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Coolibar Athletes

Coolibar Athletes

Holistic Living and Vegan Eating for an Ultra Athlete

Living holistically is not easy. Coolibar Athlete Gene Meade, in one day, decided his poor eating habits were over. He traded his quarter-pounder with cheese for a black bean veggie patty with sprouts on top, unaware at the time that his decision would lead to a whole new way of thinking about healthy living. Gene shares his experiences along the path to holistic living.

I have been vegan for three years now. It basically started for me as a good way to eat cleaner and drop some weight, but a funny thing happened along the way.

I had been a vegetarian back in my younger days, mainly as a response to my mother’s horrific cooking, which was primarily based on bacon fat and Velveeta cheese. As the years went by, I gradually fell off the vegetarian wagon and once again became a full time carnivore. Building a career, raising children and living the good life, the pounds slowly crept on as the exercise stopped and the hearty eating went on. I was not back to bacon fat and Velveeta levels, but I was getting close.

After returning to running and cycling back in 2008, I began to feel better, but I knew I could not get to where I needed to be health wise without making some major changes in diet and lifestyle as well. So, in 2010, I quit drinking and became a vegan all in the same day. Nothing like subtle change!

I basically became vegan and more focused on diet and lifestyle for selfish reasons. I wanted to take care of ME. But as I navigated my way along my new path, I discovered that I was not only becoming more in tune with my body, but also more in tune with the world and life around me. It was not any one large change but numerous small changes I was making along the way. Reading food labels, shopping at the local farmer’s market, recycling a bit more. I was also reconnecting with nature through trail running.

I was also feeling better than I had felt in a long time! I had increased energy, less colds and felt stronger. I started running ultra marathons in 2011. I enjoyed the physical and mental demands of the sport, and was racing and training all on a plant based diet, which tended to surprise a lot of people!

Becoming vegan not only made me feel better, but also made me become a better person. I wanted to learn more. I wanted to know where my food was coming from, what was done to it along the way and what impact my choices made not just on me but on everything around me. It has also allowed me to meet and work with some great people and organizations, like my friends here at Coolibar. Being Sun aware is another way I stay in touch with the environment and my impact upon it.

Small changes can make a big difference, whether it’s eating healthier or finding an activity you love to stay in shape. Stay aware my friends!

Gene Meade
Ultra Runner and Coolibar Athlete

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burger from the Ambitious Kitchen (Click photo for recipe)
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Coolibar Athletes

Free Diver Ashleigh Baird reviews the Coolibar Quick Zip Rash Guard

Ashleigh Baird’s love for the ocean runs deep, literally.  As a free diver, she diligently trains to reach depths of 60 meters with one breath, sans the use of external breathing devices. She knows the right gear makes a world of difference on, in, and under the water. Read Ashleigh’s review of the Coolibar Quick Zip Rash Guard.

What are you overall thoughts on the shirt? This is a great rash guard with lots of extra features you just don’t see in other brands.

What activities did you partake in when wearing the shirt? Surfing and body surfing.

What are your favorite features? The built in thumb holes, they allow you to keep your hands protected, plus your sleeves always stay in place. I also love the shoulder pocket. You can actually fit an iPod mini with a waterproof housing in it and have your music going while you’re out on the water!

What are your overall thoughts on the fabric? It’s light, breathable and very stretchy. It’s a good combination of strength and softness.

Did the fabric meet your expectations? Yes.

Did the fabric keep you cool? Yes.

Did the fabric stick to your skin? No.

What do you want others to know about this shirt? This is great for in-water use but is equally well suited for running or any other outdoor sports, especially since it has the built in iPod/money pocket.

Please provide any additional comments you would like to share with us! At first I was skeptical of how long it was, but after using it I actually prefer the length to my other standard rash guards.

What advice do you have for other athletes who are debating about using sun protection? Any tips to stay comfortable/safe out in the sun? Preventing sunburn is critical to staying comfortable and safe when exercising outdoors. When you’re focused on the task at hand, re-applying sunscreen is often the last thing on your mind. UV protective clothing like the Quick Zip Rash Guard gives you an easy way to maintain a continuous level of sun protection, even after your sunscreen wears off.

