Queen of Trades; Travel and Photography- Category [Life Stories]
2021-10-20 19:46 by Sarah Denninger
in Life Stories , 5 references

There are so many wonderful pieces for sale and all purchases help me with my adventures and I have so many panned and one of them is in the spring and summer. I'm going North/East and will be visiting around ten states. I'm so excited and I know Lylah is too. I'm not sure what I'm going to do but I am excited to make the trip up there and to see what is North of Tennessee. I'm sure there are many beautiful places to see and that there are so many places to climb which is something I want to integrate into my trip north. I also am looking for hiking locations and must-stop areas. I'm really excited to knock out these states up there and to just enjoy my time at the east coast. It's exhilarating and wonderful to know that there is so much to do and see and to remember that enjoying life is just as important as doing the grind that we do every day to get by and make a living.  


Of course, when I get back from that trip I will be going West to do the Grand Tetons half marathon which is something that I am excited about. Not only do I get to g back west but I get to push myself again to do thirteen miles. Not only have I done one-half marathon but with this race, it will be my official third half I have done which is exhilarating to think about. With that race, I'm looking to just enjoy the outdoors and see the west side of our beautiful country once again. And with that, the van will hopefully be close to finished and more livable than last time I was out there. It's crazy to think how much has been changed since I purchased the van and how far it has gone. 

I know you guys are waiting for more updates on the van and they are coming. Getting updates on it has been small and slow. I can only do so much at a time but really the fan install was the biggest thing and has been a huge help. Not only do I have power but I have ventilation which has been helpful at night. I'm hoping to get that video up for you guys soon. Just keep an eye out. 

Other than that I'm just adventuring, paying off my debts, and figuring out my next steps for my next big trip. 

Any recommendations for the big North east side of the U.S? Any must-see places? 



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Later on that day after we did a few climbs in one section at Obed we decided to move further down the trail to another climb that we ended up just getting on due to lack of openings on other routes. This route seemed to be interesting and at first glance quite fun. So with both of us agreeing, we decided to go ahead and do the route. J Leading and I would do top rope. It was a harder climb and I just was not feeling like putting myself out there on a lead when I was already struggling earlier today. Agreeing on what our plan was we started the route and up J went. The first few clips seemed to be easy enough and he quickly made his way up. This route seemed to have sections, from the ground, that seemed straightforward and not too difficult to complete 

Then J got to the fourth clip and Looked at me with this look of "oh no" and just kind of sat at his most recent clip looking at the move he had to do. On lead, it seemed scary and I honestly don't know if I could have done it. He had to go far to the right, off the route itself, to a ledge with a bunch of slack in the line, stand up and shimmy his way across the ledge to the next clip...not ideal in any way. 

After some struggle, he managed to do the move but I was not thrilled about that part. I could only imagine how he felt. 

Needless to say, he got the route and came down with a look that said it all. It might be fun someday but today it was not. Hopeful that maybe I would feel different I tied in and started the climb. First off the very first move was difficult. It was a pocket (for your fingers) and then a practical jump with a shady foot your not sure will stick while you literally throw your body to the top of rock hoping to grab something to pull yourself over. After a few attempts and failures I managed to make that happen and I continued onwards. 

I will say that the first 2/3rd of the climb I enjoyed and I got to where J struggled and managed to finally get the move and onto the ledge. Here is where I just started to fall apart. I took a break on that wonderful ledge and then I stood up and looked over to where I was supposed to go. The mistake, the height, and looking back at my partner. My partner has caught me many times on falls and with top rope, your way safer than with lead but man was the fear real. Everything suddenly became 100X scary and my head was reeling. Taking a deep breath I shimmied across the very skinny ledge and started the rest of the climb. 

The number of curse words that came out of my mouth was...well overwhelming and I swear I had to tell myself that I was almost done so many times that I lost count. I just had to keep in mind that I had to get to the top and then I could come down. Our gear was at the top and bailing was not an option. The amount of stress at the top was unreal and even though I finished the route I knew that I probably would not go that route again any time soon if at all. That day J learned my bitch side was real. He probably heard some of my profanity but I just couldn't help it. It was one of those situations where for the first time since we were climbing together I felt the fear. I felt it hard and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Climbing is dangerous, yes and I won't stop doing it. 

