Posts Tagged ‘adventure’

My Dog-Boy

In a nod to National Dog Day, I thought I would do a short write-up about the boy who won my heart over seven years ago and still holds major control over it today. It all started with a trip to the Humane Society in Milwaukee, WI…

This somewhat silly looking, floppy-eared four month old mutt bounded towards me with excitement in his eyes; of course I soon found out that he (then named Fuzby) was more interested in tearing up the paper I was holding than playing with me…until I moved the paper away and those big brown eyes focused on me. I quickly decided to adopt him and save him from his silly name, so I renamed him Sydney and took him home.

Sydney with his pack

Sydney with his pack

Those first few years were a bit tumultuous for us as Sydney learned that eating windowsills was not a good thing and taking a quick solo janut to the nearby Culvers might land him in trouble. It was also an amazing time as we bonded, and I learned how to read his cues when he thought I was in trouble or didn’t like someone. I used to have a car magnet that said “Who rescued who?” and that couldn’t be truer of our relationship. I may have taken him home from the shelter, but during those first few years, he saved me in many ways.

As we transitioned from life in the Coast Guard and semi-regular visits to “the farm” to see Momma Sheri and Poppa Bruce, Sydney and I set out on our own adventure. Over the past 4 years, Syd has been my confidant, my adventure partner, and my best bud. He has helped me through heartbreak, loneliness, fear, and sadness. All it takes is a wag from his curled up tail and a look of playfulness in his eyes to make me forget my woes.

Syd & I at the summit of Harney Peak, 2012

Syd & I at the summit of Harney Peak, 2012

Last week, while Brian and I were away on vacation, Sydney (& Brian’s dog Pup) were left with a friend. Apparently Sydney, my little wandering adventurer, decided to escape the fenced in yard and go for a jog. Sadly, his jog took him into danger. I received a phone message saying that Sydney had been hit by a car with no further information. I immediately burst into tears thinking the worst and started hyperventilating at the thought of my boy hurt or worse; I was a major mess and wouldn’t have been able to do anything if it weren’t for Brian. He quickly had us listen to the second message which told us Sydney had been taken to his vet’s office. Brian took it from there and the next thing I know, Syd was going to be ok and would be having surgery the next day for a spiral fracture in the tibia of his hind left leg.

scary spiral fracture

scary spiral fracture

Dr. Moore and his staff at Cody Veterinary Hospital were amazing! They sent me pictures of Sydney’s broken leg pre and post-surgery and kept me updated on his progress.

Sydney a bit doped up post-surgery

Sydney a bit doped up post-surgery

When we returned from vacation this weekend, Dr. Moore made special arrangements by coming in on a Sunday just so I could take Sydney home.

He is resting and healing these days

He is resting and healing these days

My boy has a few months of recovery ahead of him, to include a second surgery to remove a rod in his leg, but before the end of the year, I will have my adventure buddy of seven years back out with me on the trails!

Looking forward to many more hikes!

Looking forward to many more hikes!

This past week has been a great reminder to me of just how important a role Sydney has played in my life since that early-July day in 2007 (& that I am lucky to be marrying the man I am!). I know my life wouldn’t be as full of love and happiness if I had not taken him home that day 🙂


“David Copperfield” & #OmniGames Team 8

So what is up with the title of this post?? Well, this week-long final challenge for the #OmniGames has been called Charles Dickens.  If you haven’t already figured it out, I have used titles from some of his books for the titles of my posts. I feel that they have all worked pretty darn well. This post has David Copperfield in the title because, much like the book, it tells a story of how Team 8 has found our individual places in the world.

Yesterday my #OmniGames teammate Weston Shirey told you a little bit about himself and that #TryingStuff is not just a saying but is woven into the fabric of his life (check out his post What does #tryingstuff mean to you?).  He is an adventure loving man who has seen great chunks of the world but is always ready for the next journey to come along. 

Today, I would like to tell you a story about a little girl; a girl whose parents always told her she could be and do anything she wanted; a girl who grew into a woman who, regardless of the scar on her chest, will give anything a try, at least once.

Meet one year old Kristie Salzmann

Meet one year old Kristie Salzmann

I kind of think this may have been my cutest stage in life, but underneath the cute face, is a heart that has a hole and will undergo two surgeries to repair it. This heart will cause many tears and fear for her family as her young, then 25-year-old parents, do everything within their power to help her live a life they couldn’t have imagined at the time.

