Yoga Retreat, One More Time

Last January I let my hubby talk me into attending a yoga retreat. He is a big yogi and his instructor told him about a retreat she was holding just north of Manzanillo. I was skeptical. I don’t love Mexican food, we had been to Mexico many times and it was always way too hot for me and I only do yoga when I can’t rock climb or run. So, how much fun could I possibly have?

The answer: So Much!!

Our goal last year was to meet fun people and do some yoga. We greatly exceeded those expectations, so much so that we signed up to go again this year. We even hosted a reunion last summer at our house. My blog posts from last time Good Morning from Manzanillo!,ย Exploring Bara de Navidad,ย Happy Hour,Snorkeling and Lunch in Santiago Bay! andย Our Yoga Retreat Wrap Up!ย are full of pictures and images that we were privy to this time around as well. So, for this year’s post, I tried to focus more on what was different.

Bill and Susan, our hosts, were once again, fabulous! They made most of our meals and they both are great cooks! Additionally, they would take us to places that no other tourists go-we had day trips to Colima and Comala and they chose restaurants that the locals frequent. They are a big reason why we chose to repeat this experience. Of course Lisa, our yoga teacher, was another big draw to the event! Once again we met wonderful people and had even more adventures. We did repeat the snorkeling trip but otherwise the experience was unique.

We began each day with meditation at the nearby beach then morning yoga, at Bill and Susan’s home. Look at these views!


The infinity pool at the lower house


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View from the lower house


Another angle from the lower house

We did all our yoga at the upper house, under the palapa. You can see the pool at the upper house as well

We had morning and evening yoga sessions. This year Lisa challenged us with partner yoga poses. She would give us a pose and then we had to interpret that pose in a creative way. For example, Dennis and I did a “moon pose” on the beach.


And, Janet and Annie did this interpretation of the fish pose, in the pool


So these were more creative poses than the traditional forms. It was fun to see what everyone would come up with for their assignment.

In between all the yoga were the adventures. Snorkeling, hiking, museum visits and lots of shopping.








And the food! Oh my god, did we eat!! If Bill and Susan weren’t cooking then we were at some amazing restaurants! I have a few images, many of which were on Instagram, of some of the cuisine we were fortunate to enjoy.


Breakfast was wonderful! Bill’s granola and yogurt, with local fruit was a fan favorite. And with this sunrise, hard to beat!



Bill and Susan always served dessert-This is a Poncho Villa. Amazing!



Lunch in Colima, these crepes could have been from Paris



Bill and Susan selected this restaurant near Colima. So glad they did!


Many of you know about my coffee “issues”, This Sunday brunch spot, Los Portales de Suchitlan, was a true highlight. A young girl served as our translator as this was a local place, no tourists around!


And then this…A Swiss restaurant (?) in Comala, Mexico! Piccolo Suizo was spectacular!


You can see why we are trying to eat lighter after coming back to Tucson! We ate constantly on this retreat, and it was worth it! So good ๐Ÿ™‚

We had another wonderful experience this year, just like last time. One of the tasks I undertook was to organize a slide show for the final night, I was the only one who brought a computer (what a nerd, right?). I took the partner poses and some fun images of our experience to attempt to capture the feel of the week. It is short, only 2.5 minutes and our yogi buddies wanted to see it again. I thought I would post it here for anyone who wants to see a few more images.


So what is next for Dennis and I? We need to spend some time on the homes for now, no trips planned right now, but you never know!

The Final Family Climb in Tucson


Our kids have left to return to their lives in Seattle. Dennis and I were surprised at just how much we miss them ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Of course, we expected to feel a little sad when they left, but it has hit us harder than we thought it would. Perhaps that is because we know, as parents, that the window to have them available to us is closing. They are strong, independent young adults with dreams and bright futures ahead of them, which is what all parents strive toward for their children. But now, when they are fun and capable we want more time with them, not less!

We all got to have one last climb in Mt. Lemmon. We climbed “feed the sweed” on Barnum Rock. This is an easy three pitch ascent that we all enjoyed!


We climbed to the top of this guy!

It was a gorgeous day, really perfect for climbing! We drove to this spot in the picture above, crossed the street and started the hike up to the base.


This is the base looking up to the top


The view from the base looking over the valley. We started at the 6000 ft. level

Ryan led, of course, and Dennis followed. Alex and I were next.





With four people and just as many iPhones, we had plenty of photos of everybody.



Alex is making her way onto the top of the first pitch


Alex is belaying me as I climb, while Ryan supervises.


spoiler alert, I made it!

The view from the top of pitches 1 and 2



Some pictures of us climbing pitch 3







Ryan at the top!

Eventually, we all made our way up to Ryan. What a view!



