Sunday, September 22, 2013

Oregon, Quack!

After a long drive through a great expanse of utter nothing (made shorter by our obsession with the Wise Man's Fear audio book), we made it to Smith Rock, Oregon. Smith rock is a famous climbing destination, gaining notoriety as the birthplace of American sport climbing. For those who don't know, sport climbing is rope climbing where your means of protection comes from hangers bolted into the rock wall. Generally, this style of climbing is done for 1 reason, because the rock formation does not take any traditional gear. Typically, this allows climbers to push themselves physically without the burden of placing their own protection while climbing. Typically, this style feels safer to the climber. TYPICALLY.

Smith Rock's distinction as the birthplace of American sport climbing also means that it was on the forefront of what was considered "good" bolting ethics. Long story short, this means that when first ascensionists bolted in this area, they were doing it in what they considered the best possible ethics, meaning the bolts are VERY far apart. Normally,this isn't a a HUGE issue for me if it is still safe AND if the climbing is overhanging. As we quickly found out, most of the climbing at Smith is not overhanging.

With that description of Smith Rock past us, allow me to continue. We arrived at Smith Rock in the dark(as usual) and stumbled to set up camp. The camping is split up into two areas; a very large field where you can set up your tent and a communal area with picnic tables where you can do your cooking. We set up tent that night and passed out.

As the sun peeked around the corner, we slipped open the tent door and were greeted with Smith Rock right in front of us. Smith is beautiful, golden spires sticking straight up as an emerald river creates a moat around the rock towers. After heading to breakfast, I noticed that the people in the campsite seemed...off. There was way too much talking about slack-lining and not nearly enough talking about climbing for this to be a regular climbers' campsite. I later found out that there was a highligning festival going on, explaining why the camp felt so strange.



After breakfast, we headed onto the trail that we thought led us to the climbing. Remember I said there was a moat around Smith? Well, a moat is beautiful and all, but it also means that unless you know where the bridge is, well, you're stuck. After wandering around a meandering trail, we eventually found where the bridge was. We planned on heading to the Mesa Verde wall, which is on the back side of Smith. We were going here because Smith was 20 degrees above average temperature, a sweltering 90 degrees and Mesa was our best chance for moderate climbing in the shade.

Before I go any farther, let me remind you that the day before we spent the day driving trying to recover from our epic day at the grand. Let me tell you, driving is not a true rest day and I was still stiff and sore as could be. Anyway, we took a look at the guide book and tried to decide what is the fastest way to the Mesa wall. We pick our route and start going... and going... AND GOING.

It turns out the trail that we chose was called the Misery Trail and boy does it live up to it's name. The trail snakes it way to the peak of smith, all the way around and then back down again. Mind you, we were still recovering from the hike, it's a sweltering 90 degrees, the trail is loose gravel, AND Alanna was wearing her chacos expecting an easy hike. Like I said, misery.

After cursing and stumbling our way down the trail, we made it to the Mesa Verde wall. Booting up, I chose a climb well within my normal warm up grade and started climbing. 45 minutes later I was finally lowering to the ground after epicing my way up the face. In retrospect, the climbing was probably fun, but in the moment I hated it. It was low angle, insecure and spaciously bolted. In summary, my least favorite style. Alanna top roped it in good style and we decided to head for greener pastures, aka overhanging rock climbs. Eventually we moved to the other side of Smith by means of the appropriate trail ( there is a cut through that you can use that makes the trail much more manageable. We found some overhanging climbs that were not so classic and then decided to call it a night early.

The next day, we decided to do a half day before heading to Eugene to see my uncle. After our troubles the day before, we judged it best to brave the sun and find the climbs that looked fun. And they were fun! Unfortunately for us, the climbs that we enjoyed most were baking in the sun. Nevertheless, they were very fun and made up for our previous sour day. After making some DELICIOUS hot dogs for lunch, we hit the road for Eugene, Oregon to visit my Uncle David and his family.

We arrived in Eugene that night for a wonderful home cooked lasagna dinner with my Uncle and Aunt. It was great to have some good home cooking and a comfortable bed! My cousin, Jacob, and his girlfriend Alia, took us for a tour of Eugene. We saw the University, which was quite spectacular and a little tour of downtown. This included a stop at Voodoo doughnuts where I had a butterfinger covered doughnut. It's only a matter of time before something of the sort opens in Asheville! Being the lame people that we are, we decided to cut the night short and go to bed in preparation for the Oregon Ducks game we were attending the next day!

