About Anna

I’m an upbeat nature lover with a hearty laugh on a hair trigger, it’s been said that my smile could light a major city. I’m a passionate view-seeking hiker, a travel addict, and a petter of pets–the fuzzier and more affectionate, the better, but lizards are cute, too. Some might call me an obsessive gardener. Okay, only the non-gardeners say it.

Scrambling on the sandpaper granite of Vampire’s Playground, my secret climbing area in the Rampart Range of Pike National Forest, Colorado.If I ran a personal ad in the newspaper, it would read: “Classic model, high mileage, excellent running condition, all original parts, looks like new. Sleek, responsive, powerful. Been to the mechanic a few times for dents and minor repairs, mostly due to incurable case of “Let’s just hike a little farther, build a little longer, see if this snake is friendly, etc.” Runs on standard gourmet food but peak performance achieved with deep belly laughs and frequent full-body massage. Extremely 4 x 4 capable but loves speed on the straightaways, too. Not into shopping for accessories, likes the streamlined look. Keeps the motor clean. Loves the road less traveled. Looking to upgrade to a Lear jet.”

Wayne and I at the summit of Mt. Evans, 14,265′, in the Front Range of Colorado.

I’ve explored most of Colorado and the Rocky Mountain states, using the Unique Natural Features pages of each successive DeLorme Atlas as my tour guide. I’ve climbed 23 of the tallest mountains in the contiguous United States, most of them solo, none of them with ropes. I’ve laced up my boots in 100+ degree heat, blizzards, pouring rain, lightning storms, and the dead of night. There’s not a month in the year that I haven’t gone hiking. I’ve dipped my tootsies into the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Gulf of Mexico, not to mention the Mississippi, the Columbia and the Rio Grande. I’ve been inside five states worth of caves, both limestone cavities and lava tubes.

Admiring a waterfall along Homestake Creek below Mount of the Holy Cross in the Sawatch Range of Colorado.I’m an eager storm chaser, a meteor shower groupie, and vulcanology buff. I am a very loyal hot springs supporter: I will always vote Geothermal in any hiking party. I’m a morning person, so I appreciate sunrises as much as sunsets but I have fervent green flash goals. I’ve enjoyed a glory, sun pillars, and packs of sundogs but I’m waiting with baited breath for the Aurora Borealis. A red sprite and a tornado would be nice, too.

Celebrating the summit of Mount Yale, 14,196′, in the Collegiate Peaks Range of Colorado with a truly amazing guy, Jason Tottingham.I’ve picked up and pocketed amazonite, calcite, pyrite, smokey quartz, Elestial quartz, mahogany obsidian, fluorite, malachite, travertine, sulfur, and aquamarine from rocky slopes and brought them home. I’m an incorrigible pyro–I’ll fight you for the fire stick around the campfire. I’ve seen four smokes at once from a fire lookout tower and I was near enough to the infamous Hayman Fire of ’02 to have to high tail it out of there.

I’ve been up close and personal with black bears, rattlesnakes, rubber boas, Black Widows, four kinds of deer, a moose and her moose-ling, elk, wild turkeys, eagles, vultures, pygmy owls, foot-long slugs and coyotes the size of St. Bernards.

Looking down a south facing couloir on Mt. Evans in the Front Range, Colorado.

A few weirdnesses about me: You won’t find me wearing black unless the alternative is outright nudity. (Outdoor gear forgiven.) High pitched sounds incite me to kill; you’ll never catch me listening to Irish folk music or children screaming on a playground except at gunpoint. I will rapidly decline, twitching and impossibly ill-tempered, without fresh air on my face every day, irrespective of season. I am addicted to house porn like Luxe, Dwell, Architectural Digest, and Atomic Ranch. The best cocktail I’ve ever had is sunlight, silence, and solitude. Good massages are currency. I can drive, happily, for up to half a day in the country with no set destination. I do not own a watch or a television. The smell of Douglas Fir woodsmoke renders me nearly catatonic with ecstasy.

Goals include: witnessing an erupting volcano, a minor earthquake, and a tsunami–all from a safe distance, of course, and preferably not all on the same hike, but it could happen; donning night vision goggles and going for a walk in the deep forest after midnight so I can see all the animals that can see me; parasailing; executing a perfect bootlegger’s turn in a limo; and petting a cetacean in the wild.

I’m currently canvassing the state of Oregon–and much of southern Washington–for beautiful views, sneaker waves, and blue agate. I’ve done most of the coastline of both, now I’m heading towards the interior in search of sexy rock formations and places to nap in the sun. Southeastern Oregon, and all the cougars in residence, beckon.

