Tag Archives: MMC

Bill and Greta visiting – Kelly Point, Mazamas, and Portland’s Rhododendron garden!

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Friday, 18-October-2019

 

Sarah’s Mom and Dad came to visit!  If you think Sarah and I have been having a busy year… well, you’d be right.  But Her Mom and Dad haven’t had a boring year either, so when they had a chance to escape up to Portland after a business trip, all of us were really excited to get to visit, catch up, and have a nice weekend of downtime and relaxing.

We had a few adventures scheduled up, but we mostly left room for us to explore and spent time together – Video calls are great, and I am extremely thankful to be living in the future where we can video call literally anywhere in the world without even noticing a delay, but in-person visits are still the ideal.

 

So we walked, explored, took them to some of our favorite restaurants, and explored somewhere we’d never been before – The Rhododendron garden!

First up was Kelly Point park – it’s a lovely walk, and a great way to tire Ollie out a bit to keep the crazy down to almost-sane levels.  It was excellent as always, and we even got to see some cool mushrooms!  Not otters or eagles this time, but it was still fun scanning the surf for them.

Then, we stopped by Sarah’s old workspace at the Mazamas – The Mazamas Mountaineering Center is where she’d been teaching kids to climb this summer, and so she got a chance to show off the walls and the Mazamas library.  I… may have… possibly… gotten a little distracted exploring the library.  I admit to everything, and it was awesome.

After the MMC, we headed to the Rhododendron garden.  We hadn’t been there before, but Sarah had heard amazing things about it, and it sounded like an excellent place to explore.  It was raining, as it so often does in Portland, but honestly I think that made the garden even more beautiful.  The rain on the leaves, and the petals on the flowers… it was lovely.

 

 

Volunteering with a summer camp and Teaching people to climb again!

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Friday, 28-June-2019

It’s been so long since I’ve taught someone to climb… I think the last time was sometime back before I came to Oregon, maybe?

I forgot how fun it can be!

I even learned that the age of the new climber doesn’t matter – previously, I’d mostly taught mid-20s people the ins and outs of climbing… Today, I taught kids age 4-10 how to climb!

Or… more accurately, I just made sure they put on harnesses safely, and then belayed them as they scampered up the walls like spider monkeys, and gave out more high-fives than I’d given out the entire rest of 2019.

Let’s go back to the beginning – Sarah’s working for a summer camp this year as their resident climbing coordinator, and I came to help belay on my Friday off.

It was a more complex process than I’d expected, but it’s good to know that working with young kids not only requires the usual belay checks, but also a full background screen. Trivia fact – not a murderer, still.

It’s my Friday off, but we’re still getting going early. A quick breakfast, then off to the Mazamas Mountaineering Center to set up for the kids. Harnesses get laid out, ropes uncoiled, and crash pads are put out below the routes.

It’s incredible how different the Mazamas gear room is from the NUHOC gear locker. They’re so much better funded, and so much more climbing-focused… They have two entire rooms dedicated to rope storage – two rooms, each one bigger than my entire gear locker!

With all the glorious gear laid out, we gave belay tests to the other volunteers, and braced ourselves for the swarm of campers… The schedule was oldest to youngest, not that it really mattered though.

I belayed, gave encouragement, and high fives. At one point some kids tried blindfolded climbing, and then we evacuated after an attempt to clean the blindfold set off a fire alarm.

Trivia fact: microwaving a wet hankie for 10min can start a fire.

Second trivia fact: kids love fire fighters. We had a good time.

Aside from the fire fighters showing up, the day was pretty chill. I particularly enjoyed climbing with the youngest kids though; we had extra volunteers, so I was able to climb up to the top and provide encouraging high fives to everyone who topped out!