Jaywalker Lodge http://jaywalkerlodge.com Thu, 17 Aug 2017 20:55:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.3 Recovery in Paris http://jaywalkerlodge.com/alumni/recovery-in-paris/ http://jaywalkerlodge.com/alumni/recovery-in-paris/#respond Tue, 08 Aug 2017 16:18:02 +0000 http://jaywalkerlodge.com/?p=7923 Continue Reading]]> I have been attempting to make a trip to a foreign country for quite some time. I have traveled to surf, skate, and sight see many times, but never in recovery. I have always been hesitant to go anywhere outside of the country, because I didn’t want to get myself into a situation where I would want to use.

Earlier this year, I lost my Mother to cancer and I tried almost everything to cope, except drugs and alcohol. One of the things I had done in the past is explore a new place or get outside my comfort zone in order to try something new.  The past few years my Mom told me that I should take a trip out of the country. Once she passed I knew now was the time to do it. I needed something to spark my happiness and get me enjoying life again. This was my opportunity to do something spontaneous and fun.

My original plan was to go on a surf trip somewhere. I was thinking that Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, or potentially Indonesia would be ideal. I know my way around Costa Rica I have a buddy who has a house in Puerto Rico so those felt the most comfortable, but Indonesia has always been my dream trip. Anyway, a few years back I met a guy at the skate park here in Carbondale. We call him Shark. He also loves to travel. Since meeting him we have skated NYC and different towns in Colorado together. In the few years I’ve known him, I could tell he was a good guy and that he could be trusted. He told me he Air BnB’d a place out in Paris for a month and that I should come out to skate and hang out. I told him that I would be very interested, but as time went on the feeling of actually making a trip out of the country seemed harder and harder. One day I was having dinner with someone close to me and he told me that I would be making a bad decision if I didn’t go. I realized that I had to make a trip out of the country to show myself that I can go anywhere I want in recovery and not feel threatened.

A few days later I was on a Norwegian Airlines flight headed to Paris. It was a wild start. I flew out of JFK in New York at around midnight and landed in Paris around 1pm. I hopped in a cab to my friend’s house and was there within the hour. Upon arrival the first thing I wanted to do was grab some coffee. We went up the block to a café. I ordered myself a couple shots of espresso and from there we set out to skate a park in his neighborhood. We hung out there for a bit then we went to Sacre-Coeur to do some sight seeing. After that we hit some shops and went back to his place. It was extremely hot so skating mid-day was out of the question. After it cooled down we went to another skate park that was wedged in between two buildings on a side street. The name of the spot was Bourse and I was having more fun than I had in years. From there we skated down towards the Louvre and hung out by the river. The next eight days were filled with sight-seeing and skate missions to parts of the city that I had never explored. I was able to skate spots from famous skate videos that I grew up watching. A few of the spots we went to were called, Palais de Tokyo, Bercy, Costa Nostra, Bourse, and Republique. I could write another few pages on this trip, but I’ll cut it off here. This goes to anyone in recovery who wants to make a trip somewhere: Do it, you will be happy you did!

-Jaywalker Alum

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Floating the Gunnison Gorge http://jaywalkerlodge.com/alumni/floating-the-gunnison-gorge/ Wed, 19 Jul 2017 15:44:23 +0000 http://jaywalkerlodge.com/?p=7915 Continue Reading]]> Floating the Gunnison Gorge

It all started when my buddy Andrew and I were driving to the Arkansas River for a company work retreat. We were talking about all the rivers in Colorado that we have fished, and the ones that we haven’t. Most of the rivers in Colorado were blown out from the rapid snow melt, and thus unfishable. We both had the itch to go explore a new river, and we were scratching our heads about where to go. Andrew mentioned that he had some great luck on the Uncompahgre River last spring, and that it was only about a 30-minute drive from the Gunnison River. I wanted to make a full-day of it, so I suggested that we take a raft. I texted my ride-or-die fishing buddy JC, “Let’s go fish the Paco, and then pay for a jet boat shuttle to take us and the rafts up the Gunnison for the evening hatch.” “I’m in!” he said.

