Cragmama "Not all who wander are lost…" JRR Tolkien

Category Archives: Reflections

Musings on life based on my personal experiences.

Climbing in 2015 – The Year in Review

Climbing in 2015 – The Year in Review

For many of us, the end of a year marks a time to reflect on the goals we had for the previous year, as well as make new ones for the next year.  With regards to climbing, I’d left my goals for 2015 fairly open-ended, so as not to get bogged down with all the crazy logistics that go hand in hand with family craggin’.  I basically had 3 items on my list – take a “big” family climbing trip, find some 12c/d routes that played well to my strengths, and send some 12a/b’s that forced me to work on my weaknesses. Overall I’d…Read the rest of this entry →

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Most Popular Posts 2015

Most Popular Posts 2015

It’s tradition this time of year to take a stroll down memory lane and revisit the most popular posts of the year.  As a writer it gives me a helpful perspective on what my readers responded to most.  As a reader it gives you guys a chance to catch up on what you may have missed and, if you’re new around here, get a big picture of what this site is all about.  In looking back over the posts, I realized I didn’t write anywhere near the amount of posts as I have in year’s past.  Now that there are two…Read the rest of this entry →

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The Stinkbug Saga

The Stinkbug Saga

Last Monday we were almost late to school because of a stink bug.  Yup, a stink bug.  Actually, a brown marmorated stink bug to be exact.  But that’s how the saga ends, not begins.  Let me back up. It had to be at least a month ago when I first noticed him (her?) motoring around the walls around our kitchen table.  “Look at the stinkbug!” I announced to Baby Zu, pointing.  Her eyes lit up as her gaze followed him around the room, and her tiny pointer finger bobbed up and down excitedly.  “BUH!!!!!  BUH!!!!!!!” she sang out.  We watched together for a…Read the rest of this entry →

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Post-Halloween Tips from the Archives

Post-Halloween Tips from the Archives

Back in the days when I actually had time to write (ie one child, who was in preschool a couple mornings a week), I loved writing seasonally appropriate posts for every holiday, Halloween included.  Now that I’ve got a toddler running me ragged a lot less time, those sort of posts have gone on the backburner.  Back when Baby Zu was a newborn, I threw all the blogging “rules” out the window in the hopes of keeping my sanity (it helped?!?)  While writing soothes my soul, not putting pressure on myself to do it means a lot less stress – and…Read the rest of this entry →

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NRG Craggin’ Classic

NRG Craggin’ Classic

Last weekend was the first official weekend of fall, and for climbers in the Southeast, that means it’s time for the Craggin’ Classic at the New River Gorge!  This NRG event is actually just one of a series of climbing festivals held across the country each fall.  The Craggin’ Classic Series (organized by the American Alpine Club), is a chance for climbers from all over to get together and play around on world class rock, all in the name of community, education, stewardship, and fundraising. This was my 2nd time working this event for Trango/Tenaya (first time was back in 2012),…Read the rest of this entry →

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Big C’s First Project: Big Emotions, Little Body

Big C’s First Project: Big Emotions, Little Body

“BUT I WANTED TO SEND IT!!!!!!!!!”  A distraught Big C let out while fighting back big crocodile tears.  He was trying to put up a brave front on the way out of the climbing gym, but the waterworks let loose once we got to the car. It was the end of Day 2 of Big C’s very first “legit” bouldering project (ie, only using holds that are “on.”)  For a while now he’s been able to climb the easier routes in the gym using the intended holds, but bouldering had always been a free for all “rainbow” session, using any holds…Read the rest of this entry →

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From 1 Kid to 2…How Outdoor Adventures Have Changed…

From 1 Kid to 2…How Outdoor Adventures Have Changed…

A couple of weeks ago I received a question from reader Patricia T. that really made me stop and think.  She basically wanted to know specifics about how life has changed for us since adding another child to our family.  In her words – “…I’ve had so many people tell me that the second one really shuts your life down.  Now, I’m trying to take that with a grain of salt, b/c I think we (I’m assuming she meant outdoorsy folks) are cut from a different cloth.  But it still worries me.  What’s your take on this?”   I wrote a…Read the rest of this entry →

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To All the Guy Climbers: A Rant and a Salute…

To All the Guy Climbers: A Rant and a Salute…

It was pretty crowded in the gym last Sunday.  The weather was crappy and there were a LOT of birthday parties going on.  I was patiently trying to maneuver through my fairly extensive warm-up routine before retreating to the training area to do some Power Enduro laps.  I was almost ready, just needed to do a handful of more challenging problems that I had really dialed. There was already someone (a 20-something guy) working one of the boulder problems I was interested in doing.  He tried several times, and kept getting stuck at the crux, 3 moves in.  I waited until he took a break…Read the rest of this entry →

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Why Today is TWICE as Special…

Why Today is TWICE as Special…

March 2 has been a special day in our family for the past 13 years – it’s the day the Crag-Daddy and I said “I Do!”  But in 2014 our beautiful little girl gave us yet another reason to celebrate this day.  Needless to say, last year’s anniversary was a rather unconventional one.  We weren’t exactly expecting to spend the day at the hospital, but it was certainly worth it!   So today on this day, hubby and I celebrate not only our love for each other, but also the love we have for our sweet baby girl.  I found…Read the rest of this entry →

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Most Popular Posts of 2014

Most Popular Posts of 2014

The end of the calendar year is a time that a lot of folks use for reflection, including myself.  One of the ways I do this on the blog is by revisiting the most popular posts of the year – ie, the ones that generated the most comments, site traffic, social media action, and just overall “buzz.”  As a writer it’s helpful for me to see what my readers responded to most.  For my faithful long-time readers, it’s a chance to stroll down memory lane and possibly catch up on some goodies that you may have missed earlier in the year.…Read the rest of this entry →

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Dare to “What If…” Like a Kid!

