In joining the ranks of endless “new year, new goals” posts filling my social feeds, I’m starting a new blogging routine for 2018. At the end of every month (or in this case, a few days after the fact), I’ll share with you all my latest experiences, ideas, and general updates from life in Colorado.
January was filled with plenty of time spent with friends and family, and I spent more time in airports than ever before. Not only was it a month filled with relaxing fellowship but also my first trip across the Atlantic. I focused on defining where I wanted to be in January 2019, began the process of writing down my ideas for my first nonfiction book, and started to make some great connections that could lead to further career growth in the future. By far the highlight of January was my trip to Iceland!
Iceland – the land of fire, ice, and fuzzy horses!
One of my greatest friends from Slippery Rock University, Katie, and I traveled to Iceland from January 12 – 15. After we (slightly) adjusted to the days filled with more icy darkness than actual sunlight, we had a grand time exploring the Reykjavik, Keflavik, and south coast areas of this tiny island at the brink of the Arctic circle.
Never before had I seen such a starkly beautiful landscape full of volcanoes, lava fields, and ocean coasts. Our road trip brought us waterfalls, beautiful churches, black pebble beaches, coastal winds, and an attempted hike to the Sólheimajökull glacier, featured in the documentary Chasing Ice. We visited Thingvellir National Park, the oldest national park in Iceland, UNESCO World Heritage site, and location for the Mid-Atlantic Rift, where the Eurasian and North American continental plates are tearing the island apart.
By far the highlight of our trip was experiencing the famed Icelandic tölt on sure-footed horses with Ishestar Riding Tours. The Icelandic horse is a symbol of national pride for the small country of just over 300,000 citizens, and our Ishestar wranglers told us all about their heritage, training, and gaits during our ride. Katie and I rode along the Kaldá River, explored the Heidmök Nature Park, and caught glimpses of Mt. Helgafell – that is when it wasn’t blizzarding.
I’ve ridden a lot of horses in a lot of different areas, but the Icelandics sure know how to put together a stellar riding experience! Perhaps the most unique aspect of riding in-country was recognizing the same teaching methods and phrases that I’ve used when teaching guests both in Pennsylvania and Colorado. As it turns out, equestrians are essentially the same no matter their language or home country.
Updates from Deer Valley Ranch
At the end of January, I returned to Buena Vista and Deer Valley Ranch. While I haven’t even hit the one year mark for Chaffee county citizenship, I’m glad to call Buena Vista my new home. I’ve met some spectacular people and continue to build a community of fellow Christians, outdoor fanatics, readers, and writers.
While our ranch team doesn’t officially get back to work until March 1, each one of us has been responsible for different tasks during this offseason. I have been working on integrating our new online booking system as well as drafting copy for upcoming blog entries and social media marketing campaigns. As the ranch and Project 2411 Ministries moves out of this season of transition and into a period of exponential growth and progress, we have plenty of exciting projects to keep us on our toes. As April comes closer I can unveil more detail, but know that we have some great things in the works that are sure to bring Deer Valley Ranch into a new light and market.
We are in the middle of our summer 2018 hiring process and I’m excited about the opportunity to be on the other side of a summer season. This is the first time I’ll be in the midst of hiring, onboarding, and training new staff and I’m looking forward to getting to know our new team members.
- For safe travels across different time zones and countries
- For a restful and reflective January
- That God would send a talented and dedicated chef to Deer Valley Ranch for this year’s season
- That each of our hired summer staff would begin preparing for a stellar summer of ministry and fellowship
- For continued guidance in my outdoor ministry career, as well as my just-beginning authorship journey
What I’m reading:
- C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia – rereading the entire series for the first time since grade school sheds a new light on all of his magnificent stories
What I’m listening to:
What I’m watching:
- Madam Secretary – there’s nothing like sarcastic, optimistic politics
- Bokeh – an indie film set in Iceland, with a dramatic twist of an ending