Desert Adventures: Zion, Utah edition.

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Christmas in Zion, Utah!

The desert is a pretty unforgiving place. When I tell people that I climb in the desert, they immediately think of the Sahara or Gobi deserts- somewhere that’s always scorching hot. What people don’t seem to realize is that the temperature is not what defines a desert, rather it is the lack of moisture that does. Making the transition from camping and climbing from Nevada to Utah, you’d assume that the climates were more or less the same, as they aren’t too far from each other. Zion is slightly more northern than Red Rock and it would appear that that tiny shift in location would make all the difference with the temperature. Zion, like Red Rock, is classified as a desert. The simplest way to describe the temperature in both these deserts is: extreme. Unlike Red Rock, where the air is dry, Zion tends to have some humidity, resulting in chillier evenings and mornings. I’ve woken up to many early mornings to temperatures below zero, anywhere from -5 to -6, depending on the morning and can now say I’ve slept with five to six layers on my upper body, with a toque, two pairs of tights, thermal socks and sweat pants. I can say without a doubt that camping and climbing for two weeks in these frigid temperatures was long enough.

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Part of the campground within Zion.

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Part of our view at our campsite. Everywhere we looked, we were surrounded by beauty.

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Parking lot views. We usually started our days incredibly early and ended when the sun was no longer out. This led to other climbers telling us that the park rangers were looking for people from BC one of the days we were climbing.

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All smiles here! 

The climbing in Zion varies in extremes as well. In the shade, it’s incredibly cold and I’m convinced that all the energy I get from my morning breakfast isn’t used on a climb, rather it’s used to keep my body warm. Add that and the fact that I’m rather new to the techniques of trad climbing and you have a recipe for a very long day. The first two days in Utah, Ali and I ventured out to an “easier” crag. These “easy routes” have definitely been some of the hardest climbs I’ve ever had to do. It’s been a while since I’ve felt this new at climbing- something that feels quite foreign to me. But I suppose this is a good thing, challenges are always a good thing. It’s been a very different mind set and a change in pace with the differing climbing styles. Zion is just as beautiful as I thought it would be, however, it’ll be some time before I come back. I’m incredibly happy I finally get to cross this destination off my bucket list, but, I won’t be back unless I a) fully commit to trad and b) become extremely skilled in trad. It would appear that many traditionalist (climbers who believe in leaving as little an impact on the rock route as possible. ie: not bolting a route or not using man made anchors- Ali and I encountered many “natural” anchors in the form of using trees to rappel off of) climb here. The result of this is needing to be skilled and crafty with certain things, such as the anchors. The climbing guide describes Zion as a destination for big walls and adventure climbing. There’s definitely no shortage of either here.

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The “parking lot” 

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The approach to our climbing destination. Yes, it really was as cold as it looks.

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First order of business before any crack climbs were conquered. Taping up your hands as that acted as the barrier between your hands and the rock.

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Our first climb of Zion. Probably one of the hardest “easy” climbs I’ve ever been on.

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Can you find Ali? Hint, she’s close to the rock face 😉 On some of the climbs, Ali set up a top rope anchor so we could attempt some of the harder climbs. The approach to the tree was no easy feat either, as getting to the tree meant you were on an unstable, sandy and rocky rock surface. Often times, because there were no bolted anchors, your safety was tied around a secure smaller tree branch. Imagine doing that on the big walls of Zion!

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Coffee break in between climbs.

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One of the many views of Zion from the top of the climb.

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You can’t quite tell from this angle, but we had to climb off a huge flake. Climbing Navajo Sandstone is unlike anything I’ve ever climbed on before. The sandstone in Red Rock was much more secure and stable compared to the sandstone of Zion. Zion sandstone has a reputation of being fragile…that it was. Every time I attempted to smear “stand on the rock”, my foot just blew off and would not stick. A little disconcerting initially. 

