• Josh

Hello World: The First Post

Updated: Jul 29, 2019

This is how I introduce myself to the world. Later on, we will introduce Blueberry.

Julia and I at Glacier Point on our first trip to Yosemite National Park. Yosemite Falls was raging full across the valley behind us. Pretty cool.

I am Josh and this lovely woman is Julia. I am American and she is German. That explains why she's wearing fashion sunglasses during our bomb hike up Four-Mile Trail to Glacier Point in this picture. Or maybe it's not because she's German but rather because she's a drifting soul and like me, she's wired differently. Together we form a passionate combination. Since we met in 2017, we've grown into a courageous team that goes on lots of adventures. In a year, we've hiked the toughest day hikes in Yosemite, climbed the Half Dome cables, learned how to backpack and rock climb. We visited my dad twice in California and I proposed to her on our second Yosemite trip. In December we go to Germany for the first time and I get to meet her family. I'm learning German and oh yeah, now we are expecting a baby. So I guess all of that is what finally motivated me to start this. Lots of adventures to share and my crazy ass becoming a father. People who know me said, "you have to write about all of this". So, here we go.

For me, adventure has always been in my blood. As a kid I'd lay flat on my stomach and carve down hills on my skateboard, ride my bike all over Santa Rosa, then later, drag race my cars out at OCLI. We built things out of wood for toys (including totally functioning crossbows). Before the world became electronic and digital, I had a set of encyclopedias and an atlas and this super-vivid imagination. I spent time in the Army as a paratrooper after high school before getting an education at Georgia State University where I studied journalism. In a way, journalism and adventure go together nicely. Perhaps that's what drew me to writing. Or maybe it was the other way around. Regardless, it makes no difference. I was a journalist for awhile after college, got married and tried to do the American thing -- where you work all but two weeks each year and live beyond your financial means while trying to keep up with society. Well that wasn't very fulfilling. My then wife and I were not a good fit and we split in 2013. A year previous I had left my career as a journalist and after my divorce in 2014, I spent a couple of years regrouping mentally. I basically worked and did nothing else during that time but think about what I wanted because I, like many others, was sort of a lost soul. I was married to a great woman but we didn't click. I wasn't happy and life wasn't fulfilling despite having a decent run as a journalist. Eventually I got through all that, learned a whole lot, met Julia and here we go.

Back to the adventure. I had adventures marinating in my soul my entire life. I dreamt of mountains. Having grown up in Northern California and being exposed to the Sierra Nevadas, I longed to be up high, in the cold air with nothing but solitude all around. Maybe it was memories of spending time at my grandparents cabin in the foothills of the Sierras in Amadore County. Or all the time I spent exploring my area around Sonoma County and Annadel State Park. Whatever the case, the mountains have a pull on me. At age 44, I decided to follow John Muir's lead. The mountains were calling me. I had to go.

This is Felipe. This guy is a friken stud. You'll meet him a little later. The mountains call us both. Here though, someone else was calling him on his phone at the REI in Seattle.

Shortly after Julia and I met, I planned my first mountaineering trip. On our second date, we hiked up Mt. Yonah in Cleveland, Georgia. It's what Atlanta Trails calls a "More Difficult" hike but for me, it was pretty tough. I hadn't done anything remotely athletic or even active in a long time. I golfed in the previous years but that's not activity. Unless you consider enduring the heat and humidity in Atlanta an activity which is really not far from reality. If you've spent a summer in The South you understand. So the hike up Yonah kicked my ass a little bit. What's worse is I had to conceal the pathetic shape I was in because it was our second date and I needed to be a "man's man" for fear of this woman bolting. We still barely knew each other and at 10 years her senior, I wasn't going to let on that I was feeling like crap. But I made it and we had a great time and it set things in motion. A couple of weeks later we hiked up Springer Mountain. That's all it took. I was hooked on climbing mountains. Even though these were small, easy mountains (tough hikes for most, but no mountaineering involved), there was something about climbing up higher and higher until you reach the top. I started searching for higher mountains around and quickly figured out I wasn't going to find what I was looking for on the East Coast. I wanted to climb real mountains.

