Posted: September 1, 2005 in Uncategorized


Seven AM rolls around, and I’m wide awake and ready to roll. At this point the tangibility of being home (or at least in by backyard at Smith) is a wonderful feeling. Mind you, the past week and change has been outstanding, but spending ten days living in your car and other people’s guestrooms in unfamiliar places wears on you after a while. It’s really not so much my house and posessions and such that I miss, it’s simply the familiarity. Knowing where you’re going to sleep that night is quite an emotional force.

One thing I’ve noticed in both driving through Idaho and studying the map is that they have an almost unhealthy obsession with waterfalls, especially for a place that’s so flat. Perhaps it’s an inferiority complex, or the same kind of mixup as the guys who named Greenland. Regardless, I saw plenty of towns named Something Falls, but the nearest rivers looked about as dangerous as a glass of water.

As a home stretch, Southern Idaho and Eastern Oregon are the perfect setup to help me appreciate being home, since I’ve not only already seen this route when I left, and the nostalgia makes me reflect on the trip as a whole, but there’s also absolutely nothing of interest along the way. I set cruise control for the fastest I dare risk in Rural Cop Country, and only stop for gas and a Wendy’s drive-through. Thanks to this, I make way better time than I anticipate, and as I crest the last sizeable ridge before Bend, I’m greeted by the familiar white-capped peaks of the Sisters. I’m back home.

Since my last pass through central Oregon was so woefully misspent by neglecting to stop at Smith, I’ve planned ahead to correct that on my return leg. Just driving down roads I could now practically drive blindfolded is relaxing. Finding a spot in the Smith parking lot, I make my way down into the Lower Gorge and find my friends, hiding in the shade of the river canyon, and I suddenly never left. My body, however thinks differently, so I’m not about to climb today. Instead we wrap up their climbing, then head for the Grasslands, stopping briefly to stock ourselves with dinner and alcohol. The evening from that point on proceeds to decline into smack talking, drinking, and the ever-necessary palette fire.

The next day is a slow one, due in equal parts to the early opressive heat of Smith in July and the empty fifth of gin back at the campsite. Our ambitions are even more reluctant to rise than we are, so we opt to take the long approach to the backside and do some easy climbs on Spiderman. My rope management turns out to be hopelessly aweful, which I blame on driving lag, but I do end up leading every pitch of my first multipitch trad climb. As the sun starts to turn its attention to the backside, we beat a retreat back around and take turns on Moonshine Dyhedral and Bunnyface until our water and energy runs out. Satisfied that we’re pretty well spent, we turn back to the parking lot and head for the Timmy and Becky’s house, who have extended an invitation for a BBQ.

Brauts, beans, and beer are inhaled as we relax on the back porch, playing with the dogs and talking both hobbies and shop. At the end of the night, I opt for a night in the Pooh room rather than back in the grasslands as my last night on the road, and the next morning I’m headed back to my own bed, which is now a bit stranger but a bit more satisfying.

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Comments
  1. snoboy says:

    The Pooh room is almost as good as home, isn’t it? 😀
    Hey, I think that “falls” used to refer to rapids more than the vertiginous drops that we use it for these days. When the river was the highway, then I think that an obsession with the falls would have been a healthy one.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The Pooh room is almost as good as home, isn’t it? 😀

    Hey, I think that “falls” used to refer to rapids more than the vertiginous drops that we use it for these days. When the river was the highway, then I think that an obsession with the falls would have been a healthy one.

  3. muffster says:

    “thats not a horses ass thats a fence post”
    gin and climbing don’t realy mix well but it is a hell of a good time 😀

  4. Anonymous says:

    “thats not a horses ass thats a fence post”

    gin and climbing don’t realy mix well but it is a hell of a good time 😀

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