Saturday, December 22, 2012

Year 2012 Wrap Up

Since I have basically failed to blog since June I'll try and catch you all up to my world over the past six months:

I went to the Young Life property Washington Family Ranch (affectionately referred to as WaFaRa) for a week in June with my high school buddies for summer camp. As advertised, it easily qualifies as one of the best weeks of my life.
The guys in my cabin at camp. They are awesome!
I asked my girlfriend to marry me while at the top of Bridger Bowl Ski Area, fulfilling a life-long goal to propose with a ring-pop.

I worked for 7 weeks of my summer in Lewistown, MT. My research work with Western Transportation Institute involved building a test road at an old B-52 landing strip. It was a frustratingly long process where the contractor underbid the job and took them much longer than expected.
The "Trench": an imitation of a weak road base that we strengthened with plastic meshes. 
We had a family reunion on the Oregon Coast. So good to see everyone and share Alli with my family!

School started again in August and I had a pretty full load trying to take 3 graduate classes, teach 2 sections of lab, and work part-time for WTI. I wound up telling my boss that I couldn't work any more of the semester in October.

The highlight of my hunting season was killing my first antelope opening day the beginning of October. I had a blast chasing elk through the woods, and was relatively successful finding them. However, I was still unable to close the deal on any opportunities. There's always hope for next year...
Hunting in Anaconda with Alli before Thanksgiving.
I married the love of my life on November 10, 2012. I never thought that this would be the first thing checked off my bucket list made almost 3 years ago.

We visited Mom and Dad for Thanksgiving in Kalispell, had a birthday celebration for Alli, and we both got our first tattoos! Although I won't admit to any tears, I will assure you that commitment like that hurts really bad.

Alli and I just recently found out that we received an honorable mention in an outdoor adventure checklist contest we entered. There was a list of 20 activities to be accomplished in the Bozeman area and we completed 14. We got a shout out as the love-bird couple who did the tasks together and got engaged along the way. No prize money, but there's always next year...
Alli and I on the top of Hyalite Peak the last weekend in September, one of the tasks for the Outside Bozeman Hitlist contest. 
The semester of school refused to die and I spent an inordinate amount of time in my office at school trying to finish several papers, projects, and reports. After I finished we left for a weekend trip to Kalispell, and then flew to Kansas City to visit Alli's parents and grandparents.

Our final adventure of the year is our Honeymoon! We leave on Monday for South America for some Feliz Navidades! We plan to see the sites, taking it all in as we backpack and flyfish in the area of Puerto Natales and El Calafate. More updates of our trip to follow.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Travels

So it's been a while since I've been blogging and hopefully this trip will encourage me to pick it up again. This should be your one stop shop for all the adventure stories of Colter and Alli; the first being our honeymoon trip to Patagonia. We hope to be able to blog throughout our time in South America.
This is the first test blogging with smartphone so likely it'll be short but hopefully fun. This should be an indication of how our blogging will be throughout the trip.
Well we are off and running on the first part of our journey to Kansas City. There's been a little hiccough in the weather but seems like we'll make it okay. The perk is we've been bumped to first class which is a new experience for me.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Working on Invitations

As we prepare for our wedding, we are working on invitations. Wanting to have a ton of people there we have issued an eVite, which you may have received already (if you haven't, and you are reading this blog, you should have, let me know!).

We also had the idea of passing out business cards to friends, particularly high school students we work with through Young Life. Here's what we came up with (actually Alli designed, she's the creative side of this outfit...):

We'll keep you posted on our progress. For the most up-to-date information about the wedding, go to our website.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Skiing at Big Mountain for Easter weekend.
Well, it happened. I met the girl of my dreams and she knocked me off my feet. So I decided that I'm going to marry her. I proposed on June 25th with a ring pop after sending Alli on a scavenger hunt around Bozeman and then hiking up Bridger Bowl ski area. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect day: the weather was wonderful and the views of the Bridger valley and the Bangtails were outstanding. I don't have any pictures from up high because I forgot my camera at the trailhead...oops. 
Fishing on the Madison a couple of weeks ago. 
But then we finished with a sushi picnic dinner and tied nylon cord engagement rings. We are very excited and happy for this next adventure in life. If you are reading this blog and you are able to come to Montana in November, please do. Come have loads of fun at our wedding ceremony and reception on the 10th! I'll try to post more details as they are determined and will likely be directing people to another website specifically for the wedding. 
At our picnic. Alli showing off her rose and giant rock of a ring.