(stolen image....https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQRK5kMIKC87-ktoX_zyH2ouD0z5SKXlmTz1zNwQEzAPQs9eLJ9Rg)


My uncle is a therapist and he works extensively with the Ducks football team, so much so that he travels with the team and is on the sideline for each game. That being said, he was able to score us tickets with passes to be on the field when the team came out and warmed up. Pretty awesome! The Ducks are ranked 2 in the country and so there was some pretty serious talent on the field.

After the team warmed up, we made our way to our seats. Let me tell you, Ducks fans are SERIOUS about their football. At least the lady was who sat behind us. Her vocal chords should be donated to science because there is NO way it should be possible for her to have maintained such a high pitched scream for the duration that she did during that game. The Ducks played the Tennessee Vols, a game that several years ago may have been exciting, but now it was just a blowout in the Ducks favor. By late in the third quarter the ducks back ups were all in and they coasted to a huge blow out. That said, it was still fun. The Ducks style of play is so exciting that even during a blowout it's fun to watch.    


That night, we had some pizza and watched more football! We played card games and had a nice relaxing night before going to bed and getting ready for our long drive to San Francisco the next day. My time in Eugene was great. I know why this part of my family moved to Oregon, hell, I'm tempted to myself, but I couldn't help but feel a little bit sad that I'm not able to spend more time with them. When we left, I realized just how little time I've been able to spend with that side of my family. They're such great people and I know that my life would be enriched if I was able to see them more. As we drove south to San Francisco, I was left to ponder this and how it might shape the way I make decisions about my own future.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

9/12 A Grand Update

A lot has happened since my last update! Catching quickly back to speed:

We left Wild Iris on the 8th. We had a great, short session on the Zorro wall. We did El Goucho and Zorro, both of which are SUPERB routes. In my opinion, two of the very best at Wild Iris. We were thinking about doing one more route before heading north for Jackson, but (SUPRISE!) a storm started to roll in, cutting our day shorter than planned.

Fortunately, we were very excited to go to Jackson, WY to meet up with Jamie, our friend from Asheville who's lived in Jackson since mid July, and also catch the Giants opener. Jamie's an awesome guy who, without his help, we would not have even considered attempting the Grand. Originally, we did not plan to do the Grand. It was too ambitious, neither of us having any mountaineering experience at all. We were going to do a small wall in the area that we could easily accomplish in a day. Fortunately for us, Jamie offered to guide us up the Grand, an opportunity I was eager to take him up on.

For those who are not familiar with the Grand Teton and mountaineering in general, let me explain. Summitting the Grand Teton involves mountaineering skills. Mountaineering involves lots of hiking, route finding in unknown territory and a bit of technical rock climbing. When I tell people who aren't climbers that I'm a climber, most associate that with mountaineering, but that is NOT the same. What I do is technical rock climbing. This involves skills for climbing sheer rock faces. What it comes down to is this; mountaineering is technical rock climbing with  A LOT of hiking before it and the chance for serious injury.

Let me put this simply. The Grand Teton is one of the most sought after summits in the continental United States. It involves a heinous, 6-7 hour hike just to get in the vicinity of the general climbing area. You are in an alpine zone, far about the treeline, where the weather can change at any minute. For me, it is scary and so far out of my comfort zone I wouldn't even consider doing it without the help of someone more experienced.



Anyway, we got to Jackson on the night of the 8th. We decided to splurge and get a hotel room since we hadn't showered in days and didn't want to inconvenience Jamie. We met him at Snake River brewing in downtown Jackson to watch the Giants hand the game to the Cowboys. The next day, we slept in at our hotel room and took a nice rest day around Jackson. Jackson is a beautiful town with a very cool vibe to it. The town feels a bit upscale as it caters to tourists, but it never felt pretentious, an important distinction.

After having a fairly productive day in town, we met Jamie for a carb loading dinner. Alanna made an awesome pasta meal and we finalized our plans for the day. With trepidation, we parted for the night and went to sleep for before the big day. Or rather, I TRIED to go to sleep. I was nervous, very nervous. Laying in bed, every single possible bad scenario ran through my head; A grizzly bear attacks us during the hike, the weather changes drastically and we get caught in a freak storm, a plane crashes into the mountain as we're climbing (yes, I actually thoguht about that). The only solace I found while tossing in bed, thinking about worst case scenarios, was that Harrison Ford was known to make rescues with his personal helicopter. Now THAT would have made for a  story worth telling my grandkids.