Dare to “What If…” Like a Kid!

As most of us are probably all too painfully aware, little boys (and little girls!) grow WAY too fast…and growing feet need new climbing shoes on the regular, often before the current pair is worn out.  So far we’ve been pretty lucky in the hand-me-down department (we’ve got several pairs in the garage just waiting to be grown into!)  Just recently I noticed that Big C’s shoes had gone from comfortable to what grown-up climbers would refer to as “performance fit”…great for sending that project, but not so great for little feet that are still developing.  So we went into…Read the rest of this entry →

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The Freedom of Stepping Back

The Freedom of Stepping Back

I learned a long time ago that any writing done when I am rushed and/or not inspired to write is writing that is not worth reading.  Which is why you may have noticed things have been a little quieter around here of late.  The arrival of Baby Z, combined with summer (meaning no preschool mornings for Big C…) has put a giant dent in the time I have available to write.  In fact, over the past few weeks I’ve seen the small windows of time that I previously had for myself shrinking away to practically nothing.   While Baby Z is a…Read the rest of this entry →

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Another Reason to Put Your Swimsuit On

Another Reason to Put Your Swimsuit On

Recently I read this article encouraging moms to put aside their body insecurities, throw on a swimsuit, and jump in the pool/ocean/lake with their kids.  The message was that a child will remember those carefree moments spent playing with you and couldn’t care less about how you look in a bathingsuit.  The writer emphasizes that “at the end of the day, it is not about me.  It is about my kids.”   I agree with those sentiments wholeheartedly.  And, as someone who for a long time struggled with an unhealthy relationship with food, this line resonated with me especially: “Because…Read the rest of this entry →

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Just Love.

Just Love.

“I just don’t know what to do.” was the very frustrated text I’d sent my husband one afternoon a couple of weeks ago.  Baby Z was wide awake…again, after trying to get her to sleep for the umpteenth time.  It was clear that my ordinarily fairly predictable little sleeper was having a series of off days.  I’d remembered Big C having plenty of days like this (call them growth spurts, developmental spurts, or just the age-old infant constant of “change.”), but knowing it was just a phase didn’t help get my day under control, hence the text of desperation.  I’m…Read the rest of this entry →

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Hey Moms, Slow Down!

Hey Moms, Slow Down!

Most of my runs these days are done behind the wheels of my trusty jogging stroller.  I leave the house in my running clothes, drop Big C off at preschool at 9 am, and if all goes according to plan, Baby Z is drifting peacefully off to sleep right about the time I pull back into the driveway.  I shuffle her into the stroller as quietly as I can, and I’m off – pounding the pavement for a 4-5 mile respite while my little girl enjoys her peaceful slumber. Sometimes I’m able to squeeze in a solo run on the weekend, sans…Read the rest of this entry →

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Why the Second Baby is Easier…and Harder

Why the Second Baby is Easier…and Harder

From the moment we told the world we were pregnant again, it seemed that everyone that had been there, done that more than once, felt obligated to express their opinions.  It seemed like everyone clearly fell into one of two camps – the “Number 2 will be a breeze compared to Number 1” folks, and the “Number 2 makes life really complicated” people.  With such a wide range of (unsolicited) experiences to take in, we really didn’t know what to expect.  (And considering that our number 2 is not even a month old yet, we hardly qualify as experts when…Read the rest of this entry →

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4 Years and 1 Proud Mama

4 Years and 1 Proud Mama

The other day I was cleaning up the kitchen after breakfast, and as usual, there was a children’s folk song station playing on Pandora in the background.  C had been painting at his art table, and had just left the room to go get some more paper, and a song came on that I’d never heard before that stopped me in my tracks.  I felt a wave of emotion come over me as I listened to the words that described EXACTLY what I felt about my little guy.  Then right on cue my sweet little boy came bounding around the…Read the rest of this entry →

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On Change…and How Love Multiplies

On Change…and How Love Multiplies

 As I sit here and type this with my little girl snuggled up against my chest in our Boba 4G carrier (review coming soon!), it’s getting harder and harder to remember what life without Baby Z was like.  I remember that strange phenomenon happening with C, but for some reason it still took me by surprise this time around.   I guess that’s because families aren’t  designed to stay the same.  Even if your family is finished adding members, everyone is getting older with each passing year (and each passing minute for the youngest ones!)  That means the family dynamic…Read the rest of this entry →

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Slab Climbing Lessons – Both Literal and Metaphorical…

Slab Climbing Lessons – Both Literal and Metaphorical…

Ah, slab climbing.  Levitating your body up a lower-angled section of rock while relying almost entirely upon the friction created between the rock and the rubber on your climbing shoes – actual holds are few and far between, and after a hard day of slabbin’ it’s your calves that are sore rather than your guns.  Most people either love it or hate it, but regardless of which side of the spectrum you fall in, everyone can usually agree that there’s no better teacher for learning to trust your feet. As for me, though I don’t want a steady diet of…Read the rest of this entry →

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2013 Year in Review and Climbing Hit List for 2014

2013 Year in Review and Climbing Hit List for 2014

This time of year in my climbing journey always involves a lot of reflection.  I look back on how well I accomplished my goals for the past year, and I look forward to setting new goals for the upcoming year.  But as soon as I saw two lines on a pregnancy test last June, it’s fair to say that my list of climbing projects got put on the backburner.  Pregnancy is obviously not the time to explore your limits.  That being said, I “failed” miserably at crossing off even half of what I set out to do on my 2013…Read the rest of this entry →

