Posts Tagged With: Hiking

Dear Assholes of the Mountain,

While I believe there are many assholes of the mountain, I am only going to focus on a few. I don’t have time to write a book… maybe I should write a book?

I preach the gospel of spending time in nature. I am the for most advocate of getting your kids outside and having epic adventures with them. But, let’s be smart people.

In the heart of Phoenix we have Camelback Mountain. Per Strava, it is 2.2 miles round trip with 1,877 feet of gain. Yes, it is a beast! And while my training is calling for 10,000 feet of climbing or more per week, it is my new best friend. With this friendship has come a lot of stress on my patience, sanity, and overall tested my ability to not push people off the mountain… (seriously I would never do that… but some people make it hard not to…)

So stupid people who come to the mountains (any and all not just camelback)  for your selfies and bragging rights without real knowledge of etiquette or concern for nature- I call you out.

To the people with music blaring- You suck. I do NOT want to hear your crappy music and as a matter fact I would really like to listen for snakes. Thanks.

When a trail says “extremely difficult” there really is no need to ask the Ranger how difficult it “really” is. If you can’t look at the sign and say “eh?” and keep moving with confidence, get the fuck off the mountain and find something within your wheel house.

Up hill has the right of way. I actually heard someone tell his kid to move out-of-the-way of downhill hikes, um, nope. People going uphill should not be made to stop their momentum for downhill goers. Even when I’m runningdownhill, if it’s single track I will stop my run and pull off to the side, because it polite and my Strava isn’t that important.

Say hi! If you do not look at me and say hello I assume you are a serial killer. Now, if you look totally exhausted and like saying hello may take all your extra energy and you’ll die, I give you a pass. Otherwise, at least give a polite head nod and keep rolling.

To the parents/ relatives / friends with children- do not bring kids up anything that you can not do easily. If your ass can’t carry a kid down if something bad happens, you should not be there with kids. Listening to grumpy adults who are struggling themselves pressure tired children to keep going infuriates me. When it’s a summit hike and there are kids that clearly aren’t going to make it I get frustrated. Please take children to mountains, teach children about nature and caring for it. But, taking a child to something they are going to fail on does not instill a love for nature, it makes them hate it. Set them up for success.

Heat- you’re stupid. Look, I will be out running in the heat, so will my friends, but this is what we do! A novice hiker does not need to be out in 100 degree heat. AND—-

Kids in the heat??? This is child endangerment. Even I, me, this lady that does crazy shit with her kids, will not take my kids out in the heat. Over 95 degrees and the older ones could put in some miles, but the little ones will not be on the trails. And over 100? NO WAY will any of my kids be on the trail. I love my kids and value their lives… the risk is not worth any reward.

Please keep getting out into the mountains. Protect our public lands- protect our wild places- teach kids to love nature so they will do the same- but at least be smart about it.

 

Categories: Adventures with Littles, Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Havasupai with a Baby

Decided to take Mr. Tag down to Havasupai Falls because, why not?

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Packing for all day adventures is soooo simple with a baby… Note to self, babies’ need way too much stuff…

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One of us was awake…

He did well for most of the hike in, nursing and sleeping like a baby does.

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Boob

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Another baby on the trail!

Per usual he was very uninterested in the awesome views…

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No? Ok then….

At some points he was awake and even got to enjoy a little of the falls. Though is was a little cold for such a little guy.

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Aaaand, back to sleep….

What I learned on the way out is 11 1/2 hours of my shannaingans is all he is willing to tolerate.

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Awake baby on the trail!

While singing dancing and overall being crazy would keep him happy for a moment, he was unwilling to calm down totally until he was out of the carrier. -Sigh- Nothing like carrying a baby in your arms at the end of a 12 hour day on the CLIMB out….

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But we made it. It was fun, and I learned I am terrible at taking care of my calories. With nursing him all day and hiking I need to figure out just how many calories I need so I don’t feel awful the next day. FOOOOOD! A work in progress!

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You know the amazing feeling of cleaning yourself up and getting changed at the trail head after a long day on the trail? Yeah I don’t, but Tag sure does…

 

Categories: Adventures with Littles | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

5 kids. 1 Mommy. 1 Big Peak. Humphreys.

I don’t like to compare my kids to other peoples, I get it, they are all unique and special in their own way… But mine are pretty badass!

