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Dispatches : Adventure

Picture of the Week: Joshua Tree Power Nap

This week Raising Rippers is launching a new feature. It’s called Picture of the Week and every week—or as often as we’re inspired—we’ll post a particularly riveting or rad photo about adventuring with kids and give you the backstory behind the shot. What were they thinking? How'd they pull it off?* Got your own picture of the week? Submit to

Memoto6Jumbo Rocks, Joshua Tree National Park, March 2012. Photo: Erika Benson

Benson took this picture while road tripping last spring across the Southwest with her husband and two daughters (ages 14 months and three) and describes the trip this way: It took us 10 days to go from New Mexico to Los Angeles, which if you look on Mapquest, should only take 14 hours. We had no plan. The first night we camped in Flagstaff, Arizona. It was 34 degrees and we’d packed for spring. The baby was up all night freezing. Finally I put her in the car to be warmer. From there we went to Lake Havasu City, where it was 96 degrees and we swam in the lake, which was like a slick of oil from all the boats. The only reason we went there was because London Bridge is there. The real one. It’s kind of cool that they took it apart stone by stone and then rebuilt it—but it’s still a gross American city. Then we went to Joshua Tree National Park. Somebody told us to camp at Jumbo Rocks Campground. It’s beautiful! There are lots of rocks for the kids to climb on. The baby woke up at 5 a.m., and I walked with her to try to keep her quiet. It was gorgeous then, with the sun rising all around.

This picture was taken at 10 in the morning. We were trying to break down camp and I couldn’t do it with her in the baby carrier. She would be a hazard. Earlier in the morning, hiking with her to get her to sleep, I’d seen these park signs: Be careful where you put your hands because of snakes. So there we were putting her in the Pack 'n' Play between big rocks. But it was shady! The campground wasn’t crowded when we got there and we drove around for a while looking for the perfect site. This one was tucked behind bushes and really private. We had to make lots of little trips from the car, so that’s why we needed to put her down. She slept for an hour and a half. She was tucked away so we couldn’t all the way see her, but we kept checking.

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Adventure Video of the Week: The Water Tower

It would be hard to dream up a better combo for an adventure movie that raises awareness about a water crisis than filmmaker Peter McBride and climber Jake Norton. McBride's film Chasing Water won the 2011 Banff Montain Film Short award for tracking Jonathan Waterman's source-to-sea paddle down the Colorado River. Along the way, McBride documented the changes the river has undergone since he was a boy living in its watershed. Norton is in the middle of an expedition called Challenge 21, a multi-year project to climb the three highest mountains on each of the seven continents to raise awareness about the world water crisis through Water For People. He's traveled to eight of those peaks so far.

In The Water Tower, the pair is joined by Kim Havell and others for a July 2012 expedition up Mount Kenya. The 17,057-foot peak provides roughly 70 percent of the nation's fresh water supply. Aside from an electrical storm the team had to weather on the mountain, they also faced plenty of challenges on the ground. For McBride, one of those tests was whether to drink the warm blood from a recently slit goat's neck during a Samburu warrior festival. "I didn't have the courage to tell these warriors no," he says. "Keeping it together afterwards—belly gurgling—and going back to shooting was trickier than I expected."

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Blind Adventurer Erik Weihenmayer Plans to Kayak Grand Canyon

Four years ago, blind adventurer Erik Weihenmayer began paddling a kayak. Weihenmayer, the first blind person to summit Everest, plans to become the first blind person to kayak the Grand Canyon. He's training now for a 2013 expedition. “I think blind kayaking is a different sport than a sighted person kayaking because you rely on your eyes so much,” he told The New York Times. “I’m trying to feel what’s under my boat and what’s under my paddle, and to use my ears, and everything is happening so quickly. Without eyes it’s like sensory overload.”

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A Skier's Journey to Dubai

"I'm on the edge of the largest sand desert on the planet, where every night, it snows."

So begins the narration in the second episode of filmmaker Jordan Manley's series "A Skier's Journey." Skiers Chad Sayers and Chad Manley travel from the 100-degree Fahrenheit desert of Dubai to the Mall of the Emirates for a chance to ski 200 vertical feet of artificial snow made from desalinated water that coats the inside of a sloped tunnel cooled by a powerful and extensive electrical system. It's a cool flick, in the sense that it should make you think.

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An Adventure Movie About Veterans to Watch on Netflix

If you have the Monday following Veteran's Day off and are looking for something to do inside, the movie High Ground can now be streamed on Netflix. The 91-minute documentary follows 11 wounded warriors from Iraq and Afghanistan on a mission to climb the 20,000-foot Lobuche in Nepal. Part of the movie was filmed during an Outside Adventure Film School project led by three-time Emmy-winning filmmaker Michael Brown.

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