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Greatest Hits 2013 (and Taking Requests 2014)

Greatest Hits 2013 (and Taking Requests 2014)

The past couple of years on this blog I’ve designated the week of New Year’s as “Highlight Week.”  In addition to reflecting on last year’s goals and next year’s goals (that post will be up on Thursday…), it’s a chance to revisit posts that were particularly popular (that’s this post!)  For those of you that are relatively new Cragmama readers, here’s some goodies that you may have missed throughout the year.  And for those of you that have been reading for a while, it’ll be a stroll down memory lane!  Posts were selected based on initial visitors, long-term traffic, and…Read the rest of this entry →

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9 Things You Should NEVER Say to a Pregnant Woman…and What to Say Instead!

9 Things You Should NEVER Say to a Pregnant Woman…and What to Say Instead!

To some, these may seem obvious…but after one completed pregnancy, and another almost 2/3 of the way through (not to mention plenty of friends that have been pregnant), I can assure you that these statements are in fact used on a regular basis.  I’ve heard all of them…more than once.  So if you encounter a mama-to-be on a regular basis (or just see one on the street), read on.  DISCLOSURE:  This post may very likely be wildly influenced by pregnancy hormones, so take it with a grain of salt 😉  1.  “Are you sure there’s not more than one in…Read the rest of this entry →

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The 5 Most Unpleasant Things I’m Thankful For This Year…

The 5 Most Unpleasant Things I’m Thankful For This Year…

Well, it’s Thanksgiving again, and like many of you probably have, I’ve taken some time to pause and reflect on what I’m thankful for this year.  However, at the risk of sounding cliche and sappy, this post is going to take a different perspective than the usual rote lists of blessings.  Often times, situations that seem unpleasant at first glance end up being the gateway to other blessings that we never would have encountered without the former unpleasantries.  I think it was Garth Brooks who once sang that “some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”  I’ve certainly found that…Read the rest of this entry →

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“Just Like You, Mommy!” aka The Story of the Striped Pants

“Just Like You, Mommy!” aka The Story of the Striped Pants

“NO I DON’T LIKE THE PANTS WITH STRIPES ON THEM!”  C was shouting with the melodrama that can only come from being 3 years old.  I sighed.  As a mother to a strong-willed and highly opinionated little boy, I’ve realized that I need to pick and choose my battles wisely.  Last month, we had to visit our dentist at Delaney Park Dental, and because I could not give him the freedom I would’ve liked to in the office, he was very loud and obnoxious during the appointment, creating a really embarassing situation there. C responds best to freedom within parameters,…Read the rest of this entry →

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What Autism Has To Do With Butterflies

What Autism Has To Do With Butterflies

In honor of Autism Awareness Month, today’s post is brought to you by my friend Melonie.  Melonie was one of my best friends in middle and high school, and as I reminisce about all the numerous conversations we’d had about boys, weddings, and starting a family, I’m pretty sure that neither of us would have pictured ourselves in the lives we have now.  But I’m also equally sure that neither of us would trade what we’ve got for anything in the world!  Melonie has two beautiful children, both of which have been diagnosed with autism, so her passion surrounding this subject is…Read the rest of this entry →

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In Memory of Axel Charrette

In Memory of Axel Charrette

Ordinarily I’m very organized with the writing for this blog.  Initial thoughts may pour out of my head in a jumble, but by the time the words hit the page and I hit publish, they are constructed into nice and neat little packages.  Once I’m satisfied with the end product, the post goes into the queue, poised on deck until the timing is right.  But this post is not like other posts.  This is the hardest post I have EVER had to write.  As my thoughts fill up this screen my eyes fill up with tears, and as the words come…Read the rest of this entry →

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Life Lessons You Can Learn From a Rock Climber

Life Lessons You Can Learn From a Rock Climber

The writer in me loves metaphors and analogies, which is one reason why I love writing about climbing.  Time and time again I’ve been able to apply concepts from the rock climbing world to my life as a mother, wife, and friend.  What a lot of non-climbers don’t realize is that there are actually several different disciplines, or styles, of climbing – some of us may have an end goal to climb Mt. Everest, whereas others of us may aspire to touch every piece of local rock that we can.  Each discipline has a different set of values, ethics, and…Read the rest of this entry →

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A Good Reminder from a Toddler…

A Good Reminder from a Toddler…

  “Hey Mommy, I love you,” says a little voice coming from beside my bed.  I smile and say it back, fumbling in the early morning light as I lean over to help my struggling toddler climb into bed with me without whacking me on the head with the armload of books he’s toting.  He cozies up into the nook of my shoulder, all the while pronouncing his love for “sweet, snuggly Mommy.”  Somedays we’ll snuggle in silence for almost an hour (especially if we fall back asleep!), and other times it’s only for 15 minutes.  Sometimes he’ll get bored with me and roll…Read the rest of this entry →

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A Year Ago Today…A Reflection on Health and Happiness

A Year Ago Today…A Reflection on Health and Happiness

A year ago today I was not a happy hiker, camper, or any of those other cute little clichés used to describe outdoors enthusiasts.  A year ago today I bashed my foot into the  rock face and had to be carried away from the cliff like a sack of potatoes.  A year ago today I went to sleep in tears from frustration, pain, and self-pity.  But that was a year ago, and this is today.  Today I smiled as I thought about our family adventures from this past weekend.  Today I will laugh with my little boy outside in his sandbox. …Read the rest of this entry →

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Hit List 2013

Hit List 2013

With 2012 in the archives, it’s time to look forward to another year…and another Hit List!  Each time I write out a year’s worth of climbing goals, I get a little bit nervous.  What if I fail?  What if I am nowhere close to any of these goals by the end of the year?  The truth is, that could easily happen.  Maybe the logistics don’t cooperate for me to be able to put in the time needed to cross some of these routes off.  Or worse, maybe I’m able to invest plenty of time into a project, and still come up short!  Goal-setting can be…Read the rest of this entry →

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Greatest Hits 2012 (and Taking Requests!)