Tenny is 4. She is adorable, funny, a pain in the ass, and full of energy.  She loves running but gymnastics is definitely her thing. This tiny little body is packed with muscle…. but she is only 4…

Most of the time when we hike she gets worn, because wearing two babies is apparently my thing

Spending time in colorado she spent a lot of time on her feet. The largest hike being nearly 4 miles with just under 3,000 of elevation gain (Island Lake). After hiking up, she slept on my back majority of the way down. Although she is clearly tough, the idea of taking a 4-year-old on an all day hike (oh yeah and 4 other children) alone is somewhat frightening. Apparently I like watching my life flash before my eyes…

When +1 said he had work to do in Flagstaff I said “great we will join you! I want to take the kids up Humphreys myself”. I’m pretty sure to anyone that just sounds stupid. 5 kids, age 11-3, almost 5 miles  and over 3,000 feet of climbing, sound like a good time?

They were all thrilled to be woken up early.

They were all thrilled to be woken up early.

Getting ready for an all day trek with everyone is stressful in itself. We rolled up the the parking lot and they all ran off to play. I did my best to round them up for sunscreen and to throw some packs on the big ones. Tenny was stoked to hike and took off in a sprint, which resulted in a potty break before we could even hit the trees “I have to pee now Mommy!” She almost got off the trail…

And we are off!

And we are off!

 

The first half hour she ran, a lot. Girl was excited to be on her own two feet. By an hour in it was snack time, eat and hike peeps we gotta keep moving.

Just keep moving.

Just keep moving… in American Apparel leggings of course.

*Note- I do not have a lot of pictures. My phone is super ghetto and the battery does not last long anymore. Even on airplane mode trying to save the battery for as long as possibly, I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to get a picture at the top if I wasn’t careful. Sorry…

So we snacked every half an hour or so and they kept moving. They love to play together while hiking and their was some sort of Pokemon/horse game going on. I was happy they didn’t need me at this point as Tru was in the worst mood ever! My Little hiking buddy needed a nap and was not having it for some reason.. ugh… there may have been threats of bear attacks if he continued to scream which did cause them to subside enough for him to fall asleep for a while. Pokemon/horse continued on.

I missed a turn. I know I suck. So we scrambled up. Teagan continued to question me and all I responded was “up”. We trudged on with Tajh behind Tenny to keep her from sliding down. Eventually we found the trail, hit the saddle, and into the rocks larger then Tenny.

Up!

Up!

“Tajh just push her butt up” I commanded after watching him try and have her step on his hand, which took forever. “This is awkward…” because he is 11 and everything is awkward.  At no point have we rested at all, I knew we didn’t have time in the day for that. We did though move off the trail if anyone was coming toward us. One of these times Tenny took the opportunity to lay down on a large rock “I just want to go to bed Mommy”, “Yes hunny, me too, lets go”.

So sleepy...

So sleepy…

She picked a nice view.

She picked a nice view.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On we went. If was windy and cold up top and holding hands was necessary to help the Little Lady up the steps larger then she. No one was complaining, other then about being cold. I sent the Bigs ahead as soon as we saw the summit, and not gonna lie, I got pretty darn excited hiking up with Tenny.

Up go the Big's

Up go the Bigs

 

5 hours and 5 minutes after starting Tenny summited Humphreys Peak.

My Littles.

My Littles.

Second nap of the day for this guy.

Second nap of the day for this guy.

Snacks

Snacks

 

Rest

Rest

 

Snacks

Snacks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We sat and she ate her peanut butter cup (yup just one). The Big’s and I discussed letting her take a nap, but at this point it was pretty late. After a 30 minute rest we started down the mountain again. They discussed how heading straight down the scree would be much fast “see mommy then we just head through the trees to the car”. Sigh… That’s a no.

Having left without our sandwiches we had only snacks all day, everyone was starving. We daydreamed about pizza, all of us, and hiked. The horse game came back (no pokemon this time) and Tenny fell, “That was (insert horses name)’s fault. I’m ok”.  Although none of them ever had imaginary friends, they really commit when playing in the mountains.

We finished with only pizza on our minds, 4 1/2 hours after leaving the summit (down is hard when you are super short). Tenny was asleep within 2 minutes of driving but woke in time to eat. They probably all passed right out at bedtime you assume? Of course not!  They would not go to sleep! Does anything exhaust my Littles? I’ve yet to find it! When asked what he favorite part of the day was Tenny responded “seeing the top”, yup, that’s my girl. All my Littles continue to amazing me. I’m one proud Momma.

All 5 kids took in 3,850 calories over the nearly 10 hour day.

