a rather gloomy, but beautiful day spent in red rock. unsighted a couple 10’s & worked my way up an 11, while the beautiful izzy chewed on some rocks.
a short hike to one of my favorite warm up spots in red rock, the gallery, was only occupied by one other pair when we arrived. i hopped on a top rope 11c, and although i was not successful in completing the route, i had the opportunity to slowly practice at the crux and work certain moves that would be otherwise, difficult to impossible on lead.
this weekend i packed the car and took a weekend trip to la to clear my minds with the simple things that grounded me while i was in undergrad: long runs on the overcast beach (this time accompanied by a different lovely companion), acai bowls with sandy toes and the reading of dorian grey, and late night talks with close friends.
kai, every day, will sit on the couch and peer out the window a little past five o'clock, in anticipation of my mom's suv driving around the corner. is it kai's loyalty to my mother that draws him to await here each day, or is it my mom's loyalty to come home and prepare his dinner on which he is counting?
experiencing as much rain that this winter has brought is exciting for many reasons. first, all this precipitation means we will have a beautiful spring; second, although it knocks out the option of climbing beautiful sandstone, it allows us to explore other canyons and enjoy the wonderful weather.
on this particular morning, we decided to search for caves in a less explored (by us) area, called fossil canyon, that was known for its caves. when we arrived at the trailhead, we were pleased to see the mountains dusted in snow, and were even more excited about our decision to visit this location as the rain turned to soft flakes the further we made it down the trail. we discovered some bolted routes on the right wall glistening with water droplets. from the way the canyon is shaped, it looks like a great early morning spot with shade provided naturally from the canyon.
we passed a few smaller caves we poked around in, and eventually, after some slippery scrambling, made it to a much more significant find. the mouth of this cave was very narrow, as we had to slip in between grafittied rocks, but to our surprise found ourselves in a large area within the left wall of the canyon. there were signs that many had been in this cave before, campfire, broken glass, graffiti, but the sheer size of the cave was magical. we went as far back as we could go comfortably with our wet bodies, and let our gloves air out as we lay and passed stories back and forth, only experiencing a small stream of light from the opening through which we squeezed.
although my family has made several trips to this canyon, it never ceases to amaze me how spectacular this earth is. we get caught up and distracted by small details in our lives that we miss sight of life on a grand scale. i spent a lot of this trip reflecting on myself as an individual and things i want to accomplish this upcoming year, thus resulting in the minimal photosets. there are many things i'm excited for 2017 and though this year will be a stepping stone, it will be crucial to keep my head and heart centered on God's purpose for me and to take the small moves every day that will get me to where i need to be. while i do not have any large finish lines or due dates for this year, it will be solely dedicated to trusting the journey and allowing each day to slowly strengthen me, though progress may not be always felt or seen. some days will be difficult, and many may seem impossible, but there will be small victories that i will celebrate that will be enough to encourage me to keep pushing forward. this is the pivotal year. this is the year to sting or get stung.
though a winter day in antelope canyon, the walls produced just as breathtaking sites as it would in a summer noon. due to the earth's tilt in the winter the sun is not directly above the slot canyon, therefore we do not get to experience the effects of light beams in certain areas of the canyon. however, the walls still were as breathtaking with dynamic colors and shapes that challenge the mind and inspire many navajo images in the angles of the canyon walls. as the canyon is on navajo land, one can only access them by guided navajo tour guide. though winter, we still experienced a bit of traffic. it did not take away from the experience of the canyon, as we moved swiftly through (perhaps due to cold and the wind). i couldn't imagine squeezing through bodies of people while trying to experience the canyon during the summer, so i'm happy my first time here was with a much smaller crowd.
took an afternoon hike (pups and all, minus kai), down to the arizona hot springs. with recent rain, some of the pools were a little cloudy which deterred everyone but myself from dipping in. about a week or so ago, i did this same hike with a few friends with a case of shock top, where we sat and conversed for hours before finally crawling out. today, we were able to catch a nice sunset towards the end of our hike out of the canyon.
we woke up to find we paddled all the way to mile marker 12! we casually made our way down the rest of the colorado, exploring different rock structures and peeking into some coves. our backs were getting tight as we neared the end of our journey, but we continued to eat tangerines for energy and paddled to the edge of davis dam (or at least to where the markers allowed us), to complete our trek! we had to paddle into the wind a mile and half back to the marina that we passed on the way to davis, which was where the jeep was parked. overall an amazing journey that we would definitely do again, perhaps in the summer. upon looking at a map later on, we found that on night two the reason that light was so faint and gradual upon reaching was due to it being on the opposite end of lake mojave. yes, we kayaked the entire length of lake mojave and didn't notice!
after being awoken by some light rain in the middle of the night, we rose with the sun to begin our second day on the water. we had a rough first five miles where we encountered heavy wind, rain, and white-capped water. we found a beautiful sand beach where we enjoyed a jet boiled mac and cheese lunch. we took casual breaks and let our legs dangle in rare moments of sun and consumed many tangerines while taking in the the serenity of the mountains. we passed mile marker 21 just as the sun was setting and decided to paddle a little down river until we found a place to set up camp for the night. what seemed like forever, we found ourselves in the middle of a large section of river, with the determination to reach the next blinking mile marker sign. while in this stretch, we reclined as far back as we could to experience the stars and the coyotes howling on the sides of us. we eventually jet boiled an indian rice and garbanzo bean dish and continued onwards to the faintly flashing light.
