Living in Colorado I am pretty spoiled with stunning natural beauty on a regular basis. It’s a hard state to beat. I mean my casual after work runs involve this view:
However, I am happy to report that Virginia now ranks highly on my good list. While visiting my brother, Derek, and baby niece this past week in Charlottesville, Virginia I had the opportunity to go climbing outdoors with Derek and his friend Liz. This was the perfect situation for me since I am a very novice climber and Derek and Liz both can belay. We settled on a destination outside of Wintergreen, a “ski resort” (how cute) in Virginia, and I was immediately blown away by how pretty the Virginia mountains are.
I love hiking but I am not a huge fan of hiking down to rock climbing sites. It’s a completely different entity. I remember when my brother used to complain about it I thought he was crazy. I now get it. You’re carrying rock climbing gear, plus the trails are often steep and not maintained very well. It’s not the best. Luckily our hike down was not too brutal, and we made it in no time.
We did a type of rock climbing called “trad” climbing, which just means we did traditional rock climbing where one person had to lead climb to the top to set the ropes. In sport climbing there are already hooks on the wall, but in trad climbing the first person has to use these fancy clamps that anchor into the rock. I don’t remember what these hooks were called. Once the anchor was set at the top, we were ready to go!
Loving the rocks.
Derek estimated that the first climb was anywhere between a 5.4-5.7. So we’re going to call it a 5.5. Either way, it was really fun. After taking a sandwich break of roast beef and avocado deliciousness, I was ready for the next challenge: a different part of the cliff that was a 5.8 climb.
It had rained in lovely Virginia the night before we went climbing, and consequently the rocks were a little slippery at the beginning of the climb. I’m not going to lie, it took me about seven attempts to make it past the first 8 feet of the climb. Eventually, I made it, and the rest of the climb was a blast.
I really enjoyed climbing, and my brother instructed me that I need to learn to belay to so that we can go climbing at the New during my next visit. The New is the New River Gorge in West Virginia for those of you not current with your Virginia climbing lingo. I told my brother that I wanted to save all my vacation time to go visit him and go rock climbing, and he told me that he wanted to save vacation time to visit me and play in Colorado mountains. We are so related sometimes.
Besides climbing, something else that rocks about Virginia is definitely my niece Harper Lexington. She may have stolen my heart a little bit.
Harper snuggles are the best snuggles.
Between the rock climbing and the cutest 8 week old on earth, I had a pretty amazing time in Virginia. Except for when I thought it would be a brilliant idea to get a haircut. You know, I had free time, my schedule is so crazy in Denver, nothing like getting an easy trim while on vacation right? False. Never ever cheat on your hair stylist back home.
Okay so my hair is now the shortest it has been in at least three years. I decided to get over it and move on because the next part of my trip involved hanging out with my best friends from grad school in DC for the weekend. I was sure they would hang out with me even though I had no hair left.