Light the Fire Series: Nichole & Craig’s First Date Part 1

“We got to plan another trip”  we often say to each other, my husband Craig and I.  Its easy to get caught up in the monotony of day to day life spending time on things that are necessary but not of value to fuel our hearts and souls.  Something that’s always strengthened our love for life and each other, and kept the fire alive in our relationship has been adventures, big and small.  In this series I’d like to share with you some of my favorite adventures I’ve had with my husband over the past 10 years we’ve been together.  I encourage you to light the fire with your own relationships and make time for a new adventure whatever that might be and see where life takes you!

Nichole & Craig’s First Date

Everything around me had a layer of chalk dust on it as I sat behind the front counter killing time by practicing knots with extra rope we had lying around in the climbing gym.  Craig and I both worked that morning at the climbing gym together, and it was really slow.  We sat on wooden stools behind the counter waiting for people to walk through the door.  “Have you done much trad climbing?”  I asked him.  At that time I had been climbing for about 3 years, and was interested in learning more about trad climbing, which was more complicated than a lot of things I had been doing but sounded exciting and fun.  It was a chance to climb longer routes in more remote places.

Craig who had done a good amount told me about some stories and we agreed that we should go out together sometime soon.  At the time my parents lived in a tiny mountain town called Idyllwild which has a spectacular piece of granite that rises over 8,000 ft called Tahquitz with a ton of climbing routes on it.  Our plan was to crash at my parents house the night before and then wake up and hit Tahquitz in the morning.  At the time I wouldn’t have really considered this a first date because I was more interested in the climbing really than Craig.   But I was super grateful and excited to have him as an experience guide who made climbing at Tahquitz that day a reality.

Tahquitz rock

I woke up to the sound of Craig singing some bluesy or metal song and gear clanking together as he organized what we would bring with us that day in the living room.  My mom and I chatted before she went off to work and I told her we’d probably be done around 8pm and would check in with her before heading back down to San Diego.  “Have fun” she said to us as she walked out the door.

There’s something about waking up in a comfy bed and not a sleeping pad and a tent that makes me a little lazy.  With that being said we didn’t get a super early start that day to our climbing.  I trailed behind Craig up to the base of the rock because I’m slow and the hike is pretty steep.  My lungs were working hard so I stopped a few times to breathe and take in the view, looking out over the mountain and the valley below.

We chose a route that was difficult but not too hard.  As we climbed over the next 4 hours we got to know each other a little more in terms of how we climbed together and also who we were as people.  I was quickly coming to the realization that Craig was pretty awesome and that I’d like to spend more time with him.  He was super safe and knowledgeable in setting up his gear, he was really patient with me, and was also pretty goofy and liked to sing and make jokes as we traveled thousands of feet into the air.

When we reached the top, we had a snack, took in the view and then looked for the way down.  Sometimes finding your way down off a big feature like that can be a little tricky especially if its new terrain and you have someone like me that gets lost easily.  After a little bit of searching Craig spotted a cairn (pile of stacked rocks), marking the way down.  We told stories and laughed together as we hiked down to where we left our backpacks.  “Should we do another?”  Craig asked me once we got to the bottom.  “Sounds like fun!” I said as I smiled back at him.  We both looked at where the sun was in relation to the horizon.  We decided we didn’t have a ton of time but we’d probably be fine and if we were going to do another route while we still had daylight we should get started as soon as possible….TO BE CONTINUED.


April 4, 2018

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