This Saturday we had a great opportunity to go to Fairbanks, Alaska to a rock climbing competition with our boys. I love going and watching my kids do things they love, as well as learning new sports and how they work, how they are judged, etc. I usually end up going to a lot of these places by myself with my kids, but when winter comes my husband’s schedule allows a little extra time, and he often goes with us. I am so grateful, because the roads in the winter can be hazardous and scary to drive on, especially with it being dark for the most part when we are driving.

We didn’t want to have to stay in a hotel, so drove up and home in one day. From our house it’s about 4 hours and 45 minutes. We started off at 5:00 am. My husband is a great driver, and he is not tired first thing in the morning, so the rest of us slept while it was dark, which was about 2/3 of the way up to Fairbanks.

I love how the sunrises and sunsets last forever here in Alaska, so when we woke up, we had the most beautiful sunrise to watch, and it lasted for 30 or 40 minutes while we drove. We had several inches of snow on Thursday, gratefully the roads were taken care of before Saturday. But the white, snow covered trees provided the most beautiful foreground to the beautiful pink background sunrise. Sorry, not the greatest of pictures because we didn’t stop. It was around -11, and I didn’t want to get out of the car!

We spent the majority of the day in the rock climbing gym watching our sons and their teammate climb, as well as the other competitors, tallying scores, and cheering people on. I love going to these competition. Yes, it is a competition, but the climbers are super supportive of every other climber. They cheer for each other, they celebrate each person’s victory, and they share advice when someone is struggling. It’s inspiring to watch the support extended from complete strangers who all share a common goal and challenge, to get to the top of the wall.

We had dinner with our son’s friend and teammate and his family at a restaurant called Food Factory. It was delicious, and I would highly recommend it. We went back to the gym after the 2nd heat was finished to watch the awards given, and then we headed out and went home. We had missed the sunset by several hours, but we made it home around 12:30 am. It was an exhausting day, but so much fun to watch and be a part of. Rock climbing is a newer sport to our family, we’ve watched a lot, a lot of basketball on all levels, but especially the high school level, as well as seen soccer games, volleyball, baseball, and football games. Those are a lot of fun to watch, but the sportsmanship that I witnessed yesterday at the climbing competition I have not witnessed in other competitive sports. So, while I still love to watch basketball, and some of these other sports on occasion, I am grateful for the refreshing kindness that I have seen at the rock climbing competitions my boys have participated in, and I look forward to going to more of these competitions, and learning more about this sport.

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