Greatest Hits 2012 (and Taking Requests!)

It’s tradition around here to designate the beginning of the new year as “Highlight Week.”  And I figured there was no better way to start the week AND end the year than with a “Greatest Hits” post. For those of you that are relatively new Cragmama readers (or for those interested in a walk down memory lane), here’s a look back at the most popular posts over the last year.  ”Popular” in this case means high traffic and a lot of overall buzz – via hits, comments, and social media.  I chose some from multiple categories… TRAINING:  This was a…Read the rest of this entry →

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Setting Your Mind: From a Toddler’s Perspective

Setting Your Mind:  From a Toddler’s Perspective

 “You can do anything you set your mind to.” Benjamin Franklin said it first, but it’s been said millions (and probably billions) of times since then.  It’s one of those inspirational, “action phrases.”  Teachers say it to their students to motivate them to aim high, and parents whisper it to their children to encourage them to dream big.  I’m sure we’ve all heard someone say it to us at some point, and in turn, I’m sure we’ve all said it to someone else.   It’s also the phrase that immediately popped into my head when I saw this picture.  Some…Read the rest of this entry →

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Finding Success in Failure (aka No More “Whining”)

Finding Success in Failure (aka No More “Whining”)

This past Sunday marked Day 3 of work on my most recent climbing project at my local crag, Crowders Mountain.  This route was one that I had picked out for my Hit List for 2o12 – The Whining (5.11d).  I chose it not only because it’s an area classic, but because it specifically plays to my weaknesses – a one-move wonder, go-go-gadget-reach style crux.  The route only officially goes at 5.11d, but the running joke is that for every inch you are under 5.8, it’s a letter grade harder.  Most are able to make the long reach by utilizing a…Read the rest of this entry →

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Lessons from a Toddler on Giving

Lessons from a Toddler on Giving

This week marked my annual attempt at domesticity, the one time of year where I actually break out the Kitchen-aid and pretend I know my way around the kitchen.  I usually pick something that is easy to make, difficult to mess up, and of course, super yummy to eat.  This year, however, I had something else to factor in – an enthusiastic “helper,” one that might actually believe me if I told him I taught Betty Crocker everything she knows! My usual holiday repertoire consists of goodies that involve nothing more than compiling ingredients together and throwing them in the…Read the rest of this entry →

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Just Like Daddy!

Just Like Daddy!

“Just like Daddy, Mommy,” says Cragbaby with a beaming smile, as he carefully pre-loads his plastic power drill with a toy screw and prepares to drill into the wall.  My heart melts, as I glance up from my gardening to see my two favorite boys hard at work on the side of the house, one the spitting image of the other.  With every passing day, it becomes more and more apparent that C watches our every move, absorbing each word, action, and deed like a sponge.  On the one hand, it’s charming and sweet.  On the other hand, there’s a…Read the rest of this entry →

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FINISH STRONG! (aka #FinishStrong2012 )

FINISH STRONG! (aka #FinishStrong2012 )

p>While the holidays can be an exciting time, it can also wreak havoc on our everyday schedules, priorities, and goals.  Constant holiday hubbub can make it darn near impossible to find some down time for yourself.  Chaos ensues as we desperately try to balance our budgets with our Christmas spending.  We put exercising on the backburner as we hastily get ready for the holidays.  Gingerbread men, snowflake cookies, and eggnog are routine appearances at work and social gatherings, making it very difficult to make healthy food choices.   And let’s be honest, it’s easy to let things slide here at…Read the rest of this entry →

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Through a Toddler’s Eyes

Through a Toddler’s Eyes

Before I became a mom, I remember hearing people say that one of the best things about parenting is the joy of discovering the world again through the eyes of a child.  In the past 2 and a half (almost 3, where does the time go!) years that C has been around, I’ve certainly found that to be true.  For instance, I never really gave bulldozers a second thought.  But C is crazy about them (as well as excavators, steam rollers, and the like, whenever the chance arises, he will visit the skid steer rental in Vancouver ).  And much to…Read the rest of this entry →

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My ABC’s of Thanksgiving

My ABC’s of Thanksgiving

The alphabet song is definitely Top 40 at our house these days.  And I must say I never grow tired of hearing my little guy gleefully sing “em-em-ento-pee” in between bites of PBJ.  So instead of bullet-listing what first comes to mind that I’m grateful for, I thought I would honor my favorite little boy’s play list and come up with something for every letter of the alphabet.  So here’s my “thankful” list (in ABC order, of course ;))  A – Autumn.  I could make a case for any season, but I really do think Autumn is my favorite time…Read the rest of this entry →

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Hey Baby Let’s Go To Vegas…Without the Baby!!!

Hey Baby Let’s Go To Vegas…Without the Baby!!!

