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Category Archives: Past Adventures

Kayaking to Key West

Day 1: We set off on our epic 7 day Florida Keys Kayak adventure with great anticipation of what stories and experience lied ahead. Our first destination was Tavernier Key off of Islamorada and Key Largo. We hoped to pay our respects to “Christ of the deep” but because of the winds and currents we were unable. Florida Keys Kayaking Christ Statue

Given that it was our first day, we didn’t make the best of time and arrived at Tavernier Key at sunset. The good was we got to see a beautiful sunset, the bad was we had to establish camp in the dark! We eventually found and setup camp and everything worked out great. The first day and night was full of clear waters, beautiful sunsets, making new friends with the group and hanging with the ship rats on the island that scurried around all night.

Day 2: According to the original float plan, our destination was Little Rabbit Key on the bayside, but as with most adventures and as is life, plans change. We first stopped at a dive spot called Hen and Chickens. Hen and Chickens reef got its name because of its physical layout. There is one main reef with several smaller reefs. The seas were about 2 to 3 feet and proved to be challenging when mooring and snorkeling. We saw sea turtles, barracuda, sergeant majors and the most fun and frightening – an 8 ft shark which breached less than 100 feet from our dive site! The group was excited but also tired from diving so we decided to paddle up to Lorelei’s on Islamorada for a much needed refreshment before we continued on to find campsite #2. The day’s paddle totaled about 17 miles with highlights of giant shark, sea turtles, a lost fishing pole, night paddling with millions of stars, a great watering hole and the reeling in of a black tip shark by the most unlikely of candidates in our group! Awesome day!

Day 3: Total miles paddled thus far is 29 with almost 80 more to go! We woke up before sunrise at 5am, made some breakfast and tried our luck of shoreline fishing near one of Islamorda’s southern most bridges. With no luck we decided to paddle off with a planned stop at Indian Key State Park on the Atlantic side. This island (Key is what they are called in the Florida Keys) was a unique treasure. We had no idea of the interesting history the Florida Keys beheld. Indian Key is only accessible by boat and once housed a small village complete with a blacksmith (who was also the dentist – ouch!), a post office, a wrecking/salvaging business and even a town center. This beautiful key was an unexpected experience we will never forget. http://www.floridastateparks.org/indiankey/

We ended day three at Long Key State Park which we paddle up directly in front of our campsite. We were tired but excited for day four! Highlights were catching a needle-nose fish, Indian Key, perfect winds, a beautiful sunrise, another great watering hole and a hot shower at Long Key State Park!

Day 4: This was a short day of only 11 miles so we took our time in order to prepare for the 20 mile paddle for day 5 and the 7 mile bridge. Highlights of day 4 were many fish sightings, starfish, hundreds of moon jellyfish and a chance to rest!

 

Day 5: Our toughest day! We got up and most of ate double portions of breakfast. We knew what lied ahead of us – 20 miles and the 7 Mile Bridge with strong currents, wind and open water with no escape! After 12 miles we reached this epic stretch of water and we became concerned. It seemed as though no matter how hard we paddled, it felt as though we went backwards! Luckily our Guide let us know to watch the buoys that SLOWLY went by. We eventually made it to Molasses Key and halfway. This is the key that you see off the “port” side if you were driving south on the 7 mile bridge. Generally you wouldn’t say port in a car but as the group learned “Port” meant “left” and the easiest way to remember was to recognize there are 4 letters in each word. We ended the day paddling up to the beach at Bahia Honda State Park, where we camped for the night and ate probably the best microwave cheeseburger we ever had. Highlights were the feeling of accomplishment for the hard paddle, the girls that just happened to be on the beach at the end of our paddle, the cheeseburger, a beautiful beach called Sombrero Beach in Marathon Key (Best in the keys) and the relentless raccoons that stole our dry bags and dragged them deep in the woods. Luckily we were smart enough to not keep food in them.