A few hours later, a group text had formed with five of the grittiest anglers I know – JC, Dave, John, Andrew, and myself. Dave said “I got a guy that can that can pack us in to the Gunnison Gorge on mules”. The Gunnison Gorge is a 14-mile stretch of river that is protected by wilderness. Meaning no motorized vehicles are allowed. It is some of the steepest, most rugged terrain in the state of Colorado, and contains about fifteen class III and IV rapids. This river is not for the faint-hearted. It will chew you up, and spit you out. Dave texted, “I called the outfitter to pack us in, but haven’t heard back.” From the trailhead to the river is around 1.1 miles, and 560-feet of elevation loss. It goes straight down into the Black Canyon. We were a little late to the party, and we all knew that if we didn’t hear back from the outfitter, we would have to carry the two rafts in on our backs. “We didn’t get sober to be little whiners, let’s do this!”, JC texted. If you’ve ever been in a group text with four sober dudes, you know how things can escalate…quickly. The plan went from a mellow jet-boat shuttle up river, to a full-bore 14-mile stretch of some of the most technical water in the state…in a matter of minutes.

Thursday night came, and still no word from the outfitter. We made plans to leave Carbondale on Friday evening when everyone was finished with work. We were going to camp at the trailhead, and wake up early Saturday morning to pack the rafts down into the river. We wanted to go ultra-light, and finish the 14-mile stretch in one day. Dave, JC, and I met at JC’s house to strip the rafts down to the bare-bone-essentials. We removed the front and rear lean bars, and the floors. All we had left on the frame was a seat for the oarsman, and the oar locks. We had to go as light as possible in order to pack the rafts down the steep trail. We deflated the rafts, and rolled them as tightly as possible. The rubber part of each raft weighs about 100 pounds. We loaded them into the back of Dave’s truck. We strapped the bare-bones raft frames to Dave’s trailer, along with 6 oars (two main oars, and 1 spare oar for each boat). The raft preparation was completed, and the excitement was starting to build.

Dave had floated this stretch of river a few years before, so we were banking on his knowledge of the class III and IV rapids. I had floated the lower 3 miles of this river on the exact same weekend a year prior. It was absolutely phenomenal fishing. I remember counting 5 different insect hatches: salmon flies, golden stones, yellow sallies, caddis and PMDs all hatched in the same evening last year. We had some intel from the local fly shops that the Salmon flies were beginning to hatch at Smith Fork, which is roughly halfway up the river. This was music to our ears. For all of you non-anglers, the salmon fly hatch is a dry fly fisherman’s dream. To throw a giant, two-inch, foam fly to a rising trout is the ultimate experience. Anglers travel from all over the world to try their hand at catching the salmon fly hatch just right. The problem is, salmon flies only hatch for about two weeks, and trout typically only feed on adult salmon flies (top water or dry flies) for a few days. They simply get too full from eating the 2 inch flies. Trout lose interest and won’t rise to the surface for them anymore. We knew we had a really good chance of hitting the hatch absolutely perfectly. But as they say, “you don’t know unless you go!”

Dave had Friday off from work, so we tasked him with getting all of the groceries and camping supplies. I’m not sure about the rest of the guys, but I certainly did not sleep well on Thursday night. I was so jazzed up about the possibility of presenting a two-inch dry fly to a rising trout. Not just any trout, either. The Gunnison River is known for producing 20+ inch carnivorous brown trout. 5:00pm finally came around, and I was out the front door of the office like I stole something. All five of us met at the City Market parking lot at 6:30pm to head out. We needed two vehicles, so we could run the shuttle after the float leaving a vehicle at the takeout. Dave’s truck was loaded to the gills with rafts and camping accessories. He was towing the trailer with the raft frames and oars, and I was following him in my vehicle. The stoke was high as we rendezvoused in the parking lot. Everyone was ready to be at the trailhead. We had about a three-hour drive ahead of us. Dave looked over at us and said, “baton down the hatches, boys…we’re in for a real adventure!”

We got to the dirt road that would take us to our campsite at around 10:00pm. I realized that in all the excitement of the trip, we forgot to drop my vehicle at the river take-out ramp. It is absolutely critical to leave a vehicle at the take-out ramp, otherwise you have no way to get back to the trailhead. With our foreheads in our palms, we tried to brainstorm some alternative solutions. Because the Gunnison Gorge is wilderness, it was going to take us about 3 hours to run the shuttle. You have to drive in a huge loop to get to Pleasure Park, where we would be taking the rafts off the river. We called the only fly shop in the area to see if we could arrange for a shuttle service. “I don’t have enough hands on deck to run your shuttle tomorrow, sorry.”, he said. “What if we pay you double? Will you do it then?” I asked. “No, we don’t have enough people.” Well, shit! We had two choices: run the shuttle tonight, or wake up super early and run the shuttle in the morning. We decided to run the shuttle that night.