We’ve got a big milestone coming up in our household.  Any guesses?  Nope…not potty training (unfortunately).  You probably won’t guess, so I’ll just tell you – my first overnighter away from Cragbaby!  For the past 2 years and almost 8 months I’ve woken up every morning in the same house as C (and for a good bit of that time, in the same bed!)  And except for the occasional date night for New Year’s Eve and extended family vacations where C’s grandparents give us a night off from the bedtime routine, I’ve been there to give a good night kiss…Read the rest of this entry →

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The Very First First Day of School

The Very First First Day of School

My sweet boy had his very first “first day of school” at Peace Preschool onTuesday.  He is so awesome.  He humored me while I took photo after photo of him with his little bag, dressed in his new hiking shoes and the rarely seen, special occasion, collared shirt.  On the way there we talked about school, and he told me that Ms. Susan was “up there” as we drove up the hilly drive.  We walked in together, found the cubby with his name on it to put his things in, and entered the classroom.  He made a beeline for the…Read the rest of this entry →

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A Pilot Mountain Legend: Lloyd Ramsey…

A Pilot Mountain Legend: Lloyd Ramsey…

This is the second time in under a month that I have had to post about the loss of a North Carolina climber.  It’s definitely not getting easier, and I certainly don’t want to make this a habit.  This one really hits me hard because Lloyd Ramsey is someone whom I knew very well.  In fact, I can probably count on one hand the number of times that I’ve climbed at Pilot Mountain and haven’t ran into him.  Lloyd was a staple figure at the park, and anyone who has climbed in the area with any amount of regularity would recognize him.   Not…Read the rest of this entry →

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In Memory of Eric Metcalf…

In Memory of Eric Metcalf…

This post was intended to be a trip report from our adventures at Moore’s Wall this past Sunday, but in light of the events that transpired after we left, the usual recounting of the routes we climbed hardly seemed relevant.  The North Carolina climbing community suffered a tragic loss Sunday evening.  Eric Metcalf, a 19 year old from Cary, NC, fell over 250 feet to his death in a rappelling accident in the Sentinel Buttress area of Moore’s Wall.  A lot of the details are still unknown, but I felt led to share my perspective.  My husband, son, and a…Read the rest of this entry →

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Adventures in Fatherhood

Adventures in Fatherhood

Not that I ever had a heart of stone before I had kids, but ever since Cragbaby came along I’ve noticed that I turn into a sappy ball of mush at the drop of a hat when it comes to reflective songs, movies, or conversations involving the love between parent and child.  For the first 6 months post-partum I blamed it on wild hormones, but at 26 months I hardly have that excuse anymore.  It may have something to do with that old adage that having a child means that you are forever destined to wear your heart on the…Read the rest of this entry →

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Lessons Learned from the Fifth Planeteer – aka Groove is in the Heart

Lessons Learned from the Fifth Planeteer – aka Groove is in the Heart

For those of you readers that are on the other side of 30, you may remember a TV show called Captain Planet.  The heroes of this kid’s series were 5 environmental good guys, known as “planeteers,” each possessing a magic ring that controlled an element of nature (earth, wind, water, fire) that they would use in their valiant battle against pollution.  Then there was the fifth guy – his magic ring supposedly gave him the power of “Heart.”  As kids we always thought this guy was dorky – the other planeteers were all much more suave and cool.  In fact I…Read the rest of this entry →

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Sentimental Snapshots: The Weedman

Sentimental Snapshots:  The Weedman

Our household has been logging a lot of landscaping hours in recent weeks – we’ve been digging holes, planting flowers, pruning branches, and of course, pulling weeds. While Cragbaby is thankfully proving to be a fan of all yardwork, his favorite activity so far seems to be yanking up the weeds. In the interest of out new plants, this probably means that a few plant identification lessons are in order (maybe we’ll make a field guide!) I like this picture because of how happy my little guy looks amidst what most people would think of as a mundane chore at…Read the rest of this entry →

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Moms: Endurance Athletes, Superheroes, and More (plus a GIVEAWAY from CLIF!)

Moms:  Endurance Athletes, Superheroes, and More (plus a GIVEAWAY from CLIF!)

What does it mean to be a mom?  Obviously that’s a question that runs deeper that one little blog entry.  But considering that this coming weekend is Mother’s Day, I thought it would be fun to post up a few light-hearted job titles acquired by moms everywhere.  (Let this also serve as a reminder for the forgetful folks out there to make “Call your Mommy” number 1 on your to do list for Sunday…)  As you read, be thinking of something to add to the list for a chance to win a chocolate-themed prize pack from my good friends at CLIF!  SUPERHERO…Read the rest of this entry →

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A Weekend of Projects – Part 2 (Pilot Mountain)

A Weekend of Projects – Part 2 (Pilot Mountain)

I mentioned in my last post that I’d be separating the weekend out into two posts, since each day was so different from the other.  I thought it would be fun to change things up a bit, so rather than the typical play-by-play trip report, I thought I’d focus on “projects.”  For those non-climbers out there, the term “projecting” is used to describe the process that one goes through to successfully redpoint a route near or at their limit.  A route is considered “sent” (aka redpointed) when the climber is able to lead the route from bottom to top (bringing the rope up with them…Read the rest of this entry →

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Slabster’s Lament 5.12a/b – The Lament is Over…

Slabster’s Lament 5.12a/b – The Lament is Over…

Every now and then a route deserves to be memorialized by a post all to itself. In the case of Heresy (5.11c) out at the Obed, it was because of my first impression of it when I first laid eyes on it, several years before I was strong enough to even think about sending it. With Dave the Dude (5.11d), it was because the line was just that good – not only was it a classic in every sense of the word, but it was a culminating finale to a fantastic trip in the Red River Gorge, and thinking about…Read the rest of this entry →

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Tales of a Broken Talus – 7 Lessons Learned.

