Jul. 28th, 2013

omly: wave of water (water)
Last year my big adventure that I wanted to do for my birthday was to go whitewater rafting. And I loved the idea of continuing that trend with another adventure, although I had not specifically thought about it needing to be water related as well.

So last weekend [livejournal.com profile] salvbard and I went waterfall rappelling with Northeast Mountaineering at Ripley Falls. Originally [livejournal.com profile] crazybone has planned to go with us, but unfortunately they had such an unexpected response to their promotion that they filled very quickly. The date we were able to grab was sadly in conflict with one of shows the radio plays he was in.

Despite the disappointment that he was unable to join us, it was an amazing day. It is a lovely trip in general, although there was some frustration in finding the bunkhouse. (Apparently most GPS and even Google maps get very confused about their location. In the future a better location to look for is Storyland as they are just a minute down the road.

This adventure is classed as beginner, which I think was reasonable. There is a moderate hike in to the falls from the parking lot, which I was grateful for to warm up muscles that were stiff from sitting in the car for so long. 

We had three guides with us and 6 rappellers. They say that generally they only go up to 8 at a time unless it is one group altogether, to avoid people having to stand around as much. (Rappeling was done one at a time with another line for assisting if necessary.) One of the guides was fairly new (the intern) but she explained things really well. And one of the two guys in particular seemed very experiences. Waiting at the top of the falls we talked a lot about travel and the places he has been/hiked/climbed. His next trip was for a mountain near the Nepal/Tibet boarder.

I have never rappelled before, although [livejournal.com profile] salvbard has. (He was correspondingly more graceful and had more control.) I was gratified though that I had decent endurance, and the hand and upper body strength I have acquired from pole dancing class was useful. There was one spot that was hard for everyone just because it was a slightly longer drop down than could be done in even a large step, but honestly once you got past that (it was near the beginning) it was very straightforward. I think even if you were not as active as I am though, you could absolutely do this as an experience. Level of strength and activity just makes it easier and with less soreness the next day(s).

Unfortunately my shoe-wear was not as good as I had hoped. I hadn't fully realized how bad my sandals (which are nominally waterproof) were once they got soaked. Specifically the Velcro on the back of the heel did not want to stay closed once it was really wet. So I was a little shaken after the first descent.

In the end though, I did do another run, which went a little more smoothly than the first. I think this was mostly due to a little bit of experience and knowing more what to expect, but they were done two slightly different ways. The first run was done with the assist line being done from the top, and the second (and third in [livejournal.com profile] salvbard 's case) was from the bottom. As they were just ready to assist if needed, this was more of a difference simply because the ropes were threaded differently, and so the assist line was a little more out of your way on the later climb.

All and all, this was a really cool experience, and I was glad to have done it. Doing so with the waterfall in particular made it a little crazy and exciting. I would do it with a waterfall again, but I am glad that this was not a particularly difficult rappel, as the waterfall added interest enough. It did get me more interested in regular rappelling (and conversely climbing although we didn't do any) than I think I would have been otherwise though.
omly: peacock tail feather (Default)
So I hadn't written a whole lot about it, because I was going through a lot of stuff with my grandmother's decline and subsequent death at the time, but there was lots of awesome and thoughtful stuff surrounding my birthday.

The Friday before my birthday, I took the day off and wandered the city on my own. I spent a lot of time downtown, in particular in the Boston Commons. I did some drawing of the large fountain near Park Street Station and listened to young musicians. I lay on a blanket on the grass, enjoying the weather and the movement of people. I did some knitting and wandered down Newbury Street to get some birthday yarn. (Windsor Button I miss you!) In general it was a day devoted to whimsy and art, which a thing that needs to be indulged in periodically.

Then that evening [personal profile] majes as always is a fantastic companion for that sort of culinary adventure. Our waiter was adorable and easy to communicate what we were thinking of to get suggestions. Other highlights included a particularly well balanced beet salad with goat cheese (a favorite in general but this was particularly well done) and lemon poppy seed bread with lemon sorbet, basil meringue, and sour cherries. ([personal profile] regyt , the sour cherries made me think of you!) I don't even care for meringues in general, so I was surprised that they were really good. Lemony things are a favorite anyways, but still the whole thing was outstanding. Oh and apple-pie-in-a-glass! I have no idea anymore what I ended up getting as a desert wine, but it was phenomenal. That description makes it sound cloyingly sweet, which it was not at all. There were definite qualities of apple and spices that made it reminiscent of apple pie, with just enough sweetness to smooth things out and not be considered a dry wine. 

The day of my birthday was also a planned beach outing for R's birthday. When [personal profile] majes and I arrived early to the beach it was empty, and it is my favorite part of the day on the beach anyways. The quiet with mostly just the sounds of the water was restful, and I delighted in the reflections on the water. It was good that we had arrived early though, as the beach began to fill up long before the rest of the crew showed up. [livejournal.com profile] ifuonlyknew arrived with R & T. T & J brought their kids. And G & A were there with the girls. There was a very good turn out, and I got to meet and talk at some length to several new people. (And hey if you know the username of anyone I saw that day, let me know!)

Also on my birthday proper the whole family (with the delightful Popple) went out for Thai at Sweet Ginger, which I wasn't familiar with in Somerville. Popple got the spiciest thing ever and tried to smoke out the entire restaurant. We were not to be deterred though, and opening the door helped the stressed HVAC system cope with the problem. (Love you Popple!) Not only was I appreciative of tasty Thai food, but also I appreciated everyone's consideration of the fact that I really like to financially support places in my home city. Then afterwards we headed to the movies, where we saw Monsters University with G with her girls as well. Fun!

I received thoughtful cards from [livejournal.com profile] jasra and [livejournal.com profile] ifuonlyknew.

And of course I got to go on a waterfall rappelling adventure with [livejournal.com profile] salvbard.

There was lots of amazing experiences with people I care about, AND I got to turn a prime number.

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omly: peacock tail feather (Default)
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