We got to the campsite at around 11:00pm, and unloaded both vehicles. Dave, Andrew, and John decided they would stay at the campsite to get set up, and cook dinner. JC and I would run the shuttle. JC and I finished the shuttle, and returned to the campsite around 1:00am. John had just pulled the steaks off the fire. We shoveled the steak, corn and beans down our throats, and gathered around the fire to pack a post-meal chew. We were all exhausted, but there was definitely a buzz at camp. We all agreed to a 6:00am wake up call. It was going to be a long day, and we needed to get an early start to ensure we could cover 14-miles of river during day light hours.

The 6:00am alarm came just a few hours after we shut our eyes. Everyone was a little slow climbing out of their tents, but we woke to an incredible orange, purple and blue sunrise. It was a beautiful morning. After the sun rose, the clouds burned off and we had bluebird skies. Dave whipped up some killer breakfast burritos, and we gathered our gear. JC and I fashioned some backpack-style straps out of some old climbing rope that Dave had in the bed of his truck. We had to hoist the two raft rubbers onto JC’s and Dave’s backs to pack down the trail. The raft rubber is by far, the heaviest load. Each rubber weighs around 100-pounds, and we were using ropes as backpack straps. JC and Dave certainly had their work cut out for them, but they have an enormous amount of gravel in their guts. I knew they would be fine. We strapped all 6 oars together, and then the 2 external raft frames together. Andrew took the stack of oars, and John and I took the frames. The mercury was rising on the thermometer, and we hit the trailhead.

It took us about an hour to pack the rafts, frames and oars down to the river. It’s a steep ascent with a ton of switchbacks, and the footing is sketchy. Andrew took a tumble early while he was carrying the oars, but besides a little ego bruise, he was fine. We got to the boat launch, and were shocked to see about 15 other rafts ready to push off. Of course, we talked smack about them amongst each other. They were all fat Florida guys that were being guided, and we just sweated through our shirts packing our rafts down the steep canyon. We looked up the 600-foot canyon walls, and could immediately see salmon flies hatching. Like big-ass B.1 bombers flying around…we were stoked! We started inflating the rafts, adjusting the oar towers, and attaching the frames to the rubbers. The salmon flies were becoming more prevalent all the while. We knew we had hit the hatch absolutely perfectly, but there was still no guarantee that the fish would be eating them on top. We refilled our water jugs, and dropped iodine tablets in to purify the water. It was go time!

Dave, JC and John on one raft, and Andrew and I on the other. We agreed to let Dave’s boat take the lead, as I hadn’t rowed the Gunny before. It didn’t take long before we heard JC’s shouting bouncing off the canyon walls, “I GOT COLOR!” If you’ve ever watched Wicked Tuna on Discovery Channel, you know what the saying “I got color” means. For those of you that haven’t watched it, the guys scream “I got color” when they can finally see the tuna on the line. I saw Dave’s rod fully flexed, and I knew he had a big fish on the line. We hit the first pocket of soft water we could find, and eddied up. JC and Dave were screaming with excitement. Andrew quickly hopped out of my raft to capture the moment with his camera.

After some hesitation, Dave finally gave Andrew and I the intel on what kind of fly his fish took. It was a size 6 orange salmon fly stimulator, and that proved to be the breakfast, lunch, and dinner ticket for those big-ass Gunny browns all day! We figured it out within the first 15 minutes, and the trout were in for a long day.

The fishing remained lights-out for the rest of the morning, and we exchanged hoots and hollers off the canyon walls. It was hot, temperatures hit the mid-90s by noon, but the fishing was on fire! It was one of those days where your forearm starts to burn from fighting big trout. We eddied up for lunch, and went for a swim. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a better PB&J sandwich, and neither had Dave.

We switched the personnel on the boats to keep it fresh. JC hopped in with Andrew and me, and we pushed on. The fishing remained incredible all day. There were periods when they wouldn’t eat salmon flies on top water, but they were crushing the golden stone nymphs we had dropped off the back of our salmon flies. We were dialed in, and the numbers were high. We were getting close to the infamous mile nine. Mile nine is a stretch of the Gunny with 5-6 consecutive technical class III and IV rapids. The flows were pretty friendly, but there was still plenty of sleeper rocks that we needed to avoid. We were ready for it.

