Schoolhouse Rock at Riverside Quarry

Schoolhouse Rock at Riverside Quarry

While Jen and Lauren were attending Emily’s bridal party, the kids and I decided to take a short drive out to Riverside Quarry for some rock climbing. The area is what is left of an old granite rock quarry developed by Louie Anderson and others.  It has been described as an outside sport climbing gym. The wall has a full range of bolted routes from 5.0 to 13d. We arrived just before 1pm and the weather was perfect. The girls could not wait to get on belay and start climbing. I had “convinced” Logan to come with me since I need someone to belay me as I set up top rope for the twins. I was a little nervous since my son had never belayed before, but he did an amazing job. This was also a ploy to get Logan climbing again. He lost the desire after a very uncomfortable harness mishap at San Juan last year. To the far right of the rock formation is an area with many short, easy routes aptly named Schoolhouse Rock; with routes named after episodes of that TV series. I tied in and started up “I’m Just a Bill”. No quicker than I could set up and rappel down, Ava jumped on the rope and nearly ran up. She was followed by Audrey and Logan.

My kids seem to be made for slab climbing. We moved left to climb “Taxman Max”, “Dollars and Sense” ending with “Schoolhouse Rock”. Before we knew it, the time was after 4:00pm and it was time to head home. As we piled into the Excursion to leave, Logan turned to me and asked, “So when are we going climbing again?” Mission accomplished. Ava and Audrey are climbing a solid 5.8, I was able to practice leading, and Logan belayed me and is looking to climb more. As I fired up the truck, I simply replied, “Tomorrow.”

Bridge to Nowhere

Bridge to Nowhere

Logan’s one birthday wish this year was to go Bungee Jumping. Okay, not only Bungee Jumping, but doing it at night. The weekend after his birthday I took Logan, Lauren, and Jamison to the Bridge to Nowhere for the experience of a lifetime.

We booked the trip with Ron Jones from Bungee America. The day started out at 7am with a beautiful five mile hike into the canyon. Once we arrived and changed into dry shoes, we took the opportunity to jump several times. Frontwards, backwards, and even head-first, it was amazing. Then after dinner, we jumped at night into darkness. This was a total rush. I can’t wait to go again.

Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum of Assemblage

Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum of Assemblage

I do not wish to be an artist, I only wish that art enables me to be. – Noah Purifoy 1963

Noah Purifoy was a High School Industrial Arts teacher, a Social Worker, a naval Seabee, and an artist.

He was the founder and director of the Watts Tower Art Center in the 1960’s. His work has been featured at the LACMA, the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, the Getty and many other museums world wide and his legacy continues to live on in the desert.

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum of Assemblage and learning more about this fascinating man.

If you are near Joshua Tree I highly recommend a stop!

  • Open 365 days a year from sun up to sun down.
  • Cost- free, but for a small donation you can take a self-guided tour
  • For more info check out the website: http://www.noahpurifoy.com/
Night Explorer Jr Rangers

Night Explorer Jr Rangers

As a homeschooling family, we have really come to love the Junior Ranger Program run by the National Park Service. This trip the girls earned their Night Explorer Jr. Ranger patches. It was interesting to learn that Joshua Tree was recently designated as a Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association. They learned about astronomy, the effects of light pollution, and we even tried our hand in some astrophotography.

https://www.nps.gov/subjects/nightskies/juniorrangernight.htm

http://www.darksky.org/idsp/parks/joshuatree

New Years in Joshua Tree

New Years in Joshua Tree

This trip was just what we needed after a very busy month. Four days and threes nights. No schedules, no distractions, just us. We rock climbed, took afternoon naps (ok, maybe that was just me 😉 ) practiced our photography skills, read, did a little plein air, played board games and drank sparkling cider on New Year’s Eve. I think we just might make this a yearly tradition.

Details- Indian Cove campsite # 59

Pros- lots of shade. would be a great spot to stay in during the warmer months.

Cons- kangaroo rats. we had two adorable, yet persistent visitors each night.

 

Joshua Tree First Climbs

Joshua Tree First Climbs

The 2017 whirlwind finally came to an end at Joshua Tree. Arriving on a Friday, I set up camp and got everyone settled in. The next day Lauren drove out with her boyfriend. This was to be our rock climbing day. Starting on Feudal Wall, the girls all did an amazing job conquering “Duchess” and “Duchess Right”.

 

It was neat to see my twenty-one year-old learn from her 10-year-old sisters. Exhausted, we retreated to camp, spending time bonding and practicing our photography skills. We planned on a three day trip and I woke early to set up for another day of climbing. After a quick breakfast, I top roped Short Wall above “Double Crack”. The kids sauntered over and I got them harnessed up. All of the kids (except Logan) tried their luck with this route. Finding it very enjoyable, Audrey asked if she could climb the next route to the right. It was a 5.8, “Up To Heaven”. A quick start and she was pushing through. I was blown away. Then Ava jumped on and did the same. Lauren attempted but it was clear that the twins had just upped their game and she would need more practice to keep up.

 

Lunch arrived sooner than expected and we retired back to camp, exhausted and overjoyed. The weekend had brought Lauren’s first experience rock climbing, and Ava and Audrey’s first 5.8. That evening Logan decided he needed some time on the rocks too and climbed the backside of Moosedog Tower, solo in the dark. I gotta love these kids, knowing what they want and chasing after it.

 

 

The Great American Eclipse

The Great American Eclipse

We took the long drive to Rexburg, Idaho to view the solar eclipse in totality. Fortunately, my brother Noah lives right in the path.

We also took advantage of the local sights at St. Anthony Dunes and the Sandbar.

The trip would not have been complete without stopping for some scrambling in Snow Canyon in St, George, Utah and the Seven Magic Mountains in Las Vegas, Nevada.