Anne & Mike Poe hiking Fridig Air Pass Crested Butte Colorado

Anne and Mike Poe hiking Frigid Air Pass Crested Butte Colorado

We had a choice. We could have stayed home, presumably safe from uncertainty, and chosen security over adventure, but as life-long travelers we shared the urge to wander. The choice seemed natural to both of us even before we had wandered into each other’s lives.

Mike Poe harbored a gypsy soul that nourished his life choices from the inside out. It was not that he wouldn’t stay put ~ he couldn’t. His learning curve was exponentially related to the number of new experiences he could bump into and chase after. His internal fullness fed on change. It did not matter that where he had been or what he had done filled him with jubilation; he could not linger in just one pleasure and succumb to its comfort and security because they were more horizons that he had to explore.

His instinctive spontaneity burst out of a compact muscularity that rippled like a gated thoroughbred anticipating sudden release. Shocks of brown curls fell against a neck as stout as an oak tree; his thick broad shoulders were his Czechoslovakian grandfather’s bequest.  Full moon brown eyes sparkled with curiosity, mischief and dreams. A temple crown of thick, bushy eyebrows said his clean-shaven face could grow a beard by mid-morning.

In 1965, when young American men were exploring the new drug scene, expressing free love and unraveling societal bonds, Mike too fled the confines of his strict Minnesota upbringing and college obligations to taste life on his own terms.  He hitchhiked through Europe in the dead of winter; a pair of downhill skis and boots served as his only companions.

He liked doing things the harder way; the challenge seemed richer for it.

 He could not speak any European languages but that did not matter; he learned how to survive by his wits and limitless energy; he slept in barns and boot packed snow for lift tickets. He tasted the bitter cold, the unexpected and knew that life was much richer when spiked with a heavy dose of uncertainty.

When he returned to the states, he tried for two years to use his business degree by marketing products for a major drug store chain in Southern California, but the walls of predictability tightened a noose around his zest for living so he left ~ and became an enviable 1960s ski bum at Lake Tahoe’s Squaw Valley. Life was simply too wonderful to waste.

Spring thaw transplanted him from his snowy mountains to the beaches of Honolulu. An unexpected opportunity, a hidden lust, prompted him to purchase a burned out hull of a fifty-foot catamaran.

He had never sailed before, but that did not hinder his vision of rebuilding and voyaging around the world.

 His choices reflected his philosophy that adventure was not a rational decision, but instead a physical need equal to breathing air and drinking water.

I cast off my chains of filial obligation in June 1966. That was the day I graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio and fulfilled my parents’ and my grandmother’s dreams for me. For Grandmother had married into the fortunes of Pittsburgh Steel and she placed the social status that fashioned her and my father’s lives onto my mother’s shoulders, my two brothers’, my sister’s, and mine ~ the end of the line.  My dreams saw me sailing my own Kon Tiki around the world, galloping across the badlands on my own faithful Black Beauty, or plunging down the Amazon River in my own dugout tree, but my choices remained harnessed, my directions guided by love and concern steeped in a smothering propriety.  Banned from making my dreams a reality, I escaped into books and fashioned a College major out of world languages and religions with the hopes that someday I would touch them in the flesh.

Then that day arrived. I had discovered a job in that graduation year that unleashed a festering wanderlust too long smothered by suburbia.

I packed my fantasies and my freedom, boarded a giant 747 and floated half way around the world on a cloud of imagination ~ to Japan ~ and landed reborn as a teacher of the English language.

 I knew my life was just beginning. For now, I could actually touch the Buddhas and temples rising above the deep green rice lands, smell the incense offerings and steep in the cleansing hot baths that in books had so tantalized my senses. I learned Japanese and during summer holidays, met the people and the country from the back of a Suzuki 125.     When my two- year contract ended, I filled the impending void with a journey the long way around the world ~ for six months ~ on my own.  Grandmother was appalled, but she knew and I knew then that I would never grow up to be the person she envisioned for me. I had been infected by the thrill of going somewhere strange, exotic and unknown. I needed to go for no other reason than to experience it, because in expecting the unexpected,  I re-emerge wide eyed and hungry to taste a new day ~ and that validated me.

I had no choice upon my return to the States. I needed to forsake the former familiarity and obligations of home and chase after new experiences. I went to Vail, Colorado with a girlfriend.  We had never skied.