 

 

Categories: Adventures with Littles | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Island Lake? Psh my 4-year-old can do that.

Did someone say epic? Oh yeah, that’s how we roll. A journey with 5 kids into the unknown? Yes please. Even better, let someone tell me there is “lots of snow up there” and apparently I decide it’s an even better idea. With +1 at the lead I strapped Tru on my back and headed to Island Lake.

Now we have done part of this journey before. Last year we drove to the parking lot at the end of South Mineral campground and headed up Ice Lake trail. To head to Island Lake you take a turn at some point, that’s all I knew. Last year I was in shape, this year I haven’t done anything in a nearly a month, I knew this was going to hurt, at least a little.

Now let’s remember, little Tenny is 4. I had NO clue how long this hike was going to be, but I knew from the start she was going to make it on her own 2 feet.

Off we go!

Off we go!

The first hour was a nice hike. Upness was there, but everyone was moving pretty well with Tenny moving at “4-year-old who randomly gets boosts of energy to catch her siblings” pace. River crossings were met with helping hands from siblings, and Tru took his first nap of the day. I’m pretty sure this kid only likes hiking for the naps!

First river crossing. They got larger!

First river crossing. They got larger!

See, larger.

See, larger.

I get by with a little help from my siblings.

I get by with a little help from my siblings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I figured snack after an hour and then maybe another within the next half hour, they had other plans. These kids were hungry! So they ate and hiked and Little Miss Tenny got a second wind, even if it only lasted a little while.

Snack break turned into birdwatching time.

Snack break turned into birdwatching time.

Upness

Upness

"Mommy van!" -Tru

“Mommy van!” -Tru

Now about snow, I don’t like it. I am not a fan of being cold. So we hit some snow fields, and some more, and some sketchier ones. I spent a lot of time asking the kids to watch their feet and asking (re-asking) +1 if it was safe.

More snow.

More snow.

Snow

Snow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still snow.

Still snow, and Tenny!

Tenny does not like having cold and which did lead to some freak outs EVERY time she fell…which was a lot. Luckily +1 did help her through some of the extra crazy spots. And then we saw it:

 

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The amazing blue of the water could been seen through the ice layer, which the kids promptly began throwing rocks at. What kid doesn’t want to watch ice break? We had lunch, threw more rocks, and laid our shoes and socks out to dry. And then got attacked by marmots-

 

I can confidently say the best playground for children is a giant frozen lake over 12,000 feet in the sky. The only way to live.

 

Ice Breaking.

Ice Breaking.

More Ice Breaking.

More Ice Breaking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rock throwing,

Rock throwing,

Time to leave.

The snow fields on the way drown were beyond sketchy. Sadly my phone died (then came back to life further down the mountain) so I wasn’t able to get any of the epic shots on +1 skiing on his feet down crazy snow fields at 12,000 feet or my Littles getting cold butts as they sledding (sans sled) down. We will have to head back and make it happen.

Drinking from waterfalls "best water ever!"

Drinking from waterfalls “best water ever!”

"Mommy next time lets bring no water and just fill in the waterfalls" Good plan kids... good plan.

“Mommy next time lets bring no water and just fill in the waterfalls” Good plan kids… good plan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tenny napped on my back (girl deserved the break!) , Tru on +1’s (so thankful to have another adult for this trek) and we all made is safely back down. In case you are keeping track, My 4-YEAR-OLD hiked for 3 1/2 hours over 4 miles up with nearly 3,000 elevation gain. Yup, she is bad ass. All in all it was nearly an 8 hour day and so worth it! If only for the marmot eating Tay’s pee off the ground story…

 

Dirty shoes picture requested by Tay.

Dirty shoes picture requested by Tay.

and some others.

and some others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And let me say, my Little people who have been fighting and struggling to be friends the last few months were AMAZING the entire 8 hours. Helpful to one another and kinder then I could ever ask for. Thank you nature!

Oh yes, and my adorable pollen nose little buddy. Best hiking friend ever! Anytime I fall and give a "shit" under my breath I'm met with "ok mommy?". Love him!

Oh yes, and my adorable pollen nose little buddy. Best hiking friend ever! Anytime I fall and give a “shit” under my breath I’m met with “ok mommy?”. Love him!

