Monday, July 12, 2010

Holy Shit, We Are Home

It has been a long (painfully so at times) road, but John and I are finally back in Illinois. I'm laying on my bed as I write this, and looking forward to sleeping on a mattress for only the third time in over a month. Upon hearing the news many of you were surprised that we were going to be home so soon. Being road-weary we had intended to get home a few days earlier than originally planned. The constant movement, setting up and tearing down camp, hours upon hours in the van between destinations, diet of ramen and canned goods, all of this had worn us down. It was time to start winding things down.

So we climbed the Tower and then drove to the Needles were we planned to spend between 2-3 days playing around on the spires there. My good friend who lives and works at Devils Tower came out with us and I was glad to spend some quality time with her since I never know when our paths will cross next. However, shortly after arriving and scouting out some climbs in the needles the weather turned bad. Clouds rolled in, and we watched the lighting off in the distance for a while before retreating from the rain. Back at our camp we ate cookies and took a nap in Becka's spacious van. Once the storm broke we talked with the over climber residents of Poverty Gulch where we were camped. Drank beers, ate ramen, shot a potato gun and so on. In the morning we made the call early, the weather looked like crap again and that was that. We broke camp, I said my goodbye to Becka, we got in the car and drove to Minneapolis.

And now, we'll, now I'm home even earlier than anticipated and I don't know how to feel. Part of me is happy, showers, beds, fridges full of food, all of these things are pretty nice comforts. Seeing my friends back home is also something I've been looking forward too.

On the other hand, I'm missing the simplicity and peacefulness of how we lived already. I know I'll miss waking up with the sun and to the sounds of birds. I'll miss smelling like campfire smoke, I'll miss the dry air and cold winds, the sight of rocky peaks and the smell of pine.

We experienced so much and it so impossible to digest it all right now. How exactly I reconcile those experiences with everyday living is going to be difficult. That's how it goes though I guess, and I have grad school looming in the near future, so I suppose I'll be busy enough. Thanks for following the blog, I may post some reflections at a later date. Hope you enjoyed living vicariously through us.


p.s. John and I were both not scheduled for quite a while past our requested off dates, so we may end up going to the red next week. What the hell right? I still got some money left...I think.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Whoa, Nelly: The Epic that is Wyoming.

This state is unreal.

Tetons- Amazing, Beautiful, Striking. Not to mention the climbing was fun to boot.

Yellowstone- UHhhhhhhhh. Too much to describe other than......
A. The American Safari
B. Fucking HUGE
C. Kinda like Jurassic Park. Which makes it amazing.

Devils Tower- Awesome route we took to get to the top. Being at the top is surreal as well, knowing that those who have summited worked for it, climbed, sweat(depending on the time of year, i know we did) only to get a view only climbers and a few people hauled up it get. Our names are on the register and in the annals of history. I will be back, for more than just one route at a time.

Wyoming you impressed the hell out of me, and I will be back for everything I have seen and more.

I want to be a Cowboy.

Now for a night of showering and chillin out.

Needles and the Black Hills tomorrow........

and Home shortly after that.

Stay Sexy Followers!


The Whirlwind Tour carries on

I'll try to keep this quick, John and I have been on the road a lot, A LOT, for the past few days. We dropped Jeff off at the airport on the 5th, spend the day in Seattle then banzai'd across Washington and camped in Idaho. Spent the whole next day on the road, cutting across Montana and down into Idaho again, then finally into Wyoming. We woke the next day and drove through Jackson Hole, did some sport climbing in Grand Teton National Park (absolutely beautiful, probably the most rugged looking peak we have in the lower 48). The we drove to Yellowstone, saw old faithful, and slept in the van for lack of a campground. We drove back into Yellowstone the next day, here is a comprehensive list of animals we could have hit with vanna:
-Deer (lots)
-a weird looking goat
-ground squirrel

oh and...

-Bison, LOTS of bison.

Yellowstone is awesome, it is so freakin huge that it is hard to comprehend. I have to go back there and explore it more fully as we essentially drove through it as if on an African safari. From there we did a long day of driving to reach Devil's Tower. Today we climbed it, my second time, John's first trip up it. It was awesome, as expected, but we wont be lingering. The tour moves fast, next stop is the Needles.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

In big sky country.....

Getting Lubed.

End Transmission.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Three's Company

Hello again everyone, a bit has happened since we left Smith Rock. John and I went to Portland for his 23rd, and essentially had a good time despite trouble finding the bar section of town. After that we struck out for Washington to make our rendezvous with Jeff who was wrapping up his six day solo hike through Olympic National Park. We made a pitstop in the Seattle REI to pick up a few things and then met Jeff in the evening. Much laughter and beer was shared around the fire and I was entranced by the beauty of the place. Jeff was a much needed addition and break for John and I at this point in the trip, it was nice to have some one else to talk and travel with.

