Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Athlete. Engineer. Lover. Fighter. Social. Adventurer. Tough. Crazy. Independent. Engaged. Me.

What defines who you are? Its a question that many of us struggle with and it changes with life. Look at your life, do you define yourself through your job, your hobbies, your personalities, your desires, your loves or your hates... Using single words to sum up your life may seem simplistic, but its powerful in that it most clearly defines your core.

I am hitting the time in my life when you have taken the first steps toward adulthood (i realize i am a little slow at this which pleases me). I hold down a 'real job', am engaged to my long term bf of seven years, own a house & car, pay taxes, have a 401k, etc. But I am not a restful spirit. I look at the world as one giant clearance bin of dreams that you have to scrounge through to find that perfect item. My current dreams lie somewhere between becoming an FBI agent, starting my own web design business and becoming a professional athlete of some sort. I can't get mountaineering out of my mind (Mt Everest anyone?), and competing on "The Amazing Race" would be the shit. But lately, my obsessions have turned toward competing in a mountain bike race (maybe a 24 hr one) or becoming a dedicated adventure race racer. But whatever I decide to pursue, I am appreciative that I have the abilities and desire to dream & achieve because there are so many in life who have given up on dreaming due to the realities of life.

In the meantime, I have determined a few simple truths:
  • My job is simply that, a job. It will not define my life nor take over my life, even at the expense of my 'success'.
  • I will always be a strong and independent soul while maintaining my autonomy through my marriage. My fiance and I complement each other in this and I love him for it.
  • I will never be able to give up exercise, working out, adventures, sports, etc. My interests may change, but never my desire.
  • I will never be able to cook. Stop praying for a miracle Tom. It's not going to happen.
So to all you dreamers and achievers out there, go for it, whatever it may be. Unless IT is illegal. Then maybe think twice.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Good times.

Blooming Cactus Flowers on South Mountain, Phoenix

Well the weekend came and went, quickly like always. Friday night I decided to go for a quick bike ride after work. I usually hate riding on the roads on Friday nights since drivers always seem to be in a bigger post-happy hour drunken hurry than normally. Due to this, I will sometimes drive my car to a hilly road biking area just to avoid the mall area around my house (lame I know). But on Friday I decided to risk the angry commuters and take off from my house. It was around 110 degrees when I left and since I didn't have any plans of making it a long trip, I just grabbed one smallish water bottle (24 oz). Well of course after I got out of the traffic, I found myself crusing along and didn't feel like stopping. I ended some miles from home way past my planned turnaround time (45 min) due to dinner plans I had made with a friend earlier. I was however close to another friend's house and decided to ride by just to see if they were home. Of course I ran into my friend right as she was pulling into work and got talked into coming into her house for a water refill turned beer. By the time I was ready to ride home, it was dark and I had not brought my headlight or flashers so she ended up driving me home in her car. A really wimpy way to end the day but I went dancing later to make up for the missed workout.

On Saturday I got talked into going to crew practice at 8am with a friend who coaches beginners. Thats right, crew. Its those funny boats with 8 people paddling in them. Who knew it was so complicated? After two hours I began to realize why those crew people practice so many hours a day and at very such terribly inconvenient times (like 5am). No offense crew friends, but I shall pass on the new adventure sport known as crew. I went to the gym after that and road 15 miles on the stationary bike along with two miles on the treadmill. Then I went home to do laundry and crash. And eat gelato...ummmm.

Sunday was our planned 'Salt River Beer Pong Exhibition'. Some friends built a floating pong table out of styrofoam and wood (pictured here) to take floating down a desert river. Its maiden voyage was this weekend. Unfortunately, we didn't account for the rapids and they destroyed the table pretty throughly before the end. But the day was beautiful and the water was cold and we had a great time anyway. We did do one small rock climb cliff jump along the way, but the current was too strong to stop much. Overall a relaxing way to end weekend, although I do feel strangely sore today. Hmm, not sure, I did have to dive after a floating water camera and a displace beer pong table and swim upstream. Oh and if you do not know what beer pong qualifies as, check here. Good times!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Ode to the weekend.

