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    Reconnect...with old friends

    Reconnect...with old friends

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    Rediscover...the thrill of exploring

    Rediscover...the thrill of exploring

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    Remember...the priceless moments

    Remember...the priceless moments

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    Reconnect...with natural beauty

    Reconnect...with natural beauty

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    Rediscover...the kid in you

    Rediscover...the kid in you

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    Remember...what inspires adventure

    Remember...what inspires adventure

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    Reconnect...with adventurous friends

    Reconnect...with adventurous friends

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    Rediscover...the natural grandeur

    Rediscover...the natural grandeur

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    Remember...the breathtaking scenery

    Remember...the breathtaking scenery

Dean F. Barta Founder & President  

" Return On Adventure, matching active adventures with active travelers... " 

Meet the Founder Our Philosophy

Adventurous Milestones

BhutanAs we approach the start of a new year in 2015, I’m reminded of a conversation I had recently with my friend Karen about celebrating milestones with adventurous pursuits.

We take action in our 9’s (39, 49, etc)“, Karen said, “in anticipation of how we want to feel during that landmark birthday, anniversary or other milestone event.” Karen was 49 when she decided “I don’t want to be home emptying the dishwasher when I’m 50“. She was standing on the top of Kilimanjaro instead.

My long-time friend, Lou, was 59 when he approached me about designing and achieving his dream trip to Bhutan. He was trekking and enjoying Bhutan’s cultural “Gross National Happiness” when he was 60.

Italy - DolomitesMy dad was 39 when he proposed and married my mom. They had five sons and were married 35 years. I still remember my dad saying “Life seemed to speed up after I turned 30“. I couldn’t agree with him more. I’m currently 49, engaged and will be married (for the first time) before I am 50 – 3 weeks before I will be 50. Hmmmm, “We take action in our 9’s…”.

Are you currently “in your 9’s” and dreaming about celebrating your a significant milestone with a cool adventure? It can be an exciting/daunting challenge, but we want to serve as your personal connection to making these dreams a reality.

Give me a call – yes, I want to hear the excitement in your voice when you describe your ideal feeling of achieving that milestone event with vigor and youthful energy. We want to make your adventure dreams come true (and it surely beats emptying the dishwasher) in 2015!

Happy New Year!

Call us at 1-720-515-7501 or email today and schedule a time to get things going!

Climbing mountains, not corporate ladders

It was spring of 1988, and I was sitting at my third job interview with the IT consulting firm, Electronic Data Systems (EDS). We were in an Embassy Suites hotel in a suburb of Minneapolis – me in my navy suit and they in their silk ties. Being a recent business graduate at the time, my interviewing skills (I had lots of practice in those days) and passionate selling of my rural work ethic served me well through the first couple of interviews. The third interview was when we both came to a decision point.

Quite simply, the decision came down to one question asked by the interviewers “Do you want to sit in front of a computer for eight to ten hours a day”. I paused, thought for a moment and “No”. Their response – “Ok, the interview is over”.

At the time, I was working at a hotel night auditor/front desk clerk, living on my brother’s couch; while looking for more desirable jobs that connected with what I wanted to do with my career. I didn’t know what my passion or career path was at the time, but I definitely knew what I didn’t want.

As a recent business graduate, the EDS job seemed the most idea situation of using my degree and working for a well-respected company where I could climb the corporate ladder. It turns out, my answer of “No” was probably the best decision I ever made – and one of the major turning points in my life.

Within weeks of making the decision at the EDS interview, I was contacted by a resort in Glacier National Park for an accounting position. Months prior, I’d met with managers of the resort (after being 20 minutes late for the interview!) and honestly had forgotten about their job. By May 1, 1988, my feet were back on Montana ground and thus began my 26+ year career in the resort and adventure travel industries. I spent most of that time climbing mountains, not corporate ladders.

I’m thankful for that moment of clarity in the spring of 1988. It allowed me to experience extraordinary adventures with friends, family and guests ever since! Robert Frost’s famous word ring true for me – “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference”.

Authentic Connections

Authenticity and Connection: Separate words that hold great value for most people who want to enjoy a genuine life.

What if our goal for 2013, and for the rest of lives for that matter, was to have an Authentic Connection with ourselves, our friends, our families, our god/spiritual being and nature?

What would that feel like? How would we manifest that with others?

Kaibab TrailWhen I think about all of my adventures in the outdoors, I think about how the connection to nature is one of the most authentic connections in my life. Nature doesn’t judge, it just is. It can be stormy, sunny, or just gray and blah. It is, what it is. My friends, that’s authentic.

How we connect to nature and people is through our attitude. We can be blah, sunny or stormy, but how we approach those moods with others depends on our relationship with that feeling. We can view a stormy day on the trail as pure drudgery or we can approach it with the sense of adventure and gratitude. How we embrace nature when it’s showing it’s authentic self determines our level of enjoyment.

adventure_with_friends_dealYou may ask, “So, Dean – how does this relate to traveling with friends and family on adventure tours?”. My reply: “we seek to have an authentic connection with our loved ones, whether we want to admit it or not”. Sure, we want to experience new countries and areas that have been on our adventure bucket list for years; but think about how those experiences could be further enhanced if it were shared with friends and family?

What if we went a step further and we: 1) explored the adventure destination of our dreams, 2) with the people closest to us and 3) developed a deeper, more authentic connection with each other through these adventures? Just think of the possibilities.