Twin ring pops. A little excited? A little happy? Why, yes!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Performing a Wedding

About a month and a half ago, my roommate and his girlfriend asked me to perform their wedding. After I got over the initial shock of the unexpectedness of that request, I happily accepted the honor. Just so you know, I have the ability to perform weddings now in several states (at least Wyoming and Montana) and would happily offer my services should the need arise. My specialty: eloping with parents to beautiful mountainous landscapes. 

It was quite the experience and I learned a lot. Matt, Sacha, and I did some pre-marital counseling (thanks for the advice Walter!) and worked together to plan their ceremony including vows, ring exchange, and message. The ceremony itself was held in Grand Teton National Park among the old buildings and barns of Mormon Row. Attendees of the service included Matt's parents, Sacha's parents, two bride's maids, a best man, and bride and groom. With me it totaled ten people! Very personal and special. 

And photogenic! We had a couple of days of amazing weather, the first for a camping trip and a hike and the second for the wedding itself. The Tetons practically begged to have pictures taken of them and I hardly put up a fight. Some of the best are shown below.
The wonderful couple out on our hike the day before their wedding. The Grand Teton in the background.
Wedding party (minus Matt's bro) photo at the top of Inspiration Point overlooking Jenny Lake.
The Treager family, up from Georgia, loving the mountains.
It was a little cold for Sacha's home-made wedding dress. The thoughtful groom came through!
Bride and her attendees, accented by the Tetons.
Kiss pose...go!
Weddings are a great excuse to bring people together to celebrate life and love and happiness. In the past couple of weeks, at first Tim's then Matt's weddings, I've gotten to meet a bunch of really cool people. And in the preparation of the wedding I looked a lot at what love and commitment is: how Christ shows us the way to service, submission, and love in all our relationships, but in marriage especially. I feel like more marriages would last if each individual tried to out serve their spouse. For those of you married folks out there (and those of you thinking about getting married) it's never too late. This is my charge to you: to serve each other more than the day before and try to outdo one another in service, submission, and love.

Minnesota Wedding

The weekend after Memorial Day, I left Wednesday night for Minnesota for a high school buddies wedding. My friend Tim, a ski buddy mentioned in posts before, married the love of his life Emily on June 2nd. The road trip of 15 hours both directions was well worth it; it was so much fun! I don't think I've laughed that much in a long time, sharing stories of the golden years.
Wedding party rehearsal photo bomb.
This is one fun, amazing couple!
One of the jumping photo attempts.

Beartooth Weekend

This year for Memorial Day, my family came down to visit. They picked up Larkin in Missoula, Alli and I in Bozeman, and we went on to Red Lodge and the Beartooth Highway and Scenic Byway. It was the first weekend that the road would be opened and we were hoping to go and take advantage of the lasting snow for some late season skiing. 
Family photo with a rushing stream!
Unfortunately the weather was not in our favor and the road was not opened on Saturday when we arrived. So we drove up as far as we could and posed for some family photos. Not to be denied some skiing, we then powered up to the Red Lodge ski resort where Alli, Dad and I skinned up to the summit. The snow seemed as if it would be awesome: fresh from the recent winter storm, but that was all we were skiing: 6 inches of fresh on top of grass and rocks. Dad found several with his elbows, poor guy.
Summit self timer photo having followed the "skin track to heaven" to the  top, ready for gravity to take us down.
The next day, after a wonderful mexican dinner in downtown Red Lodge, we attended church services at the local church of Christ, where our little group greatly increased the number of people in attendance. Afterwards, we went back up a newly opened Beartooth Highway (at least partly opened, up to Vista Point). But it was opened enough to get some fresh turns on the Rockcreek Headwall.
Jump on that train!
Larkin, Alli, Dad, and I got up into the alpine, even bootpacking/wallowing up a wide couloir.
Mama Lane loving it in the Beartooths. 
Skier in the middle (Alli?) coming down the Headwall, taken from the truck by Mom. 
We got snowed on while skinning up the Headwall and therefore got to ski powder turns...on May 27th! Some of the best turns of the year, just smooth as butter, blasting down through some really cool terrain.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Recent Adventures