Categories: Adventures with Littles | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Holding on to trust

I have always been a firm believer that My Littles should have an adult in their life they can tell anything to and know they will not be judged. Someone that will keep their secrets if that is what they need. Someone to guide them on the right path, someone I too can trust. I never thought my children would choose me for this job…

On a hike the other day I wore Tru while the others marched along, Tea holding Tenny’s hand on the steep downhills. We chatted as usual and the kids began sharing some worries they had. I took a deep breath and thought very hard before I responded, even for me this was a bit much. It was eye-opening to me how much they talk to each other. They shared with me that they had talked about this very thing at the park a couple of days prior. I had wondered what they were doing, not playing just walking in a little gang together around the perimeter. Apparently they were sharing all the little spy work they had done with and discussing their feelings. As a Mother wanting my children to have a super tight bond, I was proud. Now that they were allowing me in on their little secret, I was honored.

Sister Love

Sister Love

He always gets excited when we are going on a hike and falls asleep within minutes… apparently we aren't very exciting!

He always gets excited when we are going on a hike and falls asleep within minutes… apparently we aren’t very exciting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So they told me what they knew, their feelings, their worries, and asked me to keep their secret. It is not something harmful to anyone else, something that could easily be avoided if people in their lives made an effort, but I still felt uneasy as I made the promise. I will not tell on you. I still feel uneasy, but I can not lose their trust. If I tell, they will know, and then I will not get the chance to be a part of their little gang any longer. Their counseling sessions with each other will become a secret from me, and I can not have that. Maybe that’s wrong of me? Maybe I’m suppose to “be a parent” and not a friend? Maybe I’m making the biggest mistake every and I’m going to pay for it later…

But I honestly don’t care…

I have a secret that I’m not telling! My Littles have a pretty awesome club and I am excited to be a part of it!

My Gang

My Gang

The hike went on, we wandered with no real direction or plan, and it was perfect. I’m really digging not coming up with a plan even for my own runs. Choosing left or right, up or down, going with the flow and allowing the day to create itself. I find myself dreading the days we have things to do and longing for the ones we can get lost in. The no agenda days of the summer have been missing far too long…

 

 

Categories: My world as a Single Mom of 5 kids | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Handies and The Terrible No Good Very Bad Day.

Last summer, when we were visiting Silverton for a few days, we tried, and failed, to hike Handies Peak. Here is how it went from both of our perspectives.

 

We left Silverton right after breakfast. As we were driving out of town, we were relying on my quick look at a map of the area and Sabrina and Paulette’s memory of having driven to Grouse Gulch, the start of our hike up Handies, during Hardrock over a month prior. We ended up taking the wrong road out of Silverton and wasted quite a bit of time before we realized where we should have been. We got to the Grouse Gulch Trail Head around late morning.

KIds and Nature

Kids and Nature

 

As we started up the trail, a series of long switchbacks, the kids quickly started to feel the elevation and the hike. We had made it up the switchbacks and about three quarters of the way up to the American Basin-Grouse Gulch Pass when a break became absolutely necessary. Several kids were bonking hard. We stopped at a small glacial lake that had a rock outcropping to shield us from the building wind and had snacks. Nourished and rested, we headed up the rest of the way to the pass, which tops out above 13,000’, which would end up being our highest elevation for the day.

Seth and Tenny looking amazing!

Seth and Tenny looking amazing!

 

Snack time.

Snack time.

During our hike up, Sabrina’s stress fracture hadn’t seemed to inhibit her greatly. The kids were moving slowly and the lower impact of uphill travel did not seem to be affecting her too much. As we started down into American Basin, things started to turn to shit. The boys took off down into the basin and within minutes were several hundred yards in front of us. I tried to stay back with Sabrina to help, but trying to keep up and the impact of keeping her footing moving downhill produced visible winces of pain in her face. We regrouped at the bottom of the basin and started our climb up Handies, now nearly 2,000’ above us. This quickly proved to be too much. On top of this, it started to hail. Fucking great. Sabrina sat down and we all put on our rain shells. This is the point that the day turned from a poorly executed hike to a total failure.

Sabrina still feeling "OK"

Sabrina still feeling “OK”

 

From the moment I got out of the van it was a disaster. I was my usual self trying to get everything done and in the rush slipped out of the van causing some ridiculous pain in my facture area… oops. Not being willing to admit failure, I strapped Tru on my stomach and threw the pack on my back. I’ve never hiked with poles but thought possibly this could relieve some weight from my leg and gave it a go, not too gracefully. As Seth said the up hill was fine, down I was just hoping to not cause a full fracture. My careful steps still hurt and how slow I was going began to scare me more and more. At some point I knew this was going to get terrible, I just wish I had known how terrible it could get.

