Saturday, February 24, 2018

RR Cut Keene - Mixed Ice Climbing

Another fantastic day of ice climbing with the AMC-NH Mountaineering group! Today we did some mixed climbing at The Cut in Keene, NH. Mild temps, running water, mud and some chocolate help make for a fun day on the ice. So happy to get onto some ice! I've been really busy traveling so this is only my 2nd time ice climbing this season. 

Was stoked to get some ice climbing practice in today - 8 climbs, 3 of which were mixed. 

The last mixed climb had a crack that I was able to cram my left arm and shoulder into. Muddy but fun! 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

2018 Daytona 500 - Florida

Pano of racetrack from our seats
Daytona International Speedway - Florida

Spent 5 days accompanying my father-in-law, enjoying the warm Florida weather and experiencing NASCAR racing at the Daytona International Speedway. Originally, my father-in-law was supposed to experience the Ride Along but it was delayed by 2 hours due to fog, then cancelled altogether. Unfortunately, they offer no refunds so my father-in-law will have to make/pay for plans to travel back to Daytona again or to other Ride Along experiences at other tracks. It was my first time at Daytona and it was a great experience to watch the races, win some cool swag and see the cars, the race track and the in-field up close. Although I grew restless sitting for a couple of hours, I was able to get up and walk laps along the stadium. Enjoy some photos taken of our time in Daytona at the races!

The Fanzone was a pretty cool place to be! We got to see the in-field up close. It was cool to see the cars in the Pit Garages. But it was even cooler to be able to walk on the race track. I got to sign my name on the finish line! WOOT!

Swag - cool winnings!

Driving along the Daytona Beach

Friday, February 16, 2018

Kennedy Space Center - Florida

pano, kennedy space center, shuttle, NASA
Pano shot - Space Shuttle Atlanis
Kennedy Space Center - Florida

While in Florida to watch the races at the Daytona International Speedway, my father-in-law and I spent some time visiting the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. If I can recall, the last time I was here was with my father-in-law, husband and our two girls some 25 year ago! A lot has changed so its good to be back to visit to see those changes. 

One of those changes is the addition of the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit. This was the last exhibit we saw before we had to leave for the track, but it by far, was the most breathtaking exhibit. If you are ever in Florida, make it point to go visit the KSC and especially the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit. In the first room of the exhibit we watched a short film about the start of the shuttle era. Then we were guided through a set of doors into another theater. An announcement was made not to go past the blue line (up front) or to touch the screen, and photography and video are not allowed. The short film is projected onto the walls as well as the screen and at the end of the presentation, the screen becomes transparent. At first I could't believe what I was seeing. I did a double-take and was like, "whoa, no really is the Atlantis!" I heard the folks in the room gasp (I know I did!) and then everyone stared in silence and wonder! Then the screen retracted upwards and we were guided into the large exhibit arena that is home to the now retired Atlantis shuttle. It was an amazing and breathtaking experience, I almost cried! 

Hubble Space Telescope


And the Forever Remembered Memorial

Heros & Legends Exhibit

We took the 35 minute bus tour past the Vehicle Assembly Building as well as several launch pads. The buses are very comfortable, air-conditioned, with seats that sit up high and outlets for charging your Smartphones. The tour takes you to the Apollo/Saturn V Center where you can shop, view more exhibits and eat at the Moon Rock Cafe.
The bus driver served as our tour guide and photography was highly encouraged.

Vehicle Assembly Building with Bay Door opened

The crawler-transporter carries the space shuttle between 
the Vehicle Assembly building and the launch pads along the
Crawlerway (gravel track). Top layer: Tennessee Alabama River rock

Some wildlife

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Petroglyph Wall - Short Walk

Petroglyph Wall, Red Rock Canyon, Nevada

After lunch my husband and I took a drive on the Scenic Loop of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. We stopped at a couple of places along the loop, but at the Willow Spring picnic area, we took the easy and short Petroglyph Wall trail to view the Petroglyph Wall. The trail is way too short to be called a hike. But it's a pleasant walk and the Petroglyphs are both fascinating and beautiful to look at.

Along the trail

The trail crosses Red Rock Wash

Gorgeous views from the trail

Las Vegas is nicknamed the "9th Island"
For lunch we dined at the Island Flavor on Durango Drive in the Windmill Plaza. This eatery was highly recommended and I now know why. Their menu is full of Hawaii local favorites, the serving portions are huge (compared to Aloha Kitchen), the prices won't break your pocketbook and the service is quick and full of ALOHA! We walked in and the place was filled with local was like being back on the islands! The walls are decorated with hula implements and posters and photos of the islands. And there's Hawaiian music playing overhead while you dine. Original owners are from the Big Island and the chefs also own Island Style Cafe in San Diego, CA. I give this place 5 stars and highly recommend if you want to dine on Hawaiian local food! From now on this is my go-to place to kaukau, always! 

