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To Be A Naturalist

Calla In Motion

To Be A Naturalist

Lindsey Calla

I spent the earlier part of this week in a beautiful area called Bachelor Gulch, a little slice of mountain heaven perfectly nestled in the Vail Valley.  I was a guest of the Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch giving a speech on active travel to their amazing marketing team and had the opportunity to experience the Rockies without layers of snow covering up the natural beauty of the area.  I've only been to the area in the winter to ski Vail and Aspen (both amazing mountains to ski!) and was pumped to be able to hike the trails and discover all of the amazing activities available during the summer.  

I took a hike with the resident naturalist, Ranger Jackie, and her gorgeous Bernese mountain dog named Belle (who is only 9 months old and still huge!).  Coming off my last post about flower essence in beauty products, I was curious about things that occur in nature around this area that could be used as medicine or natural beauty remedies.  The wildflowers haven't bloomed quite yet (more in July than early June) but I still picked up a few really interesting facts to share.  

Aspen trees give off a powder that is a natural spf further proving that nature gives us everything we need, when we need it.  So if you're ever on a hike and need more spf, rub your hand along an aspen tree and put the white powder wherever more protection is needed. 

Eat wild dandelion.  Forget farm to table.  It's all about plant to mouth.  There's always a new leaf that's cool to eat. Lately it's been Kale but after eating wild dandelion leaves right off of the ground I'm convinced dandelion should have its moment.  It's similar to arugula in taste and gives 112% of daily Vitamin A!  We picked some right off the ground on our hike and chewed on it for extra energy.

Yoga outside.  Of course, this can be done anywhere but there is something about the elevation, fresh mountain and vivid blue sky that makes it even better.  They call this the blue bird sky and it's something about the dryness in the air and the altitude so the sky appears this fantastic color blue.  There's no photoshop trickery here, just true blue sky.  The Ritz does a program in the summer that starts with a guided morning hike, followed by a private yoga session outdoors and then a 60 min massage.  How heavenly to align mind, body and spirit while on vacation!  There's also the option of course to hike with the yoga mat and find a great look out spot to stop and do a bit of yoga.  I really wanted to do this at Hanging Lake but I didn't have the time to make it over that way.

Star gazing.  If you follow my instagram you know that I've talked a lot about trying to see the stars as much as possible.  The two places that I personally love that have incredible star gazing are Tulum, where you feel like the stars are falling into the ocean they are so close, and Colorado where the milky way can be seen if you're lucky to get crystal clear nights.  If you're a summer nature freak like me then you know that every August is like star christmas with the arrival of the Perseid meteor showers.  They usually peak on or around August 11th-ish so I would recommend booking a trip around these dates.  Life is too short to not stargaze.  Less phone gazing, more star gazing.  The hotel offers guided night hikes to learn about the stars or sitting by the fire, eating S'mores with homemade graham crackers and marshmallows and using a star map app on the iPad is also a stellar option.  

There's also the option to go cycling on a bike path that runs along a stream.  I was alone and a little afraid to really explore the wilderness by myself.  I love to wander and discover when I travel but I'm pretty uneducated on survivalist techniques and the biking is close to the road so you get the gorgeous view, sounds of the water and a lower risk of getting lost and animal troubles. Next time!  Also, for those who commented about the font being hard to read, I did darken it and make it slightly bigger so let me know if it helped!

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