Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Becoming a Vanventurer!

It has been a week since I said my goodbyes to the NICU babies and staff at St. Francis.  It has been weird thinking I won't swaddled a little peanut into a peaceful sleep for another year! The NICU is an enviornment I love working in and will miss greatly. 
Instead of swaddling babies, however, I have been enjoying the lovely things Colorado Springs has to offer! Last weekend was the Pike's Peak Marathon and my college friends Tom and Ashley Eisenhauer were in town for the event! I got to introduce them to Zach and meet their son, Caleb. It was a wonderful morning catching up on a front porch in Manitou Springs. I love having time off to do these more spur of the moment things!
Zach, our friend Shanese, and I all set out one Saturday to find a local traditional climb called the Martyr. With directions including the words, "Shoot for the gap between two boulders, it will feel like you are going to cliff out, but keep going..." we headed towards one of the classic climb near our city. Finding the climb was fairly easy, but the steep hiking made me feel like we should have hiked the Incline a few more times this summer. Zach did a fantastic job leading the stellar pitches that lifted us high above the city. Shanese and I had forgotten our tape gloves to help protect the skin on the back of our hands as we climbed up the crack. But we felt super hardcore as we jammed our hands in the cracks to hold us up as we ascended the beautiful hand crack. We felt like the original gangsters of crack climbing! It didn't take too long to figure out why people wear tape gloves and by the 2nd pitch we were searching for holds on the outside of the crack so we didn't have to scrape our hands anymore! Lesson learned:) 
Racking up for the climb.
Descent to get to the climb
Smooth moves!!

Yay Shanese! No gloves:)

Crack climbing!
Starting out the 2nd pitch.

Summit Picture of the group

View of Colorado Springs from the top.
After descending from the Martyr, Zach and I loaded up the van and headed to Littleton to spend some much needed family time with the Schwarz family! Kaylee was waiting out on the front steps for us to arrive, but it true form, pretended she wasn't very excited to see us. We played games and laughed as she and Olivia played. It was so fun to hang out with my sister, Samantha and brother in law, John who makes the BEST hamburgers! Kaylee enjoyed my reenactment of the scene from Finding Nemo where Nemo tries to say he lives in an anemone and she headed off to bed chatting "I live in an anenenenome." I will miss hanging out with that little goober:) 

Zach and I found a level place to park the van in Sam and John's driveway and tried out our first night sleeping in the completed van! It was perfect and we even got most of the light blocked out with our window screens! 
It was an early morning for Zach as we were hoping to get up to Rocky Mountain National Park Sunday for a multi-pitch climb at Lumpy Ridge. I couldn't even open my eyes, so Zach started driving towards Estes. (I love having a bed in the back of the van...) I woke up just a few miles before our destination and crawled up front just in time to see the beautiful view as we drove into Estes Park. It was so fun! 
We made it to the parking lot and headed out on the long approach. There was another guy in the parking lot who also had climbing gear and he was really loud! I secretly thought, I hope we don't have to climb by him... Should have kept my mind quiet, because part way up the steep approach, I hear him behind us hollering at his climbing partner to hurry up. We were heading straight up a hill with heavy packs and already feeling out of breath. (The ethic in climbing is first one to the climb, gets to go.) Hearing this guy's voice again allowed me to tap into an energy source previously unknown by either Zach or myself. I wanted to get to the top before him. I must also explain, this guy was super fit and not breathing hard as he approached us. I dug down deep and started heading up with a new purpose. The hill was long, but somehow I overlooked this fact and was like a terminator in pursuit. As I crested the hill to the top, loud mouth and his buddy popped up behind us. I sat down by the climb of our choice, and felt like Rocky at the top of the stairs! I had won! Loud mouth even said, "You were first, what climb do want?" Those were the sweet words of victory to my tired body. Barely able to speak, I announced our chosen climb. It was amazing:)

Rocky was a beautiful place to climb and we had perfect weather. It turns out, we had two friends climbing The Diamond on Long's Peak that same day! We could see Long's from where we were, but weren't close enough to see any climbers. I'm looking forward to having people we know come climb with us around the country! We spent most of the day climbing on The Book formation at Lumpy Ridge before heading back down and starting to long drive back to Colorado Springs.
This week, Zach is back to work and I have been running a few more errands for the trip. I have also taken advantage of the opportunity to sleep in! It feels like summer break:) I'm loving it. 
I feel these 2 weeks of being off will ease me in to the life of a Vanventurer!  I have be known as a NICU nurse these past 6 years, and now I can take on my new identity of Vanventurer!

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