Rock climbing in Cochise Stronghold, AZ

When we first arrived at the foothill of the Stongholds, we felt like we just stepped in the African Serengeti. There were no more cacti, just tall dry grass, mesquite and sycamore trees and beautiful mountains. We expected to camp in a big open dusty parking lot with lots of other climbers, but instead, we stumbled upon a little camping spot, perfect for our two families, a mere 3 minute walk from the climbing walls. We popped the Westy's top, pitched the tents under the trees (we hadn't seen tall trees like that in months! We were exstatic!) and called it home for the weekend!

Java looked just like a dingo in this tall dry grass!

The beautiful 3 min approach walk to Sweet rock crag.

These 2 Mr. Muscles brought their girlfriends rock climbing for the first time on Valentine's Day. That cute Eastern European blond girl was pretty stressed out, but played along. The guys didn't even explained to her how to come down (that's the first thing you practice, especially outside) and the poor girl panicked 3/4 up the route (there routes are high!) and could not come down. Jen was climbing the route right beside her and walked her through it, in her usual comforting and compassionate way. When they say something make or break a relationship... well, this guy might not have had the Valentine's night he expected...!

Crag dogs are perfect for rests between climbs.

Climbing can be such a mental game. I'm so glad Jen can help Aïsha work through her fears when they come up. She truly is a second mom to my girls.

Hard-working hands.

This amazing woman turns 40 this week and this incredible weekend was how she wanted to celebrate. It could not have been more perfect. We had permasmiles in our faces at all times, constantly repeating to ourselves what a great life we have created for ourselves. 

There were lots of very dry cow dung around our camp and we used it as fire starter. The kids thought it was pretty funny, but they quickly understood why many people do this across the world. Cheap and efficient fuel!

Java thought that collecting cow dung was a pretty fun game.

Wipe shower! We gave the kids 2 wipes each and told them to bring them back only when they were black!

Mission accomplished!

I feel so fortunate to share this life on the road with this incredible woman (and her family that I love deeply). She is such an inspiration for all of us. It was her first time back on the rock since her fall in Joshua Tree, and she had to work hard to stay focused on her love for rock climbing. She is such an exemple of courage, strength and perseverance.

After one hard climb, she told Aïsha: When you do something that scares you, your're not afraid, you're brave. Who wouldn't want such an incredible woman in their life!

Happy 40th my dear, dear friend! I am a better person for growing at your side. To 40 more years of adventures, laughter and happiness!