 

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137 thoughts on “About Anna

  1. Hi Anna,

    You sound like me twenty years, a husband and a son ago. : ) Never change! Always hike, pick up rocks, climb, pet the most impossible animals and never, ever buy a watch (or television).
    This is an amazing blog with beautiful pictures that make me want to pack up hubby and kid and set out into the great outdoors again.
    And even if you get that kid and the man that comes with it (or not) don’t let life get in the way of living. Oi, that sounds like regret, it’s not, we do still enjoy hikes and bikes and climbing to great heights (in Switserland) just not as spontaneous as before.

    Anyway, enjoyed spending time reading your blog. I’ll be back to see if there’s new adventures later.

    Lucy

  2. Hi Anna! I read your comment about spiders on an arachnophobia entry. Have you written about this…without photos? I HATE spiders, but I cannot get over the things you shared. If you haven’t written what you shared, please do!

  3. Thank you Anna for sharing your amazing adventures, I just discover your blog and now I’ll be on the look out for new stories.
    Elisa : ))

  4. Love it! My first daughter was conceived after a night spent guzzling Schlafly Oatmeal Stout. It was and still is a delightful brew. You ought to give their pumpkin ale a chance, you may like it!

  5. I’m exhausted from just reading your about page – much less climbing volcanoes etc. loved the squirrel photo & the garden. But mostly liked your reply to the vlog today. Cheers Pip

  6. Hi, Anna,

    Would it be alright if I put your clever comment about dentaleggs/bio on my site? Just need your approval. Thanks.

    Eva

  7. Wow, you lead a very interesting life. And grounded, nurturing out connection to nature does wonders for everything. I live in NYC (Ugh) but grew up in Africa, and I remember! Great reading your page… 🙂

    • Ooooo, I would love to hear about you connecting to nature in Africa. I don’t know why, but my first thought about every new place is: “I wonder what the soil smells like when the sun hits it in the morning?” Where was your favorite place to go and just sit?

      • Unfortunately….no where in NY. I hate it here. Mostly b/c I feel like the culture of life in NY pushes people toward dehumanization on a personal level (absolutely guts true empathy toward other beings) and makes life a commodity. But to top it all off, I am “media.”

        So here or LA is best if I’d like to place narratives (film) where people can see them and I am interested in that. I’m one of those people who thinks she can impact the world (change) on some notes via film. 🙂

        But in Africa, on the beach, staring out at the sea. I loved how wild and vast it was and how it smelled. I still remember it. And the soiling the country where I grew up…

        Hmmm.

        Depends on the quality of land you’re around. It can smell like fresh grass, dust, or kind of woody. The smells of the earth are very rich there though. Here (NY) it’s as if the earth has been erased. 😦

        I’ve been thinking about planning life, so that I can ultimately move back to live part of the time. Maybe as I write. 🙂 You should travel there….

        I think you’d appreciate it.

        • Africa is definitely on my short list, along with New Zealand, Australia, Tibet, Mongolia, Iceland…I like places where the people are still deeply connected to the land in their culture. It’s symbiotic; if you sever the tie, it’s like severing an artery.

          I get you on New York. I went once–ONCE–when I was a teenager and it rattled me to my core. You’re right, its nature feels erased, almost scraped away. I’m sensitive and use nature to relax and recalibrate. When there is none, I actually become physically and emotionally ill very fast.

          I’d love to read a short story or just a description of the places in Africa that fill you up and make you who you are. But use lots of adjectives! Ha!

          You WILL impact the world through film. Your passion will pull you where you need to go, don’t worry, just keep focused on what you want and ignore everybody else. So many famous filmmakers have stories about how people turned them down again and again. But they learned to listen–to themselves!

          • OMG. I LOVE THIS RESPONSE. I wish I could frame it. You say so many things here I feel. “I like places where the people are still deeply connected to the land in their culture. It’s symbiotic; if you sever the tie, it’s like severing an artery.”

            Yes! And I think with too much of this severing, our cultures become a little diseased (emotionally, mentally, spiritually). Ah! I love that you said that. I have to get to the rest of your blog!!!

            Yes, New Zealand and Australia would be really interesting. But I also want to be more educated concerning the native cultures there as well. But Australia for me, now, b/c I have a fabulous poet friend on HERE who I would love to meet. So one day I will fly there (after I get some of my film up on large screen and have a little more cash at hand). Let me know if you like poetry, I will give you the link to her blog. She’s REALLY amazing.

            Anyway all the other places you mentioned are really interesting too. I love the artwork of Icelandic people’s. they have great bands and directors (seen some stuff in passing that gutted me). Plus Bjork is one of my two fav vocalists on the planet. 🙂

            I’m also very connected to nature, and animals, so a part of me isn’t sure the true effect of this city on me. I do know that I’ve been a kind of tooth out of joint for a long time, because I always expect people to be far more connected (human) and empathic than most retain and/or practice here. So living here is akin to liking meat and subsisting on a diet of water for half of life. Something major has been missing.