After tossing and turning for several hours, the alarm rang at 2:00 am. Yes, 2 am. Oh, I may have forgot to mention, most sane people do the Grand in two days. 1 day is spent hiking to the climbing, the next for the climbing and the decent. Alanna and I didn't have any backpacking gear, so we figured, what the hell, let's do it in a day...

After waking up and throwing our packed bags into Jamie's car we headed for the trailhead. Our spirit's were high and we were filled with adrenaline. Because of this, it did not feel like we had a mere couple of hours at sleep at 2 am. We made it to the trailhead by 3:00 am, suited up, turned on our headlamps and started our long uphill journey at 3:20 am...

At first, it was easy. The hike itself wasn't easy, it never was. It was unrelentingly uphill. But our spirits were easy. Jamie and I chatted while we marched upwards, maintaining an even pace through the dark. Up we went, through the lower pine forest, up the switchbacks of sagebrush, and then finally into the large talus field. A VERY large talus field. For hours we hiked through the darkness, carefully jumping  between rocks, unable to see anything our headlamps weren't illuminating.

This went on for several hours, until around 6:30 am when the sun peeked through the canyon. By this time, we had already been hiking 3 hours in pitch black, so the change was most welcome. I felt myself re-energize, as the beauty of the valley we hiked through surrounded us. Of course, this only lasted for a few minutes before the now illuminated vastness of the distance before me became evident. Sighing, I put my head down and continued uphill. There isn't much to say about the next several hours. We hiked, we rested, we ate beef jerky, and then we hiked more. Finally,by around 9:00 am we reached a major landmark, the lower saddle.

The lower Saddle is base camp for many climbers who plan to do the climb in 2 days. We were very pleased that we made it to the camp by 9 am. 5.5 hours to do the hike is not too shabby, and we were happy. We took a nice, well deserved rest here and took in the gorgeous views. At this point, we were around 11,000 feet. The summit of the Grand is 13,770, and the trailhead is somewhere around 6,000. Needless to say, we had covered a lot of ground. From the lower saddle, we could see that the peak of Grand was covered in a cloud. The forecast called for mostly sunny skies so we were disappointed about this. However, the sun was high in the sky and we assumed that by the time we were in summit position, the clouds would be burnt away by the sun.

After our small break, we put our packs back on and started the long class 4 scramble to get to the base of the technical climbing route. At this point, I was nervous. I was nervous for myself and for Alanna. I knew that she was completely capable of any of the scrambling we had to do, but like myself, she had never been in an alpine setting like this. Even more, she had never even done a multi-pitch climbing route. I swallowed my nervousness and pushed on as we followed Jamie through the class 4 terrain. After a bit of route finding, we managed to find the route we were looking for...

...Which was in a complete white out due to the cloud still swirling around the peak AND also smattered with ice. So, we waited, hoping the clouds would move away, allowing us to see our route a little more clearly. As we waited, several Exum guides passed us on their descent (they were camped at the lower saddle the night before so they were able to get a much earlier start than us). They informed us of the nasty conditions of the route we were planning to do, cementing our decision. We would have to turn around without the summit.

Suprisingly, after this decision was made, our spirits lifted. I know that I was nervous about the technical, exposed climbing that was coming up next, and I'm pretttttty sure Alanna shared my feelings, if not even more so. Once the decision  to turn around was made, that nervousness faded. Regardless of the fact that we did not summit, I was still proud. It's a tough thing to do what we attempted, doing the Grand in a day. We made a very solid effort and I did not feel ashamed for turning away. That said, I would have LIKED to have made the summit, but there's always next time!

I would like to say that after making the decision to turn around, the story was finished, but that's not the reality. We still had to go back down. Normally, I would look forward to an all downhill hike after a day of climbing. Normally, I'm not running on a mere couple hours of restless sleep and haven't spent the past 8 hours relentlessly marching uphill. Regardless, we hiked down. At first, it was not bad. We made it back to the lower saddle easily. Then we moved into the big talus field. This is where it began to get tough. Constantly having to hop around the rocks is murder on your knees and I had already put mine through the ringer. By the time we made it halfway through the talus field I knew that I was going to be hurting BAD the next day.

The descent was not all bad though. It was an energizing sight to see what we had missed during our morning twilight hike. The Grand Teton park is absolutely beautiful. Massive sheer faces surround you creating and intimidating presence, but a calm river runs through the middle of the valley , grassy fields teeming with life surrounding it on both sides. It's a magical place and certainly one of the most beautiful places I had ever been.

Needless to say, I couldn't fully appreciate it because my everything felt like it was about to explode. Seriously, my EVERYTHING.

