My brother-in-law, Chris, came home a few weeks ago and he showed me the ropes (get it, ropes?) at Hoosier Heights. Chris had been trying to get me to climb with him every time he visits from New York, but our plans have never worked out until recently.

While climbing looks insurmountable, it’s actually a fun activity no matter your skill set. Zionsville is lucky to have such an impressive facility within a few minutes drive and the space is massive. I highly recommend going during the day if you can swing it because you’ll have the place to yourself. A day pass is only $15 and includes the shoe rental. If you’re a first timer, Hoosier Heights requires you to watch a short informational video before you hit the “problems.”

Chris and I stuck with bouldering, which means you do not use safety equipment like ropes or harnesses. Typically, bouldering walls contain a path less than 20 feet high. There is a cushioned floor beneath you and the video teaches you how to fall correctly (I actually paid close attention to that part). I am happy to report that we made it both days without falling or injuring ourselves. I did have sore biceps the next day because it is a workout for your arms and core.

As you get more comfortable, the movements become intuitive. I even managed to complete my favorite path, the Ovaltine Jenkins, which means you place both of your hands on the very top peg.

Chalk is your friend and I did not use enough the first few times I climbed. It will save your hands and give you the grip you need to make it to the top. Then yell, “SEND.” I thought climbers were yelling, “Ascend,” which makes more sense to me, but Chris quickly corrected me to prevent any embarrassment.

I loved the sense of accomplishment of making it just a little higher up the wall each time. Bouldering requires patience and a lot of practice. I tried to study each problem (or path) before attempting it so that I had an idea of where my feet and hands would go as I climbed. Each problem is numbered to represent the degree of difficulty, which helps you know where to start.

I can’t wait to go back to Hoosier Heights again – the staff is constantly changing the bouldering paths, so there’s always something new to try. So, get out there and try something new, even if it’s slightly terrifying. You’ll be glad you got outside of your comfort zone. Besides, brunch afterwards is a great motivator. Our four-month-old puppy, Charlie, is becoming a regular at Rosie’s.

I’ve included my favorite chili recipe below. This is my go-to chili recipe and I even made it a few times over the summer because it’s that good. The flavors work well together and it’s a nice alternative to beef chili. I’ve also been making Cookie and Kate’s vegetarian chili on repeat and I made Delish’s classic beef chili for Nick today.

Turkey chili with butternut squash and black beans

Recipe via K and J Company

  • 16 ounces ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 4 cups butternut squash, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 29 oz can tomato sauce
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • (2) 15 oz cans black beans, drained
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper

In the bottom of a large pot, heat the olive oil and add the onions. Sauté until translucent. Add in the ground turkey and cook until browned, seasoning with salt and pepper.

Add both cans of the tomatoes and the butternut squash into the pot. Stir and let simmer. Add in the garlic, chili powder, dried basil, cinnamon and black beans.

Cover the pot and let simmer on low-medium heat for at least 20-30 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

I like to top this with avocado slices and plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream).

Xx, Libby

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