After two very full and involved days of Ali trad leading, we decided to check out a sport crag in an area known as St. George. It’s located close to the Utah-Arizona border and is home to various rattle snakes, scorpions and chuckawalla. The climbing area there is densely populated with a five minute approach from the parking lot. It was essentially an outdoor gym. There were many fun and easy routes and made for the perfect last climbing destination.

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Ali taking a breather before getting on a climb at St. George.

After many long and incredible days of climbing, sleeping under the stars at freezing temperatures, cracked skin and spilt tips, Ali and I decided to come home a day early. We decided that if we weren’t climbing our last day, we would head home. Ali was pretty spent and wouldn’t be leading any of the climbs, so I’d be on the sharp end. With a number of spilt tips, I decided that I wouldn’t be able to climb- my hands had had enough. There comes a time in a trip where you know you’re ready to head home. We had hit that and decided that we needed to respect our limits. From icy-slick roads, to windstorms, to dense fog, to snowstorms to sunshine, to varying temperatures and destroyed hands, this was a trip of extremes. Everyday was an adventure and my passion for wandering, exploring and climbing has been reignited. People take a look at some of my photos and remark on how beautiful it is, and it is- but you have to be willing to go through some of the extremes to get there sometimes. Trips like these remind me of what’s most important to me and that to live a fulfilled life, adventure is essential. I can’t wait to see where the next adventure takes me.

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Cheers to another amazing adventure.

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Bye Red Rock! We’ll Miss You. With Love, the Canadians

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On climbing trips, rest days are usually worked into the schedule because after three consecutive hard and long days, you can usually feel the result of it on your body and skin.

Rest days are usually pretty chill, reserved for showers, cafés and grabbing groceries, water, firewood and ice. For me, my rest day began with not having to wake up to the alarm, two perfect cups of coffee and sitting in front of the fire pit and watching the sun rise in solitude. It was the perfect start.

Ali and I made our way into town, after breakfast, for a glorious shower, many hours at a nearby Starbucks, followed by groceries and a drive back to the campsite. We had settled into the Starbucks for quite a while and were unaware of just how windy things were getting outside. As we left Starbucks, it was then that we realized the wind was picking up. In the days prior to this, the wind had also picked up, however, it was nothing close to what we experienced on this night.

As we made our way back to the campsite, we realized we were caught in a windstorm. I can only describe driving back from town to the site as scary, as you could feel the car being moved by the wind as you were driving, as well as see all the sand swirling around. We were naively hopeful that perhaps it wouldn’t be as bad at the site. How wrong we were! When we arrived, we found that the tent had been blown away from the original location in which we set it. The best description I can give of this is a yard sale. I had two pairs of shoes hidden behind the tent flap, I’m pretty sure I lost one pair and was fortunate enough to still have my other pair due to the fact that they were hikers. We also found that the tent was disassembled and that rocks were strategically placed on certain items (ie my socks). What I found at the centre of where my tent used to be was a note from a good samaritan who stated that they disassembled the tent, as that was the only way they could stop it from completely blowing away with all my belongings inside. Needless to say I’m eternally grateful and will definitely be thanking them at an appropriate time.

As a result of these chaotic turn of events, Ali and I decided on dining out instead of making sandwiches in the van, as we would have waited in the van all night before bed time. A gourmet meal at Olive Garden, endless breadsticks and soup included, and an evening spent at Starbucks and we learned that there was a wind advisory in effect as winds were going at 50 mph, about 100km/hour. The following day, winds were forecasted to hit 40 mph, about 80km/hour. Ali, with her camperized van, was gracious enough to share a bit of bed space so I wouldn’t have to attempt to set up the tent and sleep through the windstorm. If tonight and the days leading up to this windstorm arent adventurous enough, I don’t know what is. Perhaps Ali is right, we’re just nutty enough to go through with a road trip like this in the desert in the winter- when the weather is more extreme. To the gentlemen attempting to reset up their tent to the left of us during this windstorm- Godspeed!

