The Dells

4 Thu, 2010 § 8 Comments

We have all been warned about a restaurant, right?  Our friends spare us by not sparing the details: bad service…dirty…poor atmosphere…terrible food…you’ll leave feeling awful.

The Dells are the climbing-area-equivalent of that restaurant.

We have heard nothing about the Dells that would make us want to visit: poor rock quality…falls apart in your hands…it’s painful, sharp…you’ll leave feeling awful.

Now when your friends suddenly turn & ask if you want to go to that horrible restaurant, you would call them crazy, right?

Dave is just that crazy…

& I’m crazy enough to follow…

We met a friend in Arizona who “loves the Dells”: Kevin has spent 20+ years developing the area.  It’s his playground, & he is pretty partial to it…& when someone invites you to his spot…well, we don’t turn down climbing.

So how was it?

Like climbing on a slab plastered in

There is no way to distinguish between “grains” that will mercilessly pierce your fingertips [oh yeah, I bled] or those that are going to simply crumble from the wall.

But I led the first climb of the day: a mixed route, meaning I clipped a couple bolts as well as placed some of my own gear.  Not confident in my trad leading [a.k.a. placing my own gear], this was perfect practice for me.

This success alone made the whole day worth it,

& Kevin has put up some pretty crazy routes.

Oh no, there’s a gap coming up.


This felt so much sketchier than it looks [even on top-rope] & I don’t know if I could have brought myself to do it without the rope.

We got on some really great climbs & not all of the rock was poor quality & crumbly — you just have to know where to go.  While I did leave in pain & was completely over the wind [it was so bad on Saturday], we certainly didn’t leave feeling awful.

Guess it’s not like “that restaurant” after all. 😉

We’ll dine again.


26 Tue, 2010 § 9 Comments

Quaint boutiques & shops; cozy, local cafes & restaurants; & trendy outdoor gear stops inhabit the narrow streets of downtown Flagstaff.

Our first impression:


It feels like a “young” town

with spirit.

Granted we only experienced a slice of this city & there is still much more to see, but we like it.  The sparse traffic & obvious bike lanes make for a friendlier pedal commute & everyone seems to love dogs [it could just be Eisley — she’s pretty lovable — I think I will make a lot of friends with her help ;)].

No city is perfect, but it is nice to see a community that is leaning toward eco-friendly practices rather than moving away from it…

& musicians whose songs warm the chilly October air — I love this.

I am definitely not above stalking out the lovely violinist serenading one of the corners of San Fransisco Street. 😉

The only time during the day we sort of raised our eyebrows & 😦 :

The indoor climbing gym, which looks just ok [the bouldering section is small], is $$$.  Day pass = $16 & it will cost Dave & I $200 just to get a membership — that does not include the membership fee each month!

Good thing the outdoor bouldering ROCKS.  We only touched the boulders in one area on Saturday at Priest Draw, & even though my tummy & core did not feel that great, I connected with the style.  We played on a beautiful, horizontal roof, & I am anxious to go back.  I was more concerned with having spotters than photographers, but I cannot wait to show you bouldering photos — soon!

So why did we leave our jobs in Utah & move to Arizona?    What made us leap without much of a safety net?

We wanted a fresh start in a new area where we could embrace our passions.  We are not interested in “waiting” to live, working 20+ years, banking on retirement to finally have “the time” & a chance to live like we have always envisioned.  One of those visions is traveling & experiencing new places, even if it means living simply.

Simple & happy — that is our intention.  We are figuring out the basic needs & luxuries we cannot live without & those we can.  We are embracing life & the aspects that truly enhance the experience rather than distract from it.

How often do you find yourself looking forward to the weekend?  Tired of yearning for the weekend to come & watching the weeks fly by [is it October already?], we changed our perspective & actions to look forward to each day.

Life is Now.


Have you ever made a drastic life change you knew would bring you happiness even if it seemed “risky” in the conventional sense?

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