The approach into mile 9 is a long stretch of calm water. We were bouncing our salmon flies off the canyon walls, and having a blast. We looked up river towards the first rapid, and saw something that caught our eyes. It appeared to be a blue raft wrapped around a rock. We were 600-700 yards away, but we thought we could see two guys standing on top of the rock, too. As we got closer to the rapid, we could tell they were in distress. We eddied up on the side of the river, and got out to assess the situation. We grabbed our throw ropes, and walked down the bank of the river to see what was going on. As we got closer, it was evident that these two guys had taken a really bad line through an unforgiving rapid. They pinned their raft right on a giant boulder in the middle of the river. The force of the river had ripped the frame from the raft rubber. The 2 guys were able to safely get off the boat and stand on the boulder, out of the water. The boulder was smack-dab in the middle of the river in an extremely dangerous rapid, and it was difficult to communicate with the stranded fisherman on the rock from the noise of the rushing water. It was immediately apparent that they were extremely rattled, and their raft wasn’t coming off the rock. After all, there was 1,200 CFS of water mashing it against a giant boulder.

We began to formulate a plan. We knew that we had to get the guys off the rock, but how? There was no way that they could safely jump from the rock and swim through the rapid. It was too dangerous. Luckily, they were floating with another boat, which was just downstream in a calm eddy catching their gear as it was wiped from the raft. If we could get them off the rock, they could join their friends downstream. There were 2 routes through the rapid, so we began debating which line to take, and who was going to row. The plan was for the guys to jump from the rock, on to the raft as it floated by. We knew it was dangerous, but it was the safest way to get them off the rock. We took our time making a decision. We were calm, cool, and collected. Not the case for the guys on the rock. Dave agreed to take the stick, and run the rapid and collect the stranded fisherman from the rock. As we walked back upstream to get in our rafts, another group of rafters floated up to us. We explained the situation to them, and they immediately sprang into action. Two guys from their group were trained in swift water rescue, and had all the equipment that we needed to pry the raft from the rock. A few minutes later, another group of fisherman arrived on the scene. By this time, we had 14 guys, and a z-pulley arranged. After about an hour of adjusting and pulling, we freed the raft from the rock. The guys were still stranded on the boulder, however. We let the swift water rescue trained rafters run the rapid, and scoop the stranded rafters from the rock. It wasn’t the most graceful rescue, but they pulled it off…safely! We gathered our gear, and pushed on.

It’s funny, we never once thought about leaving those guys stranded on the rock. It wasn’t an option. We put our own lives at stake to help 2 strangers out, because that’s what you do. Just like in sobriety. You help the suffering addict out. You share with others what was freely given to you. It’s our primary purpose. The rescue mission was definitely an eye-opener.  It was a humbling experience, and it changed the entire vibe of the trip. Our senses were sharpened, and we meticulously picked our way through the rest of the rapids.

As we paddled through the evening, the fishing picked up. We hit the evening hatch perfectly, and netted a shitload more fish. We got to the takeout around 8:30pm sunburnt and hungry, but extremely satisfied. We loaded up the rafts, grabbed some Taco Bell, and hit the road. Floating the Gunnison Gorge is a memory that I will never forget. It was an adventure filled with highs, lows, laughs, lots of fish, and four of my dearest friends that share the common bond of sobriety.

Sloane B.

Jaywalker Expedition Director – Summits El Capitan http://jaywalkerlodge.com/lifestyle/jaywalker-expedition-director-summits-el-capitan/ Thu, 13 Jul 2017 22:21:22 +0000 http://jaywalkerlodge.com/?p=7913 Continue Reading]]> On Monday our Expedition Director Lynn Sanson, my boss/mentor/friend, accomplished a dream.  Lynn Sanson completed the Nose of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park with his son Tobin.  While completing the rock climb is an amazing feat, I know that this means much more to him than just another ascent of a sheer rock wall.
Lynn has been attempting this climb for the last few years, and has had several demoralizing defeats.  Each time, I watched him prepare diligently but come back being humbled by this 3000ft testpiece.  It was hard for me to see someone who is so competent and level headed to come up short.
This year, there was a change.  I saw Lynn make some changes to his approach to an already extremely healthy and active lifestyle.  I saw someone who was going to do whatever it took to complete the dream.  In addition,  his son Tobin made some huge progress in his own climbing, including several very difficult routes on El Cap.  In my eyes, their partnership on the wall took on a new meaning.  I knew they would be successful this time.
Please help me in congratulating Lynn on his accomplishment.  He has helped countless addicts and alcoholics, myself included, achieve the miracle of sobriety.  Seeing him complete this dream is very special, a gift to him for all he has given.
David K.
Jaywalker Lodge: Why Horses http://jaywalkerlodge.com/insights/jaywalker-lodge-why-horses/ Wed, 12 Jul 2017 15:35:17 +0000 http://jaywalkerlodge.com/?p=7911 Continue Reading]]> WHY HORSES

