Sunday, August 03, 2008

Hello Betty!

Two years ago my wife got me the world's most amazing birthday gift. Last year she did it again by sending me to trapeze school.

Lightning has struck thrice!

We spent the weekend in the Hudson Valley, at the foot of the Shawangunk Ridge; home to some of the most renowned mountain climbing on the East Coast. The Gunks are a part of the Appalachian Mountains and the cliff face reaches 300 feet in some areas.

Oh yeah... we went mountain climbing! How COOL is THAT!?!?!?!?

Our guide was fantastic - a very experienced (and certified!) climber who made this adventure possible and safe. If ever you're in the Shawangunks and are in need of a climbing guide, Nick Farley at The Gunks Guide should be your first call.

While The Gunks offer some very difficult technical climbs. We stuck to the novice climbs, starting our first ascent on a route named Betty.

Betty may be a beginners climb but she ain't easy... It's about 150 feet of vertical cliff (though we only went up to the first pitch at about 75 feet).

"Belay on?"

"Belay on!"

Ready to climb?"

"Climb away!"

And up I went...

And down I came...

The views at the top are fantastic!

After a few ascents we moved over to a more technical climb called the RMC. This is a relatively short climb but requires navigating under and around a large overhang and shimmying across a narrow ledge in a sitting/squatting/squished up sort of way.

To wrap up the day we headed back to Betty where we set up my first reppel - basically a controlled solo decent. Way cool!

After climbing mountains all day one works up a might appetite and a thirst only an ice cold beer can quench - or eight! Behold.... the Beer Garden from the Gilded Otter in New Paltz, New York.

Yeah... it's true. I have the coolest wife there ever was.

"A gift, with a kind countenance, is a double present."
-Thomas Fuller, M.D.


Mark MacLeod said...

Salena is a really good gift-giver. Looks like you had (another) great birthday!

JustRun said...

Well done, as usual!

Alan said...

Josh, I am going to have to get you into a cave one of these days. I think you would enjoy it tremendously.

Bryce said...

New Paltz! That's where my mom lives. I have also enjoyed the beer sampler at the Gilded Otter. Great choice my friend.

Morrissey said...

the 8 beers sure do look good--- beer garden in new paltz??!?! awesome rock climbing pics josh!

13akbal said...

Very cool! You are a lucky guy, not many spouses would hang their significant other on mountain for a birthday... then again.. maybe there is a hidden agenda -skydiving, trapeze, skinny ropes on a cliff :-)

Just12Finish said...

You're a lucky dude - I bet you're one of the few guys around who looks forward to birthdays!

the_ubster said...

Looks like a great time!