Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall

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Technically, today is the last day of summer, even though the forecast is telling me to expect 80 degree days the rest of the week. And even though it’s been a pretty awesome summer 1, I have to admit that I am pretty damn excited for this fall. Well, if I’m honest, I’m always excited for fall, it’s been my favorite season for as long as I can remember. But this fall stands out a bit more due to some very recently finalized travel plans.

I try to travel as much as I can throughout the year, but you may notice that I rarely am able to get away for more than a long holiday weekend at a time. However, with a little begging and some good fortune, I’ll be taking two extended trips this fall. The first will be a week in Utah in October to climb some long, hard routes with Evan. Getting a couple of classic desert towers under our belts seems like the perfect way to wrap up our first season as trad climbers, and I can’t wait!

Then, in November, I’ll be packing my bags and jumping on a plane to cross the big pond and visit my sister in Paris! And not one of those backwoods, middle-of-nowhere towns named Paris, of which there seems to be one in almost every state in the US, but Paris, France! My sister has been living in Paris for a little over a year now, first as an au pair and now as a graduate student. She’s been harassing me to visit while she’s there, but I’d pretty much given up hope that I’d be able to afford to come since I couldn’t find any plane tickets for less than $1000…and then something magical happened. I found tickets for less than $1000. SIGNIFICANTLY less than $1000. When I finally bought my tickets, the round trip price had dropped to $407. It was a chance I couldn’t pass up.

I’m so excited I don’t even know what to say, other than “I. AM. SO. FREAKING. EXCITED.”

If you have any suggestions for must-do climbs/eats/sights in Utah (we’ll probably spend most of our week in the Moab area) or off the beaten tourist path things to check out in Paris, let me know! Does anybody else have plans for this fall that they can hardly wait for?

Thank God It’s … Thursday

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Which means it's almost Friday, which means it's almost the weekend and GLORY, HALLELUJAH I am glad it's a long one!

I don't have a 'real' blog post this week with cool pictures or anything since 1) I failed to take any pictures of last weekend's shenanigans in Rifle, and 2) I've been really busy with boring day job stuff.

I had jalapenos and beer for dinner last night and was answering work emails at 10 pm. Which I greatly regretted at the gym at 6:30 this morning. It's that kind of week.

Since I don't have any pictures of something awesome, here are a couple of a ninja in my weird turtle planter. Becomes sometimes life's journey is harried, mundane, and weird all at the same time.

Ninja in bamboo
Ninja in turtle planter

Ok, ninjas and houseplants and work aside, I'm super excited to be heading to Ten Sleep, WY this weekend! Our previous trip to Spearfish was originally supposed to be to Ten Sleep, but changed at the last minute-ish due to a wildfire. Thankfully, Ten Sleep appears to be less on fire now and I can't wait to get there!

I did that thing again.

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You know, the one where I go a really, really long time without posting an update. Also that thing where I completely change the way this site looks. I’m really going to try to stop doing that first thing, but I make no promises regarding the second. Even as I write this, I’m resisting the urge to delete all my previous posts and just start over from scratch. Again. But I’m not, because one day supposedly I’ll look back and be proud of how far I’ve come and how much I’ve improved, or some jazz like that. Or maybe I’ll just be embarrassed. Whatever, for now I’ll leave all that old stuff up.

Anyway, long story short, I let my Job-with-a-capital-J turn me into a frazzled human stress ball for the last couple of months. And when you’re feeling like a frayed welcome mat it can be difficult to find the motivation needed to produce anything, let alone anything creative. I’ve been working on accepting that my Job-with-a-capital-J might pay the bills for now, but I don’t have to let it steamroller over my entire life and turn me into a sad pancake. So, I’ve spent this week working not only on this blog, but also another side project that I’m excited to unveil soon. Oh, and also getting ready for a much needed mini-vacation. After work tomorrow I’ll be skipping town for a long weekend of climbing, and when I return, hopefully it will be with a tired body and a refreshed mind. 

Updates soon! I promise this time!

Montezuma Tower at Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods
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You wouldn’t know it from yesterday’s blizzard warning, but earlier this week it was a sunny 70 degrees in Colorado Springs, and with daylight savings suddenly making the days a reasonable length again, it was a perfect opportunity to get a little climbing in after work.

Montezuma Tower in the middle of Garden of the Gods is a super classic, super moderate climb with just enough exposure and runout spaces to make it interesting. And of course, it offers up some pretty awesome views.

#31nightsout

As we were driving to the campground to set up for the evening, this was the view that loomed ahead. Though somewhat intimidating, all worked out in the end. The rain held off until everyone was bedded down for the night, and was gone by morning when we were ready to climb.
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With all the unseasonably warm weather lately, I was finally able to get out this past weekend and have the first camping trip of the year. Cooked dinner over a campfire, slept in a tent, peed behind a tree, the whole nine yards. It was everything I had hoped and expected, a comforting reassurance that, yes, camping was as fun as I had remembered it to be. And so begins a personal challenge to myself – to spend at least a month sleeping outside this year.

Sometimes I spend an entire day climbing like a crippled giraffe, but as long as I inhaled a little fresh air and soaked up a couple brief rays of sunshine, eh, it was still a good day.

I can’t take credit for the idea (the original article that inspired me can be found here, and I highly recommend you go read it), but that doesn’t make me any less excited about it. The best part of all my favorite hobbies is that they take me outside, and the more time I’m able to spend outdoors, the better I feel. Sometimes I spend an entire day climbing like a crippled giraffe, but as long as I inhaled a little fresh air and soaked up a couple brief rays of sunshine, eh, it was still a good day.

So the logic seems pretty obvious. More time outside = more happiness, at least for me. (And if you google “the benefits of being outside”, you’ll find numerous articles that suggest an extra dose of nature is good for almost everyone.) And as noted by the author in the article I linked earlier, “the easiest way to feel like I’ve been outside as much as possible is to keep track of my nights sleeping under the stars.”

So, 1 down, 30 to go.

 

Check out the galleries on the Portfolio page to see a few shots from this weekend. I promise I’ll get around to artsy shots of headlamp-lit tents and Milky Way backdrops eventually, but this first trip deserved to be simply enjoyed.

 

Bouldering at Ute Valley Park

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Jan. 24, 2016

I can’t claim to be a huge fan of bouldering, but after my experience trying it outside I feel like I came a lot closer to understanding why some people are obsessed with it. Two days of sunshine in a row may have helped brighten my perspective as well.

El Potrero Chico

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El Potrero Chico attracts climbers from around the world, and if you ever have the chance to see its massive cliffs in person, you’ll understand why. Boasting over 500 routes, it is also home to the second longest sport route in North America, Time Wave Zero. But even if you don’t have what it takes to get through 20+ pitches in a day, there’s more than enough to keep any sport climber entertained. I was fortunate enough to spend the week between Christmas and New Year’s there, and feel like I returned with more climbs added to my to do list than to my tick list. Guess that just means I’ll have to go back again.