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Above: it was too windy to try and set up the tent, so Ali was gracious enough to share some bed space so I could get some sleep in! Slightly blurry, but the best we could do!

Below: the wind game was still realllll strong the morning after. But needing that cuppa joe cause we were still climbing in a canyon while there was a wind advisory on for rock climbing. You know you’re caffeine addicted when….

The remainder of our time at Red Rock was spent investigating a new crag known as The Gallery. Much like Stone Wall, the approach to the crag was rather difficult and at times…sketchy. Unlike many of the other crags Ali and I have explored, The Gallery is exposed to sunshine all day- a much welcome relief as the little sun we do see at the other crags, can only normally be seen during the morning with shade in the afternoon. This crag had super fun routes that were a little stiff for the grade.  I was finally able to push the grades, as I did a harder, pumpier and longer route at Sweet Pain the same day.

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The sketchy scramble we encountered enroute to The Gallery.

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Selfie one: the very awkward scramble through a boulder like cave. It looks cooler and safer than it really was 🙈

Photo after: the alternative “safer” way to get there as demonstrated by a fellow Canadian.

Below that: Ali scrambling in the orange backpack, in front of a picturesque backdrops.

Selfie two: sneaking in a photo while Ali gears up.

Below that: the quiet of The Gallery before chaos and sun hungry climbers descend.

On our last and final day of climbing at Red Rock, Ali and I eased into traditional (trad) climbing at Calico Basin. Unlike sport climbing- in which the bolts are already set up and all you (the climber) needs to do is place a quick draw- trad climbing requires the climber to place their own protection onto the wall (mainly in a crack). I’m predominantly a hard sport climber, however am dabbling in trad as this opens much more areas and climbs. It also keeps the crowd at bay as it is not as easily accessible as sport climbing is. *Read, you’re a new level of crazy when you decide to take trad on fully, as the gear alone will set you back a pretty penny. In addition, it is a whole new playing field in terms of the mental aspect of climbing, as well as needing a certain skill set to set routes up safely.* Calico Basin was the perfect way to end our time at Red Rock, as well as transition from hard sport to trad for Zion. I have to admit that I didn’t do any trad leads as I am not entirely comfortable enough to set up gear. I learned a number of years ago, but have not had the chance to get much, if any, mileage in that’s is required to be considered a competent lead trad climber. Major props to Ali for doing all the leads and having such a level head to set the routes up.

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Photo one: the hike to our climbing destination. If you look reallll close, you’ll see other climbers set up there. Find them?

Photo two: Ali hiking up from the parking lot, enroute.

Photo three: the stellar view that we climbed to. It’s unreal how beautiful it is here.

Photo four: sussing out the routes. Finding that perfect route.

Photo five: Ali racking up. All the gear she’s holding…those are the pieces that you stick in the crack to protect yourself should you fall. Better trust you’re placement!

My time at Red Rock has now come to an end, it’s been incredibly amazing as Ali and I were able to fully and completely explore the sport crags there. It got to the point that we were able to direct other climbers new to the area! On a personal level, I feel that I have accomplished my goal of pushing the grade and getting into a better mental head state. Things I learned: never underestimate what you’re capable of, cause you can surprise yourself (cheese, cheese, cheese…but it’s true). But also, make sure you get the right guide book. Red Rock has way too many guides, so trying to pick one can be difficult, but unfortunately for us, the guide we got was less than stellar and left us attempting to find things on our own. It made for much more of an adventure, that was for certain! Tomorrow, we spend Christmas Eve on the Vegas strip, perhaps playing a penny slot or two and making our way to Zion. By Christmas, Ali and I will be climbing in Zion. Bye for now Red Rock and hello Zion!

Have a Merry Christmas to everyone back home. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” popped on the grocery store radio as I was shopping and that was a weird little sign that maybe I should be home. But for now, I digress. From the road, Merry Christmas!

