Most people enjoy an opportunity to ‘unplug’: to escape the goings on of city life and get lost in the wilderness away from the phone, tablet, and plasma T.V. Climbers are forced to ‘unplug’ here in Joe’s Valley, and I feel liberated. In an attempt to fully take advantage of this liberation, so difficult to find these days, I’ve decided to remain brief with this post. I’m just not feelin’ it… know what I mean? In essence: more pictures, less words. I hope it satisfies.
The first few days were a bit rough here in Joe’s Valley. The afternoons too hot for climbing, the reservoir too cold for swimming, and the abundant free-range cows too ornery and obnoxious in their self-pittied wailing to allow for a descent night sleep. My second night found me and the fellow neighbors surrounded by a multitude of the grumpy buggers, raising their moanful chorus to God in Heaven as if their swollen udders, sage-filled guts, and aching cow hooves were the first signs of the apocalypse. We could even hear the lamentations of their despondent relatives miles away echoing like pinballs between the walls of the canyon. Terrible. Simply terrible.
The scorching days and chilly nights have made for some stress-inducing windstorms lasting from roughly 2 to 6pm. Gusts bring fine-grain sand that covers everything, and the stillnesses separating them typically last just long enough for a swarm of flies to abandon the immeasurable heaps of cow shit and drive you bonkers. Luckily the climbing here is worth it, and the days seem to be cooling to more favorable conditions.
I was joined here in Joe’s by fellow Washingtonian and dear friend Joel Sheppard. We’ve been roughing it doing the dirtbag thing (a lifestyle he is far more adept at than I) and climbing some beautifully streaked sandstone boulders. We met a very friendly fella named Joe, haling from Denver, and a garrulous and good-humored Texan named Tanner who fuels his very strong and impressive climbing style with Butterfinger donuts and spoonfuls of hot chocolate mix.
On Wednesay Joel and I joined Joe at a problem he was excited about called Planet of the Apes V7 and had a great time catchin’ rays, getting to know one another, and working a very fun climb. I managed to put it together before the real heat of the day arrived, and was thrilled to see Joe finish it after a couple hours of focused perseverance. He was equally thrilled as he summited the block, exclaiming that it was his first V7 and a perfect note to end his trip on. We said goodbyes that afternoon and sent him off smiling, Colorado bound.
The past few days have been cooler with fun climbing and fewer cow-visits. I’m looking forward to another ten or so days here, and will be sure to plug back in for another update before my journey home to Washington. Thanks fer readin’!