Josh and I went to visit Adam, Marcy, and Sophia for Thanksgiving. Adam has been asking Josh to visit for couple years now and we finally decided it was time to make the trip. We chose to drive so we could bring bikes, which resulted in us visiting three new states (Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas) during our vacation.
We spent Wednesday and Thursday in Rolla, Missouri staying at Adam and Marcy's, seeing the UMR campus, going for mountain bike rides, and even going for a swim. Sophia, their daughter, is just starting to talk. Her favorite word is "trash" and lucky for us this sounds like "Josh" and "Ash". So we were entertained much of the weekend by her trying to say our names. She is also learning sign language, so she can communicate many things. However, I don't know sign language and had no idea what she was trying to tell me most of the time.
Adam and Sophia
Almost immediately after finishing Thanksgiving dinner, we packed up the car and headed for Arkansas. We drove at night in hope that Sophia would sleep for most of the trip, which worked moderately well. We arrived at a cabin near the town of Jasper, Arkansas at 2 am. Adam and Marcy's friends Pam and Dave had rented this cabin for the weekend. We awoke in the morning to find that we were located on a ridge overlooking picturesque valleys on both sides. Pam and Dave recently bought land nearby and were spending the weekend removing small trees and brush around where they plan to build a house. Part of Friday and Saturday were spent adding branches to the bonfire and trying to avoid the poison oak and ivy.
Adam was very excited to climb the cliffs below the site of the future house. He and Josh scouted what looked like a good route and I went along for the top-roped first accent. Unfortunately, the climb was significantly harder than it looked from the ground. Not only were all the holds downsloping, but each time you touched the rock a bunch of lichen would come loose and fall in your eyes. We named our route "lichen-eye-zed" for this reason.
Josh working his way up Licheneyezed
Josh and Sophia showing off their helmets
On Saturday, we headed to Sam's Throne, a more established climbing area. The area is comprised of a cliff band leading down to a valley and an outcropping of rocks in the middle of the valley known, not surprisingly, as Sam's Throne. After a couple wrong turns trying to find our way down to the valley, we did one of the classic climbs on Sam's Throne. The rock (sandstone) was excellent and the view from the top was great.
Josh soloing to get out of the valley at Sam's Throne
Sunday, Josh and I made the journey home. Overall, the trip was excellent. My opinion of Missouri and Arkansas has greatly improved (there are trees and hills!). I can't say that I think any better of Kansas.