Our 3 Day Trip Turned Into 12 Hours

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We planned a trip to celebrate my 25th birthday. It was supposed to be a three-day weekend trip full of hiking, climbing and hanging out at the campsite. A fun and relaxing getaway from our everyday lives. We left early Friday morning and made it to the refuge around 10 am. I was so excited to be back to the refuge. We visited there last year for my birthday. It has become a birthday tradition of mine.

The first thing we did was set up the campsite and unpack our gear. We had such a pretty site with trees all around us. It was nice. I enjoyed the time we spent hanging out there. Once our site was set up, we hiked up Little Baldy. This has to be my favorite thing to do there. It is the perfect combination of scary and exciting. Although, this time around it was a bit scarier. It had just rained and the rock was slick. Imagine trying to walk up a wet slide, except you have a long way to fall if you slip.

We made it up to the top. The girls found water puddles from the rain. They loved splashing around. The view at the top of Little Baldy is breathtaking. I wish I could have spent more time up there. We made our way down and began hiking around the refuge.

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While hiking, it started to rain again. So we made our way back to the campsite. It was cold and wet. We curled up in our sleeping bags for a couple of hours. The girls took a nap while we tried to stay warm and dry off.

It finally stopped raining, we decided to head back out and find something to climb. We followed the guidebook but couldn’t get to the routes. The river was higher than usual and we weren’t able to make our way across. I was bummed since climbing was one of the main activities of this trip. We headed back to the car to find a new trailhead.

By the time we got back to the car, I glanced back at the girls. Now, this is where things get pretty gross. I saw a tick on Lulu’s head. It was just crawling around. I got it off. Then I looked at Spice… She had about 5 ticks on her head. I started to worry. I looked back at Lulu, the ticks kept appearing. I had no idea where they were coming from. It was a tick infestation. We drove back to the campsite. I spent the next half hour inspecting the girls for more ticks. I kept finding them. They still didn’t stop appearing. I found about 20 ticks on both of the dogs.

We decided it would be best if we packed up and went home. I was bummed the trip was shortened. We didn’t get to do as much as I had hoped but it was the best thing we could do for the girls. As soon as we got home, I threw them into the tub and pulled more ticks off of them. I have never seen so many ticks on one dog before. It was gross. I spent that night washing everything from the trip in hopes we didn’t bring any ticks into our home.

Hopefully, we will get another chance to go back soon. Next time, we will steer clear of the river area where the ticks are.

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How To Not Let Fear Hold You Back

Fear…It holds us back from doing things we really want to do. I am the first one to admit, I am a worry wart. I worry about everything and everyone. When it comes to hiking, I worry if I packed enough food, enough water, if I am wearing the right clothes for the weather, if my dogs have enough snacks and water… You get the picture.

I never would have guessed that I would be able to cope with my fears while climbing. Climbing is a scary sport. You’re up on a wall when you are used to having both feet on the ground. You have to trust a harness and rope or crash pads to protect you. Just the thought of that freaks most people out. Freaks me out too.

I have been climbing for close to a year now and I am still battling fears. I mostly stick to top rope because that is what I am most comfortable with. It’s very easy and very safe. I know how to lead but I get so nervous when going to clip, I second guess myself, then I start panicking. When it comes to bouldering, I know I can get the moves and top most of the problems but for some reason, when I get close to the top of the wall, I don’t go for it. I panic and jump off the wall because I am afraid of falling unexpectedly and getting hurt.

I recently realized everyone has fear even if they don’t show it. People can accomplish great things once they learn how to work through their fear. Fear should be used as a tool to push yourself. I know after I push past my fears and make the next move or top a challenging route, the feeling of accomplishment is worth the amount of doubt.

To do great things we need to take control of our thoughts. Our brains try to keep us safe. They don’t like taking risks. This past week I topped a boulder problem that scared the crap out of me. It’s nothing hard, the problem was very easy. It was just making it the top of the wall. I remembered to breathe and trust myself. I pushed the negative thoughts to the side and I just went for it. I did it. I was so proud of myself.

It is moments like these that remind me to keep pushing. I have goals and the only way to meet those goals is to push past my fears. The only thing holding me back is myself. I know I am on a journey, and as I continue to climb, I want to constantly challenge myself. Who knows what I am capable of?

Whatever it is that you’re afraid to go for, just go for it. Don’t let anything hold you back. Continue to work on your doubts. Challenge yourself. Take baby steps. Each accomplishment, no matter how small, is worth celebrating. Be kind to yourself. Lastly, don’t forget, you got this. ♡

 

 

5 Things My Dogs Have Taught Me

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For those of you who don’t know my babies, I have two dogs. Spice is an American Dingo (Carolina Dog) Mix and Lulu is a Shiba Inu Shepherd Mix. Spice is three years old and I adopted her when she was only three months old. Spice is a mellow, independent lady who loves spending her time outside. She begs me to stay outside when we go on walks. She loves sitting in the grass feeling the wind blowing and sun beaming on her face. Lulu is just over a year old and I adopted her at 6 months of age. She’s not an independent lady. She loves being around her family. Where ever I go, Lulu will follow. She’s down for whatever adventure as long as I’m there with her. My babies are total opposites but that’s what makes them such a great pair. Lulu is always there for Spice and Spice is always there for Lulu. They are best friends.

