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Looking Back

Climbing as a Family

Daddy climbing at the gym

I first started climbing mainly to keep my husband company as he climbed. Munchkin was his original climbing partner, but her college schedule and studies limited her climbing time. I figured that it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try as he wanted a climbing partner, and I wanted not only to have a fun way to stay in shape but also spend more time with him.

I quickly learned that I enjoyed the challenge of climbing. While you climb with others, it really is an individual challenge. As a beginner, you don’t have to be better than the next person. You just have to improve yourself. There is always another route to try, a different technique to learn, and different hand/foot holds to tackle.

If you get stuck on a problem, you can move on to another problem before trying it again. There are times that you need to put the problem on the back burner and tackle it again at a later time. I’ve found that I need to get a little creative with my approach to problems as I’m short. Thankfully, my flexibility helps where my height fails me. I don’t have the strength and skills to power through some of the problems, so I try to approach them a little differently. It’s fun watching the various approaches to problems in the gym.

Munchkin climbing at the gym

As Munchkin’s schedule changed, she was able to start climbing with us here and there. It turns out the climbing is also a great way to relieve stress which is a huge plus for a college student. We’re hoping that as Munchkin settles into this new semester that climbing will become part of her regular fitness and stress relief routine. I know we all enjoy climbing together. Her youth allows her to tackle problems in a different manner which often inspires me to try again.

Right now, we’re doing mainly indoor climbing as it works best with the various schedules. Plus, it’s been really hot outside, and it’s not fun to climb in the blazing sun on super heated boulders. Sometimes, D and I will head out early on the weekend to do a little climbing before it gets too hot, but lately, everyone has needed that extra rest more than they have wanted to head outdoors in the early morning. We’re all looking forward to cooler temps so we can do more outdoor climbing on the weekends.


Harsh, Beautiful Desert Life

Clouds over the desert mountains

Life in the desert can be beautiful, but it’s also steeped in danger. The harsh elements just dare you to get careless. Beauty and tranquility can change to danger and death in an instant.

On a day-to-day basis, we enjoy the beauty of the desert. Gorgeous sunrises and breath-taking sunsets. Clear night skies filled with stars. Blooming plant life after a storm. Amazing views that stretch for miles. Interesting rock formations. Entertaining wildlife. We have so much to do from hiking to climbing to riding to exploring.

While we enjoy mild temperatures for a good portion of the year, the summer brings scorching, dry temps. On the rare occasion where we do get rain, it usually means some flash flooding. Summer also means wildfire season, and it’s been a crazy season here thus far. Wildfires mean animals are displaced from their normal habitats as they flee from the raging inferno.


As the new animals are introduced to the established habitats, the natural balance is thrown off until a new equilibrium can be found. This can lead to some chaos as the new feeding order is established – especially if a large predator is introduced to the area.

We’re experiencing this right now. There is a new large predator in the area. The coyotes are running scared, so their normal patterns have been thrown off. The huge flocks of ravens refuse to sleep near the ground as they have taken to the trees at night. Dogs in the neighborhood are on edge. The horses are uneasy at night. Strange sounds can be heard as the darkness of night descends on us.

This morning, the horses were acting odd and refused to eat. When I saw why, it was a little disturbing. The ravens had dropped the lower portion of a coyote’s leg with the paw still attached into one of the feed buckets. Yikes! The yelp that had been heard by our neighbor was indeed a coyote being taken down. The ravens, being keen scavengers who enjoy bringing us “presents”, decided to drop the coyote leg in the feed bucket.

At this point, we’re not sure what predator is out there, but we’re certainly taking precautions with the smaller animals and with ourselves – especially at dusk, dawn, and in the darkness of night. There is an uneasiness that comes with not knowing what large predator might be out there. The most likely candidate is a mountain lion, but since no one has clearly seen the animal and no clear prints have been seen, we will continue to be in the dark on the mysterious animal.

Horses enjoying a cloudy, foggy day

Life in the desert means enjoying all the beauty and mystery of the environment while respecting the dangers of the area.

College Life: Sophomore Year Begins

Munchkin wearing her new this is my happy face shirt.