My friend went home after the week holiday but I could not visualize myself in the suburbs again so I found a job in Pepi Gramshammer’s bar and restaurant, singing folk songs and playing my guitar.

 I skied and sang until in March of that same spring a fall shattered my leg against the unforgiving, new age, fiberglass boot that had become the rage.

Book images of Hawaii’s warm beaches flashed through my snow-bound brain as I visualized a tropical paradise for my recovery. It was easy to find a good paying job as a folk singer in Davey Jones locker in Honolulu. It enabled me to put my travel yearnings on slow burn and settle into a musically creative recuperation. Life overflowed with rich fulfillment.

Then, one fortuitous night, Mike Poe took a detour from his work on the catamaran into Davey Jones Locker.  Seven weeks later, May 1970, we married.

Our union merged two wanderlust souls besieged by dreams of adventure and eager to exploit life’s plethora of choices.

For the next twenty-seven years together, we structured a hodgepodge of jobs around our common desire to explore. We eventually settled in Sandpoint, Idaho where white water kayaking, mountain backpacking, and glacier skiing mixed well with working for a logging mill, for the U.S. Forest Service, teaching downhill skiing, owning a Shaklee business, a health food store, appraising Real Estate, and instructing Outward Bound wilderness canoe and whitewater rafting courses. Our adventurous lifestyle came to an abrupt halt in 1980 when I, after ten years of chronic sciatica, finally consented to lower back surgery.

A long, painfully slow road to recovery introduced us to a new activity: cycling. It did not hurt as much to ride a bike as to walk down the street or stand and wait. Over time, I was able to challenge the damaged nerves to respond and build up my weakened legs. By 1983, short rides had metamorphosed into our first big adventure: a six-month cycling odyssey from Costa Rica to Peru, much of it on cattle trails and beaches, including an attempt to make it through the road less Darien Gap of Panama. Exhausted, but stronger, we took the rewards of our accomplishment and carried them into the future.”

 

Excerpt from On Our Own A Bicycling Adventure in South East Asia,

by Anne and Mike Poe

 First Adventure for Anne and Mike Poe

Six Months Bicycling from Costa Rica to Peru!

Anne & Mike Poe bicycle the Darien Gap PeruAnne & Mike Poe bicycle Ecuador

Anne and Mike Poe had been adventuring for 43 years. Their first bicycle journey in 1984 was a result of long imprisoned dreams. Mike had always wanted to travel in Central and South America. Since they were not bus travelers, they decided to ride bikes. Neither of them had ever ridden more than 20 miles. They chose to start in Costa Rica  because it was a peaceful country in the midst of 1980’s revolutions and strife. The plan was to go all the way to the tip of South America, but their route was so difficult, it took them six months just to get to ride on though Panama, Columbia, and Ecuador to Lima, Peru.

“We had become so used to traveling by bicycle, that on our way home from South America, we stopped over in Jamaica and cycled for two weeks around that beautiful island. By the time we made it back to our home in Idaho, it was summer. It felt so strange to drive a car, we much preferred to ride a bike, so we caught the ferry to Alaska, spent 2 months touring around, and then rode back to Idaho.”

The following winter did not put a crimp in Anne and Mike’s travels. They flew to Europe and found an apartment in Ischgl, Austria and spent four months ski touring on various glaciers.

The next winter, they went to Vail, Colorado and worked for the next six years as ski instructors. The summers, they spent working as Outward Bound instructors in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters. It was there, on a course with eight students, that they had to deal with a rogue black bear. It attacked a 16 year old boy who was sitting by himself. The bear soon attacked two other parties nearby. You can read that story on www.//BWCAW_bear_attacks_of_1987

In 1988, Anne and Mike Poe drove to West Virginia and bicycled the Blue Ridge Parkway all the way to Tennessee. It was a thrilling 10 days through exciting fall color in an historical setting.

Mexico and Belize

“Soon Mexico was in our sites. We had heard about the wild and remote canyons of Chihuahua called Las Barrancas Del Cobre, or Copper Canyon as we North Americans know it. We did three separate backpack trips between 1989 and 1995. We traveled various known and unknown routes, visiting Tarahumara villages on sorties up to 14 days long.”

ALT="hiking Copper Canyon"
Hiking Barrancas Del Corbre means going down and up…a lot!

Anne and Mike Poe made their first trip to Baja, California Sur  in 1995. They drove down the peninsula in their Econoline van, carrying their bicycles, sea kayak and backpacks. “Perhaps one of our favorite trips, which we have repeated three times, was kayaking from Bahia Conception to Loreto. We published another magazine article on that adventure.”

