Project Simplify | CDT Video Part 2

Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.  ~Dr. Seuss  2

A big advantage of living and hiking on a long trail is the simplicity of just about everything. The main focus really comes down to water, food, navigation, and shelter. All essentials are literally in the pack on your back. All gear has a home where it is packed away each morning. Everything is simple.

After completing my long hikes over the last few summers, I have attempted to simulate that simplicity into my daily life. I have not been successful.

After coming home from hiking 1200 miles on The Continental Divide Trail this summer, I looked around and wanted less clutter, less stuff, and more routine. I craved the calmness, priorities, and consistency the trail freely provides.

Shortly after coming home, I listened to one of my favorite podcasts, “Beyond the To Do List” hosted by Erik Fisher. In the podcast Erik interviewed Dan and Vanessa Hayes from the website and podcast  “Simple Life Together“. Every week Dan and Vanessa give super helpful tips on organizing and technology for leading a more simple life in a complicated world. I listened to the first 2 episodes of Simple Life Together and was hooked. motivated, and committed to simplifying, organizing, and getting rid of the excess clutter in my home and work life. I hope to keep you posted on this project and my need to keep it simple and keep it light. With the help from Dan and Vanessa, my husband and I are now in the process of this journey, one step at a time.

Continental Divide Trail Part 2
Breckenridge to Colorado/Wyoming Border June 24-July 9, 2013

Experience the high mountains and alpine tundra of Colorado in this part 2 video of a 5 part series. Enjoy!

To view all photos in high-resolution from this CDT section visit the link below:

I would love to hear your ideas on how you keep the simplicity of the outdoors in your everyday life.


  1. Hi there, constantly i used to check website posts here in the
    early hours in the daylight, since i love to find out more and more.

  2. Pingback: Hey Class of 2014 PCTers! | Lady on a Rock

  3. John B, I appreciate the comments. I have shared them with my wife. I too think it is time to simplify so that I have more free time than maintenance time.

    Rockin’, great thread. Now its off to Craigslist to see how my adds are doing in my attempt to lighten the load a bit.

    • John Baranowski

      Funny, At this moment I am packing items that I have sold on eBay. All proceeds to pay down my mortgage principle. I have my sights set on a semi retired hiking lifestyle!

  4. John Baranowski

    Ultralight backpacking and living a minimalist lifestyle go hand in hand. It seems the more complicated home life is the harder it is to get outdoors. We have been working to eliminate excess in our lives for a few years now: we are continually cutting out unused possessions as well as cutting the financial burdens. We have one nice vehicle, walk to work and grocery and most things and live in a small townHouse. I like to imagine my home when I first moved in before the possessions arrived: what would I really want in here. Only the best things that I use frequently.

  5. The Beekeeper

    My tip – if you are keeping something for sentimental reasons, consider taking a photo of it, rather than keeping the item itself. You can then memorialize the item as a photo, and enjoy it guilt free. ENJOY simplifying, one of the reasons I live in a small place. Gets crowded quickly with clutter, bring something in, take something out. Course easier said then done! I’ll admit I don’t always live by my rule and find myself having to dig out from under the clutter occasionally.

    P.S. I’ve missed your posts and look forward to you having time to adventure and blog again.

    • You are so right! It seems the more we de-clutter the easier it is just to let go without looking back. Dan and I have agreed the only things that we cannot let go are photos and the natural items we have collected over the years from trips and experiences: rocks, feathers, bones, and wood.

      Thanks for giving me the nudge. I am so behind in posts and have no excuses. I am posting one now. Fall is here and we are trying to get in all we can before the snow flies. I know you are doing the same!

  6. Awesome…love your pictures.
    -GoalTech from Portland

  7. Georgette Theotig

    I have a book called “voluntary Simplicity” by Duane Elgin. The book is about consciously making choices, so we’re not sorry later. After hearing this discussion, I need to read it again! Thanks, Rockin’ for always providing inspiration!

    • Great recommendation! Simplicity update: We actually have a room dedicated to stuff we have cleaned out and giving away. The Boy Scouts now have a few extra sleeping bags and backpacks. Two more rooms to go and off the stuff goes. Anyone need a dog kennel complete with dog house? Ready to let them go.

  8. Wow! This is we get to enjoy each other’s journeys! Best of luck to you on your quest to simplify your life. If there’s anything we can do to help please let us know. We know who we’ll turn to if we need help climbing mountains! 😉

    It looks like you’re having a blast and your video/slideshow was amazing to watch. I wanted to jump into my screen and join you guys!

    • Oh man I am honored “Simple LIfe Together” commented on this site. I have just finished episode #36 of your podcast and hope to be up-to-date sometime next week. Happy to hear your family’s camping experience was awesome.

