back in time

Now back to more … shall we say “historical” … pictures. This is also for those of you who think I never take pictures of people.

In June I was just getting busy on “Tangled”, but still had my weekends open. During that time Sarah, Pete, Brazil and Esker, my sister, brother In law, niece and nephew, came back for a second visit. During the week they were on their own, but on the weekends I took them to Disneyland and to canyoneer Vivien Creek. I also went on a hike to the peak of Mt. San Jacinto. These are the pictures from those weekends.

Vivien Creek was quite an adventure for the family. They had definitely not been out canyoneering before, and I had to scrounge around to make sure everyone had helmets and harnesses. Its always interesting to see how people react to their first time in a canyon, since some people take to it immediately, and others will never go back. That being the case I was fascinated to find out who would be which (so to speak). Off the top we knew that Pete did not like heights so the whole day would be an issue for him. He took it like a trouper though, and I tried to distract him on the first rappel by having him go down concurrently with Brazil and talk her through the rappel. Susan was along to help out and I sent her down first to give a firemans belay from the bottom. What this means is that she holds the ropes, and if there is a problem she pulss down on them, which locks off the rappeler, kind of like a second brake hand. The first rap is very intimidating, although it is off vertical. When you approach the edge it looks much like an infinity pool, as though the edge of the world is happening, and it just drops off into oblivion. Needless to say its not quite that bad, but it is 190 feet of first rappel, and so a little daunting. After Susan went down the Pete and brazil headed of in tandem. I checked their gear thoroughly and made sure they were as comfortable as they were going to get and then off they went. It seemed to take forever once they went over the second drop and out of view, but eventually the whistle came from the bottom letting us know they were down. Next were Sarah and Esker, and they headed of with great aplomb. Eventually they, too, made it to the bottom. I checked everything to make sure we had left nothing behind and dropped in, and we were fully committed.

The canyon has roughly 5 rappels. I say roughly because you can downclimb many of the on the sides or add a few that are normally downclimbed, but we’ll go with 5 since they are the obvious raps. I expected everyone to relax into things once we got going, and after a rough scramble to the second rap, that is what happened. But after that some people got more nervous each one we did. When we came to the slightly more technical raps Susan and I rigged up with the kids to do a tandem rappel. When we finally reached the bottom rappel, which Susan and I had been talking up a bit, Pete and Brazil decided to bypass it. I headed down first with Esker in Tandem, and he got a huge shock as we dropped over the final edge to free hang in the middle of the waterfall. We dropped down quickly and he sat in the sun to warm up as I went to talk Sarah through the drop off. Sarah got about halfway down and then stalled out before the final drop. I clambered up so we could hear each other and then convinced her that there was no option but to continue. She was fully committed to finishing. Once she realized there was no going back Sarah took a deep breath and stepped of the edge. A quick drop through the waterfall later she was jubilant. Susan finished off and then we tried to pull the rope. No go, it was stuck. I had to climb back up to the top and disengage the rope. I then climbed back down, and the day was essentially over.

It seems to me that the final responses to the day were as follows, Sarah would do it again in a heartbeat, Esker would do it again, but not quite as eagerly, Brazil might possibly do it again, but would have to be forced, and Pete has now had his lifetime fill of rappeling. I may be wrong with this, and if so I encourage those mentioned to talkback in the comments. All in all it was an exhilarating time.

The tripp to Disneyland was a little less problematic. We headed out a little late, but the parking lot was still pretty empty, and the park not as crowded as I had seen it. It was my first use of the Silver Pass that I get from working at Disney and it worked like a charm. the 5 of us got in for the price of one child, which was awesome. We had a nice day trying out all the rides and wandering the park, and sayed into the evening, when we finally left, happily tired.

All in all it was a great visit, and I hope they all come back sometime soon. Love you all guys.

Vivien, Disny, and San Jacinto in June

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