Tales of a Broken Talus – 7 Lessons Learned.

So it’s been 75 days since my ankle went snap, crackle, pop on an otherwise delightful winter afternoon at the crag.  Since then I have been on a rather emotional roller coaster ride of thoughts, feelings, and mental processing.  Thankfully for me however (as well as everyone who has to put up with me on a daily basis…), that roller coaster has slowed down substantially in the last few weeks as my life has slowly but surely crept back to “normal.”  Looking back throughout the recovery process, Ive realized that this whole ordeal has been quite a learning experience for me, so I…Read the rest of this entry →

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Cragbaby Turns 2!!! (and a GIVEAWAY from Clif Kid!!!)

Cragbaby Turns 2!!! (and a GIVEAWAY from Clif Kid!!!)

I know it probably sounds cliche, but I also know that every parent knows exactly what I’m talking about – it’s so hard to believe he’s already 2!  Where did the time go?  All those days functioning on 2 hours of sleep, the all-night nursing buffets, hours of daily chores performed wearing a snuggly baby wrapped up close to my heart – some of those days seemed to literally crawl by, yet here we are, celebrating C’s 2 year birthday…So many memories, so many firsts (and lasts), it would be easy to get kinda down about my baby growing up, except that…Read the rest of this entry →

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PETZL Helmet Campaign – Round 2!

PETZL Helmet Campaign – Round 2!

Those of you that have been loyal readers for a while now may remember a post I did last October about my stance on helmet usage, as part of a Helmet Campaign from Petzl and their marketing guys over at Pemba Serves.  It certainly got quite the response – 107 comments even!  While I’d like to assume it was my literary prowess and creative wordsmith-ery that compelled such a reaction, in truth I must admit that it probably had more to do with the fact that Petzl was giving away a free helmet to one lucky commenter.  Excerpts of my post were melted into…Read the rest of this entry →

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An End to Winter Recreation in our State Parks?

An End to Winter Recreation in our State Parks?

So I usually tend to stay out of politics, but there’s been a recent issue that’s come up that I just can’t ignore.  A lot of you North Carolinians may have seen it already, but there’s been a nasty report going around social media circles recently about NC State Parks, and the government’s latest and not-so-greatest budget-cutting ideas.  The whole report can be found here, while a short synopsis can be found here.  But for the gist of it, and my (fairly strong) opinion, read on.  (And feel free to comment – I’d love to hear everyone else’s thoughts). Basically,…Read the rest of this entry →

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Tales of a Broken Talus – Update #1

Tales of a Broken Talus – Update #1

In light of my latest footwear trend, all trip reports to climbing destinations, exotic or otherwise, will be on hiatus for a quite some time.  However, since injuries are an unfortunate and inconvenient fact of life for everyone at one time or another, I thought it might be worthwhile to document how I’m getting through this without going crazy (more or less).  I’m certainly not the only one that’s been sidelined for a while, and since writing has always been a therapeutic outlet for me, I thought that weekly injury “trip reports” might be a healthy coping mechanism, as well…Read the rest of this entry →

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A Valentine’s Day Rant

A Valentine’s Day Rant

Well, it’s Valentine’s Day everyone – the time of year where society tells men that they should shower their significant others with chocolates, flowers, and other superficial gestures in the hopes that they can build up enough good will to carry them through a year’s worth of doghouse-worthy escapades.  Florists put in 12 hour days, restaurants are booked solid, and Hallmark employees are on the verge of going postal from seeing only red and pink for the past month. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not one of those bitter romance-haters that has given up on love.  In fact, I’m quite…Read the rest of this entry →

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Highlight Week Continues…with the 2011 Highlight Reel!

Highlight Week Continues…with the 2011 Highlight Reel!

Our family is grateful to have had the opportunity to get a lot of time out on the rock this past year.  In fact, we managed 5 trips to the New River Gorge, 2 trips to the Red River Gorge, 2 trips to the Obed River, 2 trips to Grayson Highlands, and of course numerous day trips to various crags across North Carolina. Its no wonder that loads of fun were had by all as 2011 played out.  In keeping with the “Highlight Week” theme, and in honor of our family’s time-honored Highlight Reel tradition, our family decided to wade through…Read the rest of this entry →

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The Hit List for 2011 – The Year in Review

The Hit List for 2011 – The Year in Review

I mentioned before Christmas that the first week in January was going to be celebrated as “Highlight Week” here at Cragmama.  It seemed appropriate to kick things off with the Hit List.  Some of you may remember  my 2011 Hit List that I published last March, where I listed 10 goals (some very specific, some rather general) that I had my sights set on for the year.  I remember at first being a bit hesitant about posting them for the world to see, since I wasn’t entirely sure that some of the objectives were even in my realm of ability.…Read the rest of this entry →

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Greatest Hits and Taking Requests

Greatest Hits and Taking Requests

In the spirit of the new year, I thought it would be a good time to do some reflecting on my site content.  So the point of this post is really two-fold – a chance to look back, as well as the opportunity to move forward… GREATEST HITS: For those of you that are relatively new Cragmama readers (or for those interested in a walk down memory lane), here’s a look back at the most popular posts over the last year.  “Popular” in this case means high traffic and a lot of overall buzz – via hits, comments, shares on…Read the rest of this entry →