“Horses have been an integral part of the human experience since their domestication more than 5,000 years ago. They have shouldered our burdens, shared our history and shaped our mythology. There is a long-standing connection between humans and horses and how they have impacted our lives.” ~Linda Kohanov, Eponaquest Founder and Author

As an Equine Facilitated Psychotherapist (EAP) and Equine Facilitated Learning instructor (EFL), I have been fortunate to bring my work and this amazing experiential process, to the men at Jaywalker Lodge. It has been a gift and privilege to witness how the power of the herd-and the authentic reflections they bring-impact the men we work with, who are healing from the ravages of alcoholism and addiction.

As awareness surfaces within the equine experiential setting, the horses present opportunities for participants to work through unconscious patterns, metaphors and ways of relating; toward integration, personal growth and healing. The Creative Awakenings with Horses program at Jaywalker, offers unique opportunities for clients and organizations to experience this powerful and unique healing modality.

As an Eponaquest Instructor, I bring the experiences of addiction, with the wisdom and power of horses. Through the power of horse wisdom and holistic practices such as body scanning, mindfulness, creative expression, equine facilitated coaching supports our clients in deepening their relationship themselves and connecting with a live bio-feedback machine to access true emotion. The horse as muse and mentor supports our clients in to uncovering powerful metaphors for life and relationships, deepening their connection to true authentic spirit.

This work is appropriate for individuals or groups and anyone seeking to experience increased connection to authentic ways of being and healthier relationships with others. Working with the horse as partner, builds self-esteem, trust, confidence and connection bringing forth an inner leader.  Working with the herd and animals on the ranch, also supports Post Traumatic Stress and emotional agility, offering feelings of relaxation, stability and relief from chronic stress. If you would like to read more about the benefits of this work for Post Traumatic Stress disorder, attached to this blog is a PDF, a  study from the Under Secretary of Defense, on the benefits of “Equine Therapy to Treat Members of the Armed Forces.”

These sessions support our men to feel positive about the possibilities during their life in treatment, and their futures, as men in recovery.


  • Enhance skills as a natural leader
  • Help clients understand emotion as information
  • Supports clients to access a more authentic, creative presence
  • Recognize and move beyond conditioned behaviors and thought patterns
  • Set Boundaries: establishing and maintaining clear and consistent personal space
  • Body Scan: using the body as a sensing device
  • Hands-on activities with horses as guides
  • Developing essential skills for building Authentic Community
  • Support clients in learning new ways of relating to yourself and others
  • Build confidence and self-esteem

Sheri Gaynor

Jaywalker Alumnus: Climbing Denali http://jaywalkerlodge.com/alumni/jaywalker-alumnus-climbing-denali/ Wed, 21 Jun 2017 15:20:44 +0000 http://jaywalkerlodge.com/?p=7906 Continue Reading]]> Climbing Denali has been in the works for almost two years, starting with having the first inklings of it being a possibility while on another trip in Chamonix. Since that time, as our skill sets grew, achieving that goal became more and more realistic, and how we were going to do that became more apparent. Once we finished planning the trip and booking the flights, all that was left was getting physically ready. But throughout this whole process, one question kept coming back to me. Why do I climb and ski these mountains, and more specifically why do I want to climb this particular mountain?

The easy answer is that it validates me as a ski mountaineer. It validates me using a college degree to work as a valet so I can ski, climb, tour, etc to my heart’s content. It even validates me going through Jaywalker and “turning my life around”. It is a big, recognizable mountain that I can tell people that I skied so that they can congratulate me on the accomplishment. The real answer is much more complex and difficult for me to put into words. There are obviously many moments of pure joy while skiing and climbing big mountains, but there are also moments of pain, fear, anger, etc. It can be a rollercoaster of emotions, in both the short term and the long term. People see pictures of highlights of the ski. Tiny, sometimes framed snapshots of long days in the mountains with a caption attached to it saying something to the tune of it being another great day in the mountains. The real story is much different. To put it simply, I climb and ski these mountains because over the course of an expedition, ski season, or lifetime in the mountains, it fundamentally changes me as a person.

