I had to evacuate my place in Ventura before dawn on Tuesday morning of last week due to the Thomas Fire after a long, harrowing night. That very morning I worked several hours remotely to make sure digital communications were made about the state of the non profit I work for and those we serve and how others could help. I finally managed to grab some sleep in the late afternoon but the rest of the week proved just as busy.

Aside from keeping tabs on donation and help efforts for work, I also monitored the status of my neighborhood and those of my friends. I remained on mandatory evacuation orders. It was touch and go for four days but by Friday night I learned the mandatory evacuation for my neighborhood and the city wide boil water alert had been lifted and my landlord confirmed the house was still standing. I decided that I would honor a previous plan I had made to go climbing and take it as a mental break from the trying week. Luckily, some of the things I managed to pack before the mandatory evacuation had been announced was my personal climbing gear…well, and enough various camping equipment that a co-worker of mine had proclaimed, “I’m going with Eileen!” that first traumatic night of the fires.

Though I was tired – once I got to Joshua Tree and saw the blue skies, and could take a deep breath of clean air – I knew I had made the right choice.

Here are a few photos from the trip:

Me on a crack climb at Belle Campground

John Long chalks up on a climb in Joshua Tree
Climbing Legend John Long chalking up in style.

Tom and Michelle being belayed by John and Todd. Alan looks on.
Tom and Michelle being belayed by John and Todd. Alan looks on.

Rockgrrl (Eileen Descallar Ringwald) and Largo (John Long)
Me and John Long chilling at the base of the 10d

Team Rainbow Puffy
Team Rainbow Puffy!

Todd Gordon on his way up the friction climb
Todd on his way up the friction climb

Here’s the complete set of that Saturday and Sunday.