Fast forward 13 years. Meet 14-year-old Kristie.

14, awkward, and happy!

14, awkward, and happy!

She is a bit more awkward than at one, and by this point she has discovered that some people will try their hardest to tell you can’t do something or that you aren’t good enough. Lucky for her, she has a strong family of three surrounding her and still telling her she can do anything she sets her mind to.

Almost two decades later, this same girl has proven her critics wrong by continually #tryingstuff. She has taken leaps of faith by moving across country without knowing anyone, putting herself out there to make the best friends she can ever think of, and always being up for something new, something unknown to push herself further physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Team 8 busy #tryingstuff

Team 8 busy #tryingstuff (courtesy of Gina Begin)

At points, the #OmniGames were physically, mentally, or emotionally taxing for me, but I knew that I had to keep trying; I had to keep pushing myself because I didn’t want to let down my teammate. Along the way I realized that even more so, I wanted to be proud of myself for trying my hardest; to be able to look in the mirror and know that my parents and sister would be proud of me. I know I have once again succeeded 🙂

As I said earlier this week (“Hard Times” bring out the best in #tryingstuff), Columbia developed the #OmniTen program to challenge themselves, but what they may not have planned on is the family that has come out of it.  All I can say is, THANK YOU for expanding my family…the rest is just icing on the cake of life!

Portland & Park City – “A Tale of Two Cities”

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”  This is one of the most famous lines ever written by Charles Dickens.  It is something that epitomizes life in general.  Our struggles as individuals, families, friends, companies, you name it, we go through a series of ups and downs throughout our lives.

Portland – In this town Columbia Sportswear has seen struggles and successes.  It has seen the company fight to stay afloat, and it has also seen the company become one of the most innovative outdoor corporations in the industry.  In this city, Columbia has created great technologies for the everyday adventurer and amazing world-class athletes alike.  In this city the motto of #TryingStuff hasn’t been reserved for the elite few but continues to be spread as a way of life for outdoor loving folks everywhere.

This is just one example of an amazing new technology that will hit the streets from Portland this September:

Columbia's Omni-heat, Omni-freeze, & Omni-dry technologies have taken me around the world

Columbia’s Omni-heat, Omni-freeze, & Omni-dry technologies have taken me around the world

 Park City – This town saw 30+ outdoor loving, social media crazed individuals converge for a few days of competition and saw them leave as a family.  The mountains of this town saw friendships forged and beginners battle to stay upright.  This town has been home to competitions long before the #OmniGames were even a glimmer of an idea and will remain so long after we have gone back to our normal lives.  For three days, we reigned supreme (at least in our own minds!) as we fought, often neck and neck, for 10 spots for the adventure of a lifetime.

Taking the fierce competition by storm

Taking the fierce competition by storm

 But why stop at two cities?  Why not bring a third one into the mix…Petra!  This amazing, historic city will no doubt be on the agenda for the 5 teams who are victors of the #OmniGames when they travel to Jordan this coming spring.  Petra saw hills and valleys throughout its existence.  Founded as a capital in the caravan trade during the 6th century BC, this city later became a hub for many trade routes linking China, India and Arabia with Egypt, Greece, Syria, and Rome.  It saw riches until it became what we now call the “Lost City” in the 18th century AD.  For more information on a place I hope to visit this spring (but definitely will within my lifetime!), check out the Jordan Tourism Board’s website.

My sister visited Petra in the past few years

My sister visited Petra in the past few years

Team 8 is battling our way through this last and final challenge.  As we have been telling you a variety of stories over the past week, we are still competing for those top 10 spots, so stick close as Wes & I make a final push!  You won’t want to miss out on what is coming tomorrow!!!

In “The Battle of Life” be #InspiredByGreatness

Over my life I have been lucky to draw strength from various sources of inspiration as I battle tough times. Beautifully written words by poets and authors, the mystery of the ocean, the unbridled beauty of nature in its purest form, and people have all brought me motivation and encouragement to be the best Kristie possible. 

How can you not be inspired by the work, determination, & passion shown by world-class athletes?!

How can you not be inspired by the work, determination, & passion shown by world-class athletes?!

