Sunday, October 28, 2012


Today is Deal and my 6th anniversary!!

I can hardly believe we've been married for six years. I can remember our first year of marriage like it was yesterday. Although we had been together for 4 years before getting married, being married was so new and exciting! The whole year was like a whirlwind honeymoon as we enjoyed our last few months living in Danville, VA, and moved up to Concord, NH. Once again, we were living in a new place and knew no one. Once again, we learned that we really only needed each other to create our own happiness.

We did nothing to celebrate/recognize our anniversary this year, which is typical of us and fine in our books. We celebrate our marriage everyday. There was a bit of miscommunication on whether we were getting each other cards this year. I got one. He didn't. Until today at the grocery store.

Everyone always says that marriage is hard. I beg to differ. Life is hard. A good, solid marriage is what makes life easier.

To many, many more!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Happy AT Anniversary and Adventure 2013

Today marks the one-year anniversary of finishing our thru hike of the AT!! This time last year, we summitted Springer Mountain with heavy--yet excited--hearts.

As we settled back into reality, we knew we couldn't live without adventure. We decided to switch gears a little bit and focus on high pointing. We have done 26 high points across America and many of the remaining 24 are big and bold and require some mountaineering.

So, in 2013, we are going to attempt to summit ... drumroll please ... the 14,411-foot Mt. Rainier in Washington.

This is scary to me for a few reasons.

1) Mt. Rainier's peak is at 14,411 feet. I get altitude sickness at 10,000 feet.

2) Mt. Rainier is the largest glacier (!) in the U.S. south of Alaska. Glacial ice=difficult to traverse.

3) Mountaineering is a new "sport" for us. Equipment includes crampons (spiked attachments for your boots) and ice axes (used for climbing). I like rock climbing, but ice climbing??? We have to traverse crevasses (giant cracks in the ice that are not always visible!!) and bridges made of snow that could be as thin as a few inches (Jesus H. Christ, help me). We will be roped in together in case someone falls into a crevass and for other reason, so I suppose that is reassuring. But, the list of hazards is daunting, to say the least.

4) I have an unfounded fear of avalanches.

5) People die on Mt. Rainier expeditions. See 1-4.

6) Mt. Rainier is what is called a stratovolcano (still an active volcano).

And with that, I think I just gave myself a heart attack writing this all down.

But, what can I say? I'm a wannabe adrenaline junkie (Deal is a full-blown adrenaline junkie) and if the AT proved anything to me, it's that you don't know unless you try.

I will suffice your fears a little bit by saying we are going not by ourselves, but with Rainier Mountaineering Inc. Guide Services. Which means we get detailed and hands-on instruction (i.e., how to get yourself out of a crevass, how to use an ice axe) as well as the expertise of guides who have summitted Rainier hundreds of times.

Also, we have health insurance (that's a story for another day), but I'm not sure it covers frostbite or severed limbs from use of the ice axe.

When we booked the trip, we did it as soon as RMI opened up the dates (they book up very, very quickly). So we essentially had our first choice. We picked July 25-29 for a few reasons. While weather is always a factor and we could be turned back by it, July and August are the most stable months and therefore provide the highest success rates. July/August is also a "slow" time at BD and we can get away (PS - if anyone wants to cover the hostel for us that week, let us know!!) I also picked that week because I am a bit superstitious and my mom's birthday is July 27. I thought if we were potentially summitting on her birthday (I just ruined her birthday, btw), it would be a good omen.

The other piece of good news is two crazy people decided to join us!!! Bobby/Bolt, a definite adrenaline junkie from Danville, and Mac/Fire Marshall, our fellow AT bud. Bolt is a little bit of a bad omen, as his track record for weather and mountains is not so good, hence his nickname. But, he is a mountaineer and will kick our butts into high gear, especially in our training. Fire Marshall, on the other hand, has proven to be a little bit of a good luck charm on adventures and is always a good addition to our duo, so we'll go anywhere with him.

We are excited for our Adventure 2013: Operation Rainier. The prep for it is intense. We basically need to be in better condition than we were when we hiked the trail. So this is not the last you will hear of Adventure 2013: Operation Rainier. The question is, are you ready to embark on the adventure with us?