 

 

In Search of Sandstone Quarry

If I were asked why I climb, I’d say this. I climb because of the adventures that come with climbing- think wandering to new destinations and attempting to find a new crag- I can honestly say that climbing has brought me to places I’d never imagine going to, but somehow ending up there because of it and I can say that every destination that I have travelled to or travelled through has been breathtakingly beautiful. I climb because of the incredibly genuine, authentic and down to earth people I meet whom share the same values on life as me. Finding people like this is no easy feat, especially in this high tech and materialistic world we live in. I could go on a whole tangent on this, but this is not the focus of today’s entry. Today’s entry will focus on one aspect of why I climb: new destinations and attempting to find a new crag.

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Day three of our climbing in Red Rocks, Ali and I had grand plans of checking out a new area known as Sandman Quarry. There are a couple of different parking lots within the park that will allow you to get to different crags. The first two days (as well as the entirety of my last time in Red Rocks was spent in the second pullout. This time we thought we’d check out the third parking lot with Sandman Quarry. Our time here consisted of an hour and a half of bushwhacking. The combination of a less than stellar guide book, in addition to low to no maintenance of the trails led us empty handed with any climbing, and instead, a nice long “hike” as we wandered aimlessly around. It’s quite the shame as the climbing sounded stellar there, however after over an hour of searching and many close calls with having an eye taken out due to all the wild overgrowth, we called it quits. As Ali put it, we travelled the road less taken, and not everyone is as nutty as us 🙈 I guess she has a point, but life’s only truly interesting with some adventure in it. So what did we do instead? We hiked back to the car, took the rest of the scenic drive out of the park (as traffic was only one way), and drove to the second pull out. By this point, I was less than psyche about having spent time looking for a crag that seemed no where in sight and so we ventured to a trusty spot in The Black Corridor. Ali and I took it fairly easy, but I decided to try and push the mental game and pursued one of the harder climbs…..and still got shut down. It’s incredibly frustrating, especially when the physical aspects isn’t the issue. But I digress, it was the first route I truly pushed hard in the mental aspects. Sometimes it’s those little victories you have to take.

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Our search on day 3 found us to be the only climbers…or anyone else for that matter…wandering around in search of the new crag.

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In search of Sandstone Quarry. When the climbing guide uses a “mushroom” shaped boulder as a reference point. The f*ck is a mushroom shaped boulder!? Can YOU find it??

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The first crag we found. We were suspect about how there was absolutely no chalk markings on the wall. This was the easiest route and logically, should be incredibly well travelled. It was not, and that led us to believe that this area wasn’t at all popular with climbers. We saw some foot prints in the sand but once it became overgrown, there was no signs that anyone else had been there.

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High time for a break after trekking around with water and climbing gear and no obvious trails. Silver linings, it made for a great photography session 😂

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It’s a rough life being a crag dog. We eventually gave up on our search of Sandstone Quarry and made it back to The Black Corridor. 

Red Rock version 2.0

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*Disclaimer- Long entry ahead. When you’re short on consistent wifi, count on fewer but longer entries. It’s the quality and not the quantity that counts, right?*

It’s day two and as far as adventures go, Ali and I have not been disappointed. I’ve forgotten about the change in mountain time, so instead of the displayed time of 820 on the car dash, it is 920 pm and I am currently writing enroute from Ely, Nevada to Red Rock Canyon. On our first day, the drive down to Bellingham was fairly standard. It was after our stop at Trader Joes that we started experiencing funky weather. Our goal was to hit Umatilla, Oregon and camp there for the night. Our drive along the way included patches of intense monsoon like rain, naturally bringing traffic to a snail crawl. We found ourselves at our destination around 11pm, after having been driving since 330.

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Ali enjoying her hot cocoa

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At one of our rest stops enroute to Nevada!

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Getting in some dance moves while she still can.

