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Vikki

7 Years of Joe’s Valley Fest

By Bouldering, Musings, Trip JournalNo Comments

Coming back to Joe’s Valley after a 2 year hiatus felt like we had come home, after what felt like significantly longer than 2 years. I have missed the people and the place like a piece of me was misplaced. This year was the first where I was able to fully step away from my roles as Marketing Manager and Sponsorship Coordinator. Patrick and Katherine are in the drivers’ seats, respectively, and I took on a Master’s in Public Health program. I still don’t have the words to encompass how honored I felt to witness where the Fest is at now. On the drive back to Bishop, Spenser and I looked back to the beginning. How the Joe’s Valley Fest came to be feels like a series of disjointed events: a bunch of boulderers living in the dirt, a town clean-up, and a message from Amanda to the Joe’s Valley Bouldering Facebook page. With this message, Amanda reached Steven Jeffrey and his then-girlfriend, now-wife Adriana Chimaras. I’ve never looked back on these messages until today. I thought this one below is particularly hilarious. Just goes to show how little we knew about event planning at the time… The Fest sure has morphed through the years. From the frigid inaugural Fest in 2015 where we realized this was going to be a lot more work than we imagined, and that Thanksgiving was not a good time for a Festival in central Utah. To the sunny and small one in 2016 when…

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Now & Then

By Stuff We're Psyched On, Trip JournalOne Comment

I guess it’s pretty telling that the last time I was compelled to add to this blog was when COVID first came around, over a year ago. I wrote, “Most of us don’t know it yet, but society will be dramatically different when the crisis is over. I believe, like Spenser, we can all work together to make it an improved one. To me, this feels like a restart, a second-chance – for each community, and our entire globalized world.” And I guess I went all in. 2 months ago, shortly after moving into our new home in Bishop, I started an online Master’s in Public Health program at UC Berkeley. As Spenser mentioned last week, he’d rather have a father than a house, and I would also rather have a father-in-law. But, I am nonetheless grateful for our newfound stability. In preparation for the workload, I’ve left most of my duties at Joe’s Valley Fest (in very capable hands, I might add). I’m still on the Board, but no longer manage Marketing or Sponsorships, this is done by a new guy who works with experts from indexsy. The RV Project is still a production company, and we are still working on editing the now-infamous-to-all-our-family-and-friends Steve Project. The stability has allowed for progress that needs to be appreciated, even though we habitually feel years behind. Years behind what you might ask? Yea, exactly… Photo and video work is evermore important. COVID has amplified how significant the role of misinformation is…

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The Invisible War

By Food for thought, Staying HealthyOne Comment

Yesterday, the Imperial College released its report on COVID-19. The report reveals massive, frightening predictions – underscoring the importance of the actions we are taking to prevent the anticpiated spread of this new virus. I’ve been spending the last few days going back to my public health roots and digging deep into the novel coronavirus. And I felt compelled to share the points I found salient from the above mentioned report and otherwise. Compelled enough to write my first blog post in…years? Anyway… COVID-19 is not the flu. It is most closely related to SARS. The mortality rate is lower than SARS but it spreads significantly faster. This is why there is such a strong worry that the public will not take it seriously enough. Other names for COVID-19 that you might see: novel coronavirus, coronavirus 2, SARS-CoV-2, HCoV-19. If we treat it like the flu, or go about business as usual: 80% of Americans would get the disease and an estimated 4 million will die. In a span of 3 months. We [the world] have failed at containment so we have two options: mitigation and suppression. Mitigation = isolating all symptomatic cases in the US, quarantining families of those cases, and social distancing for those over 70. Suppression = isolating symptomatic cases and quarantining their family members, social distancing for the whole population plus preventing all public gatherings which includes shutting down the majority of workplaces, bars and dine-in restaurants, closing schools and universities. Mitigation is not enough. We…

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The No More Excuses Birthday Challenge