For the sake of brevity, I’ll break the expedition into 3 parts. The first part was the physically hard part, the next part, I’ll call mentally and emotionally draining, and the last part, pure ecstasy. We flew onto the glacier May 20th, and the plan was to make a hard 4 day push to get to 14k camp with all of our gear. Hauling about 110 lbs of gear up a mountain cannot be described as anything other than a sufferfest, no matter how beautiful of a place you are in. Of course there were some periods of enjoyment, but a majority of these 96 hours were not fun by any metric. However it was a huge relief to get to 14 camp in 4 days because we beat an oncoming storm that would hit on the fifth day that would have kept us stuck at a lower elevation for a few days and further delayed our summit bid. These 4 days were largely unremarkable, simply filled with back breaking work.

The night we got to 14 camp, it was beautiful weather, the clouds had broken just as we came around windy corner approaching 14 camp to reveal an amazing view with a cloud inversion and a gorgeous view of Mt. Foraker. But this was just the calm before the storm. Sadly, the 4 days of slogging up the mountain were not the low point of the trip for me. The next 4ish days made me really question why I chose to do these sort of things, more than I ever have in the mountains. It was brutally cold, highs around -15, lows around -35. High winds and snow meant we had to shovel out our tent every couple of hours. We were having to spend pretty much all 24 hours of the day in the tent. I felt broken, mentally and emotionally. 4 more days of really no enjoyment. It honestly reminded me of how I felt being in primary treatment. Constantly second guessing how I ended up here, with what seemed like no end in sight. I would try to tell myself that it will get better, it had to get better, the weather will let up. But it felt more like wishful thinking than a reality. These couple of days really are just a blur to me now. The days blended together, I have some memories of the time in the tent, but really have no frame of reference on when they happened or in what order. Time almost stood still. The light was the same if it was 5 in the morning or afternoon, and time was more or less irrelevant. Oh and it was the coldest I had ever been in my life.

Summiting seemed impossible with the cold temps. It was beyond our level of acceptable risk. There is always an inherent risk in climbing mountains and we all knew that. There are ways to mitigate that risk, but not eliminate. Losing our extremities, which seemed like a certainty if we tried to go up in those temps, was a very high probability, and we were not willing to do that.  We heard about a few people that had tried to go up in the storm. All of them got frostbite. One Finnish climber was pulled off the mountain after spending the night around 17k in an open bivy (no sleeping bag, no tent) and was going to lose all his fingers and toes. We saw him being walked down the mountain as we were trying to go up to acclimate. He looked like a zombie. He was moving on his own power, but he looked broken. It was weird to see somebody in such a dazed state, and it definitely shook us up seeing him like that. We were hesitant to go up, but we knew we had to start climbing up high to acclimate, and it looked like we might have a decent, relatively speaking, weather window for the afternoon. We brought all our warm clothing, massive down jackets and pants, in the hopes that we could get up to 17k feet in spite of the cold temps. We knew we had to give it a shot, telling ourselves that the second we felt too cold we would turn around. Then, something amazing happened. Right as we got above the fixed lines to the ridge (around 16k feet), the wind stopped. People that had passed us going down were telling us how cold it was and they had bailed, but we had to see for ourselves. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, and that afternoon we got lucky. We had a beautiful ridge climb up to around 17k feet with almost no wind, but still cold. It reminded me why I love spending time in the mountains, and was the first time I had felt that pretty much all trip. It was a glimmer of hope in what seemed like trip destined for failure. Now we were acclimated and all we had to do was wait for the weather gods to cooperate. That night we got word that a ridge of high pressure was supposed to come set up in two days. Summiting, which seemed improbable if not impossible just 6 hours before, was now a reality. Hope was finally restored.

The night before what would be summit day was a mix of emotions. On one hand, a dream was about to come to fruition. Years of work was about to pay off. 6 months of the hardest training I’ve ever done, the most effort I have put into anything in my life. On the other hand, was guilt. Climbing mountains is an inherently selfish endeavour, probably the most selfish “hobby” there is. I risk my life for something that I love with no benefit to anyone other than myself. I debated whether or not to send a message to my parents telling them that tomorrow was going to be the day we made the push. I had typed out a message and was staring at my phone. Tears started to roll down my face as the guilt poured over me. I didn’t want to burden them with the fear of not knowing what was happening to me. It would be potentially 24 more hours before they heard from me again letting them know I was still alive. It almost felt like I was burdening them with the same anxiety as when I was in my addiction. I finally decided to send them the message. I felt guilty that my passion was now possibly causing my parents an anxiety similar to when I was still drinking. The love and support they conveyed in their messages back to me relieved me of most of my guilt. It was incredibly powerful to me because there was so much attached to this. It made me think of the entirety of my addiction and recovery, in addition to everything to do with the expedition, and also my parents unwavering love and support of me, in failure and success.  