Poor Munchkin didn’t get much of a break between the end of her summer classes and the beginning of her sophomore year. In fact, she had a little over a week, but we made the most of it. She enjoyed sleeping in pretty much every day. Since Daddy was gone for part of her time off, we had some great girl time as we relaxed and enjoyed more than one movie marathon. She played some games on the xbox, made some jewelry, and got some recreational reading done. Once Daddy got back, we did some fun indoor rock climbing.

Alas, the fun times came to an end all to soon. This morning, she pretty much crawled out of bed as she was not looking forward to the long day of classes and work ahead. I packed a lunch and snacks for her – a benefit to her going to college locally. 😉 She ate her breakfast and off she went.

Her new schedule created a long 11 hour day today. Thankfully, only a couple of days are that long. The rest of the days are more manageable. Her classes aren’t easy with a course load that includes Chemistry, Calculus, Logic, Nutrition, and History of World Civilizations (18 credits). It’s going to take some creativity to balance school, work, and some play, but at least we’re here to help her a bit.

Being a typical mom, I couldn’t wait until she got home, so I could hear about how her day had gone. She walked in exhausted but in a good mood. Overall, things went well both with her classes and with her tutoring job. It’s only the first day, so I’m sure things will get rather crazy as the semester progresses, but at least today went well.

One class at a time. One day at a time. One week at a time. One month at a time. One semester at a time. She will achieve her academic goals.



Exploring, Hiking, and Climbing

1st Jeep trip out in the desert

First off-road trip in the desert with the Jeep. We had a little 4-wheel-drive problem, but D got it up and running. It’s always good to be prepared when you’re out in the desert exploring.

Just hanging out with my guy

My favorite part of exploring, hiking, and climbing? Hanging out with this guy. I treasure our time together.

Exploring boulder cave formations

The caves made by fallen boulders were really cool and provided a great reprieve from the hot sun.

Looking up at the sky from within the cave

Relaxing in the shade of the boulder caves

Exploring some of the boulder formations in Hall of Horrors

Hall of Horrors was a fun area to explore. It has some intense bouldering and climbing areas.

Exploring some of the cave formations in JT

We had a blast exploring all of the various boulder caves.

Just taking a little break on the rock ledge

I scrambled up onto this rock ledge to get out of the sun. So peaceful.

I was all about staying out of the hot sun.

Taking a break in another boulder cave. 😉

Doing some climbing at Mel's Diner

Can’t wait to keep up with our outdoor adventures. Of course, I think I’ll enjoy it even more when we get past this summer heat. 🙂

Learning to Climb

Learning how to boulder day 1

I’m not your typical first time climber. I’m approaching the big 40 this year. Last year at this time, I sustained a nasty ankle injury that kept me on crutches for nearly 6 months. I’m certainly not in the best of shape, and I’m not at my strongest by any means.

I'm learning how to climb

D started climbing about 3 years ago, but his shoulder injuries and surgery kept him sidelined for a good chunk of this past year. He’s slowly getting back into climbing as part of his rehab, and I thought I would be cool to join him to keep him company. I didn’t realize that it would end up being not only great for my own rehab but also a fun challenge for me.

Day 2 of learning how to climb

A little over a week ago, I began my climbing journey. We took advantage of the long Independence Day weekend and headed out to the park. We checked out several different climbing/bouldering areas and had fun trying them out.

Bouldering at Pixie Boulder

After D headed back to work, I met him over at the gym to use the indoor climbing wall there. The indoor wall is much better for figuring out techniques on hand and foot placement. I also like that the landing is softer. lol!

Squeezing and climbing through the crevice

At this point in time, I’m not really big on climbing up. I’m much rather stick closer to the ground and just work on solid hand and foot placement. (Don’t ask me why I decided to see if I could squeeze/climb through this area. I just decided to do it for the sake of doing it. Yes, I made it.)

Bouldering at Hall of Horrors

I’m not really strong, so technique is going to be critical for my success. My flexibility is definitely helping me out as I move around. D is tall, so I can’t do the same movements that he does on the wall/rock. I have to find my own way. The good thing is that we’re able to help each other out as we see the problems differently than each other. We bounce ideas off each other as we climb.

Bouldering at Mel's Diner

Learning to climb is great exercise, and I’m enjoying the challenge that it presents. It also gives us time together which is always a good thing.