The drive along the coast to and in Olympic was also beautiful, the clouds just stick to the trees here and hang around, so there is a constant dramatic feel to the environment as mist billows around the forested mountaintops. The next morning we drove to the Hoh Rainforest in Olympic and did some short hiking, unfortunately John wasn't feeling so good and maybe didn't enjoy it as much as he otherwise would have. The rainforest is crazy beautiful, large looming trees, dangling moss that sways in gentle breezes, lush green everywhere. In that place the amount of life is staggering, and there is this immense sense of age that presses in on you, it is beautiful.

The next morning we broke camp and drove to Leavenworth to do some climbing.

We had heard good things in Smith from washington climbers that were down there. However, it turned out to be a big let down. The routes were weird, polished, and spread out over large areas. The views were spectacular, and it would be a truly worthy destination if the routes were more concentrated. Who knows though, maybe the multi-pitch there is good, we didn't bother to find out. Also, the 4th of July screwed us and we had to camp like 60 miles out of our way to find open sites, very annoying.

All of that brings us to today, we dropped Jeff off at the airport in the morning (his cooking will be badly missed, it is back to ramen and canned soups for John and I). We'll be checking out the city for a while, the we're driving East.

That's right, EAST! We're making the turn homeward. Still a lot of road and rocks left to enjoy, but we can sense that things are winding down, our list of destinations has dwindled to a handful and we can tell that time is going to move fast from here on out.


The long road home.

We have reached the nexus of our trip. Carter is at the airport and we are in the 1st ever starbucks plotting our course to Feathered Friends(and what I will buy).

It is odd to think it is almost over. We are almost a month in, and there is the maximum of 12 days to get back to the AH. No fun, but its been a while. Its wearing on us both now and in some situations its funny. Like yesterday and my rant of Leavenworthlessness. Fun stuff.

There really isn't that much to post other than these few rants.

1. How many more Hawks will go? I havent been reading into the trades at all, but I am assuming that Buff, Steeger, Sopes, Bur, Ladd, Eags, and Fraiser were thrown away in hopes of locking in Niemi and Hjalmarsson. We will see.

2. Go Deutschland! Take those Spaniards out back. This world cup looked super interesting by the looks of it, too bad I missed/ will miss it all. Oh well.

3. Withdrawl. You know.

Anywho, Love you all and you will see more of myself and Tony soon. Just be patient. Some of you may get gifts. OOOOOOOOOOOO



This place sucks for climbing. Almost everything we put our hands on turned to be a fucked up route. I feel bad for Jeff, slightly.

Let me get you back to speed. Since the last time we talked Tony and I perused Downtown Portland for my 23rd. That was interesting to say the least. We stopped in a bitchin bookstore and bought some gifts for someone else (isn't that so nice, I bought gifts for others on my birthday). Then wandered around for a good hour to find a decent bar, only to realize they were right around the corner from the bookstore, durp. But we managed to find something after the wandering.

We got drunk and played Connect 4 in a little hole in the wall called the TapRoom. Nice. Had some interesting local brews, one rose flavored beer which was super confusing. Tasted like chewing on a bunch of rose petals.

On the way back to the hotel we missed the last train out, found a bus, then pissed outside, just FYI.

The next day, slowly rising we left for Seattle realizing it was only 3 hours max from Portland. A nice added surprise. But let me say, apart from putting on Nevermind when we hit city limits we didn't see much at all. Thats tomorrow. But we did go to the Flagship REI, it sucked, Denver Flagship is much better. Ooooo Ahhhh a waterfall in front of the store. Its fake, who gives a shit.

After that venture, Tony had a new pack and we left for Carter.

A beautiful drive on the Peninsula, led us to Olympic National Park/Forest and closer to the town of Forks. Now you may not know what that means, but I asked my wonderful girlfriend why there were so many "Welcome Twilight Fans" signs around.

Just so happens that is where the book is set; Forks, Washington. F-U-C-K.

Everything was twilight, fucking everything. Even firewood was twilight themed. UGGGGH at least we were headed to the rainforest.

But oh wait, I got a sinus attack, and it is still sort of going on. So i was miserable on a few short hikes in the Hoh Rainforest and skipped out on the other one we drove to, opting to take a nap in a car. I wanted to die.

The next day we drove out to leavenworth for some climbing. But oh wait, all the campgrounds were full. Fuck. So he had to drive 60 miles away to get one. Carter woke us up at 6 this morning after I couldnt sleep for more than an hour at a time, only to find out that the climbing sucks balls. At least all the stuff we got on.

So we clouded our minds with fastfood and now Starbucks.

Washington Sucks, hopefully Seattle can redeem it.


(From the editor: the wi-fi in Leavenworth sucked so i couldn't upload this at the angsty moment. I am now in the First Starbucks in Seattle. FUCK LEAVENWORTH.)