By Birthday Challenges, Climbing, Stuff We're Psyched OnNo Comments

People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive. – Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth. I live an exceptional life. Every day is different from the previous and the next. I choose to live in a trailer so that I have the option to get outside daily – instead of a walk-in closet or a daily shower. I have done most anything I can think of to avoid being bogged down by the aspects of life that hold you down. Those that, effectively, make you forget that you are alive. I also choose to live in society. I choose to have a smart phone and health insurance. I pay my taxes and take Little Dude to get his rabies vaccination. And, often, all of those have-to-dos pile up, and I can’t avoid feeling weighed down. With freelance work, it’s all up to you – without a syllabus, your success is completely dependent on how much effort you put in. Balance is difficult to achieve, and I always feel behind. There’s the feature-length documentary we’re editing, oh and that non-profit festival that’s a few weeks away. Don’t forget the family and friends that you want to keep…

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The Muddy Waters of Trailer Insurance

By Food for thought, Trip Journal4 Comments

We haven’t been able to leave Berkeley yet, solely because we don’t have our trailer insured yet. Whether it’s advising you on important coverage decisions or answering any questions you may have, motor-trade-insurances.co.uk can help Since we’ve run into significantly more trouble than we imagined trying to get our trailer insured, I figured I’d write down what we’ve learned so other people might avoid the same pitfalls in the future. The details: We now have a converted cargo trailer. The trailer is a 2002 Pace American cargo trailer  (14-feet total in length, including the nose, and 8-feet wide). Although it was already converted into a livable space before we bought it, we completely gutted it to fit our needs. What’s the problem, you ask? AAA: we went to AAA first because we’ve been with them for years. Since we had an itemized spreadsheet of everything we bought for the trailer – they said they could insure it, if it was stationary at our home address for over half the year. Well, that’s not going to happen. Next… Progressive: they are the #1 major RV insurance company, but a converted cargo trailer is a deal breaker for them. At this point we asked — who should we call next?! Farmer’s Insurance: a quick no – because it’s a converted cargo trailer. The problem, it turns out, is these major companies will happily insure a travel trailer that you have customized – but it has to have started as a travel trailer….

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A New Joe’s Valley: Updates in Emery County, Utah

By Climbing, Local Beta, Stuff We're Psyched OnNo Comments

As we began planning for the 4th Annual Joe’s Valley Fest, my first email was to Josh Helke, founder of Organic Climbing. Organic has been the Headline Sponsor the past 2 years, and we were hoping they were game for another round! “COUNT US IN! We love this event and have made so many local friends in the community outside of climbing through it!” HAPPY DANCE!!! Because, back in 2015 when a few of us got together to start the festival, that’s exactly what we were hoping would happen.                 This got me to thinking about all the other awesome changes that have happened around Emery County since the Fest started. Of course, me and the rest of the Joe’s Valley Fest team know it’s not all because of us, we just love being a part of it all. ⇒ Cup of Joe’s. Why yes, there is now a coffee shop in Orangeville! This cozy new addition has become the defacto headquarters of the Fest, because climbers just might love coffee more than they love climbing. Since the welcoming owners, Doug and Camie, were trained a Public Coffeehouse in SLC – the coffee is good, REALLY good (+ they offer lots of non-caffeinated options too!). It’s also a great place to go for climbing needs – they have a copy of the old guidebook you can take photos of, plus they’re the only place in the area you can rent Organic Climbing crash…

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The 8B Challenge Report

By Birthday Challenges, ClimbingOne Comment

This was originally published on June 15, 2018 on the Touchstone Climbing blog. Original post can be found here. People often associate me with Birthday Challenges, which is understandable because I’ve made them a pretty big part of my life. There is endless philosophical musing to be done regarding the process of dreaming up sufferfests to mark the years of one’s life, but really, they’re just fun. They usually take the form of a day (or days) packed with fun activities with friends in beautiful places, and who doesn’t like that? Well, it ain’t my birthday for a little while, but we wanted to celebrate our new home office on wheels by spending a day with good friends enjoying one of the coolest things about Berkeley, which is the surprising amount of climbing one can do in her hills. We hatched a plan, and I called one of my longest climbing buddies, Ryan Moon, to suggest the 8B Challenge. I could tell straightaway that he thought it was a brilliant idea, because he said “that’s brilliant!” The 8B Challenge was less severe than some of the epics of Birthday Challenge lore, but it wasn’t a total gimme either. As detailed on our blog, the 8B part has nothing to do with the French translation of V13. Instead, it stands for Bros and Babes Biking with Beers, Bowties, and Burritos to Boulders in Berkeley. The goal was the following: To climb at least one boulder problem at each of eight Berkeley bouldering…

