Backpacking & Camping Gear List

This was an old pin from my old site I deleted years ago. It still gets hits on Pinterest, so I thought I would just add it here. Regardless, I’ve been working a little bit on this site’s appearance lately. You are more than welcome to check it out!

Link to view and print on Google Drive


Valebirthersary 2016

This year we combined three special occasions into one weekend. We combined my 30th birthday adventure, Valentine’s Day and just for fun, our 5 and a half year wedding anniversary, into Valebirthersary. We ditched the kid at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, scheduled a late night pedicure (shoutout to Aveda Essence Salon & Day Spa – we loved you!), stayed at a hotel with complimentary Aggie Ice Cream (Blue Mint!), enjoyed breakfast at IHOP, and went snowboarding at Beaver Mountain with great snow and sun rays. We had a great weekend celebrating three milestones and are thankful to those who made it awesome!

Hope’s picture is probably set to private but I tried pasting it below:

About Joe 2016

It has been long overdue for another edition of “About Joe” and today is the perfect day to post this. I’ve been thinking about this for awhile and finally arranged 30 songs that reflect my life, family and friends at this point in my life while building upon the original “About Joe” created more than ten years ago!

Enjoy this playlist!

Thanks to everyone who has been a part of my 30 years of adventure on this beautiful rock. 🙂

Porter the Puppy

Why the crawling baby is like a puppy:

-He crawls on all fours
-He follows us everywhere
-He isn’t very good at following directions
-He likes to eat food left on the floor
-He can’t talk
-He is very loud at all the wrong times
-He gets into every thing
-He isn’t toilet trained
-He knows how to beg
-He steals food
-His cuteness makes us want to keep him
-He has no sense of personal boundaries
-He tries to eat shoes
-He is unbelievably adorable


Earth Day

Yesterday was Earth Day. We decided to do a few things to celebrate this great planet that we live on. First we all wore green. Porter’s outfit was informative and extra green. His shirt listed steps on how to save a forest and we got the shirt and shorts at a thrift store. Buying used clothes is good for the earth because it saves old clothes from ending up in a landfill and also reduces the amount of new clothes being bought. Porter and I ate our lunch outside to enjoy the beautiful weather and the beautiful earth. He enjoyed it, I promise.


Porter wore an upcycled bib at dinner that also had tree propaganda.

After Porter was asleep I set off on a project that I’ve been wanting to do for weeks. I made a homemade cloth wipes solution and folded my cloth wipes into an old plastic wipes container. I’ve used cloth wipes off and on but I haven’t found a method that is convenient enough to stop me from using disposable ones. Hopefully this new attempt will be the one that works.


Pura Vida/Pure Life

I had an eye opening, enriching experience last week as I traveled to Costa Rica. Preparing weeks in advance as part of a class, I went with a community development perspective in mind. Everywhere I went I saw or heard the phrase “pura vida”, or pure life. When asked how they were doing, people would respond with “pura vida!” I thought at first this was some motto crafted for visitors and that the locals working in tourism were annoyingly obligated to say. However as we toured a three-generation family farm, I started to catch the vision of the pure life as the current farm manager described how growing organically was best for his family. As I processed what he was saying about not having a huge coffee bean harvest this year and having no regrets about not using chemicals, I thought about the learning and growing experiences his family has probably had over the years. Later on during the week I found myself sitting in a rocking chair on the porch of another farm, taking in the ambiance of farm life. As fire flies came out in the evening air, I smiled and said to myself, this is la pura vida.

Even though I only experienced a small part of it, Costa Rica was beautiful in so many ways. From cloud forests to coffee farms, from women’s co-ops to humble villagers, from zip-lining through forest canopies to long drives on dirt roads, and so much more that I hope to experience in the future, Costa Rica is the perfect embodiment of the pure life! Check out the utarica15 hashtag on Instagram for pictures!

Day 1: Slight flight delay due to a volcano eruption!

Day 2: Monteverde Cloud Forest, CASEM Women’s Arts and Craft’s Co-op

Day 3: Ecobambu paper-making microenterprise, Vargas Family Farm and soap-making microenterprise

Day 4: Cafetal Coffee Farm, Canopy zipline tour

Day 5-7: Service in Los Tornos surveying different members of the community to determine the possibility of developing a community garden project.

Salvaging Winter

This weekend and last weekend we attempted to make the best of what was left of winter. Parental duties, school duties, Scouting duties, and lack of snow made it difficult to enjoy this winter. A few months ago before everything melted we snowshoed. Last weekend we visited my home in the Tetons and went for a beautiful walk up Teton Canyon. It reminded me of my days at Treasure Mountain Scout Camp. I spent two summer camps and one winter camp there. It made me nostalgic looking at my favorite mountains in the entire world!

Earlier this week after the big storm hit we went sledding up Mill Creek Canyon. Yesterday we found an awesome place to do some “backcountry” snowboarding, that was away from the crowds. We drove up Big Cottonwood Canyon to the winter closure of the Guardsman Pass road. There was so much snow up there! I do not know why I never thought of it before. It was the perfect place to spend a few hours snowboarding down a patch of snow, then walking back up. Other people had the same idea, but were fancy and maybe a little obnoxious with their snowmobiles. A Boy Scout troop was even up there doing a winter camp. Nonetheless, the Guardsman Pass road seems like a great place to go adventuring!

And We’re Back

Hey everyone! It has been awhile since one of us posted anything on here. The last few months with an infant provided some of the most challenging and rewarding experiences. There were times I thought I wasn’t going to make it as a new dad. But there is something about seeing a mini-me laying on the floor babbling to himself that makes me say, “Awwww! Okay, I’ll keep him one more day”. Like father like son I suppose 😉 Our lives continue to be full of adventure. Hope has been having some success with her Etsy shop. Check it out! I am in the second semester of the Master of Public Administration program. I am excited to be traveling to Costa Rica soon to apply what I have been learning in my international community development class. We will try to stay in touch more often. Have a great day and don’t forget to #entertheadventure

Our Grand Staircase-Escalante Adventure

TRAILHEAD Recreation

We had quite the adventure last weekend in Grand Staircase-Escalante. We drove down Friday night and searched for a spot on Hole in the Rock road. We found a random spot and set up camp in the dark. When we awoke Saturday morning we were treated to beautiful views of a plateau.

We hiked up Peek-a-boo Gulch and down Spooky Gulch, which made me anxious and claustrophobic, especially when Porter started to scream as we had to pass him through the really narrow parts. On the drive out of the Hole in the Rock area we must have kicked up a rock because our radiator was leaking pretty bad when we got to Calf Creek Campground. We attempted to go to Boulder to buy antifreeze but the leak seemed worse as we drove and the high temperature light was a gloomy indicator of the seriousness of our situation. No reception…

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I can’t believe we are already this far into October, as such I have been thinking a lot about Halloween. Now that my sewing machine is fixed I have been adding some fun Halloween items and other things to my Etsy shop, Creations By Hope. I’ll be adding more in the next few days, so check back often.

Don’t mind the cute pictures of my adorable bib model.