FINALLY, we made it out of the talus and to the switchbacks. My groggy memory told me that after the switchbacks we should be close to the car. I set my jaw with determination and pressed forward through the sun exposed switchbacks. Our eyes were down, there was no talking, just moving. Finally, after what felt like an eternity we reached the end of the switchbacks. Hooray! A sign pointed in the direction of the parking lot! We were close, right? WRONG! 3 more miles! 3 more long and grueling miles.

The rest of the hike was much the same. There was no talking, only walking. After what felt like days, we emerged from the woods to the warm embrace of a gravel parking lot. I've never been so happy to see a parking lot. With dark eyes but happy spirits, we threw the bags in the trunk and decided where we would eat...

After a filling mexican meal, we went back to Jamie's where we promptly passed out, well before any self respecting 20 something should. The next day, after lounging around and chatting with Jamie's roommate we hit the road for Oregon, first stop Smith Rock!

(all of these pictures were taken with my cell phone)

















Sunday, September 8, 2013

Retroactive Blog Post 9/7

9/7

After getting our showers, we made our sad farewell to RMNP and hit the road for Lander, WY. The 5 hour drive felt like nothing after the 23 hours to Boulder. The drive to Wyoming felt far more remote than the drive across the plains. If you didn't stop at the one gas station and were below half a tank, you're likely getting stuck in the middle of nowhere.

Once we got to Lander, we stopped at the gear shop and picked up our guide book for the area. We then proceeded to the Lander Bar to watch the first half of the opening day football game. It was here that I made the dumb decision to leave town(we planned on camping in the city park which is free) and try and set up camp at Wild Iris, in the dark, at an area I didn't know AT all. Did I mention that everything in Wyoming feels remote? We drove through the dark and found the Wild Iris camping ground, but couldn't find a main camping ground. It was dark, remote, and if honest, rather ominous. We drove around a bit before deciding to cut our losses and head back to Lander to camp at the park.

The next day, we drove to Wild Iris and found the camping areas. We set up shop and started climbing at the OK Corral on the pocketed limestone. The OK Corral was a cool area, made even cooler due to it's proximity to the campsite. It is literally, a 2 minute hike from the tent to the crag. The climbing is unlike anything I've ever done and really cool. I've found it super difficult for me to on-sight anything relatively hard because the holds are SO subtle. Grab a hold one way, it sucks, pull your hand out a 1/4 inch and it's a jug. Either way, the climbing is very cool.

That night, we camped at Wild Iris, which, as you probably gather from my previous ramblings, has a very remote feel to it.  There are signs warning of Grizzly Bears all over and we had heard stories of redneck tweakers coming up to the camp and threatening people. Needless to say, we were tense (at least I was). After going to sleep for a couple of hours, I was awakened to the rumblings of thunder. I've never been the type of person who loves storms, despite that, I've never had such an adverse reaction to one as this night. Shortly after waking, I broke into a cold sweat as the time between the flashes of lighting and the rumbling of thunder grew closer together. At some point, my erratic breathing must have woken Alanna and she realized that I was really upset. We actually had to move from the tent to my car in order for me to calm down. It's actually rather embarassing for me to include in this blog, but I had a panic attack from this storm. I generally pride myself on being able to maintain calm in uncertain situations, but there was something about the remoteness of the campsite and our exposure to the storm that made me, well, freak out.

Anyway, shortly after we moved to the car, the storm passed and we were able to sleep comfortably. The next day, we headed to the main wall and had a blast there. I did the AWESOME route, wind and rattlesnakes, reccommended by ex landerite, Julie. Awesome problem! Alanna did great on it also, figuring out all the moves and making some links. Besides that, we pretty much went about trying to climb the 3 star problems in the book. I've been fairly unimpressed with the guidebook's descriptions of the routes and locations, but the stars are dead on. Every 3 star route, from 5.8 to 5.12 has been stellar. To end our day, we sprinted along an open ridge from the main wall back to the camping lot as a thunder storm approached. Literally, sprinted.

Tomorrow, we're going to go to the Zorro wall to do the 3 star routes there and then leave for Jackson where we'll catch the Giants opener and meet up with our Friend Jamie before doing the Grand on Monday!  





Retroactive Blog Post 9/5


9/5

After the long drive, we went straight to Boulder (or broomfield rather, 15 minutes outside Boulder), where we had a hotel courtesy of my dad's Marriott points waiting for us. We have a certain number of points we can spend on the trip and decided to cash in on some of them so we could have a comfortable place to rest after the long drive. After a quick shower, we met up with our friend from Asheville, Ben Newton and his friend and Eric Purphur at a cool brew pub in Boulder called Fate.

