Author: laura graham - eaten the moon

A KARIBBEAN VACAYSEAN

In June I was honored to be apart of the – hands down – best wedding I have ever been to and possibly the best wedding that’s ever happened. Yes, Karie is possibly the most laid back bride ever to have existed, which does lend its part to a fun and laid back soiree, but the camaraderie and love found in everyone present is simply unmatched.

Rarely anymore – I feel – families and friends come together at a wedding not just to celebrate and support, but also to play a personal role in the process of the festivities. With Karie and Sean’s wedding you saw love on display as those who support them entirely lent their hands in scavenging for perfect florals, cleaning up the grounds so not a leaf was misplaced, or even just making sure hydration was happening and good tunes were playing overhead. It felt so inclusive and so special to be a part of.

Karie is not the person to post an album of wedding photos to any sort of social media platform, and as always this blog serves as visual documentation of special moments in my life, so I’m posting some of my favorite selects that she shared – taken by our incredibly talented friend, John Hook.

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Red Woods & Red Wine | Part 1

For as many wonderful weekend trips Matt and I get to experience here in Colorado, we had never been on a vacation just he and I. Like, a real: “we’re going to buy plane tickets and plan lodging and create an itinerary and we can do whatever our hearts desire because it’s just you and I, boo” type trip. But we amended this over Labor Day with a trip we’re affectionately referring to as Red Woods | Red Wine 2014.

As a team, Matt and I have a tendency (dare I say… talent?) for cramming as much as we can into as little a time frame as possible. And this weekend was no different. We had four days total, and determined the fairest way to prioritize our activities was to allot two days to each person. 2 days given to Matt to plan, and 2 days for me. We flew in to California, and to kick things off we headed north, close to the Oregon border, where we trekked into the Redwoods and spent the days among the giants.

Redwoods Road TripWe got in late Thursday night, and by the time we rented a car and got on the road it was after 9 p.m. … and we still had a 6 hour drive ahead of us. Matt being the gentleman he is (well, more like… Matt knowing what a monster I am when I don’t sleep), he let me grab some road trip rest while he pounded an XL Mountain Dew and put the pedal to the metal all night long. When I woke up, we were driving along the northern California coast, through the early morning fog. It was quite the treat to be greeted by the lush landscape.

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We hadn’t expected to be driving along so close to the shore, so despite some chilly early-morning temperature, we were compelled to pull over and run up to the water. It also provided the less-than-perfect opportunity to change into our hiking gear for the day, which involved Matt stripping down to his skimpies on the side of the road as traffic whooshed by. I kept my goodies to myself and changed in the car.

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IMG_2345IMG_2348Upon arriving at the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park we were so excited that we jumped out of the car and took pictures inside the first tree we saw. You’ll notice I hadn’t even tied my shoes before hopping inside.

IMG_2390 IMG_2420 IMG_2427 IMG_2465I realize there are a lot of pictures of trees here. Having experienced them, I find them incredible and worth sharing, but I’ll spare you of ALL the bark-based photography, and just include my favorites. On our first hike of the day we ran into the Boy Scout Tree, a massive behemoth of  a tree in an old growth forest, just off the main path. We tried our best to demonstrate just how large and daunting the size of this guy was, but it just doesn’t do it as much justice as being there… which is something I can say about all of these.

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I guess to put it somewhat into perspective, Matt’s about 6’2″ and his wing span is… whatever the wing span of a 6’2″ dude is.

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I give everyone permission to make fun of Matt for his sad faces and “dejected middle schooler” appearance in each of these photos. In his defense, he was really overwhelmed with the awesomeness we encountered. And this… was just the first part of the first day. Matt had planned wisely.

Semi-Hiking Mt. Huron

Although my bum old lady knees kept me from completing several of the hikes I wanted to this summer, that doesn’t mean I didn’t try. Well… at least it doesn’t mean that I didn’t go along for the ride. Late July Matt set his sites on Mt. Huron, at 14,003 foot peak just outside of Buena Vista and Granite, Colorado. While he got up at sunrise to set out for the summit, I slept in an extra two hours (maybe the only silver lining of these knee problems, if it can even be considered a silver lining) before attempting whatever portion of the hike I could do before my knees started to hurt.

I wasn’t sure how far I’d make it, but as it turns out, it wasn’t far. I got about a mile before the throbbing began and I made the decision to sit and wait in the sun until Matt started his decent and reached me. But, what I did get to see was absolutely breathtaking. What pains me so much about having to stop, is Matt reached the peak and told me it was the most beautiful view of any 14er he has climbed. #fomo #megafomo

When I’m sorted I’ll have to go back to see for myself.

