One year of adventures (in 700 words or less…)

I’ve done so much in the past year, it feels like injustice to try and remember the details about my trips. Sadly, I’m tempted to just make a list of the things that I’ve seen and accomplished since deciding to move out west (and then out east!). Climbing & Snowboarding trips have significantly less detail because they were constant.

April 2012 – 2 Day Stand Up Paddle boarding trip in the Adirondacks, NY

3 Days Hiking with True North in Camels Hump, VT

May –  30 day NOLS trip focused on Outdoor Education: 22 days mountaineering on Mt. Baker and Mt. Shucksan in WA, 8 days climbing at Smith Rocks, OR

June – Mountain Biking (for the first time) & 2 Days Backpacking in the Unita Range, UT with Aspiro Adventure

July- Waterfall rappelling with Daniels Academy

August – SUP-ing at Deer Creek reservoir, UT with Daniels Academy

September - 4 days Hiking and Fishing in the Unitas, UT with Daniels Academy

June through October – Weekend climbing trips in Little Cottonwood and Big Cottonwood Canyons, Rock Canyon, and Maple Canyon, UT (with Mountain Ed,  Daniels Academy and/or personal)

October – Hiking Grandad Bluff, WI  Badlands Ntl. Park, SD   Yellowstone Natl. Park & Teton Natl. Park, WY      Climbing at Devils Tower, WY

November 2012 through April 2013 - Snowboarding 2-5 times a week at Park City Mountain Resort, Canyons, Snowbird and/or Brighton. Went from being competent on easy terrain to skilled on double blacks. Skiing (for the first time) at Deer Valley.

January 2013 – Weekend trip Ice Climbing in Ouray, CO

April – 6 days Hiking at Arches Natl. Park & Canyonlands Natl. Park, UT & 2 days Climbing in Moab, UT

April through June – Weekend Climbing trips in Little Cottonwood and Big Cottonwood Canyons, Rock Canyon, and Maple Canyon, UT.

May – Weeklong Climbing trip in City of Rocks, ID

May & June –  2 separate weeklong Backpacking trips in Grand Canyon Natl. Park, AZ  and Elephant Butte, UT with Expedition Therapy

June – Hiking Mt. Timpanogos, UT     Visiting Glen Canyon Natl. Park, UT/AZ

July – Hiking in Alamosa Valley, CO with Western Mountain Youth    Hiking Cedar Breaks Natl. Monument, UT & Mesa Verde Natl. Park, CO    Hiking and Backpacking in Bryce Canyon Natl. Park, UT

June  through August - Multiple extensive day trips Climbing, Hiking and Canyoneering (another first) in and around Zion Natl. Park and Snow Canyon, UT (personal and with Zion Rock and Mountain Guides)

This encompasses the majority of outdoor ‘trips’ I’ve taken or lead throughout the past year. Add in random car camping and sight-seeing, and you get a general idea of whats been on my plate. I was responsible for guiding and planning the trips with Daniels Academy, Expedition Therapy Associates, Western Mountain Youth and Zion Rock & Mountain Guides as a paid associate.  I took an AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Course with Mountain Ed & Development and highly recommend their services. I also did training with True North and Aspiro Adventure, which I mention because of both the travel and therapeutic experiences.

I moved to New Hampshire in late August to start my newest adventure… grad school. I have yet to have had any ‘outdoor’ experiences in NH unless you count doing a ropes course for class. I’m going to leave this post at that. I may flush out the details of some of these trips, and can recommend certain hikes, climbs and canyoneering routes to those interested. I expect to have a very different experience this year, and may write on it depending on both time and professional ethics. I have a great deal to say about many of the aforementioned companies, both good and bad, that may be written on as well. As a guide and as a therapeutic counselor I am open to questions. This post sums up my year… in fewer words than how my heart feels about it. Wish me luck for an equally exciting and hopefully more accepting future in New Hampshire. :)

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oh, Utah. Beautiful and Cruel.