            *Very interesting. This probably has something to do with why I’ve met you now. This conversation is on an order I discuss with few.

            Most people in these larger cities are enduring their existence without nature without me, but with that severing, maybe a severing of a part of self?

            I have been in the US since I was 16, and that is a while ago. When I was planning to visit in my 20s (I am over 35 now), our monies was stolen. Ugh. then war after war broke out. So I haven’t been home, but ironically, I have recently developed a plan alongside my filmmaking that will take me back home in a manner I love. 🙂

            Just have a sea of work ahead. So the next 2 yrs should be interesting. I sincerely hope I can impact the world, and I mean US and Africa because what is happening in Uganda and Nigeria right now disturbs me. 😦 Ha! YES. I am sure I will be receiving a few Nos. But being in the game is part of the game. So I’ve taken a hiatus of sorts away from Twitter, Tumblr and even here in the same way to finish up some of the creative stuff.

            Anyway, my memories of Africa of in snippets of memories now, some vivid some not so, as it’s been a whiiiiiiiile. TOO LONG. 😦

              • Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The universe is helping me WEED out potential business partners. Yes. Because if they aren’t right, the duration will be hell. Lol. SERIOUSLY.

                Yeah. The problem with me, is I never put down my writer’s hat (and the knowledge of how Screenwriters are treated). And I need to because I am a director and that is something different, unless I am selling a synopsis, log-line or screenplay, which I will as well, but not all the time.

                Oooo, can’t wait to watch the Youtube. Working while chatting, so sorry for the gaps in response time.

  8. I hiked to get the mail today…
    but really, this is awesome. I’ve lived in the NW all my life save for a couple years in Cali (I’m moving back to the NW in a week) and I can say hiking and anything in those mountains is a good time.
    Have you been to Iceland? It’s pretty much what you’re describing here

    • Holy crap, Iceland is on my short list. And by short, I mean as soon as I’m doing the backstroke through a filthy amount of cash. The vulcanology thing over there has me all hot and bothered, pun intended. And the world’s largest hot springs, of course, envy oozing from the pores.

      A week? Okay, well, wave when you pass through Portland.

  9. I love rocks and trees, dirt and shells, but I don’t climb. By a twist of fate I did not end up living in the Alaska bush. I would have been good at it. Papua, New Guinea is on my list. Ireland and its islands, and Norway and Iceland. Great blog. I’m a follower now.

    • Thanks for the kudos and glad to have ya. All those locales are on my list, too, as well as New Zealand, Tibet, and Mongolia.

      I’m more of a scrambler than a climber: anything I can scale quickly with no equipment is right up my alley. Although lately just climbing out of bed is my greatest accomplishment.

  10. What a great blog! I love your photography. Back to a fundamental enjoyment of being alive. It’s almost as if Facebook never happened. Grand stuff!

  11. Hi Anna – this is the most authentic, freshest blog I’ve come across in a while. I love your exuberance and energy to do it all. Having just wrecked my heels and knees while in a Canyon in Arizona, I am sort of laying low this summer, happy to limp in and out of my gardens…

  12. Finally got around to checking out your blog.
    I have to say that the thoughts terrify me, but I have always had a secret desire to hear a tornado, earthquake, or volcano. Then I feel guilty, thinking of all those who heard them and never heard anything else ever again.
    I remember being chilled by the life stories of the vulcanologist couple the Krafts.
    I have been to Colorado once, and loved it. Pike’s Peak was phenomenal, though I did feel a bit ill up there.
    Do you know anything of Erik Weihenmayer, a blind man who summited Mt. Everest?

    • I never see nature as bad. It just is, and it’s beautiful. Understanding how it works and respecting its power and potential has made all my adventures exciting. Of course, I’ve had the shit scared out of me a couple times but that’s on me and it was kind of fun. Death is another one of those things that just is so you might as well enjoy everything up to that.

      Yes, back when I had Everest fantasies I heard about Weihenmayer. I’ve heard him speak, too. Pretty cool. That was back when I respected Everest climbers. Now, I wish they’d just all take their toys and go home.

      Never did Pike’s Peak or Long’s Peak because they were so popular, it turned me off. Like Everest, they are essentially a human mule train of hikers and climbers so your view is of someone’s butt in front of you all the way up and all the way down. Instead, I did two dozen mountains further out. It’s amazing: people will brag about climbing a mountain but they cry like babies if they have to drive more than an hour to get to it.

      • Nature is definitely more enjoyable the fewer folks are about. I know what people noise is all about; I want to hear the other sounds of our lovely planet. Death just is, that is true, but frankly, I would rather go in my sleep, or while making love . . .