ALT="Kayaking Baja, Mexico"

A sensational 10 day trip from Bahia Conception to Loreto

On the same trip, we also backpacked across the entire Baja peninsula from Santiago to Todos Santos. Much of the route was overland scrambling as trails marked on maps did not exist.

“In 1996, we drove our van all the way to Belize. Packed inside were our bicycles and our folding sea kayak. We kayaked for 14 days along the coast, and then found a fabulous bike route through Mayan villages, staying at Mayan homes that participated in a tourism Guesthouse project. That adventure is also featured in a published magazine article.”

Anne & Mike Poe learn Maya traditions

Grinding corn in a Maya homestay program

Asia

Anne & Mike Poe bicycle VietnamAnne & Mike Poe ferry across Lake Toba Sumatra

Their lust for adventuring was in full bloom come the winter of 1997. Anne lived in Japan for two years back in the 60’s, and always wanted to travel in Asia.” So Anne and Mike Poe decided to ride their bicycles through Southeast Asia. They started in  Indonesia, on the island of Bali. They cycled through Java, Sumatra, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and China. It was six months journeying through six cultures and four very complicated languages. “We traveled on our own, without the aid of any guides, groups, or friends.” They published a Kindle and printed book titled: On Our Own: A Bicycle Adventure through South East Asia.” 

Anne & Mike Poe bicycle Bali IndonesiaAnne & Mike Poe bicycle Thailand

New Zealand

Having fallen in love with the other side of the globe, our next adventure found us in New Zealand in 2000 where we spent six months cycling, backpacking, and sea kayaking both the North and South Islands. One of our favorite countries for cycling, we  returned there again in 2010 to discover new destinations, and revisit old.

 

Bicycling New Zealand

More sheep than people in New Zealand

Meanwhile, Argentina had suffered a massive devaluation that made traveling there very affordable. So we spent the winter of 2003 hiking the glaciated areas of the Andes in El Chalten and then traveled to Torres Del Paine in Chile. Unfortunately, we lost our camera near the end of the trip and did not back up the files! Lesson learned, we have no pictures to show you of this absolutely amazing hiking area.

New Zealand and Australia being neighbors meant we had to go to the latter in 2005. We spent most of our cycling time in Victoria and Tasmania.

Anne & Mike Poe bicycle Australia

Camping in Australia is a national pastime

Anne & Mike Poe hike El Tronador Argentina

El Tronador Argentina

Then back to Argentina in 2006. It is one of our favorite countries for hiking. We backpacked The Cerro Catedral outside of Bariloche, El Tronador,  and other destinations.

Colorado

By this time, we are in our sixties.

We sold our home in Idaho and moved full time into a Fifth Wheel.

It was during the summer of 2005 that we first went to Crested Butte, Colorado.

We fell in love with the charm of the historic mining town. But it was the hiking that brought us back for the next four years. We hiked over 600 miles of beautiful, scenic trails, many of which were not described in any existing book.

So, we decided to write our own. This is the most detailed, all encompassing hiking guide for Crested Butte available. The area is a treasure.

If you enjoy hiking and have never been to Crested Butte, well, needless to say, we think you are missing some of the best hiking trails in the country.

Anne & Mike Poe-Crested Butte Colorado: 65 Scenic Day Hikes

In 2010, and Anne and Mike Poe went back to New Zealand for another 5 month cycling adventure.  When they returned to the states, it was back to work. Their Crested Butte book was so successful, they decided to do another hiking guide on Ouray & Silverton, and Lake City Colorado. Now, three years later, they have four hiking guides. They added one for Telluride, Colorado and one for Arches & Canyonlands National Parks in Utah.

Anne & Mike Poe-Southwest Colorado High Country Day Hikes: Ouray, Silverton & Lake City
Southwest Colorado High Country Day Hikes: Telluride
Anne & Mike Poe-Utah National Parks: Arches & Canyonlands Day Hikes

Europe

Check out our most recent adventure summer 2014. We cycled 2500 miles around Europe. Read our stories and see pictures of Greece and Albania, CroatiaSerbia, HungaryAustria, Germany, and France as we add them to this site.

Anne & Mike Poe-Bicycling Greece
Anne & Mike Poe-Bicycling Croatia
Anne & Mike Poe-Bicycling Germany

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