 

Sabrina couldn’t get back up. She was either in shock, or early hypothermia from sitting down and having her body temp plummet in the now quickly worsening wind and hail/rain. The decision was made for me to run across Cinnamon Pass to see if the route would be possible in the van. This would prevent Sabrina from having to climb back up and over the pass and down Grouse Gulch. From where we were in the basin, it was only about a mile to the American Basin Trail Head. As I ran over Cinnamon Pass, I realized that this would be a real challenge to get the van back over. I also realized that with the worsening weather, the near impossibility of getting Sabrina back over the pass which we had crossed, and the much longer trip over Cinnamon Pass than I had anticipated, I had no choice but to drive back over. I finally reached the van maybe seven miles from where I had started, and at least an hour longer than I had estimated (I had guessed the pass to be three to four miles). I got in the van, turned the key, and the bane of my existence, the gas light, flicked on with three quick chimes. My heart sank. Not only would I have to make it over Cinnamon Pass, I would have to hope like hell I didn’t run out of gas in the process. The first side of the pass was sketchy, but not too stressful in our 15-passenger van. As a tangent, our van is built on a truck chassis, but at the time, we had some pretty suspect tires for what I was trying to pull off. Since, we have put commercial-grade off-road tires on the van to help ensure we are prepared for our adventures. Anyhow, the second half of the pass is where the day became truly terrifying for me. Our 15-passenger van, though it is built on a truck chassis, and has decent ground clearance, is still a 15-passenger van. It is really long. Trying to navigate the worst hairpin turns I have ever encountered in my life, as the van is making all kinds of noises indicating that it is about to break under the stress that I am putting it through, while trying not to look off the edge of the road that drops a thousand feet to the dabin below only a few inches away from where I am maneuvering six-point turns still sends chills down my spine. Somehow, both the van and I made it down the road to the American Basin Trail Head, passing Jeepers with their jaws on the floor at the sight of what this jackass in a 15-passenger van was trying to pull off.

 

So Paulette, myself, and 6 kids sat. Paulette and I sat very close together huddling for warmth as the hail/rain continued on and off. The kids quite surprisingly and to our benefit played happily most of the time. Tru even stayed  pretty silent maybe sencing the same thing Paulette and I were feeling. The conversation with us was kept to mundane topics. As time drew on it was later discovered that we were thinking the same thing, there was no way it took this long, something terrible happened. I watched the small amount of cars leave the trailhead and the daylight slowly go away, what were we going to do? Could we hitch a ride with someone? Not knowing what the road out looked like I wondered how terrible it would be to take all the kids sans carseats out of here. At what point would we have cell phone reception again and be able to call seth, my +1, anyone for help? The thoughts stayed terrible but neither of us talked about them…

 

I parked the van below the 4WD point for the trail head access road. Both to get my feet back on solid ground and to preserve what little gas we had left. I had been gone hours longer than I had told Sabrina and Paulette that I would be at this point. As I ran the road the rest of the way to where they were waiting, the looks on their face puzzled me, at first. They started to yell “Where is the van??”. It hadn’t occurred to me that approaching on foot would scare them. It was nearly dark. I told them that the van was just down the road. I also suggested that Cinnamon Pass wasn’t the road that I would suggest for us getting back to Silverton. They agreed. At this point, I the gravity of what I had just pulled off sunk in and I almost started to cry. That was the scariest shit I have ever done.

 

Paulette and I basically freaked when he came on foot. After he described his journey we were happy to take the 4 hour drive around and we shared our fear of him being dead all around. Im pretty sure he was not the only one that cried, that day was probably the most emotional day of all of our lives. So today Handies and I have a beef. Although I may be healing from a stress fracture (undiagnosed from before the trip) I am ready to finish what we started last year. Hopefully with no Cinnamon Pass stories this time!

 

Categories: Our Homeless Summer | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Oh where oh where has our little Baya dog gone..

If it isn’t one thing, it’s another, right?

We got our dog Baya from a rescue when she was just a puppy. We were told she was a

German Short haired Pointer and maybe possibly mixed with pit bull. She was super cute and very playful. One of our first adventures with her was a super crazy day of sketchy hiking. She was the perfect puppy for us.

I have very specific rules about kids and dogs, they are never to be alone together. Basically neither dogs nor kids should ever be trusted! I also don’t believe dogs should be treated like people.

