Category Archives: Weekend Adventures

Bouldering is like Climbing Only Scarier

I’ve always been intimidated by bouldering. Bouldering is a Latin term that translates loosely to “you’ll probably fall and crush your stupid friends who try to catch your fat ass cause you were too lazy to rope up and not good enough to actually climb the damned rock.” Those Latins got it right.

Bouldering is rock climbing with no harnesses or ropes, mainly because the routes or “problems” as they are aptly named, are too short to necessitate all the hubbub. Way too short to bother with taking measures to save your life. Short enough that its totally cool to snap an ankle falling or ass-hat your husband.

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(Above) Ashley slays a V1 while Eric stands by

See, I KNEW I didn’t like bouldering ever since I went with Eric back when I was trying to act cool so he would date me. The climbing is hard, and you need to be comfortable falling or jumping a distance back to the ground if you get stuck.

This weekend I found myself mid-adrenaline dump clinging to a boulder at Coopers Rocks in West Virginia when I remembered that I hate bouldering. My tendons snapped and I hurtled 24 inches to the ground. I sank to a log and sat there practically crying as I tried to catch my breath.

Ashley yawned a little and Eric pointed out how low I actually was as I was trembling and sniffling on the boulder. I felt like a douche, stood up, and easily climbed the problem.

I had another little meltdown on the downclimb where I had to jump about three feet to the ground, but after that I had burned my entire adrenaline supply and was able to enjoy a chill afternoon trying to improve my climbing AND falling skills.

Bouldering is fun, turns out. And it’s perfect to do with a group of friends who like chatting and eating snacks! It’s perfect for babies! Crash pads make great baby beds when lardy 30-somethings aren’t dramatically flopping onto them. And babies don’t mind if there’s a decaying chipmunk with bees eating out its dead eyes right beside the boulder. They are so dumb, they don’t even know what chipmunks are!

20130908-191208.jpg(Above) Grady does not know what a chipmunk is.

If you decide to take your baby bouldering, it’s nice to have a place to stow them if they get sleepy. A nice portable bassinet like the Nest by Phil and Ted is perfect, especially if your friends Keith and Anna Wilkins buy it for you!

20130908-192652.jpg(Above) Grady lounges in his Nest.

The Nest is great because it is compact, has a soft cushion and a nice, zip-on screen so bees can’t swoop in and dine on your babies eyeballs. If you can’t dupe your friends into buying it for you, however, there are always other options.

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I haven’t been this sore since I gave birth, but I can’t wait to do some more bouldering. Facing a pure, simple obstacle like a rock to climb is an excellent escape from the stresses of life.

Especially if you have some dummies willing to catch your fat ass when you fall.

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Tricking Others into Carrying Your Shit

Until a couple weekends ago, we hadn’t backpacked since September, when we did almost the entire Teton Crest Trail in Wyoming.

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These were happy times between my backpack and I.

It’s only a few months later, but life is different. More specifically, pants are different. Far fewer zippers and more stretchy belly panels. If you can get over the icky feeling of spandex to your boobs, these things are comfy as hell. They are also elusive if you’re looking for them at REI.

Much to my disappointment in pregnant society, there’s shit for outdoor clothes/gear available. WTF?! Ok, ok, there’s ONE website. But I’m not gonna drop $100 on pants EVER, let alone for a few fleeting months. And that stupid Belly Band is not only worthless at all of its claims, its also uncomfortable. Belly Band- you are lame.

I feel like the theme of my life has become making my wardrobe more awkward every day. This weekend was no exception. I wore some stretchy capris below my gut and a shirt of Eric’s from the laundry hamper. I still reek of man pits and shame.

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Great look right? At least you can’t smell it…

Clothes aside, how does one wear a backpack without popping their fetus?

If you’ve done any backpacking, you will know that a well-fitting pack should be supported primarily by your waist strap just above your hips and steadied with your shoulder straps. Bearing the weight on your shoulders is stupid. And uncomfortable.

My waist strap usually falls at my waist, however now my belly is kinda in the way. My new choices are: 1) under the gut or 2) above the gut under my boobs. The latter sounds sexy and supportive but the moment arm created by a hovering load of Pop Tarts is sure to knock a lady off the trail. I chose to go low, mashing the strap right at the hips, where it can provide little to no support.