Dennis at the top


Alex enjoying the view


Ryan and I packing some gear, getting ready for the decent


The obligatory summit selfie!

We had such an amazing time. The kids are really patient with us and chose a fun and simple climb. No one fell (I usually fall at least once!) and the rock conditions were perfect.

As I said before, Alex and Ryan are back in Seattle working and getting ready for classes. Dennis and I will be coping by heading to Manzanillo Mexico for a yoga retreat. We leave tomorrow, so don’t feel too sorry for us as we miss the kids!


Standard Route on Mt. Lemmon

Ryan and I first climbed on Mt. Lemmon near the base, at “the wall of the flying scorpions”. This was a single pitch crag and near 1500ft. elevation. We had fun, even though I did split open a couple fingers in the process.

This time we decided to head up near the 4000ft area to a multi pitch climb named “the standard route“. This climb is located on Chimney rock and is only a 200ft climb, divided into 5 pitches. Perfect for me but pretty lame for Ryan!

It was a gorgeous day when we got to the base of the wall.


Ryan placed his rope and some gear near the base and we “suited up”.




There was a party of three ahead of us, so we waiting our turn. I watched the two women ahead of us in the hopes of learning the best way to maneuver the route.

Then Ryan lead up to the first anchor.


There was a big ledge here to sit and wait for our turn on the second pitch.


The view just keeps getting better!

This is the start of the second, and my least favorite, pitch. This is the chimney, which is just large enough for your body to squeeze into the gap. You can see the last climber in the group ahead of us as she tries to work her way up the rock face.


Eventually, Ryan and I got up, through and over this pitch. Below is the top of the chimney and the start of my favorite pitch, number 3.


We waited here for a bit while the other group made their way up.





Helmet hair!



Ryan was tired of waiting at this point and was ready to head up.

The view from the top of pitch 3.



After talking with the group ahead of us, we all decided to combing pitches 4 and 5 and went to the top!


This rock teetering on the spike, was another 1000ft or so above us. Would love to climb in that area!


The obligatory Summit Selfie!



We waited for our turn to rappel off the top.


Ryan goes first and I wait for him to yell clear, then I head down. When we are both on the ground, we pull the rope through the anchor.

But the rope did not cooperate this time. Ryan had to climb back up and retrieve it!


This happens sometimes! Luckily he knew what to do because that rope is $300.00, Yikes!

After a fun climb there is only one thing left to do!


Happy Hour at Zona78!

Our next climb will be with the whole family!

The Climbing Adventure Continues on Mount Lemmon

Ryan and I have been climbing in the Southern Arizona area, and have been to the Cochise Stronghold area a couple times. We like that area, but it is a two hour drive from our home in the Catalina foothills and makes for a pretty long day. We decided to head over to Mount Lemmon, in the Coronado National Forest, which is only 40 minutes away.

The day was perfect for climbing with the temperature at 73F and no wind. And, since it was a weekday, we would not have too many other climbers to contend with on the wall.

There are many crags here, mostly single pitch climbing, all well bolted with “lower offs” in place.

We chose the “wall of the flying scorpions” because it had several routes, some low enough for me, and most harder, for Ryan to climb.

This is the view from the parking area and our routes are on the far right rock wall.


We had a bit of a hike to get through the gully and over to the crag. One thing I have learned about hiking in the desert is that the cactus are not the worst offenders. I used to believe that the cacti, with their sharp spines, were the only foliage to be avoided. But the cactus are not the biggest problem! ย The brush and bushes, none of which are the iconic saguaro variety, are the real danger. Look at the spikes on this bush!


This, and the many large aloe vera plants with their razor sharp leaves, are the real obstacles along the path.

We made our way to the other side of the valley and found the wall.



These are the easier routes, so just a warm up for Ryan! I made it up this first, 5.8 just fine.


But, 1/3 of the way up the second wall (5.9) I had a little problem.


Turns out this rock was a little sharper than I had hoped. As I pulled up on a finger tip hold, I sliced my index finger. It wasn’t too bad, but the blood made the rest of the route a little slippery and I then took a larger piece of my thumb off.


That was ok because these were the only two routes I was going to attempt on this wall anyway. So I finished off the climb and we moved down the wall to Ryan’s routes, 5.10b, 5.10b/c and a 5.11-.





Ryan’s routes were longer and obviously harder. At this point I was just belaying him and taking some shots from the base of the wall. A pretty view!


The view from the base of the wall, looking back on the road leading up Mount Lemmon



Ryan’s favorite climbing shirt. Last year’s Christmas gift from his sister.

We were not alone at the crag, a few other duos were there working the wall as well. We caught a glimpse of them as we drove away.