Once on the ground and knowing I was good I took a seat, changed my shoes, and apologized. I felt bad for letting that happen and for taking some of that fear out on him. I didn't mean to and I honestly didn't think that it was ok. Luckily he understood and is a super easy person to be with and easy to get along with and understood where it was coming from. 

But I mean if you ever want to see someone's bitch side just put them on a rope and put them about 60 feet in the air. It may just make that person show their true colors. 


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Disclaimer: This post is about climbing outside and I will try to keep it simple for those reading but I felt like I had to post on what's been going on. 

When I moved to Tennesee I made a friend who I have been hanging out with constantly and also climbing with. We have the sport in common and in the three months since I have moved here we have escalated from just climbing in the gym and departing ways to going outside for weekend trips in a matter of a month of our meeting. Ever since we started going outside more and doing these trips we are constantly outside climbing every weekend. This has become normal and it's quite fun and thrilling for me. Normally I climb rock that is like 10-16 feet and then there's a pad to come down on with someone to help spot you to land on the pad or make the fall easier, etc (or if you go to the top and finish then you find a way down on the boulder your on). With meeting him and now having so much access to this wonderful world of Mother Nature we are going to much higher places and doing longer climbs where a rope has to be involved. 

With rope, there are two versions of climbing that we do. One: The rock has a set of Bolts in the rock and as you climb up the rock up using a quick draw (which is two carabiners that can hold up to 2000 pounds of weight on them with a piece of rope in the middle of the two carabiners)  to set yourself in the rock and keep from falling back down to the bottom. When you use a quick draw you attack one carabiner to the rock and the other to the rope you're attached to and once your secure you keep climbing to the next rope. This version is called Lead Climbing or Sport climbing and it's actually super scary but thrilling if you can get past your fears and if you have a good partner. (the partner is down below watching you climb up feeding you rope through a device called a GriGri which automatically locks if you fall but this is a sport that requires two people)

The second version is one that a lot of people enjoy but is not as scary as Lead. This one is Top Rope and that is where the rope is already looped in at the top of your climb and all you have to do is start from the bottom and climb up. If you fall and have a good partner it's a super shortfall and most of the time you don't go anywhere from where you "fell". It's quite fun and if you want something calmer but want the endurance or just to experience a route that you don't want to **** your pants on then that's for you. 


Now, this whole experience with ropes is thrilling for me and the fact that I get to do it so often has been an eye-opener. Literally. I love it and with my friend, J, he has been so supportive and hasn't been pushy about the climbing. He's only been climbing for a little over a year which is great but he also is strong and more capable of moves that I am a little sketched about. So Normally he will lead the route and then set it up as top rope for me to then climb and give it a go. Of course, I do lead some routes because I need the practice but it's a huge mental game because of the fact that I have a slight fear of falling and because I haven't gotten used to falling far distances. 

So this last weekend we were out climbing and I was doing this route that was long. Like 90 feet long. Way up there but it was highly rated and the bolts were not far from each other so this was good practice for me with clipping in and also for endurance and the payoff was a great view of at the top. Of course, J goes first, leads it, and does great, no problem. He comes down, tells that there are a few places with questionable moves at the top (which I can't see because of the rock formation) but says that it's a good climb, and I got this. Now when J says that it's questionable moves Usually my mind is going in all directions thinking it's some move where I am going to fall a good amount and struggle somewhere where my partner can't see me catch me. Pushing that aside and take a deep breath and proceed to climb this amazing route. The first few clips go fine, I'm having a good time, it's pumpy so I'm taking breaks but it's good. Then I get to this section where the struggle began. 

First, it's overhung which means I don't have a lot of ability to push through. I don't lift any weights or go to the gym to work on my strength. Nothing like that. So I'm going on pure adrenaline of the fact that I might fall the first time I get up to the next bolt. Now just a disclaimer here if you have never climbed before or seen videos of it for whatever reason, Go watch a video of someone falling on a sport climb. Some end up really good and some really bad. 