Hawaiian Style Ahi Poke (1/2 pound)

Ronnie always orders Kalbi Short Ribs. 
It comes with rice and Mac salad. Had a bite
of the Mac salad and it tastes like home!

They have "Daily Specials"
This was the Tuesday Special
Noodles and Grilled Teriyaki Chicken

And for dessert we split the Guava Cake!
I'm in love!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Crack Climbing - Instruction #2

vertical, hand jam, foot jam, salt pump climbing

Another great lesson with Tino! For today's lesson I climbed the vertical crack using both hand and foot jams! Warmed up by climbing a couple of easy routes and practicing "locking off" on each hold and climbing squarely. At first it was awkward but once I got onto the crack, it made sense. As for my feet, it felt insecure. I want to trust my feet like I do ice/rock climbing. But I'm such a newbie crack climber that I'm still trying to figure out the feel of a correct foot jam. Today's lesson reminded me of what it felt like when I first started learning to rock/ice climb. I guess with more time and practice I'll get the hang of it! :) Woot! Woot! Love crack climbing!

Sore but happy feet
crack climbing shoes

Saturday, January 27, 2018

RR Cut Keene - Ice Climbing

RR, cut, keene, ice climbing

Usually, I would have been out on the ice climbing by this time of the season. But this winter season I've been busy traveling and yesterday finally got out onto some ice. It felt good! I joined the AMC-NH Mountaineering group today for some top rope climbing. It also felt good to get back to "The Cut" and reconnect with old friends as well as make new ones. Ice conditions were perfect! Enjoy some photos of our day.

RR, the cut, keene, nh, ice climbing

Top row left to right: Jenifer, Jennifer
Bottom row left to right: Darrell, Finn

Ben Greene
mixed, RR, cut, keene, ice climbing

Left: Tom Sintros
Right: George Adams on Solo

With Tom Sintros

With Jen

What's ice climbing without Hawaiian chocolate?
chocolates, hawaiian

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Crack Climbing Skills Seminar

Salt Pump Climbing Gym in Scarborough, Maine has several climbing seminars that are held each month. I signed up for their crack climbing seminar which is limited to 6 climbers. Janet Wilkerson taught the seminar and we learned hand jamming and finger locking. We met upstairs and introduced ourselves, then climbed and down-climbed 5 bouldering routes for warm up. There are 3 floor-to-ceiling crack routes and each is a different size, offering practice for jams, from fingers to fist, depending on hand size. We moved downstairs to the crack routes and broke up into two groups. Janet offered beta to everyone and we got to practice hand, foot and finger locking jamming techniques. In addition to the instruction, I really enjoyed the opportunity to practice techniques with other climbers who are motivated to climb crack! If you want to give crack climbing a try, sign up for the 2-hour seminar. You'll learn essential techniques to get you started, and have fun climbing crack routes! 

**Janet Wilkerson is the Marketing Director of Salt Pump Climbing. She is also an AMGA guide with Cathedral Mountain Guides.

Janet Wilkerson teaching us how to tape up

Monday, January 22, 2018

Lone Mountain - Solo Hike

Shaka from Lone Mountain, Las Vegas, Nevada

Lone Mountain 
Elevation 3,342 ft
Trail: Regular Route
Elevation Gain: 542 ft
Distance: 1.3 miles

Billed as the "locals hike" I finally got to hike Lone Mountain. We had a view of this hill from our room when my husband and I were here in Las Vegas last month. You can read about our visit here. Today I had a bit of time to check it out. It's super fun and if you don't have a whole lotta time, you can get this hike in. The views are phenomenal, well worth the burn on the steep ascent. To access the Regular Route, I parked at the trailhead on Vegas Vista Trail. The parking lot isn't paved and it's across the street from the entrance of a gated community. 

Lone Mountain is a hill that is detached from the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. It's an isolated, rocky butte just northwest of central Las Vegas. The unincorporated community surrounding the hill, is named after it. The Perimeter Loop trail can also be accessed from the East Trailhead at the Lone Mountain Discovery Park on Jensen Street. 

Enjoy some photos taken of my hike!

Along the trail

Summit Marker

Summit Pano

Las Vegas in the distance

Looking down the South Ridge Trail