After dinner, Eric and Ben went into Denver to catch a free MC Hammer Show(not a typo) while Alanna and I explored Boulder. Of course, me being me, we had to peek into the two super gyms of Boulder, Movement and the Spot, both of which were amazing facilities. Afterwards, we met up with Ben and Eric again( too much traffic for them to get to the MC Hammer show) and walked around downtown Boulder. Boulder was beautiful! I loved the vibe of the city and would love to visit again.

The next day, we met up with Ben and Eric at a park near Evergreen, called Three Sisters. We bouldered with them for a bit and had an all around great day. The approach was short which was perfect for us after being tired from the long drive. We had a herd of elk walk straight through the area while we were climbing. I had 4G service so I could do my FF draft, AND we had the qunitissential post climbing cheap Mexican dinner.

After dinner we drove to Rocky Mountain National Park. We passed through black hawk, which was a bizarre experience. Black Hawk is a strip of fluorescent lights and gambling in the middle of nowhere. It was pretty surreal for us, driving through the night and coming through this extremely brightly lit area in the middle of a canyon. Eventually, we made it to a campground in between Evergreen and RMNP where we spent the night.

The next day we made it to the park, and WOW is it beautiful. It's a stunning place that everybody should visit at some point. When you wake up in the morning Deer and Elk are grazing in the field behind your tent in front of the backdrop of Long's Peak. Like I said, beautiful. That being said, not everything was perfect. Getting into the park is fairly expensive. It's $20 for 7 days, which isn't bad if you're there for 7 days, but for only a couple it's a little bit hefty. Camping is also expensive at $20 a night and there's not even a shower! There are no other options for camping within an hours drive of the park, so you're forced to pay.

After setting up camp, we made the long hike up to lower chaos canyon(near lake hayayyayyyayayayay). Once we got our bearings, we found some warm ups and started to climb. What a place to climb. I've never bouldered (or probably climbed for that matter) in such a beautiful location. The rock has an aesthetic green moss on it and the backdrop is unparalleled.

After meandering through the boulder field, we decided to go check out the warm up boulder. As we turn a corner to approach  the boulder, who should be warming up there but Tommy Caldwell. For those who don't know, Tommy Caldwell is in my opinion the MOST bad ass all around climber in the world. He does every discipline of climbing at an elite level.

Before I go any further, I should note that my friend and I often talk about what pro climbers are "like". Do you think so and so is cool to climb with? I've hear this guy is kind of an asshole and he seems like it in his videos. For Tommy, we've always said "Man, I bet he's a cool dude and down to earth."

Well, he couldn't have been any nicer. After he finished the warm up he was doing(sans pad mind you) he came over and introduced himself. This is how the interaction between Tommy and Alanna went.

"Hi, I'm Tommy" He said, reaching a hand out to shake Alanna's.

Alanna takes his hand and her face turns a dark purple. With a quiver in her voice, she manages to whisper "I know...I'm Alanna"

After that we chit chatted and he asked us where we were from, where we were going on the trip, etc. I told Tommy that if he comes to NC that trad climbing 5.8 is scary. I'm pretty sure he took note of that for future reference. It was a pretty cool experience, bouldering with Tommy Caldwell in RMNP on a boulder problem he did the FA of years ago. The only other people we saw at the boulder field was Josh Wharton(another sponsored athlete), Paul Robinson (one of the best boulderers in the world), and a guy named Rick who had been bouldering at lower chaose for 20 years. All in all, a great day.

The next day, we made the long hike to the boulder field. A note about the hike, it is LONG, but it's not too tough. It is unrelentingly uphill for 45 minutes, but it's never to steep and you're greeted with beautiful views the entire time. The most annoying thing about the hike is constantly being asked what you're carrying on your back. It's funny how many people just assume that you're going to be spending weeks out there because of the size of the crash pads you're carrying.

Anyway, we did the hike, warmed up, and then I went over to Gangbang Arete and tried that. It took me a while to figure out the lower sequence, but I never sent(apparently this problem has been campused and climbed with a crash pad on the back). We were getting ready to go to Alanna's project, Revenge, when we noticed that the clouds were darkening. Not wanting to be caught at 10,000ft and above tree line, we made the tough decision to bail on the afternoon and head down the trail before the storm hit us. We were questioning the decision, which was only exacerbated by seeing little Ashima Shirashi hiking up the trail as we were going down it.(Ashima is a 12 year old crusher. At 12, she has arguably the best female tick list in the world) However, a few short moments later we were reassured with our decision when the skies opened up with hail and rain.

