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Day 204: Conclusion

Over these last few days of the 2008 year I’ve been dabbling in something I’ve never done before: re-reading our web entries. As our big vacation draws to an end I have this urge of somehow trying to summarize it all in my mind. The best parts, the worst parts, a top 10 list perhaps or a pre-canned response to what has become the standard questions “So what was South Africa *really* like?” “What climbs did you send?” “Favorite boulder problems?” I realize though as I page through both my memories in my brain and our web entries in my computer that there are just so many dang parts I can’t even begin to get my head around them all! It’s been a big year. I mean, a REALLY big year. And the further I read the bigger it gets! Such small details are reminded in my blurred memory of adventures.

I was reminded that this time last year I was still relishing my bittersweet send of Left El Murray, v6 at Hueco Tanks, having learned a few days later the Mushroom Boulder had been closed to climbing indefinitely.

I was reminded that the month of January was dedicated to some major home improvements (how could I forget!) with Paul and I tackling both the bathroom in the main house (with hired help) and the shade roof over the hot tub. When not working on the house during the day however, January was also spent out under our woody in the evenings, training aggressively for upcoming Hueco trips.

Which brings me to February: projecting, projecting, projecting. We spent most of the February weekends at Hueco either under the Martini Roof or at the Bloody Flapper Boulder. These weekends I actually remember quite clearly. Perhaps because I was acutely aware of Paul accelerating rapidly towards his completion of Right Martini, v12 while I moped in self-pity over a stressful work schedule which was leaning too hard on my climbing performance.

March. The inevitable sends. Paul finally ticks Right Martini, a huge and memorable milestone for him. And I snag my first v6 send-in-a-day on Hairpin Roof in our backyard on Mt. Lemmon, on my birthday to boot! Ahh, a nice reminder. A nice start to a big climbing year.

I was reminded that in April my parents came out to Tucson for a visit and we traveled up north to the Grand Canyon. Sheesh! That was *this* year?! If my memory serves me well I don’t believe Paul and I had been keeping up too well with our trail running around this time, yet we decided to run all the way down to Plateau Point and back! Huh. Impressive!

The May log shows no entries on the site. I don’t however, need to be reminded about what was going on last May. My memories are crystal clear. Paul and I were quietly packing, planning, saving, and training for the big trip.

Which is a great lead in to June. June is huge. June is when we finally say bye bye to Tucson and hit the road, our embarkment on our long-awaited climbing trip, the dream. Our first stop: Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. On the climbing front I eat up The Kind, v5 and then The Kind Sit, v6, declaring that the fun moves rival those of the classic Dragonfly at Hueco. Paul makes quick work of Real Large, v9 and Tommy’s Arete, v8 but gets shut down with lack of endurance for The Kind Traverse, v11. On the family/friends front we enjoyed some good times with my sister Holly, her boyfriend Joe and Jed and Rachael, owners of the to-die-for mountain home that Joe and Holly were renting, and superb connoisseurs of Colorado’s outstanding local brews.

July. July is even bigger than June! We’ve got Mt. Evans Colorado, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, Marathon New York and Rocklands South Africa all packed into July! The Mt. Evans summary includes Paul scratching The Dali, v9 off his ticklist and drooling over the too-high-for-just-one-crashpad The Nothing, v8. Two days at Evans was simply not enough. On to east coast family time. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is first, managing to squeeze in a quick day trip to Cooper’s Rock, West Virginia for a little bouldering. Next on the agenda is Marathon, New York for more family time before saying our goodbyes to the North American continent. H E L L O Africa.

