Posted: July 11, 2005 in Uncategorized


At this point in my life, I’m used to curveballs. I’ve stood at the plate many times, and had stuff thrown at me that I never saw coming. But occasionally life will just flat out bean you in the shoulder and walk you in a “ya, that’s right, this one is meant for you and you only, so pay attention” kinda way.

It just so happens that on this trip, I must be crowding the plate a bit, and life wants me to get the hint.

When I made my decision to take this road trip, part of it was to initiate a change, to solidify a new chapter in my life. Only some 3 weeks before, a year and a half long relationship I’d been in had come to an end, a relationship I had learned volumes from. The future of our non-romantic relationship is still an uncarved block to be shaped, but we’re treading carefully and optimistically.

As I rolled into camp the night before, job number one was making sure I did everything I could to not get kicked out of my windfall campsite, including breaking a twenty to pay for the site. The folks around my neighbor’s campfire only come up with fifteen, but promise we’ll work it out in beer, the universal currency of climbers. A bit of running later, I’m paid up and sidle up to the campfire. One of the women comes over to welcome me with a few beers. She looks a bit disconcertingly like my recent ex. She introduces herself. She has the same name as my ex. Over the course of the evening and on into today, I find she’s the same age, has the same number of kids, wears the same size and style of clothes, and climbs at the same level as my ex.

And I’m heading for first, knowing I’ll be feeling that pitch for a while.


The lion’s share of my day is one of gastrointestinal and meterological turmoil. Despite my best efforts, I must have come up short on my water consumption because as we make our way to our first climb of the day, my stomach is threatening to send back the bagel I had for breakfast. Most of my morning is spent lying down in the shade trying to reason with my stomach, but in between I get in a 5.9, a 5.10a, and even make an attempt at a 5.11a, but hold to the excuse that I’m just not feeling up to sending the crux.

As we head back to camp for lunch, the wind picks up and the skies begin to take on the rolling, churned look of underwater footage at Pipeline during a winter storm. Retreating to our cars, I split my time between catching up on my reading and watching the light show of massive lightning forks travel through the valleys.

With no real mountains to speak of to block its way, the storm moves fast and any trace of it has been wiped clear from the skies by dinnertime. About this time we pick up more wandering campers; a pair of 60-something brothers driving from Seattle and two childhood friends from upstate New York recently graduated from college. At this point, our group spans multiple generations and backgrounds, from 12-year-old Toby on a road trip with his dad from Utah to a 60-something couple from Canada. But all of us to a person share one thing: our enthusiasm for where we are at this moment. Sitting around the fire, drinking and telling stories, perched on a rock ledge looking out over incredible scenery, connecting with perfect strangers that you just click with because you all made a point of driving to this valley in the middle of nowhere if for no other reason but to see it at least once in your life.

And so the night goes.

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Comments
  1. acadiabaird says:

    what a great post, and a kickass icon too.

  2. Anonymous says:

    what a great post, and a kickass icon too.

  3. a_wags says:

    yeah for more updates!

  4. Anonymous says:

    yeah for more updates!

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