2016-03-13

Rock Climbing: Hidden Rocks

This weekend Angie and I decided to go rock climbing!

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A while ago I bought a climbing guide "Rock Climbing Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland", And I've been waiting for a nice warm weekend where we weren't otherwise engaged to give it a try. With all the rescue training I've done I'm quite confident in my ability to set a safe anchor and that type of thing. I've climbed outdoors before a few times, but I just haven't been the one to find organice a trip, find routes and that sort of thing.

We went up to "Hidden Rocks" Near Harrisonburgh and had a blast. We were climbing 5.4 through 5.7's assuming we understood the maps right. We arrived at the parking lot at 10:00am and got back to the lot to leave 5:45pm. We ran in to a few hikers, but only one other pair of climbers. We did 6 routes, and I think I ran 7 or so climbs... An amazing day. It was slightly overcast and a nice 50's-60's range of temperatures. For lunch we walked back to the car (about 30 minutes walk) and made up some ham sandwiches, giving our hands a bit of a break.

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Above, for one of the routes we were slinging off of trees, and I was a little nervous about the size of the tree we were slinging with a wrap-3-pull-2, so we backed it up with a second wrap-3-pull-2 off a larger tree up the hill just to be sure. For a later route the only back-up tree was 30 feet back so I did a simple sling of 2 trees, but load-balanced them.

Here's a couple more faces we did. There are 3 seperate routes up this. left, center, and right, in increasing difficulty. The edge on the right doesn't have any cracks in it, so it's not a lyback, it's actually one of those you just spider up with tiny little footholds. Good fun, and a great reminder to me that climbing shoes can stand on truly minuscule little bumps when on real rock. The center climb has a really tricky bit in the middle where there just isn't much to work with.. Angie did both the left and the center. She's a lot less experienced, and was climbing almost everything I was.

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We did the crack last, it's off-width for a lot of the distance, but in several spots you can get a solid knee-jam. I'm still a total noob at crack climbing. I know a few jams, but in practice I always feel like I'm just scrabbling my way up it, not smoothly climbing. This was a blast and a great workout!

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There are tons more routes at Hidden rocks that I'd love to do. Next time I hope to do some 5.8's or 9's. Most of it is top-roping or trad. I only have a few nuts, so we toproped.

Overall it was an amazing day, both Angie and I had a total blast. We came home exhausted and happy, hungry for a big dinner. 

2016-03-01

Hitting the road again soon

You may have noticed that I haven't posted much lately. The last year has had a bit less adventuring in it, but all that is about to change.Angie and I are hitting the road in late April.

The plan is to do a lot more of this:
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And this:
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And all that other stuff I post about on this blog.

In http://www.blog.smalladventures.net/2016/02/jack2-another-toyota-tacoma.html I explained that my situation had changed a lot, and that's why I was switching vehicles, and indeed that was entirely true, and I decided to do that regardless of this decision. I realized that most paths I saw for myself involved boondocking at least some of the time. Then, when Angie and I got to talking about what we really wanted to do it became clear this was the right decision. We're both at turning points in our jobs, ready to move on to the next thing, and Angie has always wanted to travel.

The eventual plan of getting some land and doing some homesteading, gathering, and caring for the forest is still in the back of my head... and to my delight and surprise, was in Angie's too before I even mentioned the idea. But, first we're going to explore some more for a while - because it's a big world and there is a lot of neat stuff to do and see, and neither of us is quite sure we want to settle in Virginia just yet (though it's high on my list).

I'm confident that I've built up enough money to support myself on investments. I don't yet know how efficient we'll be, but if we can keep our expenditures down, there's a good chance I can support us both indefinitely - particularly if we supplement a little here and there. So basically I'm retiring at 32. I've been avoiding writing much about that because I'd just be parroting what I've been reading. The proof is in the pudding and while it's set, I haven't tested it yet. We'll see how it goes after a little while and I'll report back.

Angie is starting her own blog: http://expeditionbliss.blogspot.com/, where she'll be telling her side of the story as we adventure. As anyone who reads this blog, or has ever met me, knows, I tend to get rather technical about things. I suspect Angie's blog will be a bit more along the episodic story-telling lines.

We're currently in that interminable phase before such an adventure where you are preparing and preparing. We've been filtering through our stuff. Test packing the truck, etc. There have been many trips to goodwill and a number of craigslist postings as we whittle it down. Last time I did this I discovered a few things I simply rebought again afterwards, so this time I'm setting a few more items aside (meaning 2 boxes instead of one, my bike, and my log roller... It's a really nice log roller).

I'm looking forward to the opportunity to pick up some technical projects I dropped on the floor when I took another tech job as well - possibly even generating some more material to post to http://blog.computersarehard.net