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A Nativity Story

A Nativity Story

I have a very fond childhood memory of a Nativity set that belonged to my dad’s Aunt.  Every year we would spend Christmas Eve at her house, and every year I would engross myself in the little white figurines on the hearth, while I waited (sometimes not so patiently) for it to be time to open presents.  The Nativity characters were white and made out of porcelain, and had a magnificent blue velvet lining upon which they were placed.  And although they were extremely breakable and possessed a lot of sentimental value, I don’t recall ever even coming close to…Read the rest of this entry →

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The Highlight Reel…

The Highlight Reel…

If you’ve ever climbed with our family, then you’ve probably experienced the end of day mental pat on the back otherwise known as The Highlight Reel. It’s a long time tradition that Steve and I established years ago, back when we first started climbing. At first it was just something we talked about with each other on the way home from the crag. We gradually introduced it to our other climbing partners and it just sort of took on a life of its own… Here’s how it works. After a hopefully long and fun-filled day at the crag, each person…Read the rest of this entry →

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Last Year’s Bumble-Bean

Last Year’s Bumble-Bean

Over the past few days we’ve been brainstorming about different costume ideas, (rather unsuccessfully I might add) which reminded me of last year’s Halloween, which also happened to be Cragbaby’s first.  Our neighborhood had a little shindig that afternoon (which was of course scheduled smack dab in the middle of C’s usual nap time).  We didn’t want to throw a ton of money into something that he would wear for a few hours max, especially since we didn’t know how long he would even last at the party, so we decided to keep it simple with an ensemble that could be worn…Read the rest of this entry →

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Life Lessons Learned on a Slackline

Life Lessons Learned on a Slackline

A slackline is really an interesting idea.  Very popular amongst the climbing community, and more or less unknown to everyone else.  The concept is quite simple in theory – picture a circus with a tightrope walker high above the spectators, hands out to the sides, balancing her way across the rope to the other side.  Now, take out the “tight” part and picture the same person walking across a piece of webbing about an inch wide, as the webbing sags low underneath their weight and wobbles from side to side.  Welcome to the curious world of slacklining. Invented by a…Read the rest of this entry →

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What Corner of the Earth Smiles at YOU?

What Corner of the Earth Smiles at YOU?

“This corner of the earth is like me in many ways I can sit for hours here and watch the emerald feathers play On the face of it I’m blessed when the sunlight comes for free I know this corner of the earth, it smiles at me.” – Jamiroquai Perhaps I’m dating myself a bit by admitting this, but one of my favorite musicians is British acid jazz/funk guru Jamiroquai.  In fact, as I wrote this I imagined everyone reading this post pensively while listening to the song in question in the background, but then I realized that would out…Read the rest of this entry →

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Exposure On and Off the Rock

Cragmama

In looking for relevant posts to use while out of town, I stumbled across this post I did a couple of years ago on exposure.  Even though I ended up not using it while I was in Michigan, I felt like it still applied, so I tweaked it a little, and voila! Exposure is a commonly used term in rock climbing that might not be familiar to those outside of the sport. I found an online dictionary that defined it as “being in a situation in which you are very aware that you are high off the ground.” In other…Read the rest of this entry →

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In Celebration of World Breastfeeding Week

In Celebration of World Breastfeeding Week

In case you weren’t aware, this week is World Breastfeeding Week, which is meaningful for our family since Cragbaby is 16 months old and still nursing away with no signs of stopping.  So to celebrate, I wanted to do a post about breastfeeding – but not about the benefits of toddler breastfeeding, or how to find support in your area (you can find a lot of that information here, however).  My intent is not to judge those that formula feed, nor is it to  sound preachy towards folks that breastfeed for longer or shorter time than we have.  Everyone is free to make their own decisions about what is best…Read the rest of this entry →

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What Can Your Earth-Suit Do (aka Perceptions on Body Image)

What Can Your Earth-Suit Do (aka Perceptions on Body Image)

  I think most of us tend to focus on what our body is and what it isn’t.  That’s how I used to think anyway, especially a few lifetimes ago back when I was a personal trainer at a gym filled with a bunch of testosterone-driven meatheads…For example – my body IS/ISN’T able to fit into those jeans today.  My body IS/ISN’T as pretty as that girl at the gym.  My body IS this, it ISN’T that – put in your own words, I’m sure you have some. One of the first things I noticed when I started climbing was…Read the rest of this entry →

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Don’t Forget to Look Out!

Don’t Forget to Look Out!

  I’m a little better about it now, but when I first started climbing outdoors, I was notorious for climbing to the top of a route, getting lowered down, and then proceed to hear every person that climbed after me rave about the spectacular view they had when they turned around to take in the gorgeous views of the world around them.  I would tell myself as I was tying in and putting my shoes on, “Make sure you look out this time,” and invariably, it would not come to my mind again until I was back on the ground untying…Read the rest of this entry →

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A Perspective on Risk Assessment

A Perspective on Risk Assessment

“Do you take less risks in climbing now that you’re a mom?”  If I had a dollar for every time someone has asked me this since Cragbaby entered on the scene…well let’s face it, I wouldn’t be rich, but I would definitely be able to buy more $4 frappucinnos at Starbucks!  The funny thing is, I never really feel like I have a good answer for this question.  I feel like the “correct” answer is, “Yes, the responsibility of raising a little person has made me less risky of a climber.”  But if I’m being honest, I don’t really think much…Read the rest of this entry →

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Sentimental Snapshots: Happy Birthday Cragbaby!

Sentimental Snapshots: Happy Birthday Cragbaby!