That last one, people, is what I find inspires me most; the greatness of each unique individual.  While I have been inspired by the works of many famous people, it is those who do things not for fame or glory but for the simple reason of pushing themselves beyond their own comfort zones that inspire me most.  Those who try new things, who face their fears, and who bolster others through unbelievable acts of kindness, those are the people who inspire me, and I am dang lucky enough to call them my friends and family!

Over the course of the Columbia Sportswear #OmniGames, I was inspired by my #omnifamily again and again.  The amazing smiles and upbeat attitude of Katie Boue and Aleya Littleton kept me happy and light.

Aleya always makes me smile :) (courtesy of Anne Carney)

Aleya always makes me smile 🙂 (courtesy of Anne Carney)

The compassion shown by Gina Begin  & Ann Driggers  (as well as many others!) when they learned of my emotional struggles during the week, reminded me that love surrounds us at all times.

Gina, one of the sweetest, kindest hearts I have in mylife

Gina, one of the sweetest, kindest hearts I have in my life (courtesy of David Creech)

The ability to remain humble, even when clearly dominating the competition 😉 is something that few people do well.  Beth Bault and Justin Lukasavige reminded me that true champions see themselves as normal people.

I dub Beth & Justin "Team Awesomesauce"

I dub Beth & Justin “Team Awesomesauce” (courtesy of David Creesh) 

With their try anything attitude, Eric Eagan and Heidi Henry pushed me to step outside my normal comforts.  They reminded me that you never know if you like something or are good at it until you have fun trying it!

Skiing is "fun"??

Skiing is “fun”?? (courtesy of David Creech)

If I had been delayed multiple times in my travels to Park City, I am not sure that I would have been as determined to complete every task thrown my way, but Michelle Eady sure was…and she rocked them!

Michelle is all smiles

Michelle is all smiles (courtesy of David Creech)

Again, I was inspired by the greatness that was the Columbia Sportswear.  You all never cease to amaze with the trips you put together, but more importantly with the true level of caring that you have for each person involved in those trips. 

Throughout the entire competition I was inspired by my partner Weston Shirey.  He had fun with everything he did; he cheered on everyone, not only me.  He was always willing to offer a smile, fist bump, high five, or hug.  As he flew by me on the slopes during a challenge to gain the most vertical feet as a team (basically ski or snowboard the most), he would whoop, give me encouraging words, and let me know he recognized how hard I was trying.

That is how I am #InspiredByGreatness.

This is how I am #InspiredByGreatness (courtesy of David Creech)

How are you #InspiredByGreatness in your everyday life?

“Hard Times” bring out the best in #TryingStuff

In 1938 two German nationals, who had fled what was then the embattled country of Germany, bought a small hat company with the hopes of making a better life in the United States; to be more specific in Portland, Oregon.  This company did well built upon the idea that “success comes to those who try” and was later taken over by their daughter’s husband.  While I can tell you the rest of the story, why not see it for yourself!

As you can see, Columbia Sportswear is a company that has long been about #TryingStuff. As was said in the video, Columbia Sportswear is determined to “out try” their competitors.  

It was in this way of thinking that the #OmniTen program was created.  The company decided to push their own comfort by getting reviews and opinions on new technologies from real people who live an active, outdoor lifestyle.  People who would actually be using their company’s gear for everyday adventures in #TryingStuff.

#TryingStuff in Columbia gear way before my #Omniten invitation

#TryingStuff in Columbia gear way before my #Omniten invitation

After three seasons of amazing trips centered around new technologies such as Omni-Freeze, Omni-Freeze Zero, Omni-Dry, and Omni-Heat, the company added one more group of ten and has taken it a step further with the #OmniGames.  As you may have seen in many blog postings yesterday (like some from Joshua and Katie Boue), the games were intense and such a blast.  For Weston and I, it was all about #TryingStuff.  

Team 8 trysing dog sledding!

Team 8 trying dog sledding!

We had never met in person until the morning of our team pairings yet we instantly became friends who not only helped each other through each challenge but had so much fun doing so, that we couldn’t help but share our excitement by causing crazy scenes while loudly cheering on other teams.