Shop Coolibar Quick Zip Rash Guard

Coolibar athlete Ashleigh Baird received free sun protective product for the purpose of this review.

Ashleigh Baird wearing Quick Zip Rash Guard and Packable Wide Brim Hat
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Coolibar Athletes

Surfing Lessons and Protecting Your Skin

Did you know ultraviolet rays from the sun bounce off water? Surf and paddle board instructor Carol Philips lives in Hawaii on the North Shore of Oahu, and is out on the water daily for 6 hours at a time, dressing smart for her time in the sun. She also tells her students do do the same. Read Carol’s sun protection recommendation for days on the water.

Surfing is an amazing sport. The only drawback is sun exposure. The sun does live on the North Shore, when she’s not shining, which is 99 percent of the time, she lives in the foothills of Mt. Kaala. Protecting one’s skin while learning how to surf is very important to many of our surf students. Protecting our skin while teaching our students is also very important to the North Shore Surf Girls. We usually wear long sleeve surf shirts, long leggings and Coolibar UPF 50+ Aqua Gloves. A word on the importance of protecting your hands from the sun while surfing — the skin on the back of your hands is very thin and easily damaged by the sun. Also, when you paddle your surf board the back of your hand facing up and exposed to the sun. Keep your skin covered and safe! See you out on the water.

– Carol Philips

Coolibar athlete Carol Philips received free sun protective product for the purpose of this review.

Carol Philips teaching stand up paddleboarding
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Coolibar Athletes

SUP Yoga for Beginners

Are you ready to take your fitness to the next level? It’s time to put on your Coolibar gear and try SUP Yoga – yoga done on a stand up paddle board. Coolibar Athlete Krista Kennedy talks about her love for this practice and provides her advice for those interested in getting started.

Yes you read this correctly, yoga on a stand up paddle board! Increase your flexibility balance and strength all with one workout. Don’t be fooled — this looks easy, but I can tell you it is far from it.

The creator of SUP Yoga is still up for debate, although the first recording of this new craze was posted by Kathy Holesapple with Paddle to the Core in Las Vegas, on her Facebook page in early 2009. Being an avid paddle board enthusiast and instructor since 2008, Kathy thought it would be a challenge to try some of her yoga poses on her board. She invited a friend and shortly after introduced classes. Now, SUP Yoga classes are popping up near water all over the U.S.!

For those interested, I highly recommend gaining a base knowledge of yoga on solid ground. You should know what poses you are comfortable with on the ground prior to trying them on a board. It’s not as easy as just falling in the water if you mess up. The extra balance and strength required to complete the poses on a board can cause injury if you are not properly prepared. I would highly recommend taking a class! The SUP Yoga classes at Paddle to the Core in Lake Las Vegas are so much fun and affordable (visit www.suplv.com for a class schedule)! Look for classes in an area near you where an instructor can supervise and instruct you while doing the poses.

Okay, so you have taken a few yoga classes and you are ready to try SUP Yoga. First get to know your board, find your balance. Then start with poses that allow you to have both of your hands and feet on the board as this gives you more stability. Important things to remember when dong these poses are to take your time, go slowly into each pose, feel your balance and then push yourself further into the stretch when you exhale. The poses I recommend for beginners are:


Downward Dog: As seen here, this pose will stretch your hamstrings and calves while working on the strength of your arms, shoulders and upper back. While in this pose you should let your heels drop towards the board with the goal to eventually get your heels to touch the board. At the same time you will push your tailbone to the sky with straight arms and back. Once you are comfortable with this pose you can add a variation by raising one leg and then the other. This will add another element of core strengthening and muscle work.

Upward Dog: In this pose it is important to remember to push your shoulders down to elongate your neck and when you feel you are ready push your arms straight to lift your upper thighs off the board. This pose is great for both stretching and working out multiple muscle groups!

Pigeon: (My favorite stretching pose!) As you begin this pose, keep your foot close underneath you. As you advance into the stretch you will move your foot away from your body to create a 90 degree angle. (If you don’t feel this stretch, you are most likely not doing it correctly! Adjust or seek yoga instruction).

Camel: The demonstration pictured here shows a variation of camel with one arm stretching back. To begin, keep both hands on your ankles until you are confident with the stretch, balance and strength needed.