At Return On Adventure, we want each and everyone who travels with us to be transformed by, and to transform, our relationships. This includes the relationships with nature, our friends, our family, our god/spiritual being and ourself. Let’s make 2013 the year we develop our Authentic Connection in all areas of our lives!

Bolder Boulder 10K

Hello All,

The beauty of living and working in Boulder, Colorado is that it’s a pleasure to be a tourist in my own town! Today, I ran the Bolder Boulder 10K race with over 50,000 of my closest friends on a spectacular Memorial Day morning.

It’s been 20 years since my first Bolder Boulder race and I’m happy to announce my 2012 time was faster than my first race in 1992! Not bad for a 40-something guy who didn’t train for the race (I actually signed up last Thursday).

I welcome you to post a story on our Facebook page about how you are more fit now than in your 20’s OR how life is better for you because of your adventure travel experiences. I look forward to reading your comments and being inspired by you!

Live Adventurously!  Dean

Mexico Adventures for Spring Break

Hola Mi Amigos,

Welcome to the first of a series of Tuesday Trip Adventures I will be featuring in the coming weeks. This week, I am featuringMexico, our southern border neighbor. It’s home to great authentic food and offers a few of the best destinations in North America.

Baja Surfing Multisport
Surfing – nothing personifies “cool” on the beach like a surfer. It’s not the only reason I decided to take surf lessons years ago, but it might be the most important!

Once I caught my first wave, I was hooked. For a landlocked Rocky Mountain boy like me, the sensation of standing on the surf board and feeling the natural surge of water beneath me harkened back to my first epic day of skiing powder snow in Colorado. That athletic feeling is burned in to my memory forever. Why don’t you create some powerful memories for yourself with a new sport?

A major highlight of our Baja tour is the opportunity to hone your surfing skills and catch your first wave at Los Cerritos beach. In addition, your off-the-beaten-path adventure will visit the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean coastlines of Baja California, Mexico. You’ll experience Baja’s world famous biodiversity and stark geography through a multitude of outdoor adventure activities.

During your seven days, sea kayak through the turquoise waters of the protected bays and beaches of the beautiful Island of Espiritu Santoin the Sea of Cortez, swim and snorkel with sea lions at Los Islotes, and snorkel and relax at exquisite white sand beaches outside of La Paz. You’ll also enjoy the land by hiking both the sweeping seascapes of the rugged Pacific Coast of Southern Baja California and journeying into the Sierra de la Laguna Biosphere reserve. Here, you’ll experience the magic of cascading waterfalls in the spectacular cactus forests of this unique desert wilderness. Enjoy exciting gorgeous mountain biking through rock beds, technical sections, and some challenging descents and climbs.

The trip is rounded out with time to explore a charming Baja fishing village and just relax – or optionally go fishing with locals, go horseback riding, SCUBA diving, or enjoy a tour of local ceramic artists.

Copper Canyon Hiking
Over the last two decades, I read a lot about Copper Canyon. From its famed size – four times larger than the Grand Canyon – to the trail running, hiking, and mountain biking excursions. Most recently, I’ve read Born To Run, the national best selling book by Christopher McDougal. He highlights the simple lifestyle of the Tarahumara Indians who inhabit the far reaches of the canyon and are skilled ultra-distance runners (more about them and minimalist running shoes in a future newsletter).

I think what’s most intriguing about a trip to the Copper Canyon is the opportunity to truly get “off the grid” and explore a location that literally takes a couple days to get to – and that’s just the canyon’s rim. We hike through the deep sections of the immense Copper Canyon network to wilderness campsites perched on canyon walls near remote indigenous family compounds, and visit remote settlements like the native Tarahumara. We’ll camp in tents and enjoy rustic cabins at up to 7,500 feet, explore the 200- year-old frontier settlements of Creel and Cerocahui, and travel by train on the famous Chihuahua al Pacifico railroad. This spectacular train ride features several natural transitions between the dazzling Sea of Cortez and the arid canyons of the Sierra Tarahumara.

So if the grey, cold blast of winter is getting you down, this is the perfect time to book your trip and make sure you get to feel the warmth of Mexico – from the depths of its grandest canyon to the sun splashed shores of its friendly beaches.

Hey – it could be the best Spring Break ever!

In Adventurous Spirit,



I have traveled with Dean on more than one occasion and I cannot speak highly enough about his professionalism, friendliness and dedication to his guests. Dean is an excellent guide and he makes every trip an adventure. His excellent attitude ensures that every guest will have a great time. I am looking forward to traveling with Return On Adventure because I know any trip that Dean facilitates will exceed my expectations. — Janet H., San Diego, CA

I would like to express appreciation to Return On Adventure for an absolutely perfect ten-day trip to Guatemala a couple of years ago. The hotels, were very nice and the guides were always on time, provided excellent information, answered questions, and escorted me to wonderful sites in the country. I highly recommend this company, as my experience was wonderful! — Lee W. Fort Collins, CO

Your next trip needs to be this one! The highest place in Africa is absolutely spectacular!! Excellent service and attention to detail. Incredible guide and support. Great food. Quality gear. I would highly recommend Return On Adventure. There was excellent service and attention to detail throughout. — Andrea D. San Francisco, CA

In 2010, Dean created a three week Alaskan tour for my two sons and me. For all the trips I`ve ever taken in my life, and I`ve traveled quite a bit, this was by far the most customized trip I`ve ever taken. He did a great job of challenging us and catering it to our desires. The whole thing was exquisitely coordinated. — David K. New York, NY

Return On Adventure

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