Thursday, August 15, 2013


Lobstah boat and traps.
Life is crazy right now.  Despite quitting our jobs in mid-July, Leah and I both feel busier than ever!  However, we put aside our stress and went to Maine for a week to hangout with Leah's family.

This was my first time in Maine.  The state conjures up childhood memories of a wooden jigsaw puzzle of the United States that I used to play with.  I remember plunking the Maine piece into the puzzle and thinking "Wow!  Maine is so far away.  I wonder what it's like..."

The house.
Leah and Janet staring at the ocean.
Leah and Tucker playing fetch the rock.
Window propped open by driftwood.
Well, I finally made it, and it didn't disappoint.  We stayed on the coast near St. George, and spent most our time staring at the ocean, looking for wildlife, taking walks, kayaking, playing with the dog, and eating too much.  Leah and I also managed to sneak away and climb at Shagg Crag, and Camden Hills.

I've heard New England climbers gush about Shagg's steep, impeccable granite for years but never thought I would have a chance to visit.  The 2.5 hour drive from the coast offered us a chance to see the heart of Maine.  Since there are no large westbound highways we happily took small back roads across the state, which brought us through some cute towns, and gorgeous countryside.

At the base of Shagg Crag.
Towards the end of the drive, we got lost(as usual), took some wrong turns, and drove the Mini Cooper down a few bumpy, dead end, dirt roads, but eventually we found the parking area.  After a very steep, sweaty hike, we finally arrived at the crag and were immediately struck by it's beauty.  In fact, the wall was so inspiring, that we struggled to choose what routes to try.  Ultimately, we chose to stick to the classics, like The Great Escape, Shaggin' Wagon, Shagg It, Short Bob, Gensing, and Meltdown.  Besides the bugs, it was a perfect day, and we went home happy and absolutely exhausted!

Me at the end of a huge day at Shagg.
We also climb at Camden Hills State Park for a day.  Leah's sister and her boyfriend joined us, so we lead some moderate routes for them to toprope.  It was super fun to watch them try new things, and teach them some basic climbing techniques.  Both of them did amazing!  Jon didn't have rock shoes, so I decided to lead a 5.8 in my hiking shoes, which gave me even more respect for his efforts.

Susie toproping a 5.7.
After they were worn out, we got to try a few harder routes.  Leah onsighted a 12b that she down rated to 11d, and I managed to do a 13a second go- after mercilessly working the moves.  Afterwards, we drove home and dined on crab cakes, shrimp, and too much beer.

Tucker on the couch.
Besides gaining two pounds, I also took a Jiu-Jitsu class, learned a few nautical terms(sloop vs, slip), discussed architecture, and discovered that Leah is stronger than me(in Jiu-Jitsu class).  It was great spending time with the Frazers, relaxing by the Ocean, and exploring a new state.

Susie, Me, and the Lobster.
I always knew I would be good at retirement!

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