Q&A: A bird(er) may love a fish(erman) but where would they live?

Q&A: A bird(er) may love a fish(erman) but where would they live?

A bird(er) may love a fish(erman) but where would they live?

Hello, hello!
It's Sarah and Ryan Anderson, founders of Alpinecho. Our first home together was a camper(mini)van named "Flounder" followed by an uninsulated a-frame on the South Island of New Zealand. Today, we live near the foothills of Northern Colorado, where we adopted a small, stray tabby cat from our backyard (affectionately named "Little Girl" by our neighbor). Together, we make up the Alpinecho team.

Sarah is the "creative" while Ryan is a full-time chemist and part-time Alpinecho inventory, manufacturing, and numbers guy. Little Girl takes care of Human Resources.

Alpinecho Team in their elementIn their element: Sarah—caught getting a closer look at moss, Ryan—warming water for backpacking coffee, Little Girl—doing absolutely nothing.

Here's a bit of Q&A to help you get to know us.

Q: Birds or fish? Favorite species?

Sarah

Birds! I've always loved birds (I had two pet cockatiels growing up), but I became a birder when we lived in New Zealand and discovered an incredible variety of species—from alpine parrots to tiny blue penguins. Since then, I've become one of those people with a "Life List" who receive daily "Rare Bird Alerts" that send me on wild goose chases (ha!) for a tiny sparrow or uncommon duck spotted nearby. But, I don't wear a khaki vest ... yet.

My favorite species is the Kea (a parrot that lives in the snow!) But, I'm also partial to my backyard flock of chickadee and nuthatches. "Bird food" is a category on our budget.

Ryan

Fish. There's amazing variety all over the world, especially snorkeling or diving. They're a challenge to catch and many of them taste great.

Favorite species (so far) is definitely Brook Trout. They're pretty, with vivid colors and patterns, generally, you have to get higher into the mountains (to some really nice places) to catch them, and they're fun to fish for and catch.

Little Girl

Treats ... I mean, birds. Same thing.

Q: If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Sarah

Probably back in New Zealand in a (well-insulated) cabin near both mountains and a beach with plentiful hiking and snorkeling (without sandflies, my ultimate nemesis). I'd also love to live in Israel (near the Sea of Galilee) for a year to experience the history and culture.

Ryan

At the moment, it would have to be in/near a small town in New Zealand on the South Island (for long term) or Israel (for short term, until the heat and dietary fiber intake got old). But, we've still got a lot of other places to check out before that can be settled for sure.

Little Girl

The empty Organic Uncooked Flour Tortillas cardboard box from Costco.

Q: What do you consider "Type I Fun" (fun while it’s happening)?

Sarah

Camping, canoeing, snorkeling, birding, international travel, s'mores, trying new foods, fishing, and pizza.

Ryan

Backpacking/camping, climbing, fishing, eating, snorkeling, travel, eating, building things, caving, eating.

Little Girl

Treats

Q: What do you consider "Type II Fun" (fun in retrospect)?

Sarah

Long backpacking trips, gardening, the 4th month living in a camper(mini)van, the last mile of a hike, ice fishing, and winter.

Ryan

Climbing, especially 14ers, when the conditions have gone sideways and it's gotten really cold/wet/sketchy. Flying (why exactly are those seats so small?).

Little Girl

Chasing, and losing, squirrels.

Q: What is your favorite backpacking meal? Least Favorite?

Sarah

Favorite: Ryan's homemade backpacking breakfast scramble (yum!) and AlpineAire's Wild Thyme Turkey freeze dried backpacking meal. Oh, and a piece of dark chocolate or a mug of hot apple cider for dessert.
Least Favorite: Probably the last meal of a long trip when I'm ready for a giant salad or burger.

Ryan

Favorite: A couple of fresh Brook Trout with freeze-dried hash browns, all cooked in butter. Bonus points if it's over a fire.
Least Favorite: This couscous/apricot/za'atar thing we tried to make on our last trip. That was horrible, couldn't even finish it. Not all internet recipes are created equal.

Little Girl

Treats

Q: What is one piece of gear you can't go without?

Sarah

-20° sleeping bag. Worth. Every. Penny.

Ryan

Does coffee count? Because if the coffee runs out, it's game over, I'm hiking out. Besides that, good boots. Most other gear can be improvised well enough to get home, but if your boots fall apart 20 miles from the car, you're gonna have a bad day.

Little Girl

Treats

Q: What is the highest elevation you've eaten a meal? The lowest? The most memorable?

Sarah

Highest: Peak of Mt. Princeton, Colorado (14,196′)
Lowest: Dead Sea (-1,410′)
Most Memorable: Faulhorn, Switzerland (8,796′)
We hiked to the top and discovered a restaurant perched on the peak. Crazy! What could we do but eat sausage and potatoes, drink hot chocolate, and watch the Swiss Air Force practice maneuvers below us!

Ryan

Highest: Chukung Ri, Nepal (18,238')
Lowest: Dead Sea (-1,410')
Most Memorable: I do like eating, so it's hard to pick just one. Probably a picnic for Sarah's birthday, on top of an un-named hill next to Lake Wanaka in New Zealand. Good company and food, perfect weather, and, as we were packing up, a mock dogfight around and below the hill by a couple of historic WWII planes for an airshow that was going on at the time.

Runner up would probably be some incredible venison and potatoes in Queenstown, New Zealand, near the lake, for our first wedding anniversary.

Little Girl

Highest: The kitchen counter. It wasn't authorized.
Lowest: The kitchen floor.
Most Memorable: Every meal. I've got a short memory.

Q: What is your favorite Alpinecho product?

Sarah

I love the colors of the Stargazer Bandana (Red Rock)! The S'more Sticker is another favorite.

Ryan

The Stargazer Tube Scarf (Sapphire) or maybe the Colorful Colorado Sticker.

Little Girl

The boxes that bulk bandanas come in.

New Zealand Kea
Kea getting a closer look at my camera.