So I had another post all written and prepared for this week’s Sentimental Snapshot…but today is Cragbaby’s birthday and it didn’t seem right to have another picture up here on this milestone day!  I can’t thank God enough for the wonderful gift that C has been to us.  It’s hard to wrap my brain around the fact that a year ago at this time Steve and I were heading to the hospital!  For anyone that might be interested in the play by play of that day, you can check out Canaan’s Birth Story here.   This is one of my…Read the rest of this entry →

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Canaan’s Birth Story

Canaan’s Birth Story

This is the story of how Canaan Ray Lineberry entered the world.  On Friday, March 19th, I finished my last day at Chesterbrook Academy, and was ready to enjoy two full weeks off before my due date.  Folks kept asking me what I was going to do with all that time off, and I jokingly would say that there’s no way the little guy was gonna let me have two weeks all to myself.  Steve predicted that I would go into labor at 4:00 Friday afternoon, right when I got off of work.  I was a little more cynical, and…Read the rest of this entry →

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The Halfway Point

The Halfway Point

Just over 4 months ago, I saw two pink lines on a pregnancy test.  An hour later, I didn’t believe it so I tested again.  Then also the next day, and then even a week later, just to make sure.  Now, several months later, I’m feeling my litte jellybean kick even as I type this out, and my ever-expanding belly is leaving no doubt to the entire world that my body is producing something amazing on the inside!  So I am officially 20 weeks pregnant, which marks the halfway point (b/c everyone knows you deliver at EXACTLY 40 weeks, right?) …Read the rest of this entry →

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Selflessness on Reality TV?!?

Cragmama

I’m not one of those people that watch EVERY reality TV show out there, but I will take this moment to admit that yes, I do have a few shows that I indulge in on a weekly basis.  Usually its just for fun, and very rarely do I ever find anything of real depth or value on these shows, but this week has been both frustrating and refreshing in the land of reality TV.  Let me back up and start from the beginning…every so often on these shows, there will be a token “Christian” player.  These characters are usually over…Read the rest of this entry →

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Exposure = risk realized, but not increased

Exposure = risk realized, but not increased

Exposure is a commonly used term in rock climbing.  I found an online dictionary that defined it as “being in a situation in which you are very aware that you are high off the ground.”  In other words, standing on a large summit that is capped by lots of soil and very tall, thick trees would not be considered as exposed as a summit consisting of a 3 foot wide pinnacle several hundred feet off the deck.  A steep route traversing across a narrow ridge would be more exposed than a route that meanders up a low-angle slab.  Exposure typically intensifies a…Read the rest of this entry →

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Gaping Similarities, not Petty Differences

Gaping Similarities, not Petty Differences

So in my last post, I mentioned that we made some new friends at Pies n Pints during our visit to the New last weekend.  We overheard the couple at the table next to ours talking about their day at the Bridge Buttress, another New River Gorge climbing area, so we decided to see what routes they had gotten on.  We ended up talking to them the rest of the time while we ate – Josh and Erin were their names, and they were from Johnson City, TN.  We compared notes on our activities from the day, discussed our plans…Read the rest of this entry →

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Risks and Consequences.

Risks and Consequences.

It has been a sad week in the world of climbing.  The climbing community suffered a loss of a legend this past weekend.  On Sunday, July 5th, John Bachar fell to his death while free soloing in Mammoth, California.  If you don’t know who he is, you can click on the link to find a quick bio, but this guy was one of the greatest climbers of all time, some might argue THE greatest.  This tragic event combined with my injury a couple of weeks ago in Utah brings to the forefront an issue that most climbers don’t like to…Read the rest of this entry →

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“Good Marriage” Bars

Cragmama

I went to a wedding shower for Lisette, my friend and co-worker, on on Thursday night.  For the past few weeks, she and I have had this endless conversation about these granola bars that I make.  When we first started talking about it, I gave her the recipe, but she misplaced it.  I wrote it out a second time, but she had not had a chance to make them yet.  But we’ve been talking about them forever.  Well, I decided that even though it had nothing to do with a wedding, I would make some for her and throw them in…Read the rest of this entry →

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Some days its a blessing just to make it out on two wheels…

Cragmama

Geez, today was one of those days at Lake Crabtree…Steve and I met at 3:45.  It all started when I stepped out of the car into the middle of August (not sure why I hadn’t noticed earlier how freakin’ hot it was today!)   When Steve got out of the car, he discovered that his rear tire was flatter than a pancake.  We both kind of gave each other a groaning look, and moved his bike into the shade, so that he could change the tube with the crappy emergency pump that he carries on the frame of his bike (we still don’t know why it…Read the rest of this entry →

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Faith, Rock, and Gear…

Faith, Rock, and Gear…

This morning I was meditating on the idea of God being an “everlasting rock”, and I was again struck with the similarities that that spiritual concept had with my favorite hobby. This is a personal excerpt from my journal, so its a little on the deep side, so bear with me… 🙂 “Putting my trust in an Everlasting God is a little like doing a really hard trad route with bomber gear placements on perfect rock. I know the protection is sound, so I’m not afraid to keep going, even if it gets hard and I think I might fall. Just…Read the rest of this entry →

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Journal Excerpts from our Backcountry Canoe Trip in the Everglades…

Journal Excerpts from our Backcountry Canoe Trip in the Everglades…

Saturday, December 30, 2006 Well, everything was a bit touch and go there for a bit, but we finally got a wilderness permit out of Flamingo and set off this morning. We opted for the South Joe River chickee, based on availability and the weather… The first part of our journey was along a canal for just over 2 miles. The water was nice and flat, mangroves on either side. We saw a few wood storks and lots of herons and egrets. Then we got to Coot Bay…Coot Bay lasted for just under 3 miles. My first thoughts were surprise…Read the rest of this entry →

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