Day 6: By now most of us were shocked that our butts didn’t hurt more and we were getting so accustomed to our kayaks that we often referred to them as “home”. Here was day 6 and only two paddle days left to Key West. Some of us had mixed feelings – sad it was almost over but also excited and anxious to get there. Sometimes life or an adventure is not about the destination but about the journey. Our experience so far has been epic, filled with many emotions and beautiful sights. It always felt great to tell people what we were doing when they asked. We got the same shocked reaction but once in a while we would get no reaction as if we said we were driving to the grocery store to get some ketchup. This was funny to know that some people are so chill in the keys that nothing surprised them. The day’s destination was Monkey Island (Lois Key). It was called Monkey Island because of a legend or folk lore involving “monkey fishing”. Obviously a terrible thing and probably not true but an interesting story. The marine life was awesome this day and provided for some of the best highlights of the trip. We sighted 3 Manta Ray – one jumping within yards of our kayaks, many shark and even a Queen Conch shell with the live Conch. Queen Conch are rare to find nowadays because of over harvesting through the years. Locals are sometimes referred to as Conchs as well.

Last Day: 23 miles! Our longest day but with the finish line in mind we paddled faster somehow. We left camp without breakfast and before sunrise. This was to get across the channel while the waters were still calm and to avoid stronger winds in the morning. It was a beautiful sunrise to watch as we made way at 6 mph! Currents and winds favored us. We finished at 2:30 in Key West with tired, rugged, sunburnt, scruffy, dirty and smiling faces with a new vigor for life and readiness to party Key West style! After an awesome dinner we hit Duval Street to take part in Key West’s favorite activity, the “Duval Crawl”. We got our picture at the Southern Most Point and celebrated because we deserved it and because we adventured out and did something very few have ever done!

Southern Most Point

Bicycling to Key West

We started out at 8am after getting up at 6am and driving from Ft. Lauderdale. This was our first time bicycling 100 miles and our first time doing it in the Keys. The Florida Keys Highway is one of the most scenic drives in North America and what better way to do it than by bike!

The ride was both challenging and beautiful! After the first 30 miles, we felt as though Lance Armstrong was a God but at about mile 30, our bodies kicked it into a different gear and the next 70 were epic! We stopped along the way to take in the scenery, dip in the crystal clear blue waters and have a beer or two at some local island bars.

Bicycling to Key West

12 Days Sailing to the Virgin Islands

Freedom is a concept that most people think they experience in America but nothing is more free than setting sail on a distant shore! With the wind at your sails and the ability to go anywhere your heart desires without the distractions of cell phones, work, bills, traffic, clocks, etc. is liberation at its finest and probably one of the most adventurous trips you will ever take! Go back in time and travel the way people used to! Experience the Pirate in you and join us on our next sailing adventure!

On the first day – We flew in to New York City to meet the crew and join the boat. We were really excited about this amazing adventure that was supposed to be 7 days but ended up being a 12 day lifetime experience!

First order of business was to hit up the grocery store for provisions. We walked through the checkout isle with 4 shopping carts full of meat, veggies, fruit, canned goods, snacks and of course beer! The idea was to crack one open in celebration when we first see land and someone yells “Land Ho!” After getting our food for this long sailing adventure through the middle of the Atlantic, we gassed up, filled the fresh water tanks and outfitted the boat with everything else we needed. That night was the last chance we would have on land so we ate some amazing seafood at a famous local restaurant and had a few cold ones to cheers to our adventure!

Days at Sea – After we left NYC and motored through Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty, we felt pretty liberated as we set course for St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands!

Out at sea we experience life on the edge! When you are 1500 nautical miles off shore, the only people to count on is your crew members and yourself. As we sailed further south to the Virgin Islands we experienced all the Northern Atlantic Ocean could throw at us! It was late October so if you haven’t watched the movie “The Perfect Storm”, you wouldn’t have known that this time of year is the worst weather and usually the highest seas.

We spent 3 days in a hurricane, took a rogue wave, lost power and GPS and got pushed around by 30ft. seas! If you haven’t sailed in blue water before, this trip would have made a true Salty out of anyone!

Land Ho! – On the 12th day without showers and after 40 mahi and 1 tuna caught, we made it safely to land despite all the weather. We sailed straight through the Bermuda Triangle and survived!

Sailing into the Sir Francis Drake Channel that flows through the center of the U.S. and British Virgin Islands was like heaven on earth! The beauty and history that surrounded these islands put the icing on the cake for this amazing sailing adventure! We decided to sail up to some secluded beaches and swim in the crystal blue waters. This was a treat after not showering! For the next 3 days we pulled into different coves and islands, met amazing sailors on their boats and experience the island life with some locals at all the tropical bars.

What an amazing trip!