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It’s a wee bit chilly…

Unfortunately, my very full hydro pack that was stored in my climbing bag exploded and as a result, all the contents inside became completely wet. One such item was my headlamp and let me tell you…having a cold and wet head band against your head is not a whole lot of fun especially when it was below freezing- more to come on that.

I have family who recently travelled to Antarctica (how amazing is that!?) and who camped one night there. When I first heard that, I immediately knew that that would be a bucket list item. Well. After my night in Oregon, I might not need to do that! Temperatures in Oregon started at a balmy -2C as I was getting ready for bed, and ended with me waking up to -4C. Unlike my last trip in which I lived out of a camperized van, I no longer have that luxury, and am now residing in a tent. The -7C sleeping bag and additional liner was no match for my first experience with damp, below freezing winter camping. I started the night off with two layers and woke up to a third layer, as well as a toque. I also woke up to a frozen headlamp and as it turns out, battery that had exploded in my headlamp, due to the water that had leaked in from the climbing pack.

Our brush with funky weather continued starting with a 630 am start to dark and clear roads, to sunshine and a sun rise in Oregon, to an intense snow fall through the Wenatchee Forest, back to sunshine briefly through Idaho, to fog and eventually back to intense snowfall and temps of -6, just outside Ely. Much to my relief, the snow has since ceased and the temps have creeped up from -6 to 7C.

Visuals of the weather we encountered enroute to Red Rock!

We eventually reached our climbing and camping destination around 130 am and started our search for a camp site. Unfortunately for us, because we arrived on a Saturday, it was incredibly busy and we were not lucky enough to secure said site. As a result, we spent the night in a “reserved” section of the camp grounds, much to the dismay and evil eye of a guide who had reserved a nearby site. Oops 😉 Fortunately for us, our luck turned for the better as we left in the morning to go climb, and Ali, with her sharp eye found us a newly deserted site. Hallelujah! We no longer had to feel guilty with our illegal camping style 😂

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Red Rocks in all it’s glory 👌🏼

The first couple of days of climbing were amazing. The last time I was in Red Rocks I climbed in an area known as the Black Corridor. Lots has changed for me personally since I was there last, however, all the climbs have not. I climbed many familiar routes, and both Ali and I climbed hard and long for our first day.

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Another view of Red Rock.

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Back at it.

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One of the many scrambles we encountered whilst walking to the crag.

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All smiles here!

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The Black Corridor revisited two and a half years later.

One of the best things about travelling and climbing is meeting the locals, as they are the ones to give you the down low on the best climbs, crags (climbing area) and rad food spots. We met one such local, by the name of June- a rad and friendly local crusher (someone who climbs hard). She gave us an extensive list of sweet climbing spots and it is through her that we discovered a climbing area known as Stone Wall and Sweet Pain. I had heard of Stone Wall the last time I had ventured out to Red Rock, but the last time I tried to find it, I wasn’t able to- all with good reason. The approach to Stone Wall is hidden and composed of a 5.5 scramble up boulders. If you didn’t know where you were looking, you wouldn’t know it was there. Part of our second day was spent wandering, scrambling and looking for this crag. It was difficult to find initially, but well worth the search. Our third day before the scheduled rest day will be spent at a completely new area, to both Ali and myself. My goals this trip is to push the grades and not let the mental aspects of climbing hinder me from attaining what can be physically possible for me- a never ending goal that eludes me. With two days of climbing down and four left to go in Red Rocks, the skies still the limit, let’s see what can be achieved.

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Psssttt! Where did you say Stone Wall was!?