Zooming in on the wall, you can see one of their back packs (circled) where the belayer is standing and the arrow indicates the climber on his way up.


This must have been how Ryan and I appeared from the other side of the highway.

There are so many other crags to explore on Mount Lemmon and we will be heading back to check them out!

Ryan and Dee Dee’s Excellent Adventure

You may recall that my husband and I decided to buy a second home in Tucson about six months ago. As soon as we told our kids, our son, Ryan, began planning a climbing trip. He wanted to leave Washington the minute his fall semester ended and stay at the new house, which would serve as his base of operations, through the Christmas holiday.

This plan was not practical for Dennis and Alex (our daughter) as they needed to work and was not poplar with Grandma as Ryan and I would not be around for the traditional Christmas Eve dinner! But, this is our first year with the new house and everyone has been gracious in allowing Ryan and I this great opportunity ๐Ÿ™‚

We decided that Ryan and I would be in Tucson until the end of December and then Dennis and Alex will join us so we can all climb for the first week of January. So, Ryan and I had our first foray into Southern Arizona yesterday.

We left the house at 9:30am for the 2 hour drive to the Cochise Stronghold climbing area in the Coronado National Forest. There are over 1000 different routes to choose from. Ryan decided on Euphoria for our first climb. Armed with two guide books and the Mountain project website we began our search for the route.

For any of you that climb or hike, you know that finding the parking area is the first challenge. We turned onto the well marked “primitive road” and began the 10 mile drive toward the general area. ย We were pretty sure we were on the right track when we saw the domes off in the distance.


About 8 miles into the gravel road we saw this…



How is a school bus making the 16 mile round trip on this road? And where are these kids coming from??

Anyway, we kept going.


Getting closer!

We had been making good time, up until this point! Somewhere we missed the tiny little sign that indicated the forest road that split off toward the parking area. This cost us an hour as we tried to back track and listen to the disembodied GPS voice telling us to take the private, padlocked road to our destination! Finally, we found it.



The dome on the far right was where Euphoria lives, and where we needed to hike over toward. This hike would take about an hour, according to the guide books, we managed to get there in 40 minutes.

We now are beginning the climb at almost 1pm! The sun sets at 5:22pm and we were hoping to climb the five pitches (plus the hour hike back) before it was so dark that we needed head lamps, so we had to be efficient!


Ryan began flaking the rope


This is the view from the base, lots of trees and rocks!

Ryan lead the first pitch and set the anchor, you might be able to see his yellow jacket at the top of the orange rope.


I climbed up and Ryan took this shot at the top of pitch one.


From here it gets colder! The wind picked up big time and we climbed the next four pitches. No pictures there as the focus is now on not dying! Both hands on the rope at all times. As we went higher the cold became a factor as our finger tips and toes were really starting to suffer! Ryan, of course, never fell. I, of course, fell twice!

We finally topped out about three hours after the initial pitch and we were both shivering! Ryan snapped a summit selfie.

I found out later that a “unusual cold front” had moved into the area and would take the temperature into the low 20s. The first frost warning of the season-lucky us!


It was now pushing 5pm and we had to get back to the car. The hike down was steep and we had all the gear to balance. The sun was going down and we took a few last shots of this beautiful place.








We did make it back to the car before it was too dark to see without the head lamps. I was rather proud of that!

I am not going to lie, I am bruised and sore today! But we will be back! There are many more routes to explore in this area.

Road Trip, First Stop: Eugene, Oregon


We are heading back to Tucson for a month of sun and our next half marathon. This time we are driving down with a very full car. Our goal is to bring a few things, ok a lot of things, from our house in Washington and we want to have our own car while we are in Arizona.

You might be wondering why we stopped in Oregon on the first leg of the drive, since Eugene is only about 5 hours from Redmond, Washington. This is a legitimate question as we have 20 more hours to go! We stayed overnight in Eugene because my husband has a presentation at the local office this morning.

We have never been to Eugene before. We have spent a lot of time in Portland over the years. Our daughter was a competitive gymnast and son was a competitive rock climber, so they both had many meets or competitions all around Oregon. Eugene is beautiful! Perhaps it is just the fact that our hotel is along the Willamette River, or that fall leaves make every place pretty. Either way, we are impressed!

After 5 hours in the car we were eager to stretch our legs. We started out for walk along the river path.




It was a sunny day here, which makes everything better!


I just love this bridge with the clouds behind it


All of Oregon is biking and walking friendly. This is just one of many pathways used by numerous pedestriansย 



Near this bridge is McMenamins Restaurant. We had never heard of this chain before, but they are all over the Oregon area, there is even near us in Bothell, Washington which we will have to visit when we get back. This chain also includes hotels, breweries, and wineries as well as the restaurants. Ours was specifically McMenamins North Bank Restaurant. We weren’t sure what to expect but what a pleasant surprise!