So we began our big homeless summer at my +1’s race. Baya was tied to the van and people wandered over to pet her and she happily rolled over giving everyone her belly to rub. At some point, some little dogs showed up and were pretty yappy which caused Baya to decide to bark too. Tajh and Tea were getting ready to run, Seth was out running already, Tay was all over the place, and I had the babies. I grabbed Baya’s leash and took her with me to watch the big two start. Everything was fine, the big kids took off and I walked over to put Baya back and the babies to bed. I stopped to talk for a minute. My +1’s brother was moving about taking care of all the race stuff and happened to duck under the flags next to the little two, Baya, and me. The first pass was fine, but apparently Baya did not like his second go past, and without knocking over the 2 children standing next to her, bit him, on the neck. Not knowing how bad the bite was, I of course freaked out. My doofus of a dog has never reacted to people that way. I had no idea what to think. Hindsight it makes sense, she was protecting her little people.

Baby love.

Baby love.

So I yelled at Seth, said we weren’t taking her, and he didn’t agree. It was decided we would be more careful. Fact is she is a great running partner, amazing pack mule for hiking, the kids best friend, and usually she pays no attention to people. Ok plan B, she will be kenneled anytime there are lots of people around, I can live with that.

Or can I? So a couple days ago Seth was putting Tru in the car, which means the sliding door was open and Seth had his back to it. Tay was playing in the front seat, and everyone else was off somewhere else. A friend of ours (who, yes, knew what had happened prior) came by the car and went to pet Baya. All Seth hears was a snap, fuck. She got him on the face. Clearly his presence in her area with the kids involved was not ok with her.

Friends

Friends

Please note that both of these times she had already been on a run that day. It wasn’t being over excited, lack of exercise, she was calm both times prior. It was simple protection.

Our hard worker taking a rest after summiting her first 14er.

Our hard worker taking a rest after summiting her first 14er.

So what do we do? I literally watch my children put their hands in her mouth and take food from her. I watch her go on runs with the kids. I watch them ride her, lay on her, cuddle with her, poke her, why did she have to do this? In no way do I want to get rid of my dog, in no way is it her fault, but she can’t stay with us on our trip. We are around too many people, friends and strangers. This cannot happen again.

Baby hugs.

Baby hugs.

So as I write Seth is in Phoenix with her. We contacted the rescue we got her from and they were kind enough to take her in until we get back. Once we are home we will find the perfect training for her and spend whatever it takes for her to learn protecting the kids does not mean snapping at anyone.

The best reading buddy.

The best reading buddy.

Maybe we are terrible people. Maybe we are doing the right thing. But, she is our dog. The kids love her, and we will do everything we can for her to stay a part of our family.

This guy is really going to miss his best friend for the next couple of months....

This guy is really going to miss his best friend for the next couple of months….

Categories: Our Homeless Summer | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

We got kicked out of our first campsite!

Thats a milestone right? Apparently it is a park and we are not aloud to camp there… the fire rings had us confused, oh well.

Pretty sweet view.

Pretty sweet view.

Our spot was so awesome you didn't even need pants!

Our spot was so awesome you didn’t even need pants!

So we spent a couple nights in a pretty awesome spot in Silverton. Gave me some free access to wifi will the children played and gave Seth a chance to head up the the avalanche shoot to the top of Kendall mountain, pretty cool stuff. But then we were told we couldn’t stay…oops.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We decided to head out the “the bus” and were slightly lied to about how far this adventure would be (thanks to my +1!). Sometimes its nice to have no idea what you are in for during the day and to just take it nice and slow with no expectations. It took us 3 hours to make the trek and we were greeted by a kids dream.

Up we go! To where we don't know!

Up we go! To where we don’t know!

A pretty Lady and an awesome bus! Could this picture be any better?!

A pretty Lady and an awesome bus! Could this picture be any better?!

 

 

 

The kids played, ate, and explored an old mine shaft (maybe it was). A great time was had by all but eventually the clouds began rolling in and it was time to head back down.

 

 

 

 

 

Taking in the view!

Taking in the view!

 

 

I decided to mapmyrun it on the way down to check out the distance, only a 6+ miles down… hmmm thats why it took so long to get up! There was a small injury which is the tell tale sign of a great time!

So dangerous!

So dangerous!

Today was spend on the Silverton 6,12,24 hour course. Its a one mile loop with 250 feet gain, pretty awesome. Tea had a great time rock’n it with Daddy and knocking out 10 miles, while Tajh took a nice dive and wrecked himself at 8. Tay even managed to get 3 miles in!