When Life Hands You Lemons…Make Lemonade on the Road

The mystical land known as my 20s has been an incredibly interesting journey, from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. One such high was experienced a couple of years ago on the road- dirtbagging, travelling, living a minimalist lifestyle and climbing from sun up til sun down. It was my very first time roadtripping out of a van- a trusty old ’97 GMC Safari named Bette. It was through Bette that I travelled to Nevada for Red Rock Canyon- climbing four amazing days through a Vegas heatwave. I can still remember the excitement as I approached an area known as The Black Corridor, a well traveled area for moderate single pitch sport climbs. Or the adrenaline I felt as I braced myself for any potential rattle snakes enroute to my climbing destination. The verdict was that four days was not enough and that I’d have to come back to Red Rocks to experience more of the amazing sandstone- all red of course! This was two and a half years ago.

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As I was heading home from Red Rocks, a stop was made at Zion National Park in Utah. Zion was one of those places that’s been on my bucket list for ages, and I was so incredibly happy that I, believed, had this chance to step foot inside the park. What neither myself or my climbing partner at the time realized was that you needed to take a shuttle into the park, as we were there during peak season. Zion and Utah was a small stop for us as we journeyed back home. As a result of this, we just didn’t have enough time to try and get into Zion. Two and a half years ago, the closest I was to crossing this off my bucket list was getting to the entrance of the park.

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Fast forward two and a half years later, new life experiences, climbing in other destinations and a diploma later, I will finally be revisiting Red Rocks and Zion National Park. This time, with a new set of wheels and a new climbing and adventure buddy, Ali.

Ali and I will be leaving mid-December on a solid- yet somewhat of a whirlwind- two week adventure. Unlike the last trip, in which all of our climbing consisted of sport climbing and bouldering, this trip will be spilt between hard sport climbs and fun trad routes.

We’ll be in Red Rocks for six days and eventually make our way to Zion on Christmas Eve- after experiencing a walk down the Vegas strip and playing penny slots the day before Christmas! 😉 A short drive to Zion from Red Rocks, and we expect to be at Zion National Park in the afternoon on Christmas Eve sometime.

By Christmas, Ali and I will be climbing some fun trad routes in Zion. Zion isn’t a destination that either Ali nor I know many climber friends to travel to. This is exactly why we wanted to go- to explore something new. Something different. We have four glorious days of climbing and hiking planned, and I couldn’t be more excited. This is the first time that I’ll be away from home for the holidays, and I do have to admit, as Christmas decorations were being put up around the house, it was somewhat sad to think that I wouldn’t be here to partake in the yearly traditions. However, after some disappointing events, I decided that leaving to do something that Im passionate about would help me refresh, refocus and help with ringing in the new year with a more positive outlook on life.

After two and a half years, Im revisiting the freedom of the open road and finally crossing off that bucketlist item. I cannot wait to get reacquainted with those red rocks- and as always, updates will be made here for a look into my adventures! Stay tune.

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Life on the road, to be continued.

 

Life Recap: A Different Kind of Adventure

Wow it’s been a while…

Exactly one year and five days short of my last entry. I was lying in bed, attempting to sleep but nothing was coming. The sleep that I so desperately needed whilst as a student was no where to be seen. Instead, all I could think about was a different kind of adventure- you know, the life kind- namely, my time in school and the last couple of years leading up to the position I currently am in now….thus this is where my entry begins.

Lately, I’ve been thinking and marvelling at how so many conflicting feelings can be at play. One year ago, I was in a much different position and it’s just crazy to think about- all that can be learned and experienced.

Since the last entry and over the past year, I:

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*finally wandered over to Tofino

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*successfully finished massage school and finally attained that elusive second piece of paper from school (*read diploma)

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*mended a very broken heart and rediscovered what it means to trust and love again. thanks captain mac! ❤️

*studied my a** off for close to half a year in preparation for my board exams
*wrote my board exams
*attended an rmtbc seminar as a new grad
*interviewed at clinics

Not a bad way to spend 2017.

