Walking Off a Cliff Backwards

Thirty-eight years ago, while as a student at Western State College (now known as Western State Colorado University) in Gunnison, Colorado, for the first time ever, I walked off a cliff backwards.  I had equipment and teammates to support me in my journey downward until my feet touched the ground.  Once my feet were planted firmly on the rocky soil of Hartmans Rocks  (I don’t remember how I even got there), I fell to my knees and literally kissed the ground, thankful for the trust I had to have in my equipment and in those who were in charge of my well-being.  I mean, who would want to make that dreaded phone call to my parents: “Mr. and Mrs. Norcross? I’m calling to inform you that your daughter has made a very unique splatter pattern on the rocks.  Looks kind of cool, like a Spirograph pattern, ya know? Anyway, could you please give me your address so we can scrape her off the side of the cliff and ship her remains to you in an envelope?”


Not me, man.  So, I can understand why my mountain rescue teammates would want to ensure that I survived this simple act of walking off a cliff backwards.

Thirty-five years later, I again walked off a cliff backwards.  This time, there were no material things or physical bodies to arrest my free fall… I dove headfirst into a world I had always fantasized about, but never took the first steps to enter, until 3 years ago when I entered the world of backpacking and hiking.

My husband and I have been together for 36 years ~ married 32 of those years.  We have been through a lot.  Births, raising a family, deaths, illness and other factors that could tear a marriage apart. But we persevere.  So, this blog was born for many reasons ~ I won’t go into detail, but for the most part, my husband and I want to share our adventures.  We are a team in the game of life.  We love our children and our grandchildren as much as a human possibly can.  We realize they have their own lives and we have ours.  It’s just the two of us now ~ so we have decided to make the most out of our time together as much as we possibly can.  Adventure awaits!!!


I LOVE BACKPACKING!!!! Did I say that loud enough?? I always have.  I was introduced to it during my years at college by my teammates on the Western State College Mountain Rescue Team which I was a part of for 3 years.  I love being outdoors.  I love hiking.  I love identifying flowers, plants, animals, valleys, peaks, and sharing with others.  I love the simplicity of knowing all you need to survive with, is on your back.   I love the freedom from all the technical communication gadgets that were invented to make our world an easier place to live in. I love saying, “We’re going off the grid for a few days.  Will phone when we return.” Dale, on the other hand only hiked as a necessity; a horse trail to clear, or a fence to be mended, or a game animal to chase which would help to feed our family for the year.

Dale was raised in Meeker, Colorado, smack dab in the middle of the hunting culture. That’s all he knew.  You didn’t hike or backpack just for the freedom of doing so.  You hiked because you needed to hunt an elk or deer.  You backpacked the carcass out of the forest.  It was work.  Not play.  You snowshoed not because you wanted to experience the crisp, winter chill or see the snow sparkle and glisten upon it’s surface, you snowshoed to shovel the snow off of cabins in the winter so you would have one come spring.


With that in mind, we have been been at a tug-of-war for 32 years.  Three years ago, I finally won!!!  I somehow managed to open Dale’s eyes to adventure in hiking and backpacking.  He is now on the lookout for adventures ~ so much, that at times it’s overwhelming, but I’m not gonna kick it!  We enjoy sharing together, pointing out cloud shapes, blooming Columbines, tundra, peaks, listening to Pikas call to each other, where to set up camp, how many miles to hike on a given day, sharing meals, taking care of each other and making decisions together to insure our survival.  Life at it’s simplest.

Marvine Hike 2016 004 - Copy

We enjoy dragging our friends down our path.And they seem to enjoy the ride, as well.


We all have so much fun, but at the end of the day, it’s just Dale and I.  And that’s what counts. This blog is dedicated to all our adventures, past, present and future ~ my hope is that others will enjoy and realize that everyone has their own cliffs to walk off backwards ~ “life is a great adventure, or nothing”.  What you choose to do with it speaks volumes as to who you are.






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Jill and Dale Dunbar

We enjoy being outdoors. We live in the small northwestern town of Meeker, Colorado, gateway to the Flattops Wilderness. We hike, backpack, OHV, snowshoe, hunt, fish, kayak, and just plain camp. Every adventure is new to us. We are like children experiencing candy for the first time. These are our adventures. And we want to share them with you!

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