The ramblings of a woman,
wife, & mother, who loves:
Jesus / my man / the three,
learning about parenting /
mamahood / childbirth,
cooking foods healthy /
international / yummy,
pretending to garden /
write / design,
attempting to run /
exercise / lift weights,
enjoying traveling /
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finding ways to love /
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It is not to say she does these things
with style or grace, or even skill.

Sixth Day: Looking Glass & Mama's First Trail Run

October 1, 2014 - 10:41 AM

Travel Log: 25 March 2012

Climb ON!

Today, our, *sniff*, last day of Spring Break, we planned to climb a new (set in 2010), yet increasingly popular rock south of Moab called Looking Glass Rock.

looking glass

Photo credit. Would you believe I forgot to step back and take a photo of the whole, breathtaking amphitheatre that is Looking Glass Rock? The sandstone rock sits alone in a flat, desert field, surrounded by small brush and no other rock formations. 


We planned to climb up the east rib (seen on the right), a 5.5 PG13 sport route, that is 400' long, and required 3 pitches. (A pitch means the length of rope usually will run out at that point. At the top of one pitch you have to stop and collect all your rope and then start again.) In reality, you can scramble up the east rib and free climb it without a rope, because it is not technical and doesn't even require the use of climbing shoes. EXCEPT for the fact that it is PG13. PG13 stands as a type of warning about a climb and the warning for this climb is that it has a 135' free fall rappel in order to get down. It is important to have a rope and have the rope long enough to be folded in two and still reach the ground. (Tho, in reality you could simply climb back down the rib or, as we've seen, be crazy enough to base jump a dangerously short distance.)


Amos teaching us how to climb 3 people at a time. Make mental note of the horizontal crevice at his knee.


Amos, Josh, and I climbed as three roped together, meaning once Amos was to the first pitch he would belay both Josh and I climbing at the same time. Next, Joe and his 12 year old son Isaac would climb together. Third, Amos would go up again with Molly and Kari as three roped together. We didn't let our three kids climb this route because they had never rappeled by themselves before and we didn't think learning to rappel on a 135' free fall was a good idea. (Tho, little did we know one year later we would have all 3 of them learn to rappel on a 120' free fall, whoops!)


Joe and Isaac beginning the second pitch.

The day we chose to climb this route it was INCREDIBLY windy. Winds were steady at 27mph with forceful gusts between 40-50mph. Even though I cursed the wind, the climb was as easy as scrambling and incredibly fast moving. We hung out at the top for a while, took in the amazing panoramic view, I even happened to *cough* find *cough* a restroom up there, and we waited for Joe and Isaac.


Directly above the hole you can see Josh and my orange helmets looking over the edge.

In order to begin the rappel, you have to climb down into a crevice and find the rappel bolts at the top of the eye slit. Thankfully, we had incredibly experienced Amos to set up the rappel. He then threw the rope down to Molly who would act as our "fireman's belay." A "fireman's belay" means that, heaven-forbid, the person rappeling loses control, the person at the bottom of the rope can pull both ends tight, thus stopping the person from falling along the rope any further down. 


Amos, our amazing friend and experienced guide, and his equally amazing & experienced wife, Molly, waiting to start the rappel.


The view down to the bottom.


Molly getting excited in the wind to do the rappel. You can see how strong the wind was by the effect on her ponytail. Oy!


Kari, backing up and dropping into the free fall rappel.

It's probably just me, but when I was a little kid playing hide-n-seek or jailbreak, once I found my hiding spot I would immediately find myself "holding it." I was simply too excited and too scared all at the same time. The anxiety of wondering when or if someone would find me got me all riled up inside and I, well, always needed to find a restroom as soon as I was hidden! I experienced a similar situation when I was waiting my turn to rappel. Even though I had just used the restroom minutes before, once I was waiting in line for my turn to do my first rappel in 15 years (my previous one only being 15' at a day camp), I was too excited and too scared and found myself "holding it." Hahaha! :)!


Me, coming out of the eye slit.


You can see the boys playing at the bottom of the face, above the boulder field inside the amphitheatre.


Molly acting as fireman's belay for Josh as the younger kids watch. Another good reason for a fireman's belay this day was the wind. Oh!, the wind!


It wasn't until later that I would be told about how the start/base of this climb (that area I mentioned above by Amos's knee) and near the area that these two are sitting, is a favorite hangout of a number of rattlesnakes, 6-foot long rattlesnakes. Ignorance of that information is not bliss, we were really lucky this day nothing happened.

The entire climbing experience at Looking Glass Rock was not incredibly tiring and it did not take long except for the fact that we had multiple groups of climbers. We were back to our condo area mid-afternoon and made plans to run/hike Negro Bill Canyon with our group of other friends in town. 


This is O & M at the beginning of the trail. It soon narrows to a 1' wide trail winding around trees, bushes, boulders, etc.

You may remember this trail being the ending area for the Porcupine Rim MTB trail. Porcupine Rim swoops around the top edge and the north side of Negro Bill Canyon, while this trail goes into the canyon itself. Negro Bill Canyon is named after the first non-caucasian to explore the canyon back in 1877. At the end of the trail into the canyon is Morning Glory Bridge. Though often referred to as Morning Glory Arch, it is considered to be a bridge because a natural spring runs underneath it. There are hiking/biking trails that go across the bridge as well as bolts for groups to rappel down into the canyon at the end of their hike. Rappelers can also do a simul-rappel on the bridge which seems like a bit much for me, oy!


Josh took the kids along the trail and I ran with 5 others. For me, this was not only my longest run since I broke my foot (4.8 miles) but also my inaugural trail run and I was definitely hooked. The trail into the canyon criss-crossed back and fourth across the stream countless times and has a wonderful mix of gradual climbs and steep rock scrambling. It was exciting to experience the different terrains while running and exhilarating to go from normal runing on dirt or sand to high stepping and technical foot placement around larger rocks. Even though my ankle hurt like a mother when we finished the run, it also made me believe that running a farther distance, like a half marathon, would be possible for me someday.


This was the last day that everyone else we knew was staying in Moab. We were the only ones sticking around for 3 more days. Tomorrow was a Monday and Josh had to turn back on his email and get back to work and the kids and I had to get back into school as well. Just like in CA, we would be able to add play after school and work were done. But for tonight, the last night of Spring Break, we would party it up with our friends, with whom we had enjoyed countless adventures over the previous week. What an amazing experience it was!


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About Me and This Blog...

Begin Our Adventures of Fall/Winter 2012 to CA, MN, CO
   Ladies Trip to Napa Valley
   My Parents Rode in a Plane!

Begin Our Adventures of Summer 2012 to MN and CO
   Vacation to the North Shore and Cabin
   Boulder for the Summer
   Life in Boulder

Begin Our Adventures of Winter/Spring 2012 to UT
   The Drive to CO/UT Begins
   Vacation in Moab
   Living in Moab / Denver

Begin Our Adventures of Fall/Winter 2011 to CA
   The Drive to CA Begins
   Living in the SF
   Living in the Suburbs
   Coming Home to IC

Begin Our Adventures of Summer 2010 to Eastern Europe
   Life at Czech English Camp
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   Travels in Czech & Poland


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