Friday oh glorious Friday. Ode to the weekend.

"Hello weekend. I love you. Deeply. Remember when we first met, I think it was in kindergarten and I realized that I now had 'responsibilities' and could not just kick the bouncy ball and play in the sand all day long anymore. I had to go to school and learn things on the magic reading carpet and I was so sad. And then you came along. And I loved you at first sight. We have had a lot of good times over these 26 years. We have relaxed together, gotten into trouble together and most of all we have had some of our best adventures together. So I am very happy to see you again. BFF. "

The above pic is from my night hike up Camelback on Wednesday. All said, it was a fabulous time, even if it did take us hours longer than it should have and we got lost and ran into some snakes and scorpions and then got locked into the parking lot. We are already planning on doing it again next week, and want to run it this time.

So one of my newer obsessions is 'ultimate frisbee'. I know, a complete change from rugby but very fun non the less. Its athletic, challenging, requires speed, agility, and technical skill and most of all is very competitive. I am playing in a women's league right now and my team is 2-0. Plus you get to sprint around in the 110 degree heat and you don't really notice it because you are having fun. I am developing the reputation of being that 'crazy rugby player' because I am not afraid to dive and accidentally run people over at times. I swear its accidental. Excerpt from a conversation with a teammate from last night:

Teammate: "Oh you used to play rugby, that explains why you are so crazy."
Me: "Yeah, you know that built in human condition that stops you from running into something that might hurt? Well I lost that 7 years ago. I am trying to get it back, but honestly its hard."

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Daily Dose of Adventure

Superstition Mountains, Just East of Phoenix

It's hot enough out to fry an egg on the sidewalk. This is one of those childhood expressions we all remember, but here, it is not just an expression (I have actually seen kids do it). High of 109 degrees F today. Wheww. So when the temps rise, most of the city disappears inside their air conditioned cookie cutter homes and begin the summer 'hybernation'. But what most people just don't realize is that this heat doesn't stop life, it just changes the game. One activity shifts to another, opportunities arise for new and exciting ways to get outside and beat the heat, and the strong step up to the plate and relish the change in season because 'summer's here!' Along this line, I have persuaded a group of friends to climb Camelback Mt tonight starting at dusk and finishing with headlights. Camelback is an old Phoenix favorite for its steep 1200 ft climb in 1.25 miles where the trail closely resembles a giant boulder field rather than a path. It is fun in the day and should be even more exciting in the dark. But to those up to the challenge, there is nothing better than watching the sun set over the city while being on top of our little speck of civilization in the vastness of the great SW desert.

Watch out for the snakes and scorpians!

[Addendum: We actually ran into a snake on our descent in the darkness, along with getting lost and running out of water. The trail was surprising hard to follow even with headlights since its more of a boulder field than a path. We finally made it home after the excitement of getting locked in the parking lot by a padlocked chain. Thank you random security guard that came to our rescue.]

Monday, June 18, 2007


We came, we were inspired, we conquered!

Havasupai was everything I ever dreamed it would be and more. Fourteen crazy female adventurers met at 4:00 am in Phoenix to begin the trek north to the Havasu Falls trail head five hours away. After last minute packing, gear swapping, and weight redistribution, we finally hit the trail at 10:15 am to hike the 10 miles to the campground. It was later than we wanted to and thus the trail was very sunny and had a lot of mule traffic on it. But the day was still beautiful for us desert rats as the max temp was in the 80s (although it felt hotter). We quickly came up with a story to tell the many hikers who asked us what our group was doing (like women can't backpack by themselves): we were nuns on one final fling before signing our lives over to God. We had to address each person as 'Sister Mary [their name]'. It was fantastic and that is how we roll. After several lunch/rock climbing breaks, we finally got into Supai (the Indian Village) after four hours which is 8 miles in. We paid our fee and kept on trekking the additional two miles to the the most incredible site I have ever seen. After 8 miles of hot dusty trail, we rounded the bend to see the beautiful Havasu Falls (first pic). We immediately dropped our packs and ran into the amazing, turquoise water which is relevant as the 'Havasupai' means blue green water in its literal translation. Following some cliff jumping, we continued another mile down the trail to camp near the second 200 foot waterfall known as Mooney falls.

