Got my votin' done in addition to seeing friends and figuring out some sort of job for the winter as well as stocking up on supplies as I knew that I didn't want to come back to a town until I was leaving Indian Creek for the season. Once I got all of that taken care of I cruised back to the desert, psyched on a slower and simpler pace of life. I never thought that I'd call Durango living fast paced but man compared to the desert it was crazy; I guess I'm not much of a city person.
Upon returning and falling in to the old routine of things, climbing, eating, resting etc. I began to realize that while the stoke-o-meter was high my body was starting to get worn down after nearly three months of climbing with minimal resting. As a result it was a pleasant surprise that weekend to receive the first snow of the year and an enforced three day rest period. Once the weather warmed again it was back to climbing, or at least trying to.
Pre-dawn after the first snow of the year, not a shabby view to wake up to!
Team Rukus in uniform just before the beginning of the dissolution.
I figured I'd hang around for another week while there were still warm temperatures (often high 60's and low 70's) and enjoy the chaos of another Creeksgiving. Creeksgiving for those that were wondering is an age old tradition (nine years old in fact) where climbers of varying backgrounds come together in the Superbowl campground for a potluck and varying festivities. This event has been growing over the past years and this year ended up drawing over 100 folks and included Black Diamond backing and included a mustache competition, dance off, dance party, potluck and a circle of thanks. Needless it was rough, I am not sure that I can adequately put in to words how many different dishes that 100 people can bring and I'm pretty sure they were all super tasty (this is an extrapolation from the ones that I tried (maybe 40)) making those kinds of decisions is no gimme. As a result I was forced to return for seconds and thirds to ensure that I did still prefer deep fried turkey over the ones cooked in the ground (though it was certainly close), stuffing with cranberries versus the other 34 types of stuffing and well...perhaps you're starting to get the picture.
Ye olde climbing pants moments before they were permanently retired. One leg is now a bag for my bolt kit. R.R.R. (Another rest day activity)
In the few days that followed Creeksgiving I climbed a number of my projects (some of the hardest routes I have climbed). I'm not sure if this phenomenon was due to the nourishment delivered on Thanksgiving or due to the self-imposed deadline that was looming. Either way it was very satisfying. That being said I am not in the least bit ready to be done climbing this season so hopefully there are some more desert pilgrimages in the future!
Finally, Sunday was upon me and I knew what needed to be done so I said more farewells, packed up and cruised, in a decidedly unhurried manner, back to Durango to begin work and the healing process.
While I've been here I've begun working again as a Lifeguard at the Rec. Center and chatted with folks about guiding some ice climbing this winter in Ouray. I've also gone for a few rides on trails and on roads, spent far too much time on these interwebz and mingled with friends.
This afternoon after I get off of work the plan is to get back on metaphorical horse and cruise up to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison for a bit of climbing with my friend Jane who has yet to witness the awesomeness of that place. Needless to say the stoke-o-meter has been rising steadily since the plan was hatched and the time to climb comes closer!
So that's pretty much the last few weeks in a nutshell as well as the next few days. I'll try and be more diligent with updates, which ought to be easier with greater access to the internet and lots of free time!
To answer some questions about desert living and everyday mundane-how you cook, water sources, how you select your camp location, etc.
Well I've been cooking on a Coleman two burner that I got a 20lb tank for so that's made life super easy as the Coleman is a huge upgrade from my Whisperlite (insert the tm symbol on these name brands) as it's far more adjustable and less finicky read: I can simmer on the two burner. I can cook in or out of the van so long as where ever I am is well ventilated. I'll try and post pictures of the cook set up but basically I have the tank inside of a rubbermaid bin that I cut a hole in to accommodate the hose that connects it to the stove and then the stove sits on the bin, allowing for a comfortably raised platform to cook on and relatively easy transportation.
Water is pretty easy as when ever anyone heads to a town/water source they'll usually take other people's water containers and fill them up. Also, after living there for a while, other people realize you're there for the long haul and when they're heading out if they have left over water they usually offer to fill up any empty containers (this was my biggest source of water for the last few weeks).
Camp location is usually the flattest site I can find so that the bed is level and the site is usually close to climbing partners. This season I was in one of three sites that were all next to each other the whole duration of my stay and so people could seek me out and save me looking for new places to stay. This same site selection is true for towns, though it's a bit tougher as I have to deal with the camber of roads and danger zones like parking on the road behind people's driveways where there's a chance people will reverse in to you.
Showers were solar showers using my camelbak while in the desert, though now I'm able to shower at friend's houses and at work so that's neat.
Old anchors from a route that falls down. Turns out gravity works in the desert.
New route I put up a bit left of where the old one fell down
Hmm and a Sam say's that perhaps is not reassuring but often repeat is "Safety third; looking good and having fun come first because if you look good, you feel good and if you feel good you do good." I guess if you think about it with that logic doing good is kind of like being safe therefore looking good is a safety protocol. Not sure if that really makes sense but maybe you guys are pickin' up what I'm layin' down.