About Us

Todd – Originally from southern California and bleeding cardinal and gold, he found his way to the Cascades working on Forest Service trail and fire crews where he formed a lifelong attachment to the Wild Places.  While in Alaska for a month carrying rocks for a geologist in the remote Brooks range, he had the spectacular life experience of being charged by a grizzly and surviving.  Work with the Forest Service took him to southwest Colorado where he met his amazing future wife while tele-skiing at Purgatory.  He is a beautiful tele-skier.  There was no resisting him.  That they met in Purgatory which wikipedia eloquently defines as the ‘conception of postmortem suffering short of everlasting damnation‘ cracks his lovely wife up to no end.   He didn’t cry when she took him backpacking on their second date down the Devil’s Staircase into Dark Canyon so she decided he was a keeper.  He’s a lucky guy.  He can disappear into his shop with trees and come out with furniture, can pilot a raft through big rapids, can drive a golf ball 300 yards, brews brilliant beer , is willing to add stamps to his passport at a moment’s notice and is, all in all, one of the Best People Ever.  His capilene is historic and his backpack looks like something that Sir Edmund Hillary might have dragged up Everest but he was willing to go with his super awesome wife to Cambodia and Morocco so she puts up with it.  He’s pretty sure his wife is nuts.

Alisa – Grew up in upstate New York and didn’t figure out that backpacking was cool until her mom dragged her, bitching the whole way, on a few trips while she was in college.  She was all in by the third trip and backpacking solo within a few months.  She loved the freedom of being self-sufficient and having the Adirondacks as a playground.  In one summer she enjoyed the summits of all 46 high peaks and managed half of them in the winter that same year.  She felt like a bad-ass even though there were some pretty sketchy moments on those winter hikes.  She pushed her luck further and thru-hiked the AT the next year which pretty much broke her ability to fight wanderlust forever.  She ended up Out West and enjoyed stints in Denver and Flagstaff before landing quite randomly in Durango where, as mentioned, she met the Luckiest Guy Ever.  They decided to combine their gear into one Official Pile and live happily ever after.  They had two kids and somewhere in there bought a pop-up camper.  She’s not sure how this happened but it sure is comfy.  Needing a new psychotic diversion they decided the children were ready to go backpacking and this is where they stand today, replacing old nasty gear and getting ready for a season of backpacking in the canyonlands of Utah and the San Juan mountains, making their 3 year old hike 6-mile days, and looking forward to a Wonderland Trail hike in August ’12.  She knows she’s one of the luckiest girls on Earth.

Question, comments and snarky remarks can be sent to ranchogardiner(at)gmail.com


15 thoughts on “About Us

  1. I went to FLC and my folks still live in D-town. I am so glad you found my blog so I could find yours. You had me at “Cornholio.” 🙂

    • love your blog too though we might have to thumb-wrestle over the title of ‘luckiest woman on the planet’ 😉 glad you still have roots in the 4c – a good place to return to any day of the week

      • I’m overdue for a visit. We’re towing the mini-trailer there in August for a family camp fest at Haviland Lake. Can’t wait!

  2. Love this blog! Just came from your travel blog! I’m glad I found it! I love your sense of humor! That, combined with your photos, stories and great adventures make a wonderful blog!
    I lived in upstate NY also, and spent many summer vacations camping in the Adirondacks….but in a canvas tent! 😉 Great memories of hiking Whiteface Mountain as a kid. 😉

    • are you still in our neighborhood? (just peaked at your blog) – holler if you’re trolling around this area and we can hook you up with great things to see!

      • Alisa…I wish I was! We got back to Michigan a week ago….with very fond memories of the Grand, Zion and Bryce….and plans to return to all of them. (and more) Gosh…run on sentence! Thanks for your invitation though!

  3. Hi Judy! thanks for the nice compliments…my blogging has suffered from an unusually bad case of the ‘having to sell my house and moves’ lately but I look forward to starting again once we’re settled. the adirondacks are an amazing place and, as I’ve told many disbelievers out west, harder hills to climb than the Rockies. i hiked up Algonquin one day under heavy overcast skies and rain but we ended up popping through the cloud-cover and found a sea of white clouds with only the 4000′ peaks poking above them. it was mystical.

  4. OMG! Alisa you sound so much like me! So excited to find your blog! Sorry to hear that you have left CO, but I look forward to reading about your adventures in the east!

    • AlisaG

      actually we’re still in Colorado, living in the heart of the San Juans. I’m afraid that I’m too addicted to sunshine, low humidity and altitude to ever move back east. 😉

  5. Hey, Alisa! I think your accomplishment in reaching Katahdin (even if it was in the Dark Ages) is amazing, and I nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. You can check it out at http://mymeanderingtrail.com/2012/11/02/now-its-my-turn-to-pay-it-forward-who-moi/.

    No need to do anything. Just wanted to let you know that I find your blog truly inspirational.

  6. Hey, I love reading your blog and have nominated you for The Very Inspiring Blogger Award! Please check out my blog for details, post the award on your sidebar and spread the love to some of your favorite bloggers!


  7. I just found your blog via The Usual Bliss and am so looking forward to your posts! I grew up in Nevada/Idaho and find myself now in Kansas. Although I am married to a guy that perhaps makes ME the luckiest girl in the world, the hiking here is…dismal. I’ll be living vicariously through your adventures in the mountains. 🙂

    • Hi Kaela – Thanks! I have been such a slacker, starting a new business and being decidedly dull other than weekly ski excursions to Telluride and a 10 day trip to Hawaii (no one here is complaining!) but I promise more posts in the future. The door is large and always open in Colorado and not so all that far from Kansas. Load up the portable little mouth-breather and point the raisin-encrusted rig towards Ouray. 🙂

  8. Cool blog. I found it looking at comments on tents. i am living in Pleasant Valley, NY at the moment. Love your story.

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