day one of our three day adventure from hoover dam to davis dam. due to a set back, our [modified] 65 mile journey began eleven miles down from the base of the dam where we paddled from willow beach. we experienced on and off again rain and sun, which made for a stunning sunset. we were able to paddle from mile marker 54 to 39 in the first stretch. these are some of the things we came across!
a crisp rainy morning 6 mile run with the pups, definitely a favorite activity in fall. we were lucky to catch a waterfall from the rain off one of the canyon walls
living in las vegas many feel robbed from experiencing the colors of fall. i beg to differ; i think if you look in just the right places, you'll be surprised at what you'll find.↟
on a particularly odd day we found ourselves piling into the civic late in the afternoon. we discovered a unique canyon made of conglomerate rock with some well know crags. //aspen's first night in the tent was restless, as was mine, due to her curiosity of experiencing life through the mesh tent ceiling. unzipping the tent revealed what desert natives only imagine a crisp autumn morning entails. the sense of oneness the pups felt with the environment was as strong as the will to spend the day exploring. after breakfast we set out into the depths of the canyon where the pups ran free.
conglomerate stone, I discovered, is not my ideal climbing sediment. we completed some quality rated routes, most longer than the standard pitch in red rock.
i remember snapping photos of what was the most captivating fall scenery i've every experienced, quickly looking to see the outcome, and being disappointed that the depth and vibrance of the canyon were far from the beauty in which I was surrounded.
//candace's description, i agree, is the most accurate way to describe this phenomena: 'if only a photo could capture the way this makes me feel and project it in a such a way that the viewer could understand what i am experiencing right now.'
take heed in continuing to view these photos, as they will only give you a sliver, a mere morsel, of the wonderland we had the privilege of venturing.
what more motivation does one need to go on a run and enjoy what we have in our backyard?
a question i'm frequently asked is how do the huskies survive summers in the desert. we combat summer days by going on early morning runs, hikes in charleston, and late night runs in the park.
this is our favorite time of year because we can wake up a little later and enjoy a lot more of the mornings in our favorite places. on this particular morning, the clouds drew us to calico tanks, red rock.
a beautiful morning start from the base of hoover dam. if you were wondering what a perfect day of work looked like... here it is.
today after church, mom and i looked at each other and upon both agreeing that we should be outside enjoying this weather, we loaded up the truck and made our way to utah. we found a trail in kanarraville that was dog friendly (another fun fact about this trail is depending on if the day is even or odd, the trail allows dogs to be off leash)! we followed a winding creek along a trail, through some brush, and through a slot canyon. the slot canyon was a little cool even for fall, but we continued until we found a metal ladder leaning against a waterfall. kai and i explored the waterfall, then aspen and i ventured carefully up the ladder to see what was above. we were only able to go so far, as i didn't want to leave mom, vix, and kai below for long, we made our way back to them very slowly and left the remaining half mile of trail to imagination, until we complete it another time.
"Hey Brian do you think it would be a great idea to bring all three dogs to the mountains with us?" Not a good idea if one of them is Kai and you want to spend more time climbing than chasing him and jack rabbits.
'Twas Brian's first sport multipitch, so naturally we did our due diligence in planning out the route, practicing what belay devices and gear we'd be using for each pitch.
Upon making it to the first set of anchors Brian had to unfortunately wait out a couple rappelling the route, (not recommended for this route). Eventually he was able to make it up to second anchors where I said 'see ya' to all three pups and made my way up to meet him. The second pitch was much easier as the fourth run was scrambling grade.
After 20 minutes or trial and error to tie the rope into a backpack, we made a short detour to catch an exhilarating sunset over the red rock valley before down climbing to the pups.
even after a long day on the river or at the shop, we still make time for dusk climbs in red rock's boulder field. we were just in time for candace to climb split rock with the remaining daylight. the wolf pups kept themselves busy by chasing some desert rats in the surrounding area; truly a wonderful way to bring the day to a close.
sometimes your friends come to visit and sometimes they beg to come to work with you
today I begin my journey guiding kayak tours one day a week. this is my office
Best way to wrap up a camping trip is with some bouldering in the buttermilks. Though wiped from the previous day, we took it easy with some solid routes and a couple of Yosemite brand beers in Bishop.
After a phenomenal gritty breakfast, we set out on an afternoon hike to Brainard lake. Not knowing much about this part of the land, we took local directions to go left at every major fork. The scenery was breathtaking, leading us to the Inyo National Forest and over the ridge into Kings Canyon. Approximately four miles in I ran into a mental wall. I felt myself harnessing a mix uncontrollable factors; how little sleep we got as Vix was restlessly moving around the tent peering through the mesh ceiling, performance levels were affected by the week's gym workouts, remaining hydration, were my pheromones affecting Vix as well. We pushed through and made it to our hammocks on the lakeside. It was empowering to overcome the limits my mind had constructed and push my body beyond them. The feeling at mile-marker four is one I needed to experience as it was congruent in other areas of my life and has since given the platform to mentally drive myself forward despite external forces.
A particularly lucky scheduling incident providing me four days off in a row led to a spur of the moment decision to do a weekend camping and hiking trip with Vixey. Planning was a unique struggle as all National parks allow dogs to camp, but prohibit them from hiking on the trails. After hours of research and phone calls, we found that dogs are welcome to camp and hike in National Forests, thus leading to the discovery of Brainard lake and our adventure to the Eastern Sierras.
although away from consistent climbing the previous couple months, Brian challenged me to an 11a in the black corridor, I was able to successfully complete it. Not near the flawless performance I would have wanted, but definitely encouraging to think my base level of fitness is not far from where I left it. overall a fantastic day on the rocks, with a fantastic sunset to hike out and celebrate our accomplishments.