After making up camp beside a gorgeous river under tall trees, we mixed up some adult beverages and watched the sun set from a vantage point of the falls. We heard stories from everyone in the group and I felt very honored to be part of such an awesome circle of women. Two of our companions had even attempted to row across the Atlantic Ocean before capsizing on day 45. Early the next morning, I awoke before the main group and decided to get up and do some exploring. I free rock climbed up a wall I had noticed the day before and got high enough to get a birds eye view of Mooney Falls and the entire campsite. After slowly back climbing (i really appreciate being harnessed in...) I took a swim in the brisk natural shower that was running past our site.

That day we hiked the extra 8 miles downriver to Beaver Falls. It was one adventure after the next. The trail (or lack thereof) was hard to follow so we spend a lot of time climbing through rock tunnels, rock scrambling and river walking looking for the next hint of a path (which was WICKED fun!) On one of these lost periods, we found a secret waterfalls that we are the only people to ever have seen. Okay probably not but since the trail was nowhere near, I am pretty sure the typical non directionally challenged group doesn't find it. It had a secret cave behind the waterfall which was rich with green moss hanging from every part of the ceiling. We named the falls "Sister Mary Falls" after our group's alias.

We finally reached 'Beaver Falls' and spent an hour exploring it, jumping off it, swimming against the currents and generally screwing around before someone walked over to tell us that "no we had not reached Beaver Falls, it was still 1/2 a mile down the trail". Oh well, we enjoyed our pre-Beaver a lot. By the time we actually reached the said Beaver Falls it had taken us 3 hours to get there. Our adventurer rower promptly found a 50 foot cliff (not actually the one in the pic) and persuaded the group to jump off of it. We made the trek back to camp and arrive starving ready to dig into the 'dried beef stroganoff delight'. Ummm delicious.

Since we consider ourselves very intelligent women, we feel that we learn from our mistakes and so decided to set our alarms for 3:30 am to avoid the heat while packing out. We were on the road at 4:30 am which was an awesome idea because got to see the canyon awake. For whatever reason, it took us over 5 hours to hike in, but less than four hours to hike out. Ah, go figure, so we may have slacked on the way in. The last 2 miles of the hike out is an obnoxious continuous uphill climb out of the canyon. It was my favorite part, as I simply cranked on my mp3 cell phone with its external speakers to some good music and motored all the way out without stopping. We finished dirty, tired and happy and made a beeline for the incredibly overpriced ice cream being sold from the reservation hippy trailer.

Overall it was fantastic and I swear now, that I will make this (or someplace cool like this) a yearly trip.

*Some pictures courtesy of fellow adventurers since I destroyed my camera on day 2 climbing through a cave on my belly while dragging my camera through the sand.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Countdown to ADVENTURE!

So I have been a little (okay a lot) bad at writing on my blog lately. Busyness coupled with lack of goals involving frequency & aim of blogging are to blame. I have since decided to try to write my thoughts down at least a couple of times a week as a way of keeping my own personal online journal. I want to become a better writer and this forces me to keep on practicing.

So I am getting very pumped about my upcoming adventure this weekend. On Thursday night, I am making the trip to Supai Arizona for the greatest bachelorette party ever planned. We have 14 girls backpacking into the great American desert to spend 2 nights beneath the stars and giant waterfalls known as Havasu Falls. I am lead guide and engineer of this extravaganza and its definitely going to be interesting considering I have never really done this type of thing. But thats what google research is all about.

Total mileage: around 30 miles
Average high temp: 87
Average low temp: 55
Number of waterfalls: 4
Amazing memorys we will create: unlimited!