From that point on was pure ecstasy. Pretty much everything seemed to work out. It was one of the greatest days I have ever had in the mountains, or on this earth for that matter. We were making good time and moving well. The weather was perfect. Usually while on the route of a big objective I am filled with doubt about if we will succeed, constantly thinking that we are too late or the snow won’t be stable or weather will move in. As we were moving up above 19k feet I didn’t have a single doubt we were going to succeed. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, it wasn’t going to get too warm or too cold, wasn’t going to get dark (because the Sun doesn’t really set this time of year in Alaska). I knew that we had all the time in the world and all we had to do was keep putting one foot in front of another and we would be at the top. I started crying uncontrollably while climbing up. I had put so much into this. It was 8 years in the making, filled with all the ups and downs of a life spent in the mountains. I’ve had huge success and wild failures.  I’ve had friends die in the mountains. I’ve forged bonds with people so strong that I trust them with my life implicitly. This trip had almost broken me, but here we were just a few hours from the top. This tiny moment, maybe 5 minutes, is why I chose to do this. The happiness that I felt in this moment made the entire 14 days, most of which felt more like torture than anything else, spent on the glacier worth it. It made the 6 months of training worth it. I can’t accurately put into words what it truly feels like, but the fact that 5 minutes of joy made 14 days of suffering worth it is a good start.

The rest of the climb to the top was just a test of patience. We were so close but so far away. I didn’t think it was possible to walk as slow as I did for the last 600 ft or so. The only pace I could keep was to take three deep breathes for every step because of the elevation. My head would start throbbing if I went too fast. The last 600 ft took over two hours. It’s pretty similar to a bowl hike at highlands, in terms of distance and elevation gained, which takes about 20-30 minutes. The altitude was very humbling, but we made it to the top, enjoyed about 20 minutes up there, sent some messages out to family and friends, then realized that we had to get down if we wanted to stop feeling the effects of the altitude. The ski was nothing special, but we made it back to camp. It was 16 hours round trip. We were completely wasted, sitting in the tent at midnight in a state of delirious ecstasy, making water and food looking at each other knowing everything we had gone through was worth it. We were content, we had set a goal and accomplished it. All the pain and suffering was erased. All the training was worth it. I put everything I had into this climb and it paid off. Climbing mountains is a strange addiction, but it can give you unmatched happiness. I know this trip made me a stronger person, and hopefully, a better one.  

Joe K.

Jaywalker Summer: Strawberry Days 10K & Bailey Hundo http://jaywalkerlodge.com/lifestyle/jaywalker-summer-strawberry-days-10k-bailey-hundo/ Mon, 19 Jun 2017 21:07:05 +0000 http://jaywalkerlodge.com/?p=7902 Continue Reading]]> Congratulations to our employee, James Bakehouse, who finished his first ever 10k…and with no training whatsoever!  James finished the Strawberry Shortcut in style with a smile on his face and a grateful heart.

I am particularly inspired by James because he had shared with me on the Friday before the race that his last experience of Strawberry Days was from when he was using.  This time though, James was sober, grateful for life, and he got the early bird special running 6.2 miles at 7:00 am on a Sunday morning.

James was joined in the race by Amber Bate (wife of our Chief of Clinical Operations), Jeff Kremer (former long-time Chief of Clinical Operations), and Erin Williams (HR Director).  All were cheered on by Stefan Bate and the little Bates – Allison and Christopher.

Way to go James!!

Erin W.

David Krimstock competed in the Bailey Hundo MTB Race this weekend, finishing in 1st Place!  Congratulations Dave for all the hard work and training leading up to what is shaping up to be an epic season!

Jaywalker Celebrates: Art Kleinschmidt Phd http://jaywalkerlodge.com/lifestyle/jaywalker-celebrates-art-kleinschmidt-phd/ Tue, 06 Jun 2017 13:31:14 +0000 http://jaywalkerlodge.com/?p=7898 addiction team and supportArt Kleinschmidt recently became a Doctor of Philosophy after completing years of hard work.  During this time, he authored a treatment program, Planting Seeds:  A Client-Centered Approach to Addiction Treatment.   He divided this program into four phases, which lends itself to moving a client from early treatment to second stage recovery.   In addition, he completed research about the program’s efficacy.