Once I declared I wanted to get into mountaineering, Julia was all about it. Total support. And this was in January, only a few months after we'd been dating. I found a 10-day mountaineering course in the Cascades in Washington and set my sights on learning these skills and climbing Mt. Baker and Mt. Rainier. Preparation and training began and as I trained on Yonah and started researching and buying gear, our relationship flourished. Quickly Julia became my companion. She would run up Yonah while I slogged up it with my 95-liter pack stuffed with gear, weights and stuff for us to eat on our hikes. Some days she would hang back with me and I'd be stronger. Some days I wasn't feeling so well and she'd smoke me. Our weekend routine became doing something one day and going to Yonah for a climb on the other.

Over the summer she moved in with me and we continued to push each other on our hikes and excursions. We took our first trip together, to California and Yosemite and began our first real adventure. It was our first time camping as well. We stayed in Camp 4 and the trip went perfectly. We hiked more than 50 miles over four days and went up and down between Yosemite Valley and the upper rim. I was strong. We were strong and I took that momentum to The Cascades.

When I got back from Washington, I knew her real interest and devotion she showed toward my climbing aspirations pushed us to where we are now. Turns out she was the key to unlocking my determination. When someone believes in you, you can gain a lot of mental strength from that. She does it all with me. She never complains (I do) and she doesn't get down or upset or angry or anything (I do). She never makes an excuse (this is really something that sealed our bond). A lot of the time she'd rather lay in a chaise lounge in our backyard. But after we finish one of our adventures, she is always grateful we did it. She just goes with me. She is my person and we quickly found we were good at pushing each other to get the most out of what we are doing. Purpose and vision became our monikers.

We talk about seeing the future and realizing our goals. For once I was doing what I wanted and not what I talked to myself about, in my head, all the time. For her, she found direction and purpose in me. She had been the stoic German with little emotion -- bound to duty in her workplace. But she herself had been looking for purpose. Shortly after we started hiking every weekend, I pushed her into taking belay lessons at the climbing gym. We started climbing indoors and took a class outdoors to get into outdoor climbing and now we do that too. Every time I pushed her, she responded. The more we accomplished together, the more we wanted to do.

You see this is the faith she has in my guidance with this outdoor stuff.

I could go on but those are stories for another day. And we have a lot of stories (like who Felipe is) . This day is about introductions. And now for the crux of this story. In May of 2019, we expect to add another member to this team. That would be Blueberry. But we aren't going to change. This is who we are. We believe we get the most out of life by seeking out challenges that make us better. It helps Julia develop in her career and forms a bond that will endure hardship. We climb and hike; I go climb mountains (she will too), and now we have a baby on the way.

This is a unscientific generalization but a lot of people would think their lives as they know them are forever altered when a baby come into the picture. In many ways they are. But how many people stop doing what makes them who they are when they have a child? We aren't going to be like that. This blog will chronicle our adventures and a man's view of raising a baby and. For me, being a father is a new opportunity and it's one I'm ready for. Julia and I plan to split our time with the baby and work. Our baby will be nurtured by both parents. I have knowledge to share and ideas I want to try. I expect it to be an interesting journey. We don't expect to change our lives. We are here to continue our growth. Yosemite, Zion, Joshua Tree, Red Rock, the Cascades, Denali. Orizaba, Mt. Rainier...we will explore and climb them all with baby on board.

And so it begins. I'm now 45, engaged to be married to a German woman who'm I adore and we are expecting a baby. She's brilliant and will take the lead role in the career section of our relationship while I will be the support role and guide our way through everything else. She earns twice the money I do and is a superstar in her company. I'm just a courier who comes up with all these crazy ideas. I will write and work and take care of the baby when she travels for work. Planning our adventures and chronicling everything through site is my duty. We have some cool ideas, we're buying a house and will be doing renovations and I will write all about that as well. And of course, I will be writing gear reviews for climbing stuff and product reviews for baby stuff. But mainly we will share our adventures with baby and my mountaineering and climbing. Maybe some funny stuff will happen. Who knows? We don't even know what sex the baby is yet. But we have a plan. I hope you'll follow along and see how it all goes. Adventure awaits.

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