melissa i strong

rock climber, writer, photographer, working on life daily

We left our home, friends and jobs in Estes Park, CO November 21st for the warmth of the desert.  Ha, it has actually been a pretty cold December so far in Hueco but it’s a lot warmer than Colorado.  We have been fortunate enough to do this annually since the 2005-2006 season.  Every year it is difficult for me to leave my home and people that I have grown so close with over the years but once the bitter cold steals away the end of the truly pleasurable climbing I feel ready for the change.  Adam has been spending his winters in the Hueco Valley far longer than I.  He took one year off after we first met when we stayed in Estes Park to “save up” to go to South Africa in the spring (quite a difficult task to do in the off season).  After that brief break we returned together to Hueco Tanks for my first season there newly married.  We stayed on our friend’s land and finished the season on our newly purchased parcel of desert.  Getting use to life in Hueco Tanks, the rules and regulations of The Park and meeting tons of new people made my first year….interesting.   I guess I hadn’t realized it yet but Ana Burgos who soon became a great friend informed me that I was married to a “climbing legend.”  People would come up and introduce themselves to me saying, “I just really wanted to meet the girl Adam Strong married.”  I was very intimidated yet welcomed at the same time.  Not too long after I first met Adam, we were out climbing and I saw him execute a two hook…not having much behind my belt at the time but RMNP bouldering I responded “sick!” In return Adam responded in wonder with “what, the toe hook?”  This lesson was helpful I as I found myself in the land of roofs with jugs and toe hooks!  Crazy.  So many new people to meet, a new climbing style to learn, getting used to married life--there was a lot to absorb.  Our first season flew by!  Over the following seasons we have settled into our land upgrading campers, establishing a solar power source, acquiring a water tank--we have made a cushy home away from home.  A community of climbers has grown in the desert and we are surrounded by great friends who are also neighbors.  Over the years I have continuously learned many life lessons living in the east El Paso desert. I am grateful to be part of a community of unique people who all live with in a few miles of each other on the land that stands in the greatness of Hueco Tanks.  The rock art, the mortar holes and the shards of pottery remind us daily of those before us who were also flourishing in the desert.

Adam on cut to the quick

Tom Camillieri on inlury man



Jon Glassberg left focus

above: power of landjeager

Lisa Linville on Mcbain


sub zero- above Adam, below-Shulte

Adam on diabolique

nina williams on hobbit with a bonner

shulte on a single word