It was set right on the shore of the Willamette River, with an incredible view! It must be truly stunning in the summer!



We made it in time for happy hour, of course ๐Ÿ™‚ So, I started with a blueberry infused vodka cocktail and the hubby went with a craft beer of some sort (mine was so tasty I forgot what he had!)


We were starving, so I went with the goat cheese, pesto and sun dried tomato torta. This came with four perfectly toasted crostini and balsamic vinegar- I loved this!


My entree was the salmon topped with coffee-bacon jam! Unique and delicious!


By now we were getting quite full so I chose to drink my dessert! I had this seasonal pumpkin infused cocktail. It was like a pumpkin milkshake. Just amazing!


We ended the evening strolling back along the river to our hotel. I took one last shot of the sunset. There were quite a few clouds, but it was pretty nonetheless!


Today we have 10 hours in the car to Fresno California-wish us luck!


Hiking, Sailing and Drinking our way through Kauai

This was our first trip to Kauai. We have been lucky enough to visit Maui many times when our kids were young. Hawaii in general is a great spot to take young kids with the beaches, the ocean, swimming pools… its just so casual and fun for the whole family. This time it was just the two of us and we decided to do some serious exploring.

Of course we were treated to some of the Hawaiian Island iconic images right away!

What is with the feral chicken population? They are pretty aggressive pan handlers!


We first arrived just in time to check out the sunset and plan our first hike for the following day.


We got a fairly early start, thanks to the three hour time difference, and drove an hour to Waimea and Kokee State Park where the trail head for the Canyon Trail begins. This hike is not too strenuous (~3miles round trip) and ends at the Waipoo falls. The canyon itself if quite impressive! The colors are vibrant and there was some serious depth to the canyon.


A scenic overlook before the hikeย 








I just love the color of this volcanic, red clay


Waipoo falls marks the end and turn around point of this hike.





It took us an hour and half to hike down and 45 minutes to make our way back up! Not too bad. We made our way back to the Sheraton Resort, where we stayed for the 5 night vacation, cleaned up and headed out to the Beach House Restaurant for a very ย nice dinner!


The Beach House version of a Mai Tai


My hubby loves his Manhattans!



After the drinks and appetizer we enjoyed a delicious dinner! Of course we were also treated to a glorious Hawaiian sunset!




The next morning we relaxed by the beach for awhile.


We had a sunset dinner cruise scheduled for the evening so we set out for Blue Dolphin Charters to meet our boat. This was a 4 hour cruise that took us past the north shore area of ย Na Pali coast.


We had beautiful weather (to start with anyway!)



The colors were impressive to say the least! Notice those clouds moving in!








The prehistoric look of the rock was stunning, there is no question as to why so many movies are filmed here. Of course there was a sunset!


Despite the light rain, and the not so light seasickness experienced by some on the cruise, it was another great day in paradise!

The next day was the big test! We planned to hike the Kalalau trail to Hanakapi’ai Falls. This was going to be an all day affair to remember!!

We drove an hour and half north to Kee beach to pick up the trail head.

This hike was going to take the majority of the day. 8 miles round trip! The first 2 miles would lead us to a Hanakapi’ai beach. This portion of the hike was not too bad and we were rewarded with this view!




the view from the beach back toward the hills

There were quite a few folks at this point, and many stayed here to play in the surf, have lunch and then return to the trail head. We decided to push on the next two miles to the waterfall. These next 2 miles were tougher, steeper and slippery from the periodic rainfall. It was slow going, but the scenery was spectacular. My favorite portion of this trail was the bamboo forest.







After a couple tough hours we were rewarded with this!ย Hanakฤpฤซสปai falls is ~300 feet long, and worth the hike!




There were people everywhere, even though it looks like we were alone in my pictures. Many were swimming in the water and playing in the falls. It looked so refreshing but we did not want to hike back the 4 miles with wet feet. We stayed a little while, but knowing how difficult the terrain was, we started back soon after seeing the falls. We definitely wanted to get back to the car before dark or, more likely, before the afternoon showers!

We were really wiped out after that hike! Our feet, legs, knees, ankles…you get the idea! All we had the energy for was dinner! We got back, cleaned up and went to Keoki’s Paradise for dinner and more drinks! I really liked this spot, and the live music helped relax us after a really busy day.




This brings us to the final day, where we just wanted to stroll along the beach and take in the beautiful sites one last time.








We spent time at the ocean, by the pool and lounging around in a cabana, hiding from the heat.



We truly loved Kauai and recommend all the restaurants and hikes in this post. We will be back!