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Thoughts on Last Year’s Women’s Climbing Festival

By Climbing, Photo, The InteriorNo Comments
I got in touch with Shelma via the contact form on the Flash Foxy website, a couple months before the first Women's Climbing Festival. I don't really know why I wrote that initial message. I hadn't seriously considered going before that moment, and I can't remember what exactly drew me to it then. In December, I happened to see another post about it on social media, and something just hit me - I knew I had to be there. I think the message I wrote to Shelma offered me behind the camera, and mentioned how desperately I needed some women in my life. I had spent fall developing and climbing in Northern New Mexico, and it mentally wrecked me. For many reasons, some of which I'm still sorting through, I felt painfully out of place. My confidence had dwindled to a lifetime low, and for the first time, I knew what depression felt like. Everything about this trip to Bishop was a new experience. I drove down to Bishop on my own for the first time, and picked up a person I had never met before on my way (Emily, who turned out to be amazing. Seriously as close to perfect of a friend you can get to.). I took photos for a climbing event without Spenser. I felt independent, but never alone. And I was so happy. I felt like myself again. At the risk of sounding cheesy - I needed the 2016 Women's Fest, and it was there for...
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Joe’s Valley Bouldering Festival 2016 Recap

By Bouldering, Climbing, Stuff We're Psyched On, Trip Journal2 Comments

WOW, we got so lucky with weather! Throughout the Fest, I was like a broken record. Memories of last year’s frigid fest were all too vivid. As a festival organizer, there are two hypotheticals that you are terrified of: no one shows up, or the weather is too bad to do any of the events you spent the last year coordinating. And, even though Fall is prime Joe’s Valley season, the desert is still unpredictable. Just the week before the Fest this year, there was a huge rain storm that caused moderate flooding. I imagined what kind of festival that would be… Well, I guess that’s not too far from last year’s fest… HA! Yea, the decision to move the fest to October was an easy one. The weather this year did not disappoint. It was sunny and dry during the day, and crisp and clear at night. Perfect outdoor festival temps. The first festival was so late in the year because the idea didn’t emerge until a few weeks beforehand. We didn’t want to stall the support and momentum we had locally, so we went forward with the festival despite having very little time to plan. It was a test run, and this year looked much more traditionally festival-like, but with a Emery County twist. 😉 Local Flavor So what’s the point of the Joe’s Valley Bouldering Festival? We want to introduce climbers to the towns that surround their beloved Joe’s Valley, and the people that make up Emery County. At the moment, the vast majority of climbers don’t go beyond the Food Ranch…

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Our Way to Salt Lake

By Musings, Road Trip Beta, Trip Journal2 Comments

It is 6:30 in the morning and too hot to sleep anymore. We start driving towards the middle of Nevada in search of food and coffee, when we suddenly realize it is the 4th of July and we had some issues with our windshield. Everything that might be open in middle-of-nowhere Nevada is sure to be closed so we will have to fix it later, luckily services as autoglasstec online could help us with this. And the most nutrient-dense part of our dinner last night was potato chips (possibly because we chose to climb a multi-pitch in Toulumne late in the day, so all the eateries were closed by the time we finished). A couple hours later, our stomachs grumbling audibly, we pull into Tonopah – the only place that can be called a town for hundreds of miles. Tonopah was a bustling mining town…in the early 1900s. As we drive through, shuttered blind after closed door welcome us. Then, there was the Mizpah Hotel. It looks open, and they must have a restaurant. Right? We park the truck across the street and walk over. “Did you guys miss the Starbucks?” laughs a middle-aged lady as she leads two small dogs up the stairs of the Mizpah. “We’re just looking for some food and coffee,” I laugh nervously. My usual reaction when I don’t know how to react. “Well, you’ve come to the right place. We ate here this morning,” she opens the door and tells us where to find the Pittman Cafe. Hot coffee and a…

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