Thursday, May 29, 2008

My Trip out West Volume 1

author's note: these blog posts were originally in the form of hand-written, old-fashioned travel journal, some content has been removed and edited due to personal content (ie: too much emotion)

Wednesday May 21, roughly 11 am

I've just read my climbing magazine cover to cover and looked at all the bad-ass pictures of all the bad-ass climbers and could not be more excited land in Nevada! Once we finally got through security, my vacation could actually begin. I'm what some might call a stress traveler: I pack, unpack and repack several times, starting weeks before my trip. I have to be at the airport AT LEAST an hour before scheduled take off and I like to go on and get through security with plenty of time to spare, just in case. Had this been an international flight, Erin might have shot me: our flight left at 9:50 this morning, so at 7:15 I was up and rearing to go. I take the dogs out, get myself all ready and then wake Erin up at 7:30. She takes a little longer to coax out of [couch]. {aside: the plan was for Adam to take us to the airport, so we just stayed at his house.} at 7:45, Lisa calls, she wants to ride to the airport with us, so she's en route to Adam's house. 7:50: waking up Adam is near impossible... at 7:59 Lisa arrives and Erin and I are on the curb; bags ready to go. At 8:25 Lisa arrives at the airport, "just drop us off, it's cool," I say trying to speed the process along as much as possible, I'm obviously stressed out at this point. At least I'm at the airport. We park and walk in, by 8:25 we are checked in, bags are checked ready to go. THEN Erin and Lisa want to eat breakfast, now you can only imagine my level of stress at this point. The flight TAKES OFF in ONE HOUR and the security line is getting long and they can think about FOOD!?!?! SO I call my mom and try not to think about it.

Finally at 9:25 we are through security and walking towards the gate. At 9:40 the flight starts to board and I'm finally able to relax and enjoy my day. I'm such the "Do-you-have-your-boarding-pass" mom-type of traveler. I'm in charge of the carry-on bag, I've got Erin's wallet, all the travel documents and even in charge of the magazines. I'm surprised that I didn't think to bring wet wipes or something- really, I have control issues.

That being said, if there's one thing that I really embrace about myself is my ability to be completely on my own. There was a point in my life where I didn't like to deal with things of importance (like talking to the phone company about my bill, or asking directions etc). But now all of the sudden I am able to travel on my own, even internationally, and I can take up the slack and take care of others on vacation, I can deal with problems that may arise and even make friends in the process. I think I may have finally come into my own skin at 26. I've discovered this whole new side of me who is completely content being alone (not that I don't highly value my friendships, because I do!) but to NEED someone around in order to function is a thing of the past. And now, sometime between 11 am and 1 pm, flying over somewhere between Mississippi and Utah, I feel completely free and stronger than ever. I am my own woman with an exciting life ahead of me and the resources to live it to the fullest!

Thursday, May 22nd around 8:30 pm-ish

I crashed EARLY last night! After Alex picked us up at the airport, we went and ate at a little bar and grill in Reno. Each of us had a couple of beers, then we hit up the Sierra Trading Post outlet store, (basically a really huge Alabama Outdoors, but naturally I loved every second of it). After we spent a little bit of money, we loaded up and headed for Bishop, California. As it was my first trip to California, I made myself stay awake to watch the mountains dance by in the windows until we hit California. "Welcome to California!" the sign said. I soon as I saw that, I stretched out in the backseat and snoozed the final two hours to Bishop. I was so tired that when we arrived at our camp sight, I was able to pull myself out of the backseat long enough to drink 3/4 of a Fat Tire, move some stuff around in the backseat, get my sleeping bag out of my pack and stretch back out. I woke up the next morning to this:

We ate some fruit and hiked around a bit, just soaking in the scenery:

We returned to the car after some hiking, ate some lunch and headed out for some climbing.

Unfortunately, the altitude had taken its toll on me and my day was neither productive nor comfortable. I got shut down by a V2, fell off a V1 and gave up. Mr. Headache won out today: so I spent most of my time taking pictures and napping in the sun. Around 4 o'clock we went into town and got a cup of coffee and hit up a grocery store. We moved camp sites , in the same area (The Buttermilks), but on the other side of the road, a little more out of the way from where we slept the first night. We set up camp for real, I get the pleasure of sleeping in a one-person Bivy shelter, not sure how that's going to fly. I tried to sit in the tent and write in my journal, but there is limited head room even for me; I wonder if I can even sleep in it... I guess there's only one way to find out. I'm going to attempt to read for a minute in there before going to sleep. If I am terribly uncomfortable, I will sleep in the car.

Friday, May 23rd sometime in the PM

I was able to read in the tent last night, although I was pretty tired, so I didn't really make it that far into the chapter before giving up and rolling over and going to sleep. I slept pretty well, woke up around 9 this morning when Tony, the California native who we met climbing yesterday, came over to the camp site. The four of us decided to ride into town for some coffee and breakfast then head over to the Happy Boulders on the other side of town.

When we got into town, we were informed that this weekend was Mule Days; complete with arts and crafts fair. We decided to check it out. Here's a picture of our gang sign we made up:

After we left town, we headed to the other side of Bishop to climb at the Happy Boulders.

The hike from the car to the first set of boulders was quite painful. It was at least a quarter mile straight up hill, carrying camera bag, snacks, climbing shoes and everyone's water for the day. Everyone else was carrying crash pads, so I don't know who had it worse, them or me. But once we got to the top of the mountain it was all worth it:

The weather in Bishop is crazy! It's 30ish at night, chilly in the morning and borderline broiling in the afternoon. But climb we did, I sent hard within my grade range and even hopped on some V4s for kicks. We met up with some kids from San Jose, Ca and projected with them for a while on the "Happy Boulder"

Here are a few pictures of us climbing at the Happies:

Yes, I was wearing a cape, and capline under my cut off jeans... it was the most amazing climbing outfit ever!

After a full day of Mule Days and climbing, we headed back to camp, stopping by the grocery store to pick up food for a gourmet camp meal. We had Salmon Pesto Pasta and it was GOOD!

Drank a couple Fat Tires by the fire and was done for the day.

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