Other beginning poses include: Child’s Pose, Cat and Cow, Plank and Dolphin Plank. These poses can be completed in sequence; however, you should create a series of poses that are comfortable for you. As you become more relaxed with these poses, you may add variations to increase the difficulty level. There are also poses that will require you to test your balancing skills by taking a hand or foot off the board. These poses are more advanced, so I recommend that you only try them with the supervision of a certified instructor.

SUP Yoga is a great workout that focuses on all aspects of fitness, and if you love the outdoors as I do, SUP Yoga is the perfect way to enjoy both!

Krista Kennedy
Coolibar Athlete and Lover of SUP Yoga

Like Krista’s swim shirts? Shop the Short Sleeve Paddle Swim Shirt and Zip Font Rash Guard.

Disclaimer: The information provided by Coolibar and its contributors is general information and should not be a substitute for obtaining professional advice.


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Partner Athletes Sevve Stember

Six Thumbs Up for the Short Sleeve Fitness Shirt

What does a long-distance runner, kayak instructor and rock climber all have in common besides a passion for fitness? Their love for the Coolibar Short Sleeve Fitness Shirt! Since it’s introduction into the Coolibar UPF 50+ clothing line last season, this sweat-wicking, sun-blocking shirt has received more positive feedback than any other dedicated fitness item in the history of Coolibar!

Here’s what these athletes had to say.

Sevve Stember – Rock Climber

What are your overall thoughts on the shirt? This shirt is an excellent top layer that wicks moisture away from the body.  I’ve used it primarily for rock climbing and trail running.  It has performed well in both situations and I wear it with confidence knowing that it is also protecting me from the sun.

Favorite features: Moisture wicking, sun protection, bright colors so that it’s easy for a camera to pick up or people to see you. I also like the fact that it is so simple.  There isn’t any words on the shirt, so its very understated

Thoughts on the fabric: I like the fabric.  It’s definitely a synthetic, but it wicks well and is comfortable enough. Recently, on a trail run, I submerged the shirt in a creek.  As we hiked, the shirt dried in about a half hour.  It does not hold water very long, but still keeps you cool.  It’s a relatively light-weight shirt.

What do you want others to know about this shirt? Its an excellent shirt for outdoor activity.  If you are in a wilderness setting and you want a bright color so that you are very visible, these shirts work great.  If you want a go to shirt for working out in the city, these shirts are great because they wick moisture while providing solid sun protection.

What advice do you have for other athletes regarding sun protection? Any tips to stay comfortable/safe out in the sun? Getting burned is no fun and it’s super dangerous.  I always wear a shirt when I am working out in the sun, despite hot temperatures.  It’s just not worth exposing that much of my body to the sun.  Additionally, I always wear something on my head like a baseball hat or a “dew rag.”  This helps keep the sun off my body.

Gene Meade – Ultra Runner

What are you overall thoughts on the shirt? Comfortable! The cut and fit felt really good. I wore the shirt during training runs and a segment of a 24 hour race.

What are your favorite features? I love the V-Neck!  The shirt did not rub or chafe, even after several hours. The fabric is nice, soft and breathable.

Did the fabric meet your expectations? Yes. The 24 hour race had temps in the 80’s, did not feel like the shirt “trapped” any heat.

What do you want others to know about this shirt? This is a great shirt to wear for any outdoor activity — lightweight, comfortable plus sun protective! I was really impressed how the shirt remained comfortable even after several hours of running and sweating in it!

What advice do you have for other athletes regarding sun protection? Any tips to stay comfortable/safe out in the sun? Don’t assume you are not at risk from the potentially harmful effects of the sun! Be proactive and sunAWARE. Run early in the morning or later in the evening when the sun is not as strong (it will also be cooler)! Apply sunscreen, wear a hat. Take it to the trails if you can. Usually trails are shaded by trees and will keep you out of direct sun.

John Chase – Kayak Instructor

What are you overall thoughts on the shirt? As a kayak instructor, tour leader, and pleasure boater, I spend hours in the sun. Add reflection from the water and you have some pretty powerful rays hitting you.  The Fitness Shirt is one of the most comfortable pieces of clothing I have ever worn. The fabric is soft and it fits just right.  It’s just loose enough to not bind but not so loose to flap in the wind.  Best of all, it looks great and I get compliments both on and off the water.  There aren’t too many pieces that look equally as good in the kayak and at a restaurant with my family.