I didn’t start camping or traveling until we adopted both pups. They love exploring new places and being away from the busy city life. They have taught me many things over the last year. Things that I needed to learn. Dogs are incredibly smart. I think people can learn a lot from them if they slow down and listen.

5 Things My Dogs Have Taught Me:

1 – Things don’t always have to be perfect to be good.

This is a lesson I am taught every day. No matter how hard I try, I feel like I don’t always accomplish perfection and that’s okay. If we plan an extravagant hiking trip as a family but can’t go due to weather or health reasons, our dogs don’t mind. They don’t mind how long it takes before we can go on an adventure they are just thankful for the adventure when the time comes.

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2 – Be fearless.

This is something that Spice is great at. She doesn’t care if we hike up a steep canyon with a narrow path. In fact, this girl will walk right up to the edge and look down. She challenges me to leave my comfort zone. I remember we took a trip to Oklahoma and that girl scrambled the rocks to make her way to the top. She wasn’t afraid of falling or slipping. She was just excited to be on an adventure.

 

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3 – Learn to forgive.

This is a hard lesson to learn. It is so easy to hold grudges. When someone irritates you or hurts you, you want to hold on to that anger. We all know how unhealthy this can be. Both of my dogs have inspired me to be more forgiving. There have been many times where I have not been in the best of moods. Their unconditional love is what makes dogs so great.

 

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4 – Live in the moment.

Yes, living in the moment. It’s easier said than done. My girls don’t spend the present worrying about the future or dwelling on the past. They are living here because right now is all we ever have. I try my best to focus on the present moment. I feel like it makes life a little easier when you focus on one day at a time.

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5 – Get excited over the little things.

It’s the little things in life that bring the greatest joy. I get so used to the hustle of my daily routine that I take the little things for granted. Spice wakes up every morning excited. She’s excited to see us, excited to eat breakfast, excited for her morning treat and excited to go outside on her morning walk. Every day it’s the same routine but she still finds joy in each part. I learn a lot from this little lady. I find joy in sipping on my morning coffee, a hot shower and having a few minutes to myself. I think that camping is another great way to remind myself to be thankful for the things I have.

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Dogs can teach us a lot. I’d love to hear some of the things your dogs have taught you?

To The Boy I Met In Middle School

I met you eleven years ago. I had a crush on you but I think the feeling was mutual. I remember I was too shy to talk to you at school so I would send you messages on MySpace. Our conversations were always about school, nothing more or nothing less. After the summer break, we both moved on and sort of forgot about each other.

Four years had gone by. Oh a whim, you sent me a message on Facebook. You asked how I was doing and what I’ve been up to lately. We exchanged numbers and began texting. One day we made a plan for you to pick me up from my parent’s house so we could finally hang out.  I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was so awkward. I’m not a very social person but you understood that. You were patient and let me warm up to you.

The winter night drives with the windows down and the music up was my favorite. I can still feel the cold air brushing my cheeks and the heat blasted on my toes. Those nights were the best.

We spent our weekends flying kites, playing video games, visiting animal shelters and watching storms in your parent’s garage. It didn’t matter what we did. I always had fun hanging out with you. Every day was a new adventure.

It’s been seven years with you by my side. We have had our ups and downs, our arguments and our laughter. I am thankful to have you in my life. We are always motivating each other to be better people, do better things and live better lives. We have had many adventures together.

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Here’s to seven years…and many more to come!

 

My Life Has Changed

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It all started on January 1st, 2017. I was celebrating the new year with Michael (my boyfriend) and Alec (his best friend). We decided that the first day of the new year we would go hiking on a local trail. I never knew that this would inspire such a drastic change in my life. We started hiking on the weekends. Then, we started camping occasionally. Alec even got us into climbing at a local gym. We eventually tried climbing outdoors at a state park a couple of hours from home. I was hooked. I couldn’t get enough.

Being outside felt like an escape from the day to day hustle. The simplicity of camping and hiking with only a few items inspired me to dabble into minimalism.  I find that owning more things does not increase happiness. I appreciate experiences and memories more than material items. I purged our apartment, only keeping the things that added value to our lives.

I want to share my experiences with my friends and family. I want to share the things I have learned. I know when I was getting started, I scoured the internet looking for things like, “what to wear while hiking,” “what to eat while camping,” “what to pack for dogs while traveling.” I know how overwhelming it can be to try something you’ve never done before. I remember, that morning on January 1st, I was stressed out because I was worried if my outfit looked okay, if I was going to be warm enough, and if I had packed enough water. Hopefully, I can help ease your worries. I am here to encourage you to just go for it. Once you get out there, you’ll soon find that it is more than just hiking, camping or climbing. It is something that will change your life, for the good.