This configuration doesn’t really let the weight ride on the hips, and the shoulders get to deal with it. Did I say shoulders? I meant Eric and Kevin!

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Eric and Kevin are critical for pregnant ladies who want to go backpacking. They shoulder the weight so you don’t have to! THANKS GUYS!

If you can’t get your pack to fit right, give up. No one with a soul will NOT carry your stuff for you, for fear that you will have a hormone-induced meltdown or eject milk from your chest. Granted, I am still months away from that superpower, but no one needs to know that.

Happy Backpacking, my round-bellied friends.

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Did you know you can ride your bike from Pittsburg to DC?

I wrote this three weeks ago and then forgot about it. Sorry, Mom. And sorry, Adam’s Mom!

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I’m not trying to brag but I have three bikes. I only had one bike until I entrapped Eric in marriage and he entrapped me in bikery.

We’ve been showing our fat-tires a lot of love so we thought we’d take the roadies out for a weekend. We don’t generally ride our road bikes in the fall/winter/cold because they have zero traction and ITS COLD AS HELL riding a fast bike. Especially considering how blazing fast I am despite my burgeoning sail area. Someone let me know if that’s the incorrect usage of burgeoning. I’m way to lazy to look it up.

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I let Eric talk me into pretty much anything cause he has a knack for finding fun stuff to do. Even though I know I was miserable during this particular event, my soft brain thinks I had fun. You try throwing your pregnant ass on a road bike for 70 miles.

Truthfully I’m still not that pregnant. I was at 14 weeks when we did this ride, and one still couldn’t really detect a baby amongst my fat rolls. But, my beloved spandex sporty wardrobe was no longer comfortable. It pinched my fat, especially when riding a bike. My solution was wearing any ol’ pants with Eric’s butt shorts over the top. Very chic. Good thing I’m not outside to take staged Instagram shots or model my latest Arcteryx jacket. Ok only half of that was true. And if I owned any Arcteryx I would definitely wear it all the time BEN BILLER.

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No, I’m outside to experience the Greater Allegheny Passage! This, combined with the C&O Canal will get you from Pburg to DC! That’s right, Petersburg, Alaska! (You guys will seriously believe anything…).

Though we did stop in Pittsburg to get a fuel can for our adorable new Jetboil, we didn’t hop on the bikes quite yet. We started in Connellsville and rode all the way to Ohiopyle along the mighty Youghiogheny River. This section of the river is edged by railroad on one side and old railroad (now our bike trail) on the other, with no roads sharing the valley. Someone could straight up kill you and no one would catch them. Good thing there were random ultra runners on the trail. Actually I didn’t like them or their long lusty gazes at our snacks.

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Despite the inherent dangers of this trail, it had a seriously redeeming quality- it was flat as shit. There were also nice camping spots to be had. And the trail led us to the cute town of Ohiopyle where we each got a delicious pastry to reward our 35 miles.

Bike touring is like backpacking for yuppies. You put all your stuff into bags that hang over your rear wheel (and front if you have lots of stuff or don’t like flipping your bike) and pedal away. We brought the standard basics- tent, ground pads, sleeping bags and food.

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Eric sneakily bought a Jetboil earlier in the week and we tried it out on this trip. It can make hot cocoa in 47 seconds. I approve. Eric also got the version that has a little coffee press inside, which made me think back to the time Kelsey Zwang and I made cowboy coffee using her Jetboil and my bandana that I had been wearing on my sweaty head for a few days. My how far we’ve come.

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Jetboil also allowed us to take “sodium breaks,” in which we whipped up salty delicious noodles or rice to forget how cold our toes were and how bad our butts hurt. I will do anything if you feed me fat or sodium along the way.

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The return trip was cold, and most of my toes were numb for 20ish miles. Lucky for me, you don’t really need toes to pedal a bike.

I was beyond happy to see the car when we finally saw the car. We were also surprised the questionable locals didn’t break in and steal any of our Peach Pear LaCroix.

In summary, if you are pregnant and want to ride your bike, do it. Your fetus will scream WHEEEE the whole time. Also, if you can afford the $375 for maternity cycling shorts, do it! And send them to me!

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