What are your favorite features? Feel of the fabric; v-style neck; close, but not too close fit

What are your overall thoughts on the fabric? It’s very soft, yet it can handle the demands of hard activity.  It moves with your body and doesn’t rub.

Shop Coolibar Fitness Shirt

Coolibar athletes received free product for the purpose of this review.

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Coolibar Athletes

A Sun Protective Jacket for the Ultra Athlete Mom

Coolibar Athlete Sarah Gay is a lover of marathons and triathlons. She spends hour each week outdoors, not only training for her next Half Ironman, but doing what she considers most important of all — being an active mother. Throughout her career as a  nurse practitioner, she has recognized the importance of sun protection. She also knows moms like her need fashionable, functional clothing that keeps up with a busy lifestyle. That’s why Sarah adores the Coolibar Fitness Jacket. Read Sarah’s review:

What are you overall thoughts on the jacket? This is an excellent jacket; perfect for early morning runs that start before the sun comes up so the reflective detailing was much appreciated. The pockets were great for holding my iPhone and some extra sports nutrition when going long distances. My two recommendations for this jacket would be to add actual “pit zips” for even more ventilation and more color options.

What activities did you partake in when wearing the jacket? I mostly wear this jacket on early morning runs, but it did also get quite a bit of use while I was playing with my kids on the beach during a recent vacation in Florida.

What are your favorite features? The weight of the material, the fact that it “breathes” even while you are working up a good sweat. I also appreciated the deep pockets.

What are your overall thoughts on the fabric? Perfect weight, terrific at wicking moisture keeping you cool and dry.

Did the fabric meet your expectations? Absolutely.

Did the fabric keep you cool? Yes.

Did the fabric stick to your skin? Not at all.

What do you want others to know about this jacket? The other thought I had about this jacket, or the material from which it is made, is that it would be fantastic if turned into a traditional cycling jacket. This material would be perfect for both sun protection and that little extra layer needed for keeping your upper body warm and dry when out riding in weather that is not quite warm enough for just your bike jersey. Triathlon specific gear is difficult to find and even more so if you are looking for apparel that is sun protective. I’d be very excited to see what Coolibar could come up with for tri specific gear!

What advice do you have for other athletes who are debating about using sun protection? Do it! It’s much more fun to participate in your sport when you don’t have to worry about getting sunburned and aren’t in pain because you already are sunburned.

Any tips to stay comfortable/safe out in the sun? Hydrate well and at the very least wear a hat! Listen to your body and rest when you need to.

Shop Coolibar Fitness Jacket

Coolibar athlete Sarah Gay received free sun protective product for the purpose of this review.

Sarah Gay wearing Coolibar Fitness Jacket playing in the back yard with her family
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Coolibar Athletes Wellness Warriors

Athlete for change: Paul Ridley

In 2010, Paul Ridley completed his 3000 mile row across the Atlantic Ocean, solo, protected by Coolibar all the way. Why would one endure the pain that comes from 87 days of rowing 12 to 14 hours every day? To raise awareness and research funds for skin cancer.

Our former athlete for a change is still at it, and he’s now teamed up with Advil to talk about pushing through the pain to reach his goal of helping those dealing with skin cancer.

Watch his video, and you may even be inspired to volunteer your resources to a worthy cause.

Read the story about Paul’s Row for Hope.

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Coolibar Athletes

My First Half Ironman

Ever thought about completing a Half Ironman for the personal challenge alone? Coolibar athlete, runner, mother, and nurse practitioner Sarah Gay finally reached her goal of finishing her first Half Ironman. Her vivacious recap may get you thinking about trying one too.

My first half Ironman, 70.3, 1.2/56/13.1, however you slice it, I did it! It was an absolutely beautiful day for a race. After about a week of rain the sun finally came out and put on a show. Overall, I completed the race just about where I was expecting 6:45. My swim went well. When I got out of the water I was off to a great start. I had already planned in my head to take my time in the first transition, and to put on well padded bike shorts because for 56 miles of biking, comfort was high on my list of priorities. As usual, I got stuck in my wetsuit (those things are hard to get off!). About four minutes later, off I went on my bike. I am very proud to say I biked much faster than I was expecting! All my training really worked!