We made it to our car, hoping that little Ashima was safe and sound. From there, we tried to decide our next step. We had climbed 2.5 days straight and needed a rest day, but Alanna REALLY wanted to try and send Revenge. We decided that we would try and wake up early and do a half day the next day, before leaving for Lander.

The next day, Alanna couldn't move. The hike had taken it's toll and we decided to take the rest day, get a shower and head to Lander!




Retroactive Blog Post - 9/1: The Impossible Drive


9/1

The impossible drive

The impossible drive. Everyone warned us that we were crazy for trying to go straight from Asheville to Boulder in one push. Do it on two days or you'll be sorry they said. Well, we did it and it was easy.

The trek started when I picked up Alanna at work at 6:00 pm EST. We went to the house, did one last minute sweep through to make sure we had everything, made a quick run to Steven's, and then we were out on the road at 7:30 pm! I drove the first leg of the trip until 1:00 am. Alanna was able to sleep a bit and rest up(after I turned off our audiobook of Name of The Wind... no sleeping during the audio book! ) Next was Alanna's shift through the dead of night, from 1-6a. She killed it and gave me a couple hours sleep before it was my turn again.

Around 7 am, we hit our first storm of the trip. An ominous looking sky greeted us as we drove into Kansas City. The clouds hung low and there was a wall of rain and lightning as we passed under them. We decided to stop for breakfast and wait it out.

The next many hours were extremely uneventful as we drove through the great plains. Boring, but in a way beautiful in it's own sense. Finally, we get to Colorado and we are greeted with even more plains! It wasn't until the last hour of our trip where we finally had our first sight of the Rocky mountains...

Retroactive Blog Post- 8/30


8/30

Our trip!

We're taking a month off of work and going cross country! Yay! For those curious about the itinerary, the plan* is as follows. (*plan is subject to change upon girlfriend disapproval)

Asheville -------------> Boulder/ RMNP --> Lander, WY (wild Iris) --> Jackson, WY( (the Grand!!) -------->(note the arrrows for a long drive)--> Eugene, OR --> Smith Rock --> Ashland/Medford --> San Francisco/ Castle Rock --> Bishop(pending weather) --> Joe's Valley-------------> Asheville

Yes, we're trying to fit in a lot. Yes, I know that there are so many places in addition to those we should see. Yes, I know you had a great time at X park, but no, we won't stop there!

Our objective for this trip is to see as much as possible while still having an opportunity to enjoy an area and get a feel for it. I can't see us managing to add much more to the trip without deducting from another area. Another side objective is for us to maximize the time bouldering at the end of the trip so we can go into our climbing season in NC feeling fit. So, there it is. That's our itinerary!

A couple other pre-trip notes.

Layla: First of all, thank you SO much to Kristen Zonnevylle for taking Layla for an entire month. Our original plans involving layla being left with my parents in NJ fell through after my mom broke her foot in two places trying to swat a fly(NICE!) I was very hesitant to ask Kristen because it is just such a huge favor to ask of someone. An entire month! And on top of that a week before our trip, Layla had a limpoma that grew too the size of a golf ball out of nowhere. We had two doctors look at it and both of them thought that it could wait until after our trip before removing it. Still, it's an added responsibility to check the lump to make sure it's not growing and to give her medicine. So...again... THANK YOU KRISTEN!!!

We're homeless!:  Yep, our lease is done with. We don't have bills, we don't have rent, we don't have a home to come back to... So yes, we'll be trolling craigslist while we're gone looking for a place and sending Ben to go look at the them and make sure they have floors that are level.(seriously, every place we looked at before we left had a floor that looked to be on the verge of collapsing. So, thank you to  Ben for checking out places for us and thank you to Steven for letting us post up some stuff at his house.

We still have our jobs!: Thanks to Climbmax and Wicked Weed for being so flexible with us and giving us the opportunity to do this trip. It's a unique experience that not everyone is able to do, so thank you to both great organizations.

And of course, thank you to our families for the support going on this trip. THANK YOU!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

1 year per blog post

I DID IT GUYS!  I really did it! I'm updating my blog two times in a year and I couldn't be more excited!  (364 days since my last post here) 


Anyway, I'm just sprucing up this blog so I can use it for our upcoming road trip. 

Honestly though, don't expect an update for another year.