  13. Wow. You are a seriously awesome person. With the mental image from your abs = exoskeletons aside, your about page did nothing but cheer me up, make me laugh, and make me a little wistful for some nature. Thanks for checking out my blog! I am now following you!

  14. It’s too early in the morning for me to comment with something witty (I’m trying, really I am), so I’ll just say I really enjoy your blog….no, that’s too dull…ummm…crap. Let me wake up a little bit and then I’ll come back and try again. I am a bit groggy from being ripped from my dream of talking cats when my phone rang (seriously…talking cats….they would only say two words, though: “Wait.” and “Stop.”)

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  16. Thank you for stopping by my little corner of the blogosphere and commenting!

    I am speechless, your blog is..is.. AWESOME!! I know there are more descriptive words, but my caffeine hasn’t kicked in yet, so my brain is still in lala land. You, my dear, are now my inspiration for what my hubby and I want to do when we take early retirement (2016). Of course our adventures might not be as EXTREME, but they will definitely be outdoor adventures. Our goal is to hike the Appalachian Trail, starting here in Tennessee.

    I would be a fool not to follow your blog… LOVE IT!

  17. If nothing else, your colorfully-descriptive writing is a breath of fresh air. You made me jealous.

    However, I’ve been up close and personal with a great many black widows and brown recluse during my years as a termite inspector (imagine dark crawl spaces with only a mini-mag).

    • I appreciate the appreciation.

      My first encounter with a Black Widow was as a landscaper. I felt a tickle on my bare calf, looked down, and guess who? I leaned down to admire how pretty she was for a minute or two, then flicked her off into the bushes. Spiders and I have always gotten along, we give each other space to play.

  18. Sounds like we’re almost polar opposites in terms of athleticism and energy and fearlessness, but I’m a huge fan of most of your interests, just in the observational mode, so now that I’ve found your blog I will come back often for vicarious thrills. Not least of all, in your superb writing and marvelous photography skills: fabulous assets that can bring an adventurer of your stripe to the safe and cobwebbed rocking chair cosseting a dullard of *mine*! Love your stuff.
    Cheers!
    Kathryn

  19. Yee Haw! Love how you are lovin’ life… thank you! My husband and I will be going to CO this year. A few locals will be our tour guides. One of which is a well known photographer and am sure he will let us feast of the beauty nature offers every moment.

    • Holy crap, I’m jealous as hell! I was just reminiscing to somebody about the Rockies.

      What area(s) will you be exploring? If you can take the altitude, I recommend getting up high where the land is like no other. You have never smelled air so clean. I always laugh my ass off at those fabric softeners advertised to smell like “a mountain breeze” or whatever. The only mountain range that ever smelled like chemical flowers is the pile of dirty socks and underwear on the floor of someone’s laundry room.

      Have fun, drink TONS of water (staves off altitude sickness and keeps your skin from turning into a Gila Monster), and remember: one beer is like two above 8000 feet. Yee-haw.

      • Thank! Not super sure of the meeting point but we will be renting a car to make the most of our trip. We are not the hikers we/I used to be so many a mountain will not be smelling us. I do smell good (not arguing with the honest to goodness fresh air) because of the essences I anoint with daily. Know the fires back a few years did a lot of damage and changed the landscape. Wondering if the air is different from the tree loss?

        Appreciate the excitement and advice. Sure I will have a few things to write about when we come back.

  20. Hi Anna, thank you so much for your visit to my site. I’m loving your blog! What an amazing life, exploring this stunning planet of ours…looking forward to reading more about your journeys. God bless!!

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  22. I’d be jealous of your life if I hadn’t finally gotten myself to Denver. Too late in life to replicate yours, unfortunately, but I did manage to climb Longs Peak back in the 70s (not so crowded then; the cables had just been taken down).
    “Sunlight, silence, and solitude.” You had me with that.

    • It’s never too late. I’m reading some research right now that says physical exercise and learning perform a lovely mutually beneficial pirouette in the brain: Exercise in conjunction with learning new things actually ups the chemicals that allow you to do both. It’s a cycle, all you gotta do is maintain a little momentum. You don’t have to climb mountains, just go out and wander around them, then come home and play an instrument, do some art, or read some interesting nonfiction. You will create neuronal connections faster than people half your age. Neener, neener.

  23. Hi Anna! Thanks for visiting my blog. I enjoy exploring the outdoors too. However middle Georgia is lacking a bit for mountains. But the hills of the Piedmont region where I live makes for a nice walk in the woods!

  24. Hi Anna,

    You have an interesting story, even if you have a perception on life I don’t understand.

    “Live life, be free.”

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