I loved seeing my family on the sidelines cheering me on, and it gave me that extra push I needed to get into transition two — the run. Again, comfort for a long run was key, and I took the time to put on my Coolibar Swim Skort (yes, it’s super comfy for running too) and Super Sport Hat. After a quick pit stop, I was on my way and feeling strong. A few miles in, someone approached me and commented on how I had excellent form and a great stride! That was a first! I had to laugh, because then she just carried right on past me! No worries, I have 13 miles. I was just getting warmed up. I was frustrated, though, by the fact that during the run I needed to make two more pit stops, which had me walking for a bit. After all those miles, once I started walking, it was hard to get running again. I did, though! The end result was a run a split second slower than I was hoping, but I finished strong, crossing the finish line running. Most importantly, I was able to give my finisher’s medal to my daughter who thinks the only reason I do these triathlons is to give her the “triathlon necklaces” afterwards!

Sarah Gay, Patriot Half Ironman 2013, home stretch

As I write it is 6 am Sunday morning (the day after), I am wide awake at 5 am without a workout planned — a very strange feeling! As I take stock of things now, I’m still feeling very proud of myself for reaching this goal. Not only did I finish but I felt good doing so. Yes, I was TIRED yesterday. But a good tired, not a sick tired. Going over the race in my head, I have to admit I’m still a little frustrated by the run, but that is one of the things that I love so much about triathlon. There is always something to improve upon. It’s an addicting game I play in my head: What’s next? Okay, goal one: finish. Goal two: I’m already thinking I need to do this distance again next year to achieve a better run time! Goal three: well, today is Father’s Day, so I think I better go out and get my husband a card. I just didn’t have the chance yesterday!

-Sarah Gay
Coolibar Athlete

 

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Chad Grigsby Partner Athletes

Pro Angler Chad Grigsby & family reviews Coolibar

Well, this weather has been crazy. My last tournament at Beaver Lake in Arkansas took place the second week of April and there was snow flurries the first morning of the event. After that miserableness, I needed to get out of town because where I live in Minnesota there wasn’t just snow flurries, there was snow still on the ground! So, the family and I headed to Hilton Head Island in South Carolina for some fun in the sun.

The first full day we got there we were able to go to the ocean. It was my youngest daughter Avrey’s first time and Isabelle’s second (though her first was when she was one and I don’t believe she really remembers it, but you never know!). They loved it! Boogie boards were bought along with noodles and they lived in the water for a week straight. Thank goodness for their Coolibar swim shirts and hats, according to my wife Bridget they were a “lifesaver.”

You see, Avrey had surgery about a month ago that has left a minor scar on her eyebrow that needs to be out of the sun at all times so the scar can heal. Historically, she has not been the most cooperative when it comes to wearing sun hats, but with the Surfs Up All Sport Hats and Reversible Bucket Hats she and Izzy were dolls and wore a hat at all times in the sun.

We all had a great time, saw dolphins, swam in the pool, hung out on the beach and, of course ate too much! I gotta say, I lived in the Pipeline Board Shorts and the short and long sleeved Aqua T-Shirt. Bridget loves the Ruche Swim Shirt, Vera Ruched Hoodie and Summer Wrap. We all can’t wait for the sun to finally shine in Minnesota to get to wear it again! I am off to Oklahoma this week for some practice then on to Lake Eufala in Alabama for a tournament next week. Sun is supposed to be shinning, let’s hope so!!

Chad Grigsby
LFW Pro Angler
www.chadgrigsby.com

Chad Grigsby received free sun protective product for the purpose of this review.

Chad with his daughters Avrey (purple) and Izzy (pink)

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Partner Athletes Sevve Stember

Tracing back to the birthplace of sport climbing

 

 

As a teacher, I get some nice chunks of time off throughout the year, and I do my best to spend these breaks doing what I love — rock climbing.  This year, I journeyed west to Oregon and climbed on the welded tuff that was left over after a long ago volcanic episode.  There is a really strong and interesting history of rock climbing in Smith Rock State park, and it is often sited as the birthplace of sport climbing in America.  Sport climbing involves clipping pre-placed bolts as opposed to traditional (or “trad’) climbing, which involves placing your own protection in the rock as you ascend a crack system.

