Challenge One: The Hike In


On a Wednesday this crew (pictured below) decided to put ourselves through some cruel and unusual punishment….getting up at 4:30 in the morning. After that though everything we did that day was a breeze—just kidding! On this Wednesday morning we packed up our packs and hit the road for Silverton. We were heading out on a four day camping trip in the Weminuche Wilderness and the big challenge of the day (daily challenge post to come) was going to be the 6.5 mile and 3,000 feet elevation gain hike into the Chicago Basin where we would set up our camp. The other big part of the day was the steam train we were going to get on once we got to Silverton! This was the big exciting part of the day.

We hit the road and quickly fell asleep after Kara and I learned what Snapchat Faces is….


About four hours in we stopped for fuel at the best breakfast place you can find while on a road trip, yes McD’s.

We arrived in Silverton with about two hours to spare which was great because it took bit to find lunch and where to park the car. ADVICE: give yourself extra time here, we ended up having to move our car to a different spot after bad advice and would have been even more stressed about missing the train. We also had a last minute bathroom users which really freaked the group out; long story short we all made it.n

A few of us headed to The Pitts Again BBQ joint on Greene street for some infamous BBQ that has been featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dive. I enjoyed a ham sandwich and mash potatoes; seriously awesome.

After our lunch we got our things together and got on the train and enjoyed the amazing view. Second bit of ADVICE: do the train! You can skip the train and hike in but don’t! The views were amazing and it was such a nice treat! Taking the steam train through the mountains that has been around since 1881 when it originally was created was a great addition to this backpacking trip.

After about 45 minutes we were dropped at a bridge and that started the hike. The hike that was very, very hard for me. My sister basically ran it but I just couldn’t’ find my stride. Maybe it was my preparation; McDonald’s and BBQ.

Though this hike was a struggle it was beautiful. I ended up being alone for about the last hour and the quietness was a nice transition away from the busy noises of daily life.

Our stats ended up being: 6.44 miles, 2,775 feet elevation gain (8,234 to 11,062), 3 hours and 38 minutes.

We got to camp and set up as fast a possible because we had a big appetizer party planned. I had brought the what I am calling the perfect hiking appetizer; Volpi Snacks!  Basically they are a mozzarella cheese stick either wrapped in proccuitto, pepperoni, or spicy cooked salami—aka a charcuterie board in the wilderness. Shanna out did me and actaully carried in aged gouda so that was also nice washed down with our Pinot Noir Bota Box wine.

Another luxury item that was carried in was a guitar. The Chicago Basin area does not allow fires but we barely noticed what we were missing since we had such an unusual addition. We thought we were the most musical bunch but we learned on our last night that a neighbor brought a trumpet.

We enjoyed the s’mores bars that I had baked for everyone (another good idea if you can’t have a fire, or want a step up from the classic s’mores) and sang Taylor Swift to the star filled sky.





Socca Awesome


There are lots of things to try in Nice but one food item that shouldn’t be missed is socca. Socca is an unleavened bread made out of chickpea flour and is a specialty in Nice. You will find it pretty much at all touristy restaurants but if you are looking for some of the best socca in the city head to Chez Pipo.

Chez Pipo is about a 20 minute walk outside of the Vieux Nice.  You can see in pictures below that the batter is poured onto a thin pizza like tray and baked in a wood fire oven. The bread is supposed to be served very hot and of course with rosé. I had to take mine to go since I was running a little behind and they told me it would not be as good as eating it fresh in the restaurant. I may have technically done it wrong but it was still delicious. It is nutty from the chickpea and olive oil with charred flavors from the fire but it was still light with a creamy finish. Perfect for a summer day snack!

It was socca awesome—get it?