Friday, June 25, 2010

#2 Climb Mt Hood - DONE

Climbing Mt Hood and the whole experience that accompanied it is probably the most intense thing I have done in my life so far. Not only was the actual climb intense but it was preceded by some serious training and working out.
Let's back up to the reason we decided to do this in the first place. The Smarts live in the pacific northwest and are an adventurous group led by the fearless Darrell, who has climbed just about every mountain within a 500 mile radius of his house. One of his life goals is to climb Mt Hood with his wife and 5 children. Seeing as Chelsea had yet to climb we decided to help make Big D's dreams come true. (I will note this was also a life goal of Chelsea's) So our training began back in February with sporadic work outs and lots of talk about gear and what exactly we had gotten ourselves into!

As the trip approached and the anticipation set in, the training intensified. A typical work out was at least an hour and included 45 mins of stair stepper/running/and my personal favorite: jacking the treadmill up to the steepest incline and hoofin' it in our hiking boots with a 25 lbs pack on. (I really wish I had a photo of it - use your imagination!)
Finally the hour approached. Plane tickets purchased. Boots broken in. Playlists created. Motivation and adrenalin coursing through our veins. And then we got the call from Darrell saying that there were avalanches on Hood and that we may not be able to climb. felt like someone punched me in the stomach. We had worked SO hard and the news was incredibly disappointing. But we decided to fly to the west anyway and see what sort of other high adventure activities we could find in the great pacific northwest.
When we arrived in Portland and got settled at our HQ, aka Darcee's house, we found out that the weather had improved and so we decided to attempt our climb! I have to say that I was relieved, I would have been disappointed if hadn't been able to climb. So kicked it into high gear and started assembling all of our packs, gear, clothes, etc.

Michele and Chelsea getting their packs together

We piled into the truck and headed off to the lodge where we would meet up with the rest of the team and catch a few Z's before the climb. At 4:00 am we boarded the snow cat and it took us up to 8,000 feet. From there we put on our crampons and started up the mountain.

Now let me introduce our team. We affectionately referred to ourselves as the Hood Ratz!

First, we have our fearless leader, Big D

Kevin - the rock of our group!

Chelsea and Michele - climber and photographer/videographer extraordinares

And me!

Like I said the climb was pretty intense and incredibly steep in parts. I will let the pictures and video speak for themselves.

Video #1: Part way up the mountain.

Video #2: Michele and Chelsea waiting for the group on the Hogsback.

We were able to climb to 10,900 feet and then were forced to climb back down due to weather and potential avalanches. Even though we didn't summit, it was an INCREDIBLE experience. I am really proud of all of us and what we were able to accomplish. After a long walk down the mountain and long drive to Yakima we were rewarded with hot showers and a delicious homemade dinner cooked by the lovely Sheila. It was a relaxing rest of the weekend at the Smart's home (thanks Smarties!).

An excellent way to relax post climb!

#11 Camping and #25 Hike Old Rag - DONE

Goals number 11 and 25 were accomplished in the same weekend. For Memorial Day weekend Chelsea, Michele, Adriel, Kevin and myself went camping in the Shenendoah Mountains and hiked Old Rag. We drove up Sunday evening and viewed a beatiful sunset before setting up our tent.

The evening was not complete of course without roasted hot dogs and s'mores!
Monday morning came early and we fueled up for our hike. It was a really fun hike at the top. You have to scramble up and over boulders. A couple times we may have gotten lost and found ourselves looking over the edge of the cliff, but we always made it back to the trail safely!
When we reached the summit we could see a storm rolling in over the neighboring mountains. It was so amazing to hear the rain pour down and watch it come closer. Once we felt a few drops we decided to get moving as to not get caught in the storm! We were able to stay ahead of it and made it back to the car just in time to head out and get lunch. Chik-fil-A and a diet coke never tasted so good!
*This was a great training hike for #2 Climb Mt. Hood

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My dad went to Stanford....

June 10, 2010 will go down as a miraculous day in history for our family. It is the day that my Uncle Chris donated his kidney to my dad. After over a decade of living with diabetes and doing dialysis for the last two years, my dad received a new kidney. It has been an extremely emotional journey that has taught our family about charity and what it means to be a true friend.

Thank you to the doctors at Stanford Medical Center, especially Dr. Busque, the surgeon.

Thank you to the nurses who put up with all the twins' shenanigans!

And a huge THANK YOU to my mom for being such a rock! She has been an example of patience, faith and love throughout this whole experience.

I am so grateful I was able to be in California for the transplant. It was wonderful to spend that time with my parents. The surgery went really well and both donor and recipient are doing well. Dad is feeling great and gets to go home to Modesto soon! We are all looking forward to many more healthy years with him!
ps For Father's Day my dad gave all the kids Stanford t shirts. If someone asks why we are wearing them we can respond, "My dad went to Stanford....Medical Center."

#22 Buy a cruiser bicycle - DONE

My birthday present to myself was this bicycle. It makes me happy!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

30 before 30

I have officially entered the last year of my 20's and have decided I must leave this decade with a BANG!

The "30 before 30" list is one way to make this year an unforgettable one. On the side I have listed the 30 goals that I will meet before I enter the third decade of my life. As part of my motivation I will try to blog about my goals as I work to accomplish them. (I realize that I am not the best blogger out there, but I will try to be better this year.)

So here is to a FANTASTIC year full of adventure!

xo Melissa

Chelsea's beautiful cake with my 29 candles blazing atop!