Little Lady wrecking it.

Little Lady wrecking it.

 

Ouch!

Ouch!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little sisters can be super helpful! Wound cleaning at it's best!

Little sisters can be super helpful! Wound cleaning at it’s best!

We have a couple more sleeping in the car nights ahead of us. We all seem to enjoy the nomadicness is allows. No tent to put up and take down, just a grill to get out and cook on. It gives us the freedom of kind of going wherever we want without too much stress, pretty sweet.

 

Ultimate Direction add?

Ultimate Direction add?

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Redcloud

We made it into Silverton on Tuesday evening. We came in late, so it was already dark by the time we got into Town. We decided that it would be easier to sleep in the van since most of the kids were already asleep anyway and the idea of setting up camp in the dark did not appeal to either of us.

We spent the morning at a coffee shopping updating our last blog and allowing the children to explore the town. One thing I truly love is allowing our children to be a little more “free”.  They shared conversations with people, looked in window shops, and we wrote and somewhat “got our shit together”. It was decided at that point they we needed to go big, so why not head out to Lake City. We drove the four hours and set up camp with two options for the next morning, Redcloud and Sunshine peaks, or Handies, Sabrina’s arch nemesis.

Feral Children!

Feral Children!

Redcloud was our first 14’er that we decided to tackle. The trail to the peak was about 3.5 miles and then went on another mile and a half to Sunshine Peak, an adjacent barely 14’er (14,001’). We hike about two miles in starting from our camp at the Grizzly Gulch/Silver Creek Trailhead. As we rose above the tree line, we came into an absolutely surreal basin that led us up to a saddle where the climb became truly challenging (both steep and challenging terrain). This last mile had us climbing 1,500’ to the summit over loose rocks and sheer drop-offs into the basin on the opposing side of the saddle that we had climbed. Each with a 30lb kid on our backs and three littles on their feet, this was nerve racking to say the least.

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Our home for a couple nights.

Our home for a couple nights.

This guy looks ready to hike!

This guy looks ready to hike!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

–A digression from Sabrina- I HATE hills. It’s bad. Like when I am running the smallest little “hill” (speed-bump) gives me the excuse to walk. Yup… I’m a giant girl… Even worse though is my absolute fear of any and all downward slopes. All that comes into my head whether is be at a baseball stadium in the upper level, a concert, silly little hill, roof top, is me slipping and rolling down. Obviously, I knew these mountains that we were going to tackle would have both of these two dreaded things, but I knew I had to tackle them. So… I cried… a lot. About 500 feet from the summit I just lost it. There was a switch back that literally came to the sheer edge of the cliff and all I could think about was myself, Seth, or one of the kids on the way down loosing footing and slipping off the edge.

Anxiety attack at 13,500 feet. Clearly Tenny wasn't bothered by my breakdown! Nice shot by Seth!

Anxiety attack at 13,500 feet. Clearly Tenny wasn’t bothered by my breakdown! Nice shot by Seth!

I could not get myself together for a good couple of minutes. Eventually Seth came down, and I waved him off, stood up, and kept on trucking. I find that even though my children see me at the depths of a panic attack, they also see me stand up, face the fear, and keep moving. I feel like I show them fear is something you push through, not something you sit in. Although on the inside I may have still been a giant girl!

Boys at the summit! Tru couldn't be bothered to wake up for the event.

Boys at the summit! Tru couldn’t be bothered to wake up for the event.

Girls at the summit! I stopped crying (almost) for the picture!

Girls at the summit! I stopped crying (almost) for the picture!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We hit the summit around 12:45pm. There was a brief discussion about heading on to Sunrise Peak, however, storm clouds approaching from the West quickly settled that. The hike down was nerve racking for many. The grade along with the slippery terrain was a bit much at times. While making our descent some small snowflakes graced us with their presence which was a welcomes surprise for all.

Scary clouds!

Scary clouds!

As with all our descents the moral was lifted. The kids were happily spotting marmots and enjoying playful conversation with each other.  It’s amazing what children share with you 5 hours in at 12,000 feet!

Break Time!

Break Time!

Happy kids!

Happy kids!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lessons learned from Redcloud-

-Sabrina will cry at 13,500 feet, probably every time

-Tay will bonk an hour in to every hike, plan accordingly

– All the children really want to do is play in the snow patches

– The children do not like dates in Sabrina’s camping banana bread

Yum! Well not the dates apparently...