Monday, October 15, 2012

West Virginia Motto - Mountaineers Are Always Free

These days, there is a "group" for everything. Like-minded people get together and do their thing. Trekkies. Stay-at-home Moms. Stamp Collectors. The list goes on. Deal's goes to rec director conferences, where they play whiffle ball. I go to my medical writer conferences, where we get our smart on.

It's always nice to interact with people who "get it." Which is why Deal & I felt so much at home at the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association (ALDHA) "Gathering" this weekend in West Virginia.

It was our first time attending the conference and we will definitely go back. We went to sessions on other people's tales of trails, trail development and hostel management. It just reaffirmed that we are where we should be. Maybe someday I will revisit my career of medical writing and Deal of parks and recreation, but for now, the trail is our life.

They do a roll call in the beginning to see what hikers are in attendance. We of course are part of the Class of 2011 and there were just a few others from our year. But they went all the way back to the Class of 1971!!! And some people weren't just in one class. One guy has hiked the AT 9 times. NINE TIMES. They also ask who has the most miles under their belt. The highest was 45,000 miles!!! Can you imagine hiking 45,000 miles??!?!?!?! Deal and I have a long way to go ... And the end note speaker ... a 32-year-old who has about 35,000 miles under his belt with his most recent expedition being over the 2500-mile Himalayan Range through India and Nepal. Nah, that's not impressive. Not at all.

FYI, the meeting was on a college campus and I must say, school cafeteria food has definitely change. I had shrimp one night!!!
The meeting was in south central West Virginia, so on the way there, we meandered the back roads to do some exploring in the Monongahela Forest. Two observations:
1) I've never seen so many unincorporated towns (means there is no self-ruling)
2) I am very proud of myself for not upchucking while reading the map and going up and down and around the serpentine roads. Mind over matter.

We camped for the weekend and it was good to get in the tent again. It was our bigger tent, so it felt like a luxury compared to what we camped in this time last year. Campfire, camp food, chill in the air, no showers for 3 days ... love it.

On the way down, we stopped at the high point of West Virginia--Spruce Knob at 4,861. Numero 26 for us! Very pretty high point, especially since that area of W. VA is at their peak fall colors. 

And well, since we got away for the weekend from BD, Deal had to tie in a concert. So we got together with these 2 clowns to see one of their fav singers ... Peter Gabriel.

Now back to usual programming, but you can look for an announcement from us later in the week!! 

Friday, October 12, 2012

40 is the new 20.

My big sis (Janice/Quick Question) turned 40 last weekend!

To celebrate, we ventured to sunny and hot Florida--Captiva Island to be exact--with 4 of her girlfriends.

The agenda included a whole lot of nothing. Five out of six of us have kids, a job and a very busy lifestyle. I don't have nearly as many excuses as these guys to relax, but it felt very good and needed nonetheless!

The pictures will show evidence of beach time, pool time, biking, kayaking (complete with manatee sightings - not pictured - and a first-timer!), dancing, going down kid-like slides, jet skiing, cake, and ring bling (to light our path to and from dinner). What you may not see in a physical picture is old friendships and new friendships. Quick Question has a great group of friends and I felt right at home with them and their tri-state area accents.

As requested, they each afforded a blog nickname:
Kelly/Twin Sister
Shari/Wish Wash
Mary/Oompa Loompa
Melinda/Queen of Useless Knowledge 14

Maybe they'll show up the blog some other time!!

We stayed at the South Seas Island Resort in a 3-bedroom villa. The resort is on the tip of Captiva (near Sanibel Island). We had just enough within walking distance to keep us content. We ate on property, but also ventured off to 2 very cute restaurants. The Bubble Room was an eclectic restaurant with bubble scouts as the servers, if that is telling at all. An interesting experience to say the least. We went to Key Lime Bistro for Quick Question's birthday and that was a good choice. The service was so awesome as they set us up with a round of desserts to honor the birthday girl. We had to shake our booties a little bit, but it was worth it.

Some of you may have realized that this past weekend was also Deal's birthday. Yes, I was that wife who abandoned her husband on his birthday. Admittedly, this was not the first time (hey! he's done the same to me). In any case, he wallowed in his sorrows at The Feisty Experience, a music festival in central VA at a brewery. Music, beer, fellow hippies ... I'd say he was in the right place. Though he will not let me live down his missed birthday and I have already given him 2 foot rubs this week. I will never leave you again, my master.