      Thank you for your inspiration and step-by-step how- tos. I am feeling very encouraged that this will, in fact, be the year that I will keep some of the qualities and simpleness of trail in my daily work and family life. So far with the help from “Simple Life Together” I am in the process of going paperless, using Evernote more efficiently, and have a neat, organized closet, desk, purse, and cosmetics drawer. Reducing clutter is helping me to stay in the present and have more time to do what I love most. Huge thank you for your work. Keep it up.

      • Thanks so much! We’ve enjoyed looking around your site and living vicariously through your adventures! It’s great to hear you’re reaching your simplicity goals…you don’t need things like that on your mind when you’re climbing. Take care!!!

  9. Lovely video. Finally had a chance to watch. I really like the photo of you above in your green wind shirt and multi-colored Dirty Girlz. With all those colors you can’t help but be happy. Hiker motivation at its best. Well, aside from chocolate milk or candy I guess.

  10. You already know how to do this. This process is the same as you go through when you generate a pack list for one of your amazing trips. Decide where you’re going and pack accordingly. You have enough experience with that to know it’s personal and there are no right answers that work for everyone. Yes, you will tinker constantly and you will get better at it and more comfortable at it over time. Of course, training is required. You wouldn’t make your first backpacking trip to Mt. Everest either. I’m betting on you to succeed.

    • The gift of confidence…that is just what I needed! One step at a time…one drawer at a time…training. I like that. Simple is good.

      Here is to hoping you are healing quickly and can get back out there doing what you love. Thanks for posting and we will meet on the trail one day!

  11. I know how you feel since I love backpacking and simplified my life years ago when I decided to live in an RV with very few accoutrements.

  12. steve scarano

    I collect things; although my brain tells me what I can physically do without, there is some spiritual side of me that WANTS stuff. I guess the questions are along the lines of 1) how much time do I really need to invest in electronic play, and 2) how many backpacks and tents do I really need? Those are easy. The answers are what gives me blisters.
    Hamburger Helper

    • 1. Luckily I have a husband that is supportive in the electronic area. No guilt there.
      2. Right now I have 5 backpacks, 2 jackets, 3 sleeping pads, 1 rain pants, and a bear canister loaned out to friends and family. AND we just donated 6 backpacks and 2 sleeping bags to the boy scouts. What 25 years of backpacking provides!

      Now I just want answers to 1. Do I really need to keep 20 years of backpacker magazines. 2. or how about the struggle of wanting all Cuben Fiber gear????

      Arg…this is going to be painful!!!!

  13. steve scarano

    What is the title of the music that goes with this video? Artist?

  14. Move to a 1000 square foot cabin. without closets. It really helps. Just kidding, but I downsized and no longer had the room. Now with any purchase, I think it through: where will it go?

  15. That’s one of the reason’s I enjoy backpacking so much – really makes me see what’s necessary and what’s not. Sounds like it will be a fascinating journey!

    • I know. Right? Amazing how a simple concept of having and owning what is necessary becomes so complex.

      I started with attacking the areas that cause me time and stress: make-up drawer, work files, shoes, and clothes. Just this has become a long-term project. 🙂

      • I totally know how that goes. I admit to spending hours to perfectly organize my makeup drawer. =] I just try to remind myself every time I want to buy something, that each thing I have represents a responsibility to take care of it – and do I want all those extra little responsibilities? Hmm…

  16. I feel you with the clutter. When I moved this summer, I got rid of so much stuff, and I could probably do to get rid of even more!

    • I know how you feel. My attack has been, clean it out, clean it out again, clean it out again, then organize. It is just less painful going through decluttering in steps.

  17. Dear Rockin’ – I am reminded of one of the great philosophical wellsprings of the 21st century: Veggie Tales, and the episode of “Madame Blueberry” who grappled with the implications of clutter and the desire for more (see: Our world has become one huge “Stuff Mart.” As a result, we’re all cloyed with “things.” A personal organizer once inspected a not-to-be-named living space and refreshingly said: “Oh…you’ve got ‘TMS’.” Read: Too Much Stuff. As the “domestic engineer” of my marriage, when I’m not writing, I am tackling the intruders, most of which are paper-paper-paper. I’ll gladly check the resources you mentioned in hope of beating back the material Mordor which threatens the border of our lives.

    • A thankful heart is indeed a happy heart! I am smiling from ear to ear. Thanks for posting this link. An important reminder, not to let “Stuff Mart” lure us in.

      As for the paper…part of our process is going somewhat paperless. Check out Brook Duncan at I subscribed to the 7 part e-course that is free for some tips.

  18. Also helps if my grown children would take their stuff

    • Boy howdy!!!! I agree with this one. I just made a BIG announcement to my children.

      “We are cleaning out, throwing out, giving away, and donating. Nothing is sacred. Send us a list of the things you want to keep.”

  19. It starts with your mind…. Thought stopping !! I meditate

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