But…what now? The question that Im asked all the time. For now, I continue to climb

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and await my board exam results. Provided things don’t work out the way I’d like them to (read a failing mark on said exams), it’s back to the drawing board for me and another couple of months of hard studying and a rewrite. But let’s stay positive and expect a good result. In that case, it’s grind time- time to finally make all that money that I so very desperately need (*also read, student loans, new climbing shoes and travelling money. Although my parents would like to say it’s probably for rent 😂. I say all of the above).

Time to buckle down, hustle and then leave for Europe, hopefully in the Spring of 2018. Where to, you ask. Currently, our sights are set on Morocco, Greece and Spain. For now, baby steps…patiently (let’s be real, not so patiently) awaiting those results.

Collect Memories. Not Things.

-Last Thoughts on Oz-

What goes up, must ultimately come down. I embarked on this trip to Australia seeking refuge and comfort in the form of travelling and adventure. Ultimately, I got what I sought and it’s been an amazing journey. As I’ve mentioned in many posts, this trip down under has been a redo of sorts for me. I had my regrets when I first left Australia much too early, years ago. Leaving so early has haunted me for the past couple of years. It’s easy to try and get past it, but you never truly forget what has happened, especially if it’s something you’ve dreamed of doing. Travelling long term was a dream of mine for a number of years. As a child, seeing family and friends travel to incredible places and return with such amazing experiences and stories was the catalyst of inspiration for me. It’s the reason why I wanted to travel in the first place. Being able to finally fully explore parts of Australia, I feel as if I’ve completed some unfinished business, from two years prior.

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Beach during low tide at Gibson Steps on The Great Ocean Road. Nick and Trev exploring. Seems a wee bit surreal.

Being so caught up in other aspects of life, travelling internationally had been placed on the back burner for a while. This short but sweet trip was a much needed reminder of my love for exploring and wandering new places. It has been both inspiring and invigorating to do something I feel I’ve lost touch with. Experiencing this alone and with loved ones, was the needed brain break from the chaos that was the start of 2016. Crossing off a bucket list item, in the form of exploring The Great Ocean Road, was incredible. No words can describe the awe I was in. Photos are one thing, but it never compares to the experience. For me, experiencing it acted as an important reminder to stay inspired and to stay curious. There’s a huge, wide world out there and I haven’t even scratched the surface of it. Im so excited to see where my travels take me next.

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I’ll admit it. Sitting on the plane from Sydney to San Fran, I realized I was missing Oz already. Crazy seeing as I just left…guess I was also missing this dork (already).

The day before my scheduled return home, I was asked if I was excited about going home. Truthfully, I have mixed feelings. Returning home meant going back to the grind- the normalcy of daily life. This meant I wasn’t exploring and wasn’t adventuring in the best way I know possible- through travelling. However, returning home also meant that I was to commence the next school term, thus bringing me that much closer to finishing the madness of my program. It also meant that I was continually moving forward in my chosen path and growing- isn’t that what it’s all about- to continuously grow as a person? I cannot imagine staying stagnant. There’s too much life to live and to explore. It’s funny how life works. How you imagine things to play out for you, instead, it can go completely wrong. What determines your success and strength, is how you bounce back. Do you break? Or do you come back a stronger and much more knowledgeable person? It’s been quite the journey, one that’s still in progress.

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Life’s a lot richer when you have people who are as crazy as you to share the memories with.
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For now, I return home to finish school and to write my board exams. From there, Im not entirely sure where my (life) journey will take me; all I know for certain, is that I’ll finally achieve a career in something I’ve always been interested in- health care. Where will my next international travels be? Well- Greece and Spain come to mind. Both these countries have been at the top of my bucket list for many years now. This trip down under has also re-affirmed the knowledge that climbing is an integral part of my travels (and my life!). I foresee a climbing trip to either Greece or Spain post-school life. At the present moment, I’ll have to stay curious and inspired.

Life is a beautiful adventure, with so much more growing, living and exploring to be done. It’s not necessarily about the destination, rather the journey to get there. I look forward to every step of that journey.

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Staying forever curious and forever exploring.