In this post are some photos of my recent adventures in an effort to catch up my blog to my life, not a whole lot of in depth stories or profound writings, but hopefully I'll get back into a rhythm of writing that will foster more creativity.
Climbing at Practice Rock in Hyalite Canyon before the road opened to vehicles. On this spectacular day, Alli and I road our bikes up the road to climb for most of the day. Kyler enjoyed hanging out with us at the rock. 
Later that evening after climbing, Alli and I went to a swing dance sponsored by Bozeman's Senior Center with my roommate and his fiance. This was a 3 wheeled electric car in the parking lot, affectionately named Kermit the Pod. I was super intrigued and actually talked to the electrical engineer who designed the car at the dance.
Group photo after the dance. Two good looking couples if I don't say so myself. 
The next day, Sunday afternoon, I got to hang out with Ryan of Lion's Ridge and some Young Life buddies climbing at Allenspur in the Paradise Valley. Great climbing, wonderful weather, entertaining conversations, and DQ Blizzards to cool off afterwards. Amazing! Reminds me a lot of climbing in Texas actually. 
Another beautiful day in paradise! Alli and I road our bikes up the Hyalite Canyon road to the reservoir two days before the official opening of the road to vehicles. Stupid or not we road from town and racked up a round trip of 35.5 miles in 2 1/2 hours. Mummy Peak in the background. 
Just last weekend, we climbed to the top of Mt. Baldy, the southernmost high point in the Bridger Range. Round trip 9 miles with about 4000 ft elevation gain and lost. Jon and Alli shown with Baldy in the background. 
At the Summit! We were tired puppies by the time we got back to the pickup. 
Life is good here in Bozeman and I feel really blessed to be living and working and playing in the Gallatin Valley this summer. This will be the first summer since High School where I haven't had to move from one town to the next for school.  I am doing Civil Engineering research for the university through a group called Western Transportation Institute. Research has been both physically and mentally demanding, but I'm having a blast! Look for a future post of my lab. 

Cousin Visit and Home for Easter

My cousin Luke flew in from California this Spring to check out MSU. I tried to do my best to show him all that Bozeman had to offer in an effort to convince him that he needs to come to Montana to go to school. We'll see if my efforts pay off.

Luke throwing down on the Gallagator Boulder, a 5 minute walk from my house. 
We went skiing on Saturday down in Big Sky, and it was raining. Poo! I think we were soaked before we even got out of the truck. And the snow conditions were icy, visibility was poor...yuk. So we went inside, ate some snacks and had some hot cocoa, before venturing out again when the rain seemed to abate a bit. 

All smiles and excitement in the lodge at Big Sky.
And wouldn't you know: it turned out to be an amazing day! Great spring snow conditions and we ran into a friendly Big Sky local, Karen, who gave us a ripping tour of the upper mountain. We wound up skiing until 5 in the evening. Not bad for such a crummy start.

Luke hanging out on the chair with our new-found friend Karen. We met her on a ride up a triple chair and she was willing to ski with us most of the day, giving us a tour of a lot of highlights of the mountain. Lucky to run into her. 
At the top of our last run. It got washed out but Lone Peak was finally shining through the clouds.  Such a good day: after leaving the truck in a rain shower, it only got better and turned out to be difficult to leave.
After skiing at Big Sky the night before we ate stacked enchiladas and watched A River Runs Through It that night. So the next day I had to take Luke to some of the scene locations from the movie. Luke is here messing around on the steps of the "Missoula Police Department."

Easter means a three-day weekend for us college students at Montana State, and I took the opportunity to travel home for the Parental visit. I was hoping to ski at Big Mountain, catch up with good friends, tour the sites of the Flathead Valley, and share them with someone special. 

This might be breaking news for some of you that I haven't had the chance to talk to recently, but I am dating the coolest gal I have ever met. You might be thinking, "Colter has a girlfriend?! I thought he'd never find a girl." Well, you're not alone, I thought that for a long time too. I've had pretty high criteria, high standards, that no one seemed to be able to attain. Then Alli came along and knocked me off my feet and my life will never be the same again. She came home with me to meet Mom and Dad and find out more about my past. Luckily it seems like she likes what she found.

Viewing the Flathead Valley from Lone Pine State Park. 
Skiing while it was snowing at Big Mountain. It's hard not to smile on a day like that.
Dying Easter eggs Saturday night.
Alli and I heated our ski boot liners for a better fit. Cinderella can have her glass slippers, my gal would rather have perfect fitting ski boots. Does that give you a picture of why I've fallen for her?