It’s been 8 months since I’ve written, and I think perhaps its time to get back into the swing of things. Since I moved to Utah in July I’ve worked three different jobs, and have done a bit of traveling. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I moved out here. I heard the scenery was  beautiful, and that there was a pretty decent outdoor culture, but I did not expect to experience the discrimination I have since moving here. I suppose it was a bit of a culture shock, moving from a liberal tree-hugging city, where people (SHOCKER) recycle…. to one where wearing tank tops is frowned upon, and being an aggressive and intelligent woman is ground for cruelty.

I moved here because I was offered an opportunity to work at a residential treatment center & boarding school as a weekend staff. I was told I would have the opportunity to work closely with kids and plan outdoor curriculum, as an assistant to the weekend lead. Some of this held true, and I had an amazing experience working with and mentoring autism spectrum boys. However, I wasn’t given the respect any compassionate and intelligent person deserves. Certain staff members held my personality with disdain, which eventually led to my retirement from the school. I have never been utterly disrespected because of my values, beliefs, and ethics regarding basic human needs, and the pursuit of happiness. I’ve learned a lot since moving to Utah, and unfortunately have had to experience how awful people can be to one-another just because they aren’t willing to value and respect differences.

Since the school debacle, I took up working at two different ski resorts (and experienced yet MORE discrimination from one of them….) and have been accepted into graduate school out east. I cannot thank Utah enough for making me a ‘harder’ person, but also for letting me experience its undeniable natural beauty. I’ve gone from a ‘green circle’ snowboarder to a double black powder hound, and a novice climbing instructor to an entry level guiding professional.

I’ve explored a few different outdoor destinations since I’ve been here, and will (hopefully) catch up on some adventure writing this summer. Stay tuned.

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Scuba Diving Ship Wrecks in Key Largo, Florida

SCUBA diving wrecks …is pretty awesome.

Scorpion fish on Spiegel Grove ship wreck

I took a family trip to visit my sister Nicole, who actually lives in Key Largo. My mother, aunt, uncle, cousin and I decided to take a week and live the beach bum life. We bombarded my sister’s house taking the place over, sleeping on couches and extra beds. We made up for the encroachment by cooking her two roommates dinner and tipping them for taking us out at their respective jobs. Ah… the life of a beach bum. (Or scuba professional, and environmentalist, dive shop host.)

I’d only been to the Keys once before, and the day we went diving we had horrible visibility. This time around I was determined to get out there, find the good days and push through the bad. I’ll spare you the nitty gritty, but four of us ended up diving multiple days in a row. Family stylin’.  And I ended up getting my PADI Advanced Open Water Dive certificate. Win!

In order to dive wrecks you are supposed to already have one, but thanks to ‘working on it’ we got through a little loop-hole. We also went with multiple dive masters and rescue divers because apparently my little sister knows people.

Spiegel Grove – Biggest Wreck in Key Largo

It was sick. I need to go back. The feeling of the water rushing over you as you sink to the bottom, holding a line so the waves don’t take you out to sea. The eerie sound sunken metal makes when you happen upon it at the bottom of the ocean really is like you hear it in movies.

I felt like I was caving… floating through a ships hull, twisting my way effortlessly through its cabin. A metallic cavern covered with life, enchanting us with its sing-song music. And the sea welcomed my inquisitive nature.

I recommend diving ship wrecks if diving in the keys at all. The reefs are not spectacular, but still good fun. The wrecks are a treat. We dove Spiegel Grove and the USS Duane. I liked both. We also did Molasses Reef and a few other reefs, but honestly, the wrecks are way cooler. Rainbow Reef Divers has an awesome dive location map if you’re curious about the sites. We didn’t dive with them but I’ve heard good things. I can personally recommend both Ocean Divers and Pirate Island Divers.

The “Fam” Nicole, Fred, Myself and Nick

If you’re looking for an adventure in US waters; hop on a boat in Key Largo, and Dive a wreck.

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