Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Spring Break

A few weeks ago, I was off of work for Spring Break, and that meant that I headed to Kentucky, my home away from home.  Being that Brian was otherwise engaged (that's a post for another day and time), I made the adventure southeast as a member of the Nimmer family.  Mark, Patty, Andrew and Melissa picked me up on their way through town, we shoved my giant pile of stuff in the car and made our way to the Misty Mountain - - nerd alert: Lord of the Rings/Hobbit reference excitement - Bed and Breakfast.  While nobody came by to make us our breakfast, it was a great place to call home for ten days.



Friday
Andrew headed out with his big bro, David, so it was Mark and the girls for the day.  We climbed a classically fun route and got on another that I don't recall ever climbing before.  Then, to celebrate our first night, we went to Miguel's for dinner.  Back at the cabin, we were met by the Fields family, John, Heather, Annaleah and Jake.  We stayed up all too late talking, laughing and sipping bourbon with them and with Alex and Shawn, who were down for the weekend.

Saturday
The Nimmer and Fields families headed out with Shawn and me, the honorary family members, in tow.  We split up when we got to the climbing area, and a few of us - Mark, Patty, John, Heather, Melissa and I went to one area that I had been to only once before.  When I was there last, it was so cold and it actually began to snow, which ruined our plans to go zip lining).  This time, it was sunny and warm.  We were in T-shirts and had our pants rolled up getting some sun on our vitamin D deprived arms and legs.  We climbing a few really fun climbs, and I surprised myself by climbing an 'up there in difficulty' climbing for me at the end of the day. I was channeling my inner tough guy this whole trip :)

For dinner that evening, we headed into Stanton, the nearby town, for Mexican.  There were 15 of us and the restaurant isn't all that big, so we pretty much took over.  Laughter ensued from a wide range of topics, some of which included how motley our crew looked and the explosion of lettuce around certain eaters' plates.

Sunday
It was rainy and cool, so I stayed back with the ladies - Patty, Heather and Melissa - to do dinner prep work and school work.  Feeling the need to get outside, if only for a bit, Patty and I went for a hike through Muir Valley, the area where our cabin was located. We decided that the point where the trail first turns back was too short of a hike, so we continued through the valley and up a road that we hadn't seen before.  We landed up out on the highway and had about a five mile hike when all was said and done.  And I cannot neglect to mention the near-dog-attack incident we faced.  For about five or ten minutes, Patty and I were surrounded by various groups of dogs that were barking, growling and following us.  It was terrifying. I genuinely prepared myself for the dog bite that I thought was inevitable.  Thankfully, we got through that mess without injury, but both of us probably got a few grey hairs and wrinkles courtesy of the Kentucky pups.

After we got back from our hike, which we anticipated to be much shorter, we rushed to the shower to get ready for the evening; we had a date at the Burzynski cabin for Easter dinner, which was delicious.  I enjoyed my meal, the wine and the great company.  We also got to celebrate Chloe and Cassie's birthdays.  They turned 6, and are just about the cutest little kiddos around.  It was a blast.

Monday
We joined the Burzynski family for a day of climbing and I got on a few of my all-time favorite routes, one of which I hadn't been on in a few years.  Despite the sun, it was a chilly day.  Regardless, I climbed quite a few routes that day, and was so ready for a big meal when we got around to pulling ourselves away from the glorious climbing around 7:30 pm.

For dinner, it was off to Miguel's. We eased into our days on this trip, so it meant we were out climbing late into the evening.  As such, we needed a go-to meal and one that would not disappoint, so we headed to Miguels.  It was a horrible joke to pull, but someone ordered 10 pizzas that they didn't pick up.  The April Fool's prank meant we all got a slice of black bean pizza or two before our actual orders arrived.  I was so full that I didn't finish my rice dish and had to pass it off to someone else to finish.  This is why I always need to travel with someone who is a good eater; I need a person to finish my unfinished meals -- at one point in my life, my cockatoo Louie was good for that job.