We got to see my sister Larkin while on our way back to Bozeman. Wow, aren't I lucky? Flanked by two gorgeous gals, smiles all around!
The Spring Semester of school wrapped up well, with vacations and trips like Spring Break in DC and then Easter in Kalispell as highlights. The final push juggling teaching, research, and coursework was pretty rough, but I passed everything with flying colors and transitioned into full-time work for the summer. Who'd have thought that working 40 hours a week would feel like a vacation! Now it's on to climbing, fishing, running, biking, hiking, and paddling. The problem will forever be deciding which activity to do...

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Spring Break to DC

Spring Break from grad school this year saw me flying across the country to visit Washington, DC. I'd never been to the east coast before and with several friends that I needed to see in a similar location and the ski season in Montana in sorry shape, it seemed like a great plan to me. Overall: amazing trip, incredible adventure, and more love from friends than I deserve.

Highlights of the trip: 
  • Baltimore: Ft. McHenry, Inner Harbor, Edgar Allen Poe's house and gravesite, Charm City Circulator!
  • Church and picnic lunch with my best friend Alex, seeing his cousin David and D's wife Kara
  • Meeting new friends: Liz, Laura, Mark, Grandpa Dick, and Gma Annie
  • Overview of DC: metro riding, Air and Space museum, old Post Office and Federal Triangle, Georgetown Cupcakes and University (priority in that order...)
  • Lazy summer day in Annapolis, sea food lunch (first time having oysters!)
  • Smash and grab tour of DC monuments: spent all day walking around covering a lot of ground and checking off a list of monuments and museums; Natural Hist. museum, Amer. Hist. Museum, Korea, WWI, WWII, Lincoln, Jefferson, Korea, Vietnam, Pentagon, Arlington Cemetery, and more!
  • Navigating the Metro to catch an early morning flight home and losing my driver's license, if you are nice enough TSA takes pity on you and you can get through security without it...wouldn't recommend the stress though!
  • Breakfast in Minneapolis with another high school bestie: Tim. Lorax pancakes at IHOP are highly recommended. 
Picture highlights are below. Hope you enjoy!

Goofing off at the Ft. McHenry National Monument.
Leaning against the supporting beam for the original American flag that flew over the Fort during the War of 1812 and inspiring Francis Scott Key's "Star Spangled Banner." That was especially cool since I'm taking a Foundation Engineering class this semester: perfect for Geeking Out!
Hanging out in Baltimore with some good food and good friends. Funny how often that combination seems to happen. I was so fortunate to be able to catch up with ACU friends like David, Abby, Bonni, and Marc.
At the cemetery where Edgar Allen Poe was originally buried. This is a slab of rock that was featured on Ripley's "Believe It or Not". 

Sunday afternoon picnic-guitar-frisbee-convo session with my High School bestie Alex and his girlfriend Susan. I feel very fortunate to not only be able to see old friends but be able to share their lives with them. I even got to go to work with Alex one day during the week.
Cliche photo waiting for the train into DC to come. 

Washington monument in the background, we are hanging out in the bell tower of the old DC post office. Alex is on the far right with his friends Mark, Liz, and Laura. Mark and Alex met Liz and Laura in Georgia while on a road trip promoting MANA. I lucked out and got to meet them while they were up visiting DC on their Spring Break. 

Washington Monument. Welcome to 'Merica, 'nuff said.

We tried to visit Barack, but he was regrettably out of town watching an NCAA basketball tournament in Ohio. Oh well, at least I got to see his white house. 

Arlington National Cemetery at the eternal flame. I hadn't realized it was burning at the grave site of JFK and his family. 

Tomb of the unknown soldier from WWII and beyond. We timed if perfectly (coincidence really) to see the changing of the guard on the hour. Impressive coordination and for me a really interesting site. I couldn't help but see parallels between this and the monument of the unknown god at Mars Hill in Athens back in the day. 
All of the states are represented like this at the WWII monument. Funny story: a guy walks up while we're taking this picture and asks me where I'm from. Me, being the naive honest person that I am, replied "Montana." That's apparently not what he wanted. Turns out he was from Libby and wanted to know where in Montana I was from. Well, he should have asked that from the beginning if he was going to get all huffy!

The new Martin Luther King, Jr. monument. It's huge, and you have to walk through a channel to get to the statue of him, it's supposed to be as if he is cut out from another section of rock and slid forward. The caption is something like, "Out of the mountain of despair, comes a rock of hope...". We were there right at sunset: it was beautiful! And to top it off we got to hear a touring college singing group sing a beautiful acapela song.

Hanging with my buddy Tommy. The ultimate Renaissance Man