Friday, May 20, 2016

Front Sight Firearms Training Academy - Ropes and Rappel Course

Alright, so this year, I decided to up my game and tackle the world of firearms training, and fulfill my destiny of becoming an expert marksman.  On top of that, I decided it was time I train some swat team skills because, oh I don't know, it's extremely useful for when I'm stuck on the side of a cliff, or need to get out of a burning building.  Which has never happened... so maybe its for me to continue learning survival skills, because it's fun and useful.

With that said, fun and useful are an understatement and a half!  I learned so much, that I need to actually go back and review multiple times.  The entire 4 days of the Ropes and Rappel course you are either learning knots, rigging, or rappelling.  We started off on a 12' wall, and I found that a bit intense since we had 50 mph winds on the first day.  By day 2 we were rappelling off the 45' tower, and that was enough to cause some vertigo, but the trainers were AMAZING and really talked/coached you through it all.

Some things I would have improved upon however, was the belay training.  The trainers do not belay you.  The students do that.  And I found that unnerving.  I want my belay to be trained and ready to catch me if I fall.  I felt there was a lot of room for error, and if you have students belay, there needs to be training in that.  Our training pretty much consisted of one demo.  Then they handed you the rope and put a person's life in your hands.  Technically your life is in your own hands, and if you fall in the first place, it's due to your own human error.  The belay, is there for backup.  But STILL!  I want my back up to be trained.

Other than that, it was an awesome experience.  I gained a ton of insight, and I will go back for this course.

You have a great view of the desert from the class site.  There is also a good balance of classroom time and outside class time, which is good because it's 4 days, 9 hours/day, with 1 lunch break, and a few bathroom breaks.

This tower is multi-functional and you can learn several types of rappels, including the head first rappel.

You totally need a buff to keep the dust out of your mouth and nose.  When that wind picks up, the dust is killer.

Death Valley... or rather... DROP DEAD GORGEOUS Valley

I mean.  There isn't a whole lot to say, except for the fact that Death Valley offers some of California's most beautiful terrains and sights to behold.  This is the entrance of Death Valley at Twilight. 
I was able to capture the sunset while driving through, and I was in awe of this place.  Absolute awe.

We drove through in March, and the super bloom was happening.  We did Kung Fu, Yoga, we sprinted up and down sand dunes.  I crab walked through the valley of the shadow of death #backbend #crabwalk #deathvalley#90srapmusiconmymind

We decided this was the spot for our annual family picture.  We're calling this "The Ninja Bunch".

Mono Lake Adventure - Beware of Sink Holes!!

The beauty of this lake is out of this world.  But make sure you come prior to spring, because flies are a force to be reckoned with as temperatures heat up.

This gem of wonder located 30 minutes before Mammoth Lakes (if you take the hwy 395 route from Tahoe) to Las Vegas is an incredible sight to behold. BUT before you venture out onto the lakeshore, BE WARNED... I was determined to paddle board this lake, until the moment I found myself in a sinkhole. Yes... Quicksand... Everywhere... Exists...HERE. In this place. BE CAREFUL. The kids were of course following me, and I yelled at them to stop, to get back to the pier, where there was a stable, above ground walkway. I told them to not venture any further, while I carefully removed my right leg from a sinkhole and sidestepped on some incredible unstable terrain while carrying my freaking paddle board. Lon (my husband) yelled from the walkway, "what's wrong?" I yelled back, "keep the kids with you! There are sink holes!" So of course, Lon immediately came out after me. The moment Lon got within 25 feet from me, his face went white. "Get back kids! Get back!!"
Lon often says, "Elle, you can't keep yourself out of trouble." And he was right...particularly right on this day. Paddle boarding out on this lake, on this particular day, meant major trouble. But yet, all I could think about was how beautiful this lake was, and how not a single soul was in it. The entire lake to myself!!! I stood there, looking at the lake, then looking back at Lon. I thought, hey! We've got a big long rope in the back of the truck. It'll be fine! Lon read my face (and ultimately my thoughts)... "Elle... Elle... This is not a good idea..." It took a minute, but the idea of sinking and dieing in salty mud wasn't something I had in mind. So yes, I side stepped carefully away and off the lakeshore. Only to find that we needed to drive to the OTHER side of the lake to find this rad spot, which had some intensely beautiful and safe places to hang out. I didn't paddle board, because I simply couldn't get that close to the lake shore without being totally confident I wouldn't be swallowed alive. So I'll have to try again during the summer and see how stable the terrain seems to be, and go from there. In the meantime, if you decide to stop by, just watch your step 😜
When parking at Mono Lake there is a drop box for money.  And the restrooms were locked when we arrived on the North side of the lake (We visited in March).  There is a cool playground for kids and lots of scenic wonder stuff to see.  This particular shot was taken on the South side.  Here is a LINK to the google map.

Mono Lake is also known as the land of Pumice Stone.  There is pumice stone EVERYWHERE.  You can pick up boulders and they are super light weight.  File your feel while your at it.  It's an epic experience.
These orange metallic looking trees are absolutely fascinating.  You honestly have to see for yourself in person.  They are so wild to see!
There are these cool rock formation everywhere.  If you have time to hike around the whole lake, you will see much more interesting formations.  We had to make a short stop.  So next time!