I was fortunate enough to join a married couple and their son for this trip.  Additionally, I met up with an old friend and roommate whom I lived with in Yosemite Valley when I worked there as a park ranger.  The trip had all the makings of a great time: classic climbing routes and good people to hang out with.

Smith Rock

The first day we climbed at a place called “The Lower Gorge”, where we avoided the large crowds that were enjoying their last day of spring break at some of the more popular crags (crag=cliff where people climb).  Jacob, my old roommate, and I teamed up and spent most of the day trad climbing classic crack routes. 

Since we were both new to the area, we decided to climb routes that we could onsight (climb first try without falling) instead of trying harder routes that were on the outer limits of our ability.  The day was awesome: we climbed 10 routes, each only falling once.   We both flashed (climbed without falling) “Pure Palm” (5.11a), which is a route with very few holds, and involves a lot of stemming.  Super classic!

Unfortunately, at the end of the day on the last route I climbed, my shoulder gave a large “creak!” and was a little tweaked the rest of the trip.  I’ve learned this same lesson many times before; but it’s hard to control my excitement.  My mentality is to always push myself to do more, partially because I simply love climb but also because I want to get better.  The lesson I took away from this experience is to quit while I’m ahead.  Injuries happen when tired.

Monday was a bit strange: I had two phone interviews for teaching jobs in Denver because my wife and I are relocating for her residency program in Emergency Medicine.  My day went something like: interview, climb, interview, climb.  I think I probably had the best view anyone has ever had during an interview as I looked out over Smith Rock from Jacob’s car.

Lets Face It 10b

The day was a total success: the interviews went well and I sent “Ring of Fire” (5.11d) on my 2nd attempt. 

Tuesday, Jacob and I did a multipitch (multiple rope lengths above the ground) route called “Wherever I May Roam” (5.9, 5 pitches).  The route, although easy, was enjoyable because I don’t get the opportunity to get hundreds of feet off the ground in Minnesota.  He headed back to Portland afterwards, and I met up with my crew from MN.  We worked on a super fun route called “Lightly Toasted” (5.11c).  Dan hung the draws and made a great effort.  I went next and fell at the crux (hardest part of the route).  We both sent next go.

The last day of the trip was one of the most memorable ones.  We had a leisurely morning, each one of us catching up on our “normal” life (aka work).  After lunch, we decided to head to Smith Rock for one final session of climbing.  On the drive, the weather looked questionable.  As we pulled into the parking lot, it started to rain.  Laughing, we tossed our backpacks on and hiked down to “The Morning Glory” wall.  On the way, about a dozen climbers passed us on their way to the parking lot.  “Perfect!” Dan said to me.  All the climbers had left and we had the entire wall to ourselves.

We quickly roped up and I lead “Nine Gallon Buckets” (5.10c) which is a really spectacular route; in fact probably the best single pitch of 5.10c I’ve ever climbed.  Next, we got on “Full Light Doritos Flavor” (5.12a), which is a pitch of 5.11a with a three-bolt extension.  I lead first, hanging a couple times.  Dan and Bronwyn both had a great time on it, making great efforts.  The clouds were back to looking ominous.   I quickly decided to try to send the route and soon I was well above the ground. 

As I entered into the crux (hardest part of the climb), it began to rain.  It didn’t matter.  I was in the zone.  All the clutter in my brain dissolved into the background.  The rain spattered against the rock as the wind picked up.  Moves that had felt hard the first time went smoothly.  Soon, I was at the final undercling, staring the anchors in the face.  I high stepped with my left foot, pushed hard on my right handhold, and reached effortlessly to the final jug.

The hike out was surreal.  It rained, a rainbow appeared, and then a double rainbow topped the whole day off.  I smiled from ear to ear on my hike out and the trip ended in a special way.  Spending meaningful time with people, seeing new sites, climbing new routes…these are the things that make me tick.

– Sevve Stember
Coolibar Athlete

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