Free Range

One of a few fun rides around Crested Butte, Colorado before heading on to Silverton. Our spirits were high on the way back to camp after a nice flowy ride—the kind where the scenery blurs and the smiles grow wide.

Free Range A Family's San Juan Sanctuary

Almost 20 years ago, my wife Allison and I started a lifetime of family adventures in the mountains while the eldest of our three children was still in the womb.

We were living in Austin, Texas, and much to the chagrin of our midwife, we headed out on a road trip to Colorado in our old VW Synchro Westy. Eight months pregnant with sprouting plant jars on the dash and the phone number of a midwife in New Mexico (just in case), we took an amazing monthlong journey of hiking, climbing and hanging out as a twosome. It was our last trip before family life, but in many ways it set the tone for our next 20 years.

We’ve wild-schooled our three kids their entire lives, as they spent their formative years on our organic farm in the Colorado Rockies. Barefoot and fancy free, they learned the fine art of living and recreating in the quiet, wide-open spaces of their backyard. Mountain biking, climbing and feeling comfortable in the wilderness became second nature to them.

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The morning’s first warm rays of sun, French press coffee, breakfast cooked on the two-burner stove—camping in the mountains is all about enjoying the simple things in life.