The remainder of July, all of August and most of September are pretty much a rushing blur of memories. Beautiful landscapes, amazing animals, new people, and hundreds upon hundreds of stellar boulders….boulders e v e r y w h e r e. This is Rocklands, South Africa. I can’t even begin to summarize these unforgettable days. I page through the 2000 or so photos we snapped while there and try to pick out just a few of the highlights:

Paul’s quick send of Nutsa, v12

The day we saw the leopard

The familiar view of Pakhuis Pass

The de Pakhuys boulders

My v8 breakthrough, Minki

Paul’s devastating knee injury during his best sending go on The Vice, v13

Jeffreys Bay on the Indian Ocean

Addo Elephant National Park

Black Velvet, v11 tick

Roof on Fire, v5 tick

A memorable day at Fields of Joy where Paul and I literally just ran around like kids climbing anything and everything that simply “looked cool”

The Fields of Joy day continued. Im Juli, v7

Another lasting view from the The Fields of Joy day

A beautiful sunset at our darling Weavers Cottage on the Alpha Farm

The Riverside boulders with friends

A quick evening session at The Sassies with friends

Pinotage, v10

An incredible Sassies sunset

More of the Sassies sunset

Our last day in Rocklands, bouldering at our favorite area: The Roadside Boulders. Paul sending Pinch of Herbs, v9/10

After saying goodbye to South Africa the journey continues. The end of September follows Paul and I venturing back west again. Some more time with family in New York and Pennsylvania and then onward to Bishop, California. Like Rocklands, the many many days of Bishop climbing blur into one another, a continuous high of happy times. We got to spend an entire month with our dear friends from Germany, a week with the hometown Pittsburgh crew, and a short but sweet weekend with the one and only Courtney. Paul and I also celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary by hiking just about every trail up around Bishop Creek and the Buttermilk Country over the course of our stay. The notable boulder problem sends here throughout October and November are too many to name, haha, so I’ll just summarize by saying we ticked the majority of the classics….and came oh-so-close on all the rest (ahem, High Plains Drifter). Some pics from the archives that never made it to press:

Buttermilk Country

Me on Skye Dance, v6 up at the Druid Stones

My flash of The Solarium, v3

Fire and Stars

Paul warming up at The Sads

Paul sending Shelter From the Storm, v6

My tick of Go Granny Go Right, v5

Pope’s Prow, v6

Me “saving” High Plains Drifter, v7 for next time, boohoo

…and Paul doing the same on Stained Glass, v10

The tail-end of November brings us to a spontaneous Last Horrah to wrap up the climbing portion of the big vacation. Paul and I decide to squeeze almost a week into Yosemite Valley, California. And a horrah it was. Paul wrapped up his climbing trip with ticking the country classics Midnight Lightning, v8 and The Force, v9. And I snuck in one last v6 send with The Font Problem. And let’s not forget about that turkey cooked over the campfire on Thanksgiving Day.

Which brings this trip down memory lane to December. December, the cozy holiday month has been spent relaxing and visiting with family and friends back east again. Our travels were exciting and boulder problems fun, but none of that even comes close to a comparison against quality time spent with those we love most. The month of December has been a warm and content closing to an incredible adventure-packed year.

So as Day 206 rolls around the corner…just two days away…our final day of our exciting 6+ month vacation…the closing to one of the best years of my life, believe it or not I’m actually *not* sitting here asking myself “What’s next?”, “Where are we headed next year?” “What’s the next trip destination?” Nope. Not me. I’m still in that satisfied phase, happy to be simply reflecting on what we’ve done versus what we want to do.

posted by arr from Paul’s parents house in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the night before flying back to home to Tucson

This entry (Permalink) was posted on Friday, January 2nd, 2009 at 11:08 pm and is filed under Bouldering. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response , or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Day 204: Conclusion”

  1. Luke Bertelsen Says:

    Hello there,

    Not sure how often you guys get comments. I’m not even sure I even remember how I got your site info or for how long I have been checking it.

    I just want to say that I think it is inspiring that the two of you have lived one of your dreams, and probably that of many others: Leaving “home” and working your way from one destination to the next with many the amazing experience. All along I just checked in every other week or so to see where you were and how it was going. It was a great ride from my end on the computer monitor side of things.

    I am glad to see that the travels ended well. I am sure that there will be more to come. Hopefully for me too.


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