Xmas, December 24, 2007

Monday December 24, 2007 

Happy Holidays!

Right now, Mike and I are
spending Christmas in Las Vegas with some friends.
We’ve already had our Christmas celebration with
some of Mike’s family up in Canada complete with
Turkey dinner, yummy butter tarts, and a small gift
exchange. This means I won’t be without a
‘traditional’ Christmas experience.

After the holidays, we plan to meet up with
other friends back in Hueco Tanks in El Paso, Tx.
Early February my cousin, Alina, gets married in
South Bend, IN after which, Mike and I will likely
migrate back to Vegas and the St. George area. If
anyone is headed this direction, drop a line and let
us know!

This past year, Mike and I
spent some time climbing in some classic areas of
Australia: The Blue Mountains of New South Wales,
Arapiles of Victoria and the Grampians also of
Victoria. Mike even found himself written up in one
of the climbing magazines of Australia: Crux 4.
Arapiles was by far my favorite climbing locale. To
read about that trip, visit my website journal at

After our early departure due to extremely inclement
weather, I returned to Seattle, taking a 2 month
contract role back at Microsoft. Mike returned to
Vancouver for 1 month then continued on to other
climbing destinations like Rifle where an article on
his appearance there turned up in the local
newspaper.  We
met up again at the end of August and began our trek
back east for part II of our road trip together.

Firs we headed to Boston where
Mike’s brother, Frank, was getting married. Then, we
went north to spend some time with Mike’s family out
in the countryside of New Hampshire. From there, we
went south to spend some time at the New River Gorge
in Fayetteville, WV and finally to settle in at the
Red River Gorge in Kentucky. On our way through the
country, we took advantage of opportunities to visit
with family and friends in various locations along
the way. 
My sister and her family even took the time
to come to Kentucky and camp with us over a long
Unlike the previous year where we tailed some
friends to various destinations, this year,
Roctoberfest at the Red brought many friends to us!
For nearly 2 weeks, Mike and I were on the go with
Roctoberfest events and the aftermath of stray
athletes. Even after many of the athletes had left,
between our local friends visiting and 2 Canadian
boys staying on, our time was never uneventful. 
By the end of the fall, Grandma’s Boy was
deemed the most quotable movie, ever! and Mike and
fellow local and friend, Kenny Barker, had put up
some new routes.

After the Red, we headed south
to Tennessee to check out the local crags in that
area. We were fortunate to have friends host us
(inside, with a bed and everything! ;), and even
some locals take us out and show us around. We did
some quick sampling of the local crags before
heading to Hueco where Mike flew out to Vancouver
and Finland on business. I was fortunate two
Canadian friends were lingering so I had company all
the way to Albuquerque the following week–where we
split off separate ways: me to Vegas and them to
Vancouver. After arriving in Vegas, I went north to
Bishop, CA to spend some time with friends there
(who drove out from Columbus and with whom we are
spending Christmas). 
After my short visit with them, I returned to
Vegas where I flew north to Seattle, then to Canada
to meet up with Mike before returning to Vegas via a
short layover in Seattle, again. Whew! This last bit
of our trip has been the most hectic. I’m very lucky
I even made it back to Vegas after realizing I’d
made a mistake with my booking.

Apparently, I have a flight to Vegas
the 23rd of February. Try finding a
flight to Vegas, same day and on the eve of
Christmas Eve! Mike and I were traveling separately
and were humored by the outcome of our independent
travels. From Kelowna, I was to depart first, by 40
or so minutes. Mike and I went out to our respective
planes at the same time and he still managed to
leave before me. 
I’m pretty sure he made it to his destination
in Vancouver before I ever left the Seattle airport. 
Then, on our way to Vegas, he left Vancouver
at 11 something in the morning and should have
arrived in Vegas around 9pm with a bit of a layover
in Portland. 
I thought I had a flight out at 8:50 to
arrive in Vegas about 11pm, but even with my booking
mistake (i.e. I had no flight for the 23rd
of December) I managed to snag a flight at 6:50 that
night and arrive just after 11pm. My bag arrived
just fine and despite flight delays, I made it to
Vegas relatively without alarm. Mike on the other
hand, didn’t arrive until after I’d already claimed
my bag and only to discover, his bags didn’t arrive
with him. 
After sorting that out, taking a shuttle to
our hotel, and spending waaay to much time trying to
check in, we finally managed to crash well after 2
in the morning.  

I’m looking forward to a bit of
an unconventional Christmas here in Vegas. I was
able to dig up an old dress to wear when I was up in
Seattle and with no Holiday parties to dress up for
this year, it’s the perfect excuse to dress up!

 I will
continue to send out warm thoughts to everyone and I
would enjoy hearing how the year has been for you or
anything that you would like to share. Please stay
in touch.

 Wishing you
the best this holiday season and into the New Year!


About Audrey Sniezek

Audrey Sniezek is a rock climbing athlete and computer software/technology enthusiast.
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