Yum! Well not the dates apparently…

Nutrition-

-8 bean/tortilla rollups

-2 packages Clif Black Cherry shot blocks

-3 White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Clif Crunch Bars

-2 Squeeze packs of apple sauce

-2 Chocolate Chip Clif Bars

-5 Strawberry Clif Twisted Fruit bars

-1 Strawberry Stinger Waffle

-1 Peanut Butter Cookie Lara Bar

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Humphreys

And so our big adventure begins. For our first stop, we decided to take advantage of some local adventure that Arizona has to offer. We stopped in Flagstaff to make a little jaunt up Humphreys Peak, which tops out at 12,633’ above the Coconino National Forest. This also allowed us to try everything out (Gear, Food, Clothing, Etc.), before we are in Colorado and wrecking every 14’er we can get our happy little feet on.

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As we begin any epic adventure, it is super-critical to keep in mind that planning is important, but being flexible is mandatory for success and happiness. We packed up our nutrition (See list below), water, Kids Camelbaks, The North Face wind/rain Shells, Ruffwear pack for our furry pack mule, our mei tai’s for wearing the littles, and of course everyones’ Buff’s for the day. We headed up from the Humphreys Trailhead in lot 9 of the Snow Bowl Parking lot West of Flagstaff.

First step is always to strap the hoodlum on your back!

First step is always to strap the hoodlum on your back!

Things always look amazing at the start of a hike with kids. No summit to be seen, no idea what the terrain will hold, everyone is optimistic. When you have 5, that optimism can’t be expected to last long. While asking “how much futher is it?”, or “when are we going to get there?” and other terrible kid questions that we don’t allow, someone is bound to bonk. About an hour in Tay (6) was clearly falling into the “not enough nutrition or water” category. Using incentives (not bribes, incentives are very different!) sparingly is always important. We gave a time, “hey would you like a chocolae brownie Clif Z-bar in another half an hour? We can take a nice break them”, and that helped hold him off for a while longer. Although that “half an hour” may have only been 15 minutes but luckily none of them wear watches. There were some tears during this long, dreary, sad walk to the speacial treat (they never get these unless they are doing something senious), lucky his Buff came in handy to wipe them (and his messy face) away.

 

Sad Tay. Just a little Bonk, nothing a little special snack can't handle!

Sad Tay. Just a little Bonk, nothing a little special snack can’t handle!

 

 

The summit brought winds that scared many of the littles (maybe an adult too). At one point Tea and Sabrina lay face down attempting to avoid the high winds which seemed like they could push both of them off the mountain. Tajh on the other hand loved jumping from rock to rock and hiding from the winds. Frolicking around the summit screaming “I’m on the top of Arizona!” This kid is a hiker, through and through. Funny to note in almost any race he and Tea race he is the first to break down while Tea has a head down, no complaints approach. Yet, it was Tea who was complaining and unhappy at points during this hike, while Tajh was overly positive forcing us all to make threats on the safety of his nose.

Boys at the summit!

Boys at the summit!

 

 

 

Ladies at the summit!

Ladies at the summit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tajh in his element.

Tajh in his element.

Heading down is always welcome. Although some of the children’s feet were wrecked, there was a much more positive vibe in the group. They were proud of themselves, happy to have accomplished this, and happy to be heading back to the van. The little two were worn on our backs for almost 8 1/2hours, and they were happy to be on the ground again! This is just the begining of our adventures, but by far this is the hardest mountain we have conquered, to date. I see our failures (not feeding them early enough in the hike) and our wins (staying positive despite this). We are ready. Ready for the next amazing adventure we find ourselves in, or really just the next time we get to spend 8 ½ hours with nothing to pay attention to except putting one foot in front of the other and talking to our little people, that’s epic.

Finally the poor Little Littles got a break from being on our backs!

Finally the poor Little Littles got a break from being on our backs!

 

Totally worth the view!

Totally worth the view!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nutrition:

Three packages Black Cherry Shot Bloks,

Strawberry Stinger Waffle,

Two Strawberry Banana Gu Gels,

Cherry Lime Gu Gel,

Chocolate Raspberry Gu Gel,

Chocolate Cherry Clif Shot Gel,

Two Peanut Butter Cookie Lara Bars,

Three Chocolate Brownie cliff z bars,

Oatmeal Cookie cliff z bar,

Four peanut butter date sandwiches

 

$46 worth of Chipotle… yup we were those assholes holding up the line for 6 burritos, a kids meal, and chips. Sorry…

 

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Categories: Our Homeless Summer | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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