I’ve driven through the mountains a few times, flown over them a few more, but I haven’t gotten the chance to stop moving and play in them in a very long time. I asked for peace on this trip, and that’s exactly what I got. I needed those days outside like I need air. I breathed in the sky and the hills and the people like someone come back from drowning. Rather than a blow by blow account of the trip, I’m going to post a few of my favorite stories, the photos that go with them, and let my heart spill onto the page.
On Tuesday night of my trip I had the pleasure of meeting Amy at a downtown pub for a drink. Meeting such a sweet, insightful person IN person was a highlight of my trip. We talked for two hours. Unfortunately all good things have to end and Amy had to take off for her next adventure.
Luckily Larkin was there to rescue me from boredom. He suggested a hike in the dark up by Chautauqua, a park just south west of Boulder. Tiny drops of rain kept us cool as we hiked higher and higher into the foothills. My eyes adjusted to the dark and my headlamp stayed in my pocket. On the way up we talked about meaning in work and in life. It was like my soul took it’s first deep breath in months. I didn’t discover anything about myself or learn the answer to any of life’s mysteries, instead I found a friend on the same journey and it gave me hope. As the trail ended we emerged in an old stone quarry, filled with rocky chairs constructed to help hikers enjoy the view. Boulder was lit up below us like an inverted night sky: stars below, darkness above. We sat for a while, taking in the night, listening to the noise of stillness colliding with city. My soul and I started to feel peace timidly creep in and make it’s self at home.
I don’t have any good pictures of this hike. But I don’t think I need them.
Thursday I had the pleasure of meeting Kira (@CFOServices). Out of all the people on Twitter, I’ve probably been talking to her the longest. Kira is badass in every way – company CEO, mom, climber – I kindof want to be her when I grow up. We met in the parking lot of the approach to Clear Creek Canyon. Her first words were – “You look just like your avatar!” So does she - for some people their online personalities are a mirror of real life, and Kira is definitely as sweet and badass in person.
The approach is fun, you walk along an old canal wall to crags close to the path. We did a few easy warmups in the Canal Zone, then made our way down towards the likes of Made in the Shade and Levada. Bill and Kira worked on the extremely long "Made in the Shade." Rapping off, the ropes were about 5 feet short of the ground. It was only the stretch from the weight of a person that got them to touch the ground. Bill lead it and didn't bring enough draws so he had to lower down and grab a few from below, then climb allllll the way back up, making the route even longer than it was already.
Levada was by far my favorite. I made an interesting observation while climbing that route. One of my fears was that I’d become too much of a gym rat, and wasn’t able to climb outside any more. (The holds aren’t marked on real rock, you know.) I climbed Levada the first time and enjoyed it. It was a fun, consistent route, but I hung a little bit in a few places trying to get my bearings.
Then I climbed it again. The second time I flew up it, no pausing or searching. I could do all the moves. I didn’t hunt. In a word – I crushed it. I honestly didn’t think I had it in me. The revelation that I just needed experience with the route, that I didn’t have to onsight it, gave me a whole new perspective on my abilities. I felt super accomplished and proud of myself – a new feeling for someone who battles fear and inadequacy all the time.
I want to climb EVERYTHING twice.
@PWCarey is a terrible influence. Bill, Patrick and I spent the night at Josh’s house (very cozily I might add) then planned to meet Peter for breakfast. Rather than go to a local establishment like law abiding citizens Peter suggested we go back to my hotel where they serve a free continental breakfast. We were no longer paying customers. The proximity and cost (close and free) overwhelmed the good senses of the group and we were off – stealing breakfast from a hotel which shall remain nameless. First rule of Free Breakfast Club: Never talk about Free Breakfast Club. Second rule: Avoid the Free Breakfast Police (FBP) at all costs. I wonder how many times Josh has been back since…