so vastly complex and ever changing, the outdoors is something so vital to center us back to what really matters most. Bend Outdoors hosted two guided trips to Rocky Mountain National Park and Grand Teton National park, and had a little play in between. As the dog days of summer come to a halt, I feel I am learning the delicate art of mixing work with play.
Packit Gourmet was there to provide us with the ultimate nutrition we needed to keep both our customers & ourselves fueled for all of our adventures.
Memorial day began our summer adventures as we loaded the van and headed up north to the Rockies. We kicked off the trip with a whitewater rafting excursion in Idaho Springs, led by our friends at Liquid Descent Rafting. After our rocky mountain welcome, we headed to our spacious campground nestled in the Glacier Basin Campground in Rocky Mountain National Park. Our days started off with a camp breakfast, followed by scenic hiking and topped off with a roundtable dinner and campfire.
During the first extreme heat wave in Texas, my good buddy, Keith Mitchhart, made the executive decision to embark on his second 100k run- this time along the Rio Grande in Big Bend Ranch State Park. Naturally, as any good friend would do, I tagged along for the ride, with a short detour in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I met my good friend from college who had his eye on the North Face of the Organ Mountains.
I figured I may as well attempt a challenge of my own before accompanying my hermano. The climb consisted of 9-pitches and was my first multi-pitch climb to date. The alpine start was more than worth it upon reaching the summit. After a day of climbing and indulging in New Mexican cuisine, it was time to circle back to West Texas.
West Texas is a wild place that is home to only those who dare test the extremities of this abode. With 62 miles ahead of Keith & the support crew, we set to get some shut eye after camp dinner only to be welcomed with a thunderstorm during the night. Running on fumes, the crew departed from Terlingua to Big Bend Ranch State Park at 2am to start the rogue race.
Despite the 115 degree temperature, Keith managed to push through the 62 miles and do something he’s only done once before. With this humble victory under his belt, he had just one more run to complete his “Just F*cking Run project”- a project intended to draw eyes to his new non-profit, Miles For Moms. An organization dedicated to raising money to aid distressed single mothers.
The Bend Outdoors crew and guests once again loaded up the van and headed north, this time to Grand Teton National Park. With a 21+ hr car ride under our belt, it was time to get equipped for one of our 16-miler backpacking treks. We set out for the South Fork of the Cascade Canyon. We were delighted with some of the most striking scenery I have ever camped at before. We hiked out and elected to treat our guests with a spot in the luxurious Teton Tent Village. After some heaven sent burgers, we hit the hay to get ready for our next backpacking day. This time to the Lower Granite Canyon. With the 32 miles behind us, we all felt a certain camaraderie that only comes through the form of backpacking.
Being immersed in nature with others is something that our modern society has strayed way too far from. It is something so pure and natural to our existence and as technology continues to advance- I feel it is even more vital to get back to the basics and spend as much time outside as possible with others.
This guest blog was authored by Mark C. of Bend Outdoors – Thanks Mark!
The goal of Bend Outdoors is to bridge the gap of getting people outside. They aim to be a community centered around the outdoors through the form of events and trips that connect you with other like-minded individuals. Trips and events range from multi-day backpacking trips, to overnight local camping trips, to round table dinners, and to general meetups outside.