Monday, September 10, 2012

4-Part Sunday Fun-Day

My Sunday was excellent – after Saturday’s huge storm, the humidity finally broke and it felt like fall. A group of five (myself, three of my college ski team friends, and one new climbing friend) set out on a series of super-fun, very well-planned, challenging but relaxing outdoors activities in Virginia.

Part 1: We met in Alexandria and drove an hour to the Buzzard Rocks trail head near Front Royal, VA.  We got the day started with a brisk hike -- two miles uphill to reach the top of Buzzard Rocks (the upper part of Elizabeth’s Furnace climbing area).

Part 2A: We set up ropes (well, AJ did the setting) and tied in for some slab climbing ("slab" = a relatively low-angle section of rock; the emphasis is on balance, footwork, and making use of very small features or rough spots on the rock for friction). It was Nikki’s second outdoor climbing experience ever and she did so well! The climbs were relatively easy but definitely fun, and the view was beautiful.

Part 2B: After maxing out our slab-climbing fun, we headed down the road to the other, more well-known part of Elizabeth’s Furnace, called Talking Headwall. These climbs are much more vertical and have tricky/fun “roofs” (that’s climbing for a horizontal overhang – basically you have to get up and over something that is like a flat roof above you head –pull-up time!).

(This picture isn't any of us, but you get the idea)
Again, Nikki the new climber rocked it and got to the top of  this 5.8!

Part 3: Parts 3 and 4 of the day focused on relaxing. It was definitely not as hot as anticipated (hallelujah!), so instead of swimming in the local swimming hole, we sat with our tired-of-being-in-climbing-shoes feet in the water and it was lovely.

Part 4: Then to finish off the day we went to Christina's Cafe in Strasburg, VA, a local place with delicious sandwiches and some ahem, interesting open mic night music. We sat on the patio surrounded by sweet-smelling flowers and felt pretty pleased with ourselves for a day well-done.

Anyway, quick backtrack to Saturday: 

The city-dweller side of my weekend was equally enjoyable. Saturday morning I went for a long run down the Mall, across the Arlington Bridge, around Roosevelt Island, and back (11.5 miles!) in what might be (fingers crossed) the very last of the oppressive DC summer heat. 

Then my friend and I met up at Sova, my new favorite coffee shop on H Street, to get work done/handle our lives. Our original plan was to work at the oh-so-popular Big Bear Cafe, but be warned: they turn off their internet on weekends!!! Sova was much quieter anyways. (As I attempt to be productive this fall -- big life changes in the works! -- I foresee a lot of time spent at Sova...) I savored a large cup of coffee, a chocolate cookie with cayenne pepper, and was incredibly productive for 4 whole hours!

And that my friends, is that. HAPPY OMG IT FEELS LIKE FALL!!!!!