Andrew needed something to keep him warm, so he used Sarah's leg warmers and jacket


Tuesday
We contemplated taking a rest day, and all agreed to head to the property to help Mark with the cabin. We did some cleaning up and such (I got to sweep -- and was super excited as I was holding in the urget to pick up the broom I saw and begin making piles of saw dust), but then decided that the shining sun was calling to us and we needed to climb.  So, the kids (and that includes me) headed back to the cabin, geared up and headed into Muir Valley.  We met up with the Burzynski and Miller families and then had a bit of a girls' afternoon after the boys left us to go do their boy thing at a nearby wall.  It was super fun, and when we got back to the cabin, Eric, one of the workers from the property was there.  It was his birthday, so we had dinner with him and then sang to him and had brownies and peanut butter bars.  Eric is a really interesting guy.  He's done a lot and seen a lot and has such great stories to tell.  I sat at the kitchen table mesmerized by his stories.

Later that evening, after the birthday festivities ended, the kids decided to watch a movie, and I had to be the responsible 'grown up' and send everyone to bed, myself included, around 1:30am (the rest of the movie had to wait for the next night).

Wednesday
We had another action packed day with the Burzynskis and Millers.  We got in a bunch of climbing and I climbed a route that had been plaguing me for some time.  My dear pal Craig commented on how strong I looked and how I was putting him to shame.  He was probably lying, but I'll take it.  It made me smile.

After a long day at the crag that included some much needed sun, we headed to Miguel's for dinner.  Despite a disappointing first showing, when I had to give David my pizza to finish, I am proud to report that I ate both slices of pizza, complete with pepperoni, black beans, black olives and corn.  Then, the boss, Andrew, and I drove back to the cabin with Mark and Patty.  We got some ice cream to share - he earned it after climbing so well trip and I thought I kind of deserved it for my little victory of the day.

Thursday
Due to the weather, and the need for it, this was another rest day.  Melissa and I drank hot chocolate and watched a movie called 'Elizabethtown.'  We were intrigued since its title was a relatively nearby city in Kentucky, but the movie got a big "bizzz" for each of us.  We had talked about taking a hike, but when time did not allow for that, I decided to go for a run, which was very relaxing.

I got back and cleaned up just in time to be greeted by Patty.  She, Melissa and I headed to pick up Mark, who was making progress at the property, and then we went to the Burzynskis' cabin for chili dinner 2.0.  It was as delicious as the first round, and the Easter Skunk left us some candy there, so we had jelly beans and Joe's homemade cookies and marshmallows for dessert.  YUM!

Friday
It turned out to be a big day for me.  We headed to an area we don't often go to and I got on a route to warm up for the day.  Then, our friend Rachel suggested I get on another that looked way to hard for me to even start. Rachel is pretty much a boss when it comes to climbing, so I decided to listen to her and get on the climb.  I'm glad I did because  aside from it being extremely fun, it was the hardest climb I've ever successfully climbed.  It was my own little PR for the trip, and I was ecstatic about my achievement.

After my big climb, we went to another area to watch Andrew try his project, which he sent.  Way to go, boss!!  I thoroughly enjoy watching Andrew climb.  It's a combination of a "proud mommy" (because I co-coached him for about four seconds of his climbing life) and admiration (he's so composed and gracious about his climbing endeavors).

That evening, we dropped Mark off at the property so he could do some work and went to the Rock House for dinner.  I had a well-earned burger and some chips and guac, a personal favorite food option.  Then, per the tradition, we headed back to the cabin to stay up way too long and laugh way too hard about who knows what.
 
Saturday
The crowds had returned in full force, so we had to resort to plan B for our final day of climbing.  It turned out to be a great plan.  I got on a really tall, super exposed climb called No Place Like Home.  From the wall, you can see for miles and miles, and it is awesome!  After climbing in one area for some time, we headed to another and had a lot of fun there after an epic hike that made us wonder if we weren't desperately lost the entire time.

We packed up the car and trailer after our day of climbing and drove to Lexington to stay with our pals Rachel and Eddie for the night.  We enjoyed Thai for dinner and listened to BR's live broadcast of the SCS Comp in Boulder, CO.  Then, we went to Orange Leaf for dessert.  What a great way that was to cap off the trip.

Sunday
It was the day that I both longed for and dreaded.  Nobody ever wants break to end, especially when so much fun was had, but it meant I was only two days away from life returning to normal in the Runnells house, and I could not wait for that!

Melissa chasing the car as Mark drove away 

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