Lake Tahoe Rock Climbing

Lake Tahoe is one of the most unique places on earth! This was an adventures paradise in which we took full advantage of. Tahoe is most known for the skiing and the 22 mile long and 1640 ft. deep lake, but most do not know about the world class rock climbing that can be done here!

 

90 Ft. Wall Lake Tahoe Rock ClimbingOn the first day – We set off to do some top roping at 90ft. wall. The drive there was spectacular because the location of this wall is next to Emerald Falls which is in the middle of Emerald Bay on the South West side of the lake. Emerald Bay has some of the most picturesque views this country has to offer. In fact, it is the 2nd most photographed place in the United States.

We climbed for about 6 hours by top roping. This was a great way to learn the skills needed for a multi-pitch climb. The rock was straight up and there were plenty of easy holds. Our climb was mostly 5.7 and 5.8s with opportunities to do 5.10s. It was a good start to the climbing trip.

 

 

 

 

Dinosaur Rock Lake Tahoe Rock ClimbingOn Day 2 of our Lake Tahoe Rock Climbing Adventure – We set off for another Top-Roping adventure in Carson City on Dinosaur Rock. This was a quick fun 60′ to 90′ climb with efforts climbing 5.9s. This was a 4 hour climb with a stop at Famous Reds Old 395 Grill after to have a beer and some great food! We were a bit sore from the day before but we quickly got over that as soon as we were on the rock! This climb was mostly old granite but solid. A spectacular climb in a more desert environment. Our guide did some trad climbing in order to setup the top rope for everyone else.

 

 

 

Pie Shop Lake Tahoe Rock Climbing AdventuresDay 3 of our Lake Tahoe Rock Climbing Adventure -After the first two warm up rocks at 90′ Wall and Dinosaur Rock we decided to do Pie Shop that was 150ft. This also started out with our guide trad climbing first. To get here, we had to hike about 20 minutes to get to the base of the rock. This involved scrambling and the group needed the break in order to wait for our guide to climb first. The name Pie Shop comes from an old Pie Shop Store that used to be off Sawmill Rd. on the way to this rock. The shop is no longer there but it would have been nice to scarf down some fantastic pie after the climb. This was a more challenging climb that had much smaller and difficult holds on Slab Rock. The views were spectacular overlooking Lake Tahoe Golf Course and the surrounding mountains. The base of the rock sat on a big overhanging slab rock which was an awesome spot to chill and take in the views. We brought lunch on this day as opposed to snacks for the other trips.

 

 

 

Lake Tahoe Rock Climbing AdventureDay 4 and our last day – This last day was one of the most epic Lake Tahoe Rock Climbing Adventures! We set off down 50 South to Lover’s Leap for a 4 pitch climb. All the previous days were to prepare for this climb. Our guide lead the way up as each adventurer followed by belaying at each belay station. The views were fantastic and the climb was even more amazing. The total time on the rock was 5 to 6 hours with stopping at belay stations where we hung on the side of the 600ft. cliff to refuel on water and food. The legend behind the name “Lover’s Leap” is unclear but it involves one or  two Native Americans who were in love that jumped off to their deaths. We carried all our gear with us and hiked down from the top. This was extremely epic and a must do again!

Sedona Mountain Biking

Sedona, AZ has some of the world’s best mountain biking! It was if this place was predesigned with the mountain bike in mind. We set off to this red rock with the plan to ride some established single track working our way up to a great double black diamond locals trail called “Hangover Trail”.

Hangover Trail is not an established MTB trail but is a local favorite. Only the best and most daring riders attempt this trail. With single track winding in and around the red rock domes thousands of feet above the town and greater than 500 foot cliffs inches from your tires with a solid red wall on the other side of your tires, it can even make the bravest hearts skip a beat.

After a couple of rides, we conquered this epic trail on the last day. The first half of the loop is a lot of climbing and really burns the legs. We needed to stay hydrated and take our time because on top is where lack of energy and balance could lead to real trouble! We stopped to take some awesome pictures, hit some jumps that we creatively made up and met some hikers that thought we were crazy for riding this “hiking trail”. We did have to carry the bikes and scramble a few times and riding the entire trail is nearly impossible but it really added to the extreme feel of the ride.

After getting to the top and weaving between two peaks we hit this awesomely fast flowing downhill all the way back to the start. Amazingly this downhill half only took 20 to 30 min to get down when it took 4 hours to get up the mountain!

Stay tuned to our next guided mountain bike adventure and happy riding!

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