For us #tryingstuff not only meant pushing ourselves to new levels in a competition filled with things one or both of us had never done (like archery, building an emergency shelter in the snow, a ropes course over 50ft in the air, & dog sledding), but it also meant testing out amazing new gear like the TurboDown jackets (expertly described here by Katie Levy) and making or strengthening friendships that will no doubt last a lifetime.

Team 8 got busy #tryingstuff & pushing our limits (picture of me on the ropes is courtesy of David Creech)

Team 8 got busy #tryingstuff & pushing our limits (picture of me on the ropes is courtesy of David Creech)

Stay tuned for more about Team 8’s adventures in #TryingStuff during the #OmniGames and what it means to be #Inspiredbygreatness!!!

Great Expectations…the #OmniGames

My life has been a bit of a hectic whirlwind lately.  A big part of the reason?


That’s right!  I was honored to get to be a part of another Columbia Sportswear event.  If you will recall, I had a life-changing trip on the Rogue River this summer.  Well in true #tryingstuff style, Columbia Sportswear brought all four seasons (including the brand new crew) together in Park City for a few days of adventure, playing in the snow, testing new gear, and competing for a chance to be part of the Spring 2014 crew; this crew will get to go to….JORDAN!!!

Over the next few days, my awesome partner Weston Shirey, and I will recap our adventures in a unique way that we hope will help you feel like you were right there in Park City with us for #OmniGames. Here is a preview of things to come!

#TryingStuff video preview (courtesy of Wes!)

Wes & yours truly on a snowmobile on day 1 of #OmniGames

Wes & yours truly on a snowmobile on day 1 of #OmniGames

Big news and awesome adventures ahead!!

So if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook (or have talked to me in real life lately!), you know that some amazing things have come my way in the past two weeks.  Let’s rewind before I tell you my great news….

Last year (2012) in March/April, I started seeing some of my Twitter acquaintances (now I call many of them my close friends) talk about being selected for a new grassroots ambassador team, of 10 outdoorsy social media influencer, formed by Columbia Sportswear, the #OmniTen.  Of course I was instantly intrigued and needless to say a bit envious as they started to receive new, not even on the market yet, gear to test out.  This intrigue was heightened by my lifelong love of Columbia Sportswear gear.  Off track a bit, but I did an inventory of my jackets and fleeces when I moved to Wyoming, only one outdoorsy jacket/fleece was NOT Columbia…now that is some consumer preference! Ha!

My sister, Renee, & I rocking Columbia gear in 2010!

My sister, Renee, & I rocking Columbia gear in 2010!

Ok back to my story…I watched their chatter and my jaw continued to drop as I heard about all of the sweet new technology they were testing and the amazing sights they were getting to experience.  I was joined in my envy of the Columbia Sportswear gear by another group of Twitter peeps; we called ourselves the #OmniOutlaws 🙂

Over the past year, I have had the privilege of meeting most of the first #OmniTen group, as well as some of the #OmniOutlaws, and becoming real life friends with them, but this hasn’t cured my obsession with the company’s great gear and new products. This can be seen in the addition of multiple items of Columbia gear that has made its way into my daily attire.

Both Brian and I are huge fans of Columbia gear!

Both Brian and I are huge fans of Columbia gear!

Ok, fast forward to about two months ago.  I started to see some of my fellow #OmniOutlaws posting that they had been invited to become part of the third crew of #OmniTen.  Of course, my excitement for them was huge as everyone waited to see who would fill out the crew.  The wait would continue as the number stagnated at nine for almost two months…the tension was huge (well for me at least, haha)!

I still don’t know the whole story, but I do know that this box arrived on my doorstep just over a week ago 🙂

Talk about a box of awesomeness!

Talk about a box of awesomeness!

Yep, that’s right folks!  I am part of the third season of #OmniTen!!!!!!  I cannot believe that I have been selected for this privilege and am still mystified as to how I made the cut, but instead of asking questions, I am just going to enjoy the ride!

We have some amazing stuff coming up in the next few months, so if you want to check out what this #OmniTen crew is up to and what gear we are testing, continue to check out my blog, follow me on Twitter (@wigirl4ever) and Instagram (@wigirl4ever), and look into the hashtag #OmniTen on social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) to learn who the other members of this sweet crew are.  This is going to be an exciting summer of epic adventure!

Trying out my new gear  in head to tow Columbia gear

Trying out my new gear in head to tow Columbia gear