Art started his addiction career at Hazelden, where he received a Master’s degree. He returned to Jaywalker in 2009 after running his own treatment business in Gypsum.   Since that time, Art has been sharing his counseling expertise along with his experience, strength, and hope at Jaywalker Lodge and the Solutions Program.  Most recently, he has been promoted and will take over the assessment program at the Landing.

Congratulations to Art Kleinschmidt Ph.D., LPC, MBA, LAC

Pine Ridge Oglala Lakota Reservation: South Dakota http://jaywalkerlodge.com/insights/pine-ridge-oglala-lakota-reservation-south-dakota/ Mon, 05 Jun 2017 17:24:23 +0000 http://jaywalkerlodge.com/?p=7896 Continue Reading]]> A group of Jaywalker clients and staff had the opportunity to travel to South Dakota and work a nonprofit, called Re-member, to assist the people of the Oglala Lakota Nation. Re-member coordinates volunteers to participate in various work projects across the Reservation, helping to rebuild relationships, homes and lives.  Work projects included building and delivering bunkbeds to the children, skirting trailers to combat the cold and wind, and building steps and decks to improve their living environment.  Re-member provides a cultural immersion to the Lakota community in hopes of creating solidarity among all people.

“ The past week, I was at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation on a service trip.  While there I built skirting on a house, one day, and spent two days building bunkbeds.  It was a very humbling experience and game me a sense of selflessness that I have never felt before.  I have never thought of a bed as a privilege, I always expected one.  The most satisfying part of the trip was while I was building the skirting.   Although the family of the house we were working on was not there, I could see the joy of the people driving by us, that were in the community. I think that service is a necessity to recovery to understand gratitude and selflessness. “


“Last week, I was of service on the Pine Ridge reservation. I was immersed in what seemed to be a foreign country.  The reservation is one of the poorest places in the US.  My group and I traveled around the Rez, rebuilding houses and doing other esteemable acts.  We also built bunkbeds and installed them in people’s houses.  In my opinion the most rewarding part of the trip was seeing the smiles that were brought to the children that we were giving beds to.”


“This past week, I found myself in South Dakota on one of the poorest Indian reservations in the United States.  We were there to learn about their history and culture and immerse ourselves into the harsh reality they live with every day.  I was given the opportunity to interact with these people as well as the privilege to help build and deliver bunkbeds to those who have been sleeping on floors for most of their lives.  We built decks for those homes whose decks had been destroyed for years.  The smiles on the faces were unforgettable and the ultimate reward for a service we provided knowing they had no way to return the favor.”


Recovery Milestone – Dirk Eldredge http://jaywalkerlodge.com/lifestyle/recovery-milestone-dirk-eldredge/ Fri, 02 Jun 2017 13:25:50 +0000 http://jaywalkerlodge.com/?p=7893 Dirk Eldredge addiction team and supportJaywalker continues to celebrate milestones in recovery.  Dirk Eldredge, CEO, celebrated 14 continuous years in recovery this week.  Dirk’s dedication and ability to connect with others lends to his leadership and the friendships he fosters with all of us here at Jaywalker.  Dirk and his bride, Stacy Lee, have found a home in the Roaring Fork Valley.  Dirk’s connection and compassion for our men, culture, and 12 step principals makes a difference in the lives of many.   Like you honor us Dirk, we are grateful to be in your life and trudge this road of happy destiny together.  Congratulations on 14!

Jaywalker Spring Alumni Trip – Moab, UT http://jaywalkerlodge.com/alumni/jaywalker-spring-alumni-trip-moab-ut/ Tue, 09 May 2017 18:45:36 +0000 http://jaywalkerlodge.com/?p=7887 “…to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host a friends, this is an experience you must not miss”

Alcoholics Anonymous Page 89

It is no secret that this is one of my favorite passages in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, it epitomizes everything that the Jaywalker Alumni Program represents. This past weekend I had the honor of taking 20 Jaywalker alums to Moab, UT for our annual spring trip. Past Jaywalker clients from Florida, Denver, Boulder, and the Roaring Fork Valley all met up in Moab for a weekend of mountain biking, dirt biking, four wheeling, golf, and of course fellowship. Big shout out to alumnus Andrew P for organizing, prepping, and cooking all of our wonderful meals, thanks for all you do brother.

John S.