4-Month Wrap-Up: Skiing With Olympians, Getting Licensed, & Travels

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We need to catch up. There are so many things to update you on.

Here’s the skinny: I’ve been writing less lately because I’ve been traveling a ton more. I decided back in the summer that travel is my #1 adventure priority, so I’ve been catching planes what feels like every weekend to soak in all the American cities I can. On those rare weekends when I’m in my new home state, I’m off to the mountains, exploring all of Colorado’s nooks and crannies.

At some point I’ll do a full-on travel update post. (And I think I’m going to start writing weekend travel guides. They’d be chock full of the best spots to hit in different American cities, a-la my own research and experience. Thoughts on whether that’d be cool to read?)

But for now I’m going to give a quick lil skim of my life the past four months, because it’s been too long and we need to catch up.

The past four months, I…

1. Traveled. A ton. To Detroit, Portland, Aspen, Chicago, Williamsburg, Washington DC, Houston, Nashville…

The list goes on and on. Like I said, I’ll do a bigger post on just my travels later on, but for now I’ll just say that I’ve been eating, drinking, seeing, and experiencing everything the United States has to offer. And I’m loving it all.

Stay tuned for more!

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2. Hiked a bunch of Colorado hot spots.

I haven’t summited a 14-er yet. But don’t worry, that’s coming up this spring. Even so, I did get to see a bunch of beautiful mountain peaks with my friends. And that’s been pretty dreamy.

There’s something about hiking in Colorado that sings deep into the quiet parts of the soul. When I was living in New York City, everything felt loud and big and boisterous, and the city stirred up all the restlessness in my bones with sparks of energy only that place can offer a person. In Colorado, things are very different.

Colorado is about the outdoors and peace. It’s about standing awe-struck at the silent majesty of the mountaintop and letting that soften all your fears. It’s about moving aching limbs up cold switchbacks and losing your thoughts to that humble rhythm. Colorado is whizzing down snowy slopes with only a pair of skis and your wits to keep you safe from what nature’s rocks can do to you.

And the more I hike in Colorado, the more I want. I want more peaks. I want more summits. I can’t wait for spring, when more trailheads open up again. My boots are ready to hit the dirt again.

For now, I hold on to the memories of Guanella Pass, Maroon Bells, St. Mary’s Glacier, and others to tide me over.

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My friend Alyssa came for a visit and we hiked St. Mary’s Glacier, which was gorgeous. Can you tell her camera takes nicer pictures than my iPhone? πŸ˜‰

3. Skied for the first time in seven years! And in Colorado! [#1 on the short-term winter bucket list I haven’t published yet, but it’s coming soon! I promise!]

I took ski trips annually in middle and high school, but I haven’t hit the slopes in a loooong time. When I moved to Colorado, I knew I had to experience what skiing was like in arguably the best ski state in the country.

Except I was super nervous.

What if I sucked? Worse, what if I hated it?

Despite the potential consequences, I treated myself to a four pack ski pass to Copper Mountain, which has some of the best runs according to my friends. I didn’t want to commit to a full season ski pass because let’s be real: they’re expensive, and if I didn’t like skiing I would’ve wasted a lot of dough.

However, buying a four pack ensured that I would have to ski at least four days to get my money’s worth, and I wanted to force myself out of my comfort zone at least that much.

The first day I went out, my roommate Lauren and I picked up a ski rental for me at Christy Sports and headed over the mountain. (Side note: if you’re needing a rental this season and live in Colorado, go to Christy Sports! They are amazing and patiently helped me pick out just the right boot size, pair of skis, and pole length. Super awesome folks.)

When we got to the mountain, we noticed that they were hosting the literal Olympic trials at Copper that day.

Um, no.

I had not skied in seven years, people. SEVEN YEARS. No way was I going to be skilled enough to survive a run on the same mountain as the folks who were the best in the game.

So I was already prepped for the worst by the time we made it up the first lift to the top of the mountain. Lauren went ahead of me and I started down at the run before me, unsure and freaked out and ready to practically die.

But I made myself push off. After a few feet, I was still alive. Good sign.

So I kept going. And going, and going and going.

And with the wind beating past my face, I started to realize that I still remembered how to do this. And not only that – I remembered how to like it.

There’s not anything quite like the adrenaline pumping in your veins as you fight with everything in you to make it down a mountain in one piece, without falling, getting as much speed as you can while still maintaining control. By the end of the day, my face was numb and my lips were cracking, but I was having the time of my life.

And I never fell once!

I can’t wait to keep skiing this season. Updates to follow. Maybe some broken limbs, too. πŸ™‚

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Next time I’m renting a helmet.

4. Took the test and got my LMSW! [#24, long-term list]

As you know, I graduated with my Master of Social Work (MSW) back in May. The next step for me was to take my boards, which would let me become a Licensed Master Social Worker, or LMSW.

This would mean I would be more competitive for jobs and eligible for greater pay. Plus I’d get letters after my name, which I was pretty excited for. πŸ˜‰

So I’ve been studying my little butt off, and finally sat for the exam on December 11. The test was super hard – it was one of those exams where every answer is kind of right, but there’s one answer that’s the most right. (Thanks a lot, exam writers.)

To be honest, I wasn’t sure I was going to pass while I was taking it. I’ve never had more anxiety during a test in my whole life. So when I clicked “submit” and saw the word “PASS” come up on the screen, I started crying.Β 

It feels really good! I’m finally licensed as an LMSW (or an LSW, as the state of Colorado calls it. It means the same thing, but they just call it something different, those weirdos).

Huge item off the bucket list!

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Feel free to follow me on Snapchat: @acwhitehurst

5. Visited the Denver Botanic Gardens and saw their Blossoms of Light display this winter! [#2, short-term winter bucket list that’s coming to the blog soon. It really is!]

Ever since I moved to Colorado, everyone’s been telling me to go see the Denver Botanic Gardens. To be honest, I’m not really a plant person. I can barely remember to give myself enough water, much less a dependent little green thing.

But since everyone was so enthusiastic about it (on girl who travels to all the botanic gardens in every city she travels to told me it was the best one she’s ever seen), I decided I’d throw it on my winter bucket list.

Plus, I’d heard that the Blossoms of Light display they put on every December was a must-do, so I put that on my list as well.

This meant I went twice to the Denver Botanic Gardens. Once with my friend Alyssa, who came to visit me for a weekend. Another time I went with my parents when they came to see me over the Christmas weekend, and we got to catch Blossoms of Light.

Even though plans aren’t my thing, I’ve gotta say, it was definitely a fun Denver activity! If you ever visit the city, I highly recommend it.

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A plant lover’s dream!

6. Got into a regular workout routine (finally!). [#3, short-term winter bucket list – I swear it’s real!]

On my fall 2017 short-term bucket list, I’d decided I wanted to get into a regular workout routine. But between settling into Denver and traveling so much, it never happened.

This winter, I finally didn’t have any more excuses. I’ve gotten back into running three or four times a week, which has been awesome. I kind of dropped it after I ran my half marathon, but it feels good to lace up those tennis shoes again.

That’s a bit about my life! Other things have happened as well, but I’m sure we’ll get to those stories eventually.

Tell me about you! What have you crossed off your bucket list the past few months? What’s going on your winter bucket list?

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