After saying goodbye to our apartment we traveled back to PA, to spend the weekend with two of my favorite people in the world! Rachael and Andrew live in Camp Hill, they just bought a house and have done an amazing job making it their own. We spent the weekend enjoying wonderful home cooked meals, playing scrabble (I won, woot!), exploring the area, catching up, drinking proper tea, watched the Jungle Book, discussing politics (very interesting since our views differ..except on the topic of Trump, no one likes what is happening there - Anyway!). I was good this time and took photos! Here are a few from the hike we did, it was really beautiful. Did I mention this beautiful couple is expecting? SO happy and excited that these two phenomenal human beings are creating another.
It was hard to leave them but the time came Monday morning and we drove out to Seneca Rocks, WV. We both knew there was good rock climbing to be had but that was it. We didn't know about the area, where we could camp or what kind of climbs to expect. Matthew has a climbing book we used to do a little reading on it. It mentioned a lot of Trad climbing options (setting anchors while you climb, as opposed to top roping like you would in a climbing gym). We only know how to top rope but headed out anyway with hopes of getting lucky. It took 3.5 hours to get there, once we arrived we decided to hike to the rocks and have a look around.
There were two ways to get to each side of the rocks, we did one side and I took a few shots of that. We did a little rock scramble for fun... it was a little scary to do without rope so I didn't go too far up.
Funky bug friend that landed on my leg.
He was braver than me... or dumber, you be the judge.
The other side took longer to get to. It's a 1.5 mile trek and felt like the longest and hardest 1.5 miles! It was a lot of switchbacks and fairly steep and steady uphill, the view was great. We did about 5 miles of hiking that day.
Another shot of the rocks, we were told that we could top rope off the back of the rocks. The next few days we spent patiently waiting in the cold and rain for a day to climb. We found free camping about 30 min away and settled in.
This first day turned out to be gorgeous and would have been great for climbing. We ended up just hanging out around camp all day. The weather was wildly variable here. It would be sunny, then rain, then sun, then rain. The wind constantly changed direction so we were dancing around the fire in the 'avoid smoke' dance to the fire gods. The next day we decided to hike, there was a 3.2 mile hike about 1/2 mile away. We had to ford the river on this trail about 6 times. To help you appreciate this, it was in the 40's, the river was colder than that and in order to cross we had to take off our shoes or get them completely drenched. Not one to back down from a challenge we pushed forward. After the 6th ford we started thinking we might extend this hike to a loop so we could avoid going back the way we came. Luckily that was an option... an option that ended up extending our initial 6 mile out and back hike to about a 9.5 mile loop. We were pretty tired towards the end. In the past on long hard hikes Matthew has sung to me. To keep our spirits high he started to sing. He did one song, then I did a song. I started with Sir mix-a-lot, Baby Got Back, a personal favorite lol We ended up singing a lot of show tunes, I started dancing and had a blast. Towards the end of the hike I did happen to twist my left ankle ( I have a history of this), it hurt at the time but didn't last and was fine by the time we got back to camp. The following day we went to town to sit somewhere warm and get some wifi service. This ended up being a 1 hour drive to the closest place with wifi. The day after that was another hike day, but shorter this time. We spent part of the day practicing belay techniques and going over some basics of Trad climbing. I am now pretty good at starting and keeping fires going in the rain. I acquired a few burns and my iphone doesn't recognize my print anymore.. but I kept warm by tending the fire! Oh... I also managed to singe my hair thanks to the crazy changing winds. It was minor, I need a trim anyway.
The sun came out Saturday and we were so excited to get going on the rocks! We did the grueling 1.5 mile trek to the rocks, made more enjoyable by the gear and food we had to take with us. We found two spots to top rope climb and each did 4 climbs. We also repelled down for fun.
Oh and this happened...
That's my nail separating from my body. It already had a new nail growing under it so Matthew suspects this is an old injury that finally came off from wearing my climbing shoes. For those that may not be aware, climbing shoes are smaller than normal shoes and are pointy like heels, mine are curved as well. They are like ballet slippers with a pointy toe to stick in small crevices. They hurt, but it's worth the pain to climb. It also gets easier with time, you get used to them and build up pretty calluses. I don't have any more photos of climbing. We tried climbing Sunday as well but the previous days climbs made it hard. We did climb but not for as long as we'd like. Ended up doing one climb, that we couldn't finish but attempted twice. It made us sad, but we can't control the weather or the rate of our recovery. It was still fun and a gorgeous day. Looking forward to more climbing and building up my strength. The next few days called for more rain, so we left. Next is heading to Massachusetts to drop off some of Matthews things and visit his parents.
Side note - We found where Chipotle gets their Tortillas... These big beauties were in a general store across from Seneca Rocks.
Enjoying the journey and missing the people I love. Time to make some phone calls...