Here’s the view we were met with driving in the night before:

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It was a gorgeous day – maybe the best weather I experienced all summer. Which obviously completely rubbed in the fact that I couldn’t fully participate. But I got to enjoy the coolness of the tree cover and climb over several creeks and brooks that lined the trail.

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I realize these just look like big rocks, but their colors and their imposing size were something to take in on a summer Saturday.

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Don’t let my smile fool you, I was saddened on the news of the views from the summit. But I guess it’s not a huge surprise. Fortunately my discovery of newly bloomed wildflowers and their bumble bee counterparts colored the mood. And then of course there’s the photo of the victor post mountain conquering.

It’s also worth noting that the drive to the trailhead is full of fantastic Colorado moments. From killer camp spots – to historical ghost towns that used to be booming mining metropolises – to a crystal blue lake that was incredible for hawk-spotting, the trek is worth the views.

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Mt. Elbert | The One and Only

Fall’s already here, which is hard to believe. This summer wasn’t nearly as mountain filled as I would have liked. Over fourth of July weekend, Matt and I headed about 10 miles southwest of Leadville to Mt. Elbert, the second highest peak in Colorado. From the trailhead to the peak we climbed 4,700 feet for a roundtrip distance of 9 miles. Last year while descending from Mt. Bross, I experienced some severe knee pain. Upon descending Mt. Elbert this year, I was in so much pain in both knees that for the last 1.5 miles of the trip, I literally dragged my feet behind me, hobbling back to the trailhead.

The hike was beautiful, and it felt incredible to be at the top of the second highest peak, but the damage done to both knees has been effecting me since, keeping me from joining Matt on several of his summer mountain adventures. I’m headed to the doctor in October to sort myself out before ski season, but in the meantime I wanted to share some of our photos from this trip to the top of Elbert, the one and only 14er I was able to complete this summer.

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Overall, the hike was incredibly well marked, and until you get above tree line, the path is clear and well maintained. That said, the 14er website rated this hike as one of the easiest 14ers to complete. I’m going to go ahead and say that it’s rated that way because of the constitution of the trail, but climbing 4,700 feet in 4.5 miles up to 14,433 feet was difficult for both Matt and I, and we encountered several climbers along the way who were unsuccessful in making it to the top. This is a hike that you must start early (we started at 6:00 a.m.) to complete before afternoon showers roll through.

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We made decent time, and motivated ourselves by trying to stay ahead of an older woman who seemed to be leisurely strolling along, eating her yogurt for breakfast and stopping every so often to take in the scenery. Although she was nearly twice our age and didn’t seem to be exerting herself whatsoever, she continued to catch up to us throughout the day, motivating us to stay ahead and push ourselves instead of taking breaks. She was definitely a certified badass and seasoned climber.

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The view from the top was spectacular, and although I spent a solid 1.5 hours limping in pain toward the bottom with shredded knees, I’m glad I have this memory of being on top of the world for a moment. It’s pretty incredible the kinds of places you can come across on a weekend trip in Colorado.

And for good measure, here’s a picture of Penny enjoying our camp spot at 5 a.m. Girl loves to get back to nature.

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From Telluride to Denver | Ophir Pass

Back to Telluride this year for the Bluegrass Festival. Amazing times ensued. The Punch Brothers (who cover Reptillia here… and I like it) and Andrew Bird were fantastic and totally killed it (as expected).

Everything about the Telluride Bluegrass Festival is wonderful: an incredible, surreal location (upon arrival, my friend John appropriately asked, “Is this real life?”), a gorgeous town, great music, a relaxing and community-oriented crowd, and this year, a wonderful group of friends to share the experience with.

Props to Matt, Ryan and DDoll for waking up early to participate in the tent rush to secure us a prime spot for the day that allowed us to lay back and relax with an unobstructed view of the stage. Lazy Days Telluride.jpg Telluride Bluegrass Festival Jumping in Telluride.jpg Telluride Post-Bluegrass.jpg Totally stole a couple of these from Danielle (who documents her Colorado adventures here). Thanks for capturing some of these Telluride moments, DD Mack. :)

As we embarked on the ride home Sunday we decided to forego the direct route and take a scenic pass home.

The ride started smoothly in the town of Ophir (population 113)… but as we headed up the Ophir Pass, the narrow roads and loose rock (we’re talking… should this loose rock give out we will surely plummet to our deaths) was a little too much for me to handle. #whiteknuckles #lastrites #keepthecarontheroad

Props #2 to Ryan for keeping his cool and getting us through the pass without falling off the road. I owe you one. Telluride Pass Telluride Ride Home Okay… this might not look scary, but I swear it was really steep off the side and it felt like we were really close to the side. Fortunately there were pretty things to look at that semi-distracted me. Semi. Okay maybe I’m just being dramatic.Long Way Down Telluride Drive Home The View Below (above) The town of Ophir in the valley below. (below) Reaching the top of the Ophir Pass. Ophir Pass Cross on Ophir Pass Creek on Ophir Pass (below) A view of the road through the canyon. Shot of the Road on Ophir Pass Ryan and D on Ophir Matt & I on Ophir Pass We were rewarded with our efforts to get through the pass by a surprise mega-waterfall. We stopped to catch our collective breath and unclench our buttcheeks… and take touristy photos.

