Filling Your Niche
keyhole canyon

Keyhole Classic 2014

Every year on the first full weekend of November, a couple dozen or so rock climbers lemming their way back to Keyhole Canyon, just outside Las Vegas. They show up solo or with kids and wives and dogs; they pack light and bivvy on the side of the rock or arrive loaded down with canopies and camping tables and dirt bikes; they set ropes up early and climb late into the night, finishing off every day with cold beer and hot chili or smoky barbecued chicken or whatever got tossed into the Dutch oven that morning.

Dan, to my knowledge, has never missed a year, and our kids have only skipped a handful of years between the two of them. I’ve never gone; as much as I love Keyhole Canyon itself, hanging out with a bunch of climbers all weekend seems silly when I’m not a climber, and a the blessedly empty house when Dan drags the kids and dogs out for the entire weekend is too conducive to NaNoWriMo to pass up.

Now that I’m skipping this year’s NaNo, learning to rock climb, jonesing for a road trip, and missing the desert itself, this year felt like the perfect time to pop my Keyhole Classic cherry.

Gratitude saturated the entire trip to Keyhole Classic and back. I’m thankful for all the overtime that paid for our adventure, thankful for time away from my computer and thankful for our days together as a family in one of our favorite places in the world. I loved seeing Miss G’s friend Miss B, considered by both Dan and myself as our third daughter, and having lots of time to spend with all three of our girls.

Keyhole Canyon

I pushed my comfort zone hard all weekend, and reveled in every second. I scrambled up boulders after sunset, perched on a ledge watching fireworks bloom and glitter overhead, and rappelled down 150 feet lit only by the Milky Way, caught between sunset and moonrise.

Most of all, I reconnected with a place that was my home for a decade, and rediscovered our roots as a family. Remembered the crappiness we’ve come from, and rejoiced in our current functionality. Soaked in the stark beauty of the desert, reminded myself that some things are permanent and other things are passing, even if the passing itself takes years.

A joyful trip, and a much-needed break from regular life. Next November, you guys should come too.

adventuresclimbingmonth of gratitude

Maarit • 11/13/2014

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