biking

A "Quick" Trip to Colorado

I'm still so stoked about this trip. Normally, I plan my bigger trips months in advance, but not this one. With just a few days notice, I decided to go mountain biking in Colorado. So I went to bed early Friday night, woke up at 3am Saturday and drove for 11 hours to Crested Butte, CO. I biked for a bit then set up camp on a breathtaking ridge. I took some pictures of the stars after sunset and enjoyed a peaceful sleep with no one around for miles. The next morning, I biked the #1 trail on Mountain Bike Project in the US. It was insane.

The views were gorgeous and the weather was perfect. Aside from the challenging climb, I also had to cross a very strong a chilly creek with a pack full of expensive electronics... Unfortunately, I didn't get to complete the circuit. I hit knee-deep snow near the trail's highest point (11,254ft), but I didn't want to give up so I carried my bike for half a mile hoping it would clear up. It didn't. I still had 300 feet to climb and, obviously, the snow wasn't going to get better before it got worse. I doubled back, but it's hard to be disappointed with that kind of scenery.

I made it back the car safe and exhausted. The drive back was another challenge in itself. I made it home by 11pm Sunday and went to work at 5:30am Monday. Good weekend.

Trips like this are my favorite. They're last minute and I play the whole thing by ear. I risk failing miserably and wasting a whole weekend, but even that kind of wasted weekend is still a better memory than most people will make in those moments.

Don't Waste Time on the Details

Many of my favorite trips are ones that I didn't spend much time planning. I picked a destination and invited anyone who wanted to go, then I went - even if I had to go alone. Now that I think about it, that describes most of my trips in the last several months. I'm posting a little out of order. Chronologically, this should have been my first post after the road trip to Alaska, but this is how I began my first weekend back home.

I woke up Sunday morning and planned my day while cooking breakfast. After eating, I packed my bike and camera then headed north to Flagstaff. My plan was to hit the trail around Hart Prairie then stop in Sedona on the way back for some night photography. I knew there might be snow on the trail, but I would cross that bridge when I came to it. The conditions slowed me down, but it made for an interesting challenge! All-in-all, I'm so happy I went, as usual ;)

After driving an hour to Sedona, I discovered that my pack was nowhere to be found. I put it out of my mind for the moment and took a few pictures of the Milky Way at Cathedral Rock in Sedona. Check out this post for those photos.

Hoping it was still at the trailhead, I drove back to Flagstaff and found my pack right where I left it. Phew! I threw on a podcast and relaxed as I drove home at the end of another perfect day.

Cool Stuff Coming Up!

I'm sorry it has been so long since my last post, but I've been keeping busy in my absence! After the road trip to Alaska, I put my two week notice in at one of my jobs, took photos of the Milky Way in Sedona (more below), mountain biked in the snow at Hart Prairie in Flagstaff, summited the tallest mountain in Arizona, took a two-day road trip to Canyon de Chelly and Monument Valley. I don't know how things are going to work out financially, but I'm okay with that. I'm just going to focus on my passions and see where they take me :)

Since I bought my camera just before going on the road trip, I had no time to practice with it, so I'm lucky my shots came out as well as they did. When I got back, the first thing I did was take it out for some night shooting to fool around with it. I'm stoked with the results and can't wait to refine my technique as time goes on!

I'll post again tomorrow with more on what I've been up to! Thanks for reading and happy adventures!

Photo Gallery Update!

I finally editing my favorite photos from the trip and posted them. The dashcam video is coming soon! I went on a snowy mountain bike ride in Flagstaff yesterday too so I'll post some photos from that soon! Tips and more cool locations to see coming soon!

Adding a "Places Worth Going" Section

I've finally started working on a section to post descriptions, directions, pictures, tips, and reviews of my favorite places. My first one was for one of my favorite hikes: "Flat Iron"! I hope to build a list of cool places I've been for those looking to get into the adventure lifestyle or just looking for new places to check out. I have a lot of work to do, but you have to start somewhere! http://maxleveladventures.com/where-to-go/hiking/siphon-drawflat-iron-trail/

Summer 2015 Mountain Bike Highlights

An update on my 24-day road trip is coming, but here's this video I forgot to post until that's ready! I bought my first mountain bike in early 2015. I've had a blast learning to riding it and pushing my limits over the last several months! This video highlights some of my favorite moments!

Locations: The Whole Enchilada Trail, Moab; Cave Creek Cactus Classic, Cave Creek; Hawes Red Mountain Trails, Mesa; Slim Shady, Sedona; Los Burros, Pinetop

Phoenix to Fairbanks (and back): Day 4

A lot of people have been requesting pictures. I will upload edited versions later, but here are some temporary ones to keep you at bay. It's the end of Day 4 for my Phoenix to Fairbanks (and back) trip. I spend the first day driving to the coast and reached it just as the sun set on the Highway 1. I got up before sunrise the next morning and drove up the coast to San Francisco and spent some time at the Golden Gate Bridge and surrounding area. Then I drove up through central northern California until I reached my friend's place in southern Oregon and passed out for the night. Yesterday I woke up and drove to the Redwoods, drove through a tree, spent a little time at the beach, then quickly drove over to Crater Lake just in time for sunset pictures. Today, I woke up drove straight through Washington and made it to Canada with enough light to check out a really cool waterfall just off the coast.

Tomorrow, it's back on the road as I head to Anchorage, Alaska. I should be there by the night of the 7th.

The first 7 months of my new life and "Max Level Adventures"

The list that began it all.
The list that began it all.

It's been just over 7 months since I started the Facebook group. Holy shit. When I started the group on January 31st, I had tons of ideas! It only took two months to do things I thought it would take me a year to accomplish. I went skydiving, bungee jumping in California, explored Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon (pictured), competed in an obstacle course, and biked/hiked in places I'd never been before. Running out of ideas began to seem like a very real possibility, but it never happened. The ideas weren't always specific, but they didn't have to be. All I had to do was decide what activity I wanted to do and pick a location. Cliff jumping? Let's check out Fossil Creek. Hiking? Let's check out Flat Iron, Biking? Let's check out Sedona.

Many of my ideas came from word of mouth. I would tell someone about my adventures and they'd say, "oh, man, have you heard of ______?!" And most of the time, my answer was "no" or "yeah, but I haven't been there." They'd tell me enough to pique my interest and I'd add it to the list.

The solution was pretty simple; I just started planning adventures for myself.

As time passed, I realized I had become a little *too* inclusive. I found myself planning too many events for people that would cut trips short because they didn't take it seriously or came underprepared. Or they would bail entirely. It took me a while to make the change because I didn't want to exclude certain people for the behavior of others. The solution was pretty simple; I just started planning adventures for myself. Then it didn't matter if anyone showed up because I still got to do what I wanted.

I suspected that being more selfish and exclusive would result in reduced interest - and it did to an extent. The number of sign-ups decreased, but the turn-outs remained about the same. In hindsight I realize that I was creating more serious followers while reducing the source of my stress. I had solved my problem just by relentlessly pursuing my passion - which is what I had set out to do all along.

It cost me a few old hobbies and friendships to get here, but those sacrifices taught me the difference between happiness and complacency. I've never been more excited about my future.