I can’t say I will revisit Ophir Pass any time soon, but I CAN say I’ve checked it off my list and, retrospectively, it was awesome.

To New Orleans for Jazzfest

I love New Orleans. A lot. Not because of Bourbon Street, hurricanes, and days on days of no sleep and overconsumption. But because of the music, the architecture, the history, and the food. My god, the food. In April, Matt was scheduled to work in New Orleans on the same weekend as Jazzfest. I grabbed on to his coattails and held on for dear life. And, as usual, it was wonderful. New Orleans, you never disappoint.

I want to first share this great shot Matt took of the St. Louis Cathedral. If you don’t follow this kid on Instagram yet, it’s probably time you do. M3 has a way of capturing great moments – like this sunset on our first night. #respect

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Because Matt spent the days workingworkingworking, I hit the streets by my lonesome and just spent time wandering around seeing all the things. First I grabbed a Cuban sandwich from the Counter Market & Deli – it was… amazing, but apparently the Counter has since closed it’s doors. Sad. I traveled down to the river to eat, take in several street performances, watch the barges sail by, and get (of course) a sunburn.

Fortunately when the weekend came Matt and I were able to explore together. There are so many unanticipated details in New Orleans – I always make sure I look down every alleyway – you never know when you’ll see a quaint garden cafe or historic oasis in the most unlikely place. And a rule of thumb; when in New Orleans, always look up.

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Journey to the SaaS Model - outline - 6.23.14Our hotel was a short walk from the French Market, which we visited several times for breakfast from the farmer’s market, fresh juice (sometimes with a little added adult spirit love), po’boys and general time wasting.

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By the time Jazzfest came we were so exhausted that we posted up in a grassy field with a bowl of quail gumbo and dozed off to sleep. That said, it’s worth noting that Robert Plant was the one providing us with the lullabys and drifting in and out of sleep to the voice of a legend (who surprisingly sang a myriad of Led Zeppelin songs) was a special experience and absolutely made the day.

On our final day we made sure Matt got the full “first time in New Orleans” experience – gorging on beignets (another first for M3, one that I’m certain he enjoyed), paying our respects to Marie Laveau at the Saint Louis Cemetery No. 1 (Matt left his XXXs but I was too scared), washing the voodoo juju off at the Old Ursuline Convent, and stopping into the Avenue Pub for one final cheers to a fantastic visit to one of my favorite cities.

Warning: this is about to get touristy. 

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Ursline Convent New Orleans

It’s said… one can write an X (although I think most write three X’s) on Marie Laveau’s tomb, knock on it, turn around three times, make a wish, and it will come true. Apparently it’s also not a bad idea to leave something as tribute to really push your wish through. Deep-seeded Catholic guilt and superstition kept me from partaking – I regret this. Next time. See Matt’s process and tribute below:

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What we left at Marie Laveau's Grave

I’ll let you know if the wish comes through, but somehow I don’t think Laveau will pay much attention to a 25 cent request.

Although it was a bit off the beaten path (in Uptown), the Avenue Pub was well worth the visit. Consistently rated one of the top beer bars nationwide, Avenue Pub deserves far more of my attention the next time I am in. Which I sincerely hope is much sooner than later.

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A tourist at Avenue Pub

Exhausted, the tourists return home.

Frozen Dead Guy Days | Nederland

Every March in Nederland, Colorado, the most bizarre festival takes place: the Frozen Dead Guy Days.

As the legend goes, for the last 25 years a man (affectionately referred to as Grandpa Bredo) has been cryogenically frozen in a Tuff Shed in Nederland, awaiting the technology to be reanimated and return to life on Earth. The legend is long, interesting, and dramatic. If you’re interested, you can read about it here.

That said, every year Nederland celebrates this frozen celebrity by throwing Frozen Dead Guy Days – a giant, dead guy-themed party in what’s otherwise a quite mountain town. Matt and I headed up this year and will return to do it right next year. We missed most of the action – arriving much later than anticipated – but still witnessed the rowdy crowd, frozen turkey bowling, and enjoyed a beer or two at Very Nice Brewing Company.

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As seen at Frozen Dead Guy Days – March, 2014 – Nederland, Colorado.

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Note to self: next year, wear a costume. And water resistant shoes.

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Very Nice Brewery