Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Rockclimbing as a family in Red Rocks

As a family we've been going to camp and climb in Red Rocks since 2006. We absolutely love that place.  Beautiful sandstone mountains, dessert landscape, great camping, and amazing hiking and climbing.  It's a perfect place for us! 

We love watching our kids enjoy the art of climbing. We say, "art" because we've tried to not make the mountains a competitive thing for them.... it's a place for worship, and exercise, and joy, and friendship, and partnership, and adventure.

Every morning and evening for we spend time at the campsite and for most of the day we are out at the crags and hiking along trails. 

In the down times back at the campsite we like to throw around footballs and baseballs and just hang out.  No wifi, no cell service....just family. 

On one of the days...we took a BURLY off-road trail to see a different and more remote part of Red Rocks. Heidi and I have been on many hundreds of nasty logging roads and fire roads but this particular road tested the limits of the Yukon XL....we were so impressed.  It did just about as well as our previous 4x4's -- a 90's 4runner and pathfinder. 

Heidi always finds ways to make great meals back at the campsite.  We like to keep things simple in a family of 6 -- paper paper, decomposable forks and knives,  and meals that don't take very long to prep.

The kids are all such competent climbers now that they can virtually tie all their own knots and have adopted our ethic of extreme safety and respect for their own limits as well as the mountains unforgiving nature. 

In the mornings....when it's really cold, Josiah and I are often the first ones up.  We like to sit in the car and drink hot chocolate and chat to start the day. 

When we have a slow morning and aren't rushing to get to the rocks or on a hike....we like to make a special meal for breakfast. This is always a hit with the kids.

On this year's trip, Elizabeth got really sick and spent a couple days with a flu and fever of 103.  She was a CHAMPION.  Cooped up in a tent with a fever sounds MISERABLE...but she didn't complain or pout.  We were amazed.

I spent a lot of time with Elizabeth in the tent while the others played.

On the send to last day, Heidi projected her first 12a (think: hard climb) at Red Rocks.  I was so proud of her! Next year she plans to return and do it without falling.

The hiking in Red Rocks is truly beautiful.  It's one of the reasons why we love Red Rocks so much!! 

We decided to hike up Turtlehead Peak.  It's about 5 miles and 2000 feet of elevation gain. The kids did amazing....even Elizabeth who had the flu. She was ADAMANT that she hike....she was so determined! 

Just below the summit, Elizabeth decided not to summit due to sickness....so Josiah stayed with Heidi and Elizabeth and Josiah and Noah pressed on with me.  The summit was WHIPPING with gale force winds....it was exciting!  

Josiah was ecstatic. This was a real mountain experience with the winds, the off trail hiking, and the summit registrar. 

Every time we spend time with our family in the mountains we realize new things we love about each other.  We see qualities given by God that are often overlooked in the craziness of everyday life.  Being in the mountains puts a magnifiying glass on our lives....revealing the good that was always there but buried under a pile of busyness.  We need the mountains!  It's why John Muir wrote, "Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”

These are good days!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Scrambling & Camping at Courtright Reservoir

On the drive up....it was sunny....but that changed once we got there.  The sky turned dark and it began to pour.  When you're camping with kids....the key is just to "go with it".  Don't let anything get under your skin and hold every ideal loosely.  The rain wasn't going to stop us from having a great time...and it didn't!

In the morning we found quiet spots to eat our breakfast.

In the afternoon we found an objective to scramble.  Scrambling is climbing without a rope but using your hands and feet on easier terrain where roping up would be unnecessary. 

Half way up the granite peak....the weather began to turn and it gave us a chance to teach our kids how to turn around and not get "summit fever" ...but to stay alive and come back to the mountain another day which it's safer to climb.  Knowing when to back off and turn around is a necessary skill in outdoor environments.

Even when you back off a mountain....there are always other ways to have a good time.  Like playing in the lake! 

These are good days.

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