I get to the bolt and I swear the mental game kicked up ten notches. The first time I couldn't hold on long enough to even think about getting a quick draw so I yelled at my partner that I needed him to take slack on the rope to pull me back to the bolt below and he did that and then I fell. Now it wasn't a hard fall or a long fall thank god (communication is a great thing) but I did fall nonetheless. So I take a break where I am, shake my arms out and after a bit, I go again. This time I'm overthinking x1000 and tried to go for a hold a little past where I am supposed to clip in, realized my error, yelled at J to take slack, and before I could feel the rope tighten I fell for real. A true fall on lead. 

First, let me say I am grateful for J being my partner. I trust him with my life 100% after all this climbing we have been doing but oh my god did that one hurt. I swung into the rock and my right toe jammed into the rock itself. Hard. I felt that pain immediately and with climber shoes it's inevitable you will feel pain. Imagine Ballerina shoes but with rubber made to stick to rock outside jamming into a rock at full speed. So painful. 

The good news about this is that I have now fallen a number of times while climbing with him and that makes me feel more secure about him as a partner and I also now have a little less fear because I know he has me and that we work well together. When it comes to saving your life having a good partner is key and I am grateful for that. 

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Let me tell you guys, getting this van back together is such a frustrating event at the moment. With the van installed we finally were able to get the headliner cut and in place but the man was cutting that headliner a bitch. We had to screw in the back part of the headliner into the top of the van and then sit on a stool and cut the hole exactly to the size of the fan and then made adjustments once it was cut. The problem? We only had a hand saw and the headliner was made out of this terrible (but sturdy) material. With the fact that the saw was used for mainly drywall, we were there for a couple of hours switching out and cutting away. Once we got the hole in place we had to make adjustments and then fight this heavy ass headliner to get in in place and then screw in a piece of pine that we purchased to hold the headliner up. 

This process took us a total of 6 hours or so and it was dark when we were finally getting things in place and just when we thought we were almost done....the screws were too short. We ended up calling it a night and stopped trying to force something that wasn't going to happen. With much frustration and talk over the plan, we decided to pick it up the next day on my break. After all, we had was to get the pieces up, screw the pine in place, and then we had until Thursday to figure out storage. 

So my break comes along and we finally, finally get the stupid headliners up and screw in the pieces of the board we purchased. This was to make sure the structure is secure and so the middle part of the headliner doesn't come down while I'm driving while also covering the other hole we had which in turn supported the light that used to go in the same space the piece of wood was going. With that in place with putting the side panels in to hold the headliner up and to check the side storage areas and figure out a game plan for that. The idea is to get as much of this done as possible so I don't have to take it apart again because taking it apart and putting it back together for this big construction project was a royal pain and I really don't want to do it again. 

But the good news is that we are steps closer to having this van finished and im excited to see what else we can do with it. 

Stay tuned for a new video of this construction. It's a big update for this van and it took a while to finally get this update finished. 

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Your girl is going to sign up for another half marathon. Maybe two. One of them is a definite the other one is a giant question mark. As some of you may know My Dad went ahead and signed up for the Tetons half and some of you thought he was crazy because of the fact that he just got over covid. Well, let me tell you he's doing just fine and it's not until next Summer so he has plenty of time to get back to where he wants to be for this race. Not only that but it's not supposed to be strenuous (unlike the Yellowstone one which was strenuous and pretty difficult) and is supposed to be relatively flat. 

In turn, I am also going to sign up for the Tetons here in the next few weeks. Considering that I told myself last time I wouldn't do it again I think maybe the distance has gotten to me a little. Doing 13 miles and training for it is a feat in itself and when I finished the Yellowstone half I actually felt good about it. My feet were destroyed from the terrain so I will definitely be investing in trail shoes for this next one just in case so I don't have to face months of recovery for my feet and only my feet.  

In terms of recovery from Covid and getting ready for this race, I think it just depends on how you handle the recovery. When I got covid I wasn't fully adjusted to the hills in the area so it took more time than normal for me to run and feel good about it again but within about three weeks not only had I gotten past the difficulty of the hills but also recovered from Covid completely and was seeing improvement again in my time. In turn, I think that this race is going to be amazing and I think that my Dad and I will do super well in this race despite the fact that we both caught the virus and had some trouble with recovery. 

Plus I mean it's the Tetons. How can you complain about a view like that for the entire race? I'm certainly excited to take part, push myself and just have a fun time out in the west.  


Also, make sure to click on the link here to go check out my art gallery. If you like what you see purchase a piece. All purchases help out with my adventures. 


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