Wednesday, May 20, 2015


This trip was somewhat a pilgrimage back in time.  Smith Rock State Park was where I first fell in love with climbing, on a school trip at the ripe old age of 12.  I've been back since then, but not in a long time.  Returning to such a singular landscape- those iconic jagged ridgelines, the serpentine river, reflecting the sky, is one way to go back in time.  I hope the twelve-year-old me would have been psyched to meet the twenty-eight-year-old me on those dusty trails and climbing those rosy walls.   

I did make a point to climb the 5.7 on the Rope de Dope boulder, which is where most of the school trip was spent.  I must have climbed that route 50 times over the 4 or 5 days we were there.  It's still the same- I'm a little taller, a little wiser, but I still enjoyed it.     

We left Smith, a little sadly, but in time to ditch the weekend crowds and the hot weather.  
It was on to California!  

We stayed near Lake Shasta, or Puddle Shasta.  The low water levels were staggering! But the weather was dry, the Park Ranger was friendly ("Oh, I can't believe they charge people to stay here.  I never check on that.  I just want to prevent some of the wild teenage parties that happen down here.  Bonfires and nonsense. Just find yourselves a quiet spot away from this main drag, you'll be fine.), and the sunset was lovely.  We were happy to be back in beautiful California!   

The next day, we arrived in Pleasanton and met up with my family.  My lovely cousin Sarah married Erick Bogner on May 9th. It was a beautiful ceremony and an excellent party.  

The Bride prepping Hailey- the ring-bearer.  

We wish them the best!  

It so happened that the Sunday after the wedding was Mother's day, and my Mom and one of my sisters and I were all together, so we all took a hike.  It was great to spend time as a family. 
It seems to happen so rarely these days!  

We left the Bay Area on Monday morning and headed for Yosemite.  

Sweet, sweet, Yosemite.  

We managed to snag the last spots at Camp 4 when we arrived, and then headed straight to Nutcracker, a classic 5 pitch 5.7.   The sun was shining, there was a bit of a breeze through the Ponderosas and bay trees. There was a party ahead of us- they were just starting the first pitch when we arrived.  We took an alternate route, hoping to pass them, then they bailed.  We had the place to ourselves.  As we climbed higher we emerged from the trees and the valley floor opened beneath us- What a place!  I had almost forgotten.  Photos are misleading-  It's big.  

So Big.  

Our second day in the Valley we climbed Snake Dike- another classic route, which follows an incredible winding vein of stone up the shoulder of Half Dome.  It's a big day- a six mile approach, 2000 feet or so of climbing, and a nine mile descent.  It took us about 11 hours.  The climbing is easy, but a bit scary- the bolts are sparce to say the least, and options for gear are few.  That said, I found descending on the famous cables (which all the tourists climb to summit Half Dome)  far more frightening!  

*Interesting side note-  The speed record for going from the valley floor to the summit of Half Dome and back is 2:17:52.  It was set by the late Dean Potter- a climber and base jumper who died when a base jump went wrong the day after we left the Valley.  We were hoping to see him on the route, just blitzing by...  Alas.  


The next day, we rested- we had no choice in the matter.   So we hiked to the base of El Cap, just to gaze in wonder.  

We visited the Awahnee Hotel, where we were married, almost exactly six years prior.

I love seeing the dogwoods in bloom.  

We did a bit of bouldering in the afternoon.  

I sent a fun little V1, while Cody crushed his first Valley V8.

It was a glorious trip.  Yosemite holds so many of our shared memories, and we hadn't been there since our wedding!  But the weather was closing in- they were predicting snow- so we packed up and headed back north.  
We had a great visit with my Aunt Chris in Eugene, then hightailed it back to Seattle.  We had stuff to do, like buy new anchor chain, assemble our new self-steering wind vane, and provision the boat.  We're ready.  We head North tomorrow.  We'll try  to keep you posted here. 

Hope you're all livin' your dreams....  

Monday, May 4, 2015

We Return!

Well, hello again! I think this break between posts has been the longest since we've started the blog!  Yikes.  We really let it go.

Since we put Rabannah away last October we've been working with Vertical Solutions, building rock climbing walls, to replenish our bank account.  We spent a month in Chicago,  a few weeks in Eugene, and managed to sneak in a quick trip to Salt Lake, Vegas and Joshua Tree.

Enjoying a chilly, blustery day off in Chigago. 

Putting the finishing touches on BKB Chicago.

Bouldering in Little Cottonwood Canyon outside of Salt Lake City.

Cody sending Huge (v9).

Beautiful weather and scenery in Joshua Tree National Park.

And abundant wildlife!  We would hear coyotes singing every night. 

Scrambling around.  

Cody demonstrates proper Off-width Technique on Hobbit Hole (v1).

Beth working on The Chube, v2.

Christmas on Bainbridge. 

A quiet New Year's Eve at home. 

 Then it was back home to Seattle for Christmas and New Years', and then we headed to New York City.  We spent three full months living in Manhattan, and working in Long Island City on a new climbing gym.  

Cody at work.  

If you look closely, you can just see the Empire State Building in the background!

Cody and I, along with some of our co-workers/roommates, set out on a mission to find the best New York Style Cheesecake in the city.  It was a grueling task, but someone had to do it.  There were many contenders, but we, nearly unanimously, declare the cheesecake from the Two Little Red Hens Bakery on the upper east side- 86th Street and 2nd Ave, to be precise-  to be the best.  Tangy and not too sweet, with a perfect, almost burnt crust that lent a caramel flavor...  Mm.  My mouth waters just thinking about it!

Doing Research.  

I was lucky to spend my birthday in the City this year.  Cody and my wonderful parents conspired to get us a pair of tickets to see Aladdin on Broadway.  We had fantastic seats, and were just swept away into the (fictional) land of Agrabah.  One of my better birthdays, to be sure, and I've had some doozies!

My date for a delicious birthday dinner. 

So Excited!! 

Once we returned to the West Coast, it was all hands on deck preparing Rabannah for launch.  We worked through long to-do lists, and finally splashed down on April the 29th. 

The calm without....

And chaos within!

Scrounging for deals at a Marine Swap Meet. 

Putting a fresh coat of paint on the topsides. 
 The last coat got a bit banged up through her cross country journey, and during dinghy-bumper R&D.  

On the move...

 Watching 'bannah's keel kiss the cold, salty, Sound as she was lowered sent a delicious shiver up my spine.  
We're BACK!  

Clear skies for our first sail of the season! 

Light airs leaving Quartermaster Harbor.

Anchored in Tramp Harbor, Vashon Island. 

At home.  

Morning bird-watching.

A brisk up-wind romp to Eagle Harbor on Bainbridge Island!  

I promise we'll update more often now that we're back on the water, but for the moment, we're leaving Rabannah once again- for a quick trip South.  A visit with family in Oregon, a wedding in California, and a much belated visit back to our beloved Yosemite Valley await!