The El Capitan alcove swing.
Artwork from the Greenhouse fridge
This fall has reignited my love for rock climbing. I am sitting in my house in Prescott, having trouble focusing on my school work because my thoughts are elsewhere, namely Zion, Indian Creek, Yosemite and Joshua tree. This fall I will hopefully have had a chance to climb at all of these beautiful places. I have done a lot of climbing in the last month and a half, but there has been a lull for the last week and I am antsy to get back at it.
Ian and I at the Green House
Yosemite is always a good time and it was a particularly good visit because we got to stay at the “Green House” in Foresta with my friends Jon and Mateo. It is a lovely old farmhouse nestled in the ‘big meadow’ so close to the Valley you can just see the top of El Cap, but you would never know it was there! We managed to climb a few awesome routes including Braille Book on Higher Cathedral Rock and Central Pillar of Frenzy on Middle Cathedral, which I thought was particularly awesome. We also hit up the rope swing on El Capitan, a little bit of easy adrenaline just off the Valley floor.
The view from Braille Book, Higher Cathedral Spire and The Sentinel
Loving Central Pillar of Frenzy
I was only in Zion for a few days. We jumped on ‘led by sheep’ the first day and treated Ian’s cousin to his first multi-pitch climb. The next day we climbed the classic Headache and then groveled up ‘Boring crack’, which was a test of my strength and mental fortitude – not boring at all. My last day in the park we went craiging at the Big Bend area and then relaxed by the river. Zion is a beautiful place and I really wish I had had more time to explore, there is so much to do there and I will be back for sure!
Taking in the view from the top of ‘Boring Crack” in Zion
Up next, hopefully Indian Creek and Joshua tree, with some local climbing at Granite Mountain in between!
I’ve come full circle and am back in the Sierra. Here are some pics with from my recent adventures.
This is a letter I intended to send to the Outward Bound Base in Midpines, CA. I wanted to share what life was like up in Canada working for OB in contrast to in the Sierra:
Dear Sierra Friends,
I just wanted to send you a quick update from the Canadian Rockies. Its day 19 of a 21 day backpacking course and throughout the trip I have been thinking about and comparing the Sierra and OB USA with the Rockies and OB Canada. First I have to say that it has rained more on this course than all of my seasons at Midpines combined. (Excluding my course in the North Cascades!) Down sleeping bags and mega mids are not the sleeping equipment of choice - in fact my co-instructors each have their own single tents. So far, I’ve gotten by in my mid…My co-instructors do however marvel at the size of my pack - apparently “light weight” is not a buzz term up here. My pack is probably two thirds the size of theirs.
I’m beginning to think that some of the stereotypes about Canadians are true - I have the nicest, most polite, wonderful group of students I’ve ever had! They all listen, want to be there and are super fit! they are also pretty tough and don’t complain. I’m hoping its not a fluke! We don’t have to carry bear canisters which is nice, but after the recent grizzly attack up in Alaska, today we had a session practicing with bear spray, and are giving each of our students some to carry. We also now have to cart around an electric fence for our food. We also carry bear bangers around, and I got to practice shooting one off because I’d never used one before - it was fun.
The pass we are camped at was closed last year because there was an aggressive, large momma bear with 2 cubs hanging around. We didn’t run into her but there were some gigantic piles of scat around.
We don’t carry manuals into the field at all, in fact I have not even seen a manual all summer. They told me to use my judgement…thats a crazy notion! Its taken a while to adjust to that concept, but its refreshing. The rockies are beautiful and there are so many wildflowers right now, but I really miss the clean granite peaks of the Sierra. Crumbly limestone is just not as appealing. I also miss the dark and the stars, it hasn’t been getting completely dark until very late.
All in all OB Canada and OB USA are great organizations and I like working for both, but as it stands right now…my heart is in the Sierra.
In Watchtower creek drainage, near Jasper…in June
As I travel back and forth across the border I notice more and more subtleties between Americans and Canadians. These subtleties make me more fond of each culture, make me proud to be Canadian, but also happy I can pick up a few things from our neighbors in the south.
This year was the first time anyone really told me that I was “by the book” or a “rule follower”. This person was American, and I was actually really surprised. I think that by Canadian standards, I’m a bit wild and unconventional, and no one from Canada has ever told me I’m too by the book. Upon my return to Canada, I definitely see the cultural shift. Everything is more regimented, regulated and by the book here. For example, the distribution and pricing of alcohol and gas. Heck, they don’t even have a store card at the grocery store if you forget yours, you have to fill out a whole new membership to get your discount! (unless your exceedingly polite neighbor in line will let you use theirs)
For the record, I will never say the word “beanie”, it will always be a toque.Our healthcare is AWESOME – I made a Dr.’s appointment as soon as I got back into the country.
On some things I’m willing to give…
Fine, I’ve been known to say “restroom” and “trash” instead of “washroom” and “garbage”Regardless, of our minor differences, we are all ultimately the same and I’m so glad that I’m welcomed ‘home’ to my various communities all over North America and appreciate the relationships I’ve built with all the special people Canuck and Yankee.
Went up to Tuolumne with David and Ian in the beginning of June, climbed Mt. Dana and skied the Dana Couloir - it was a big day for me, and a combination of type 1 & 2 fun. Ultimately it was awesome and David stitched together some amazing panoramic shots from the day. Thanks guys!
Right now I’m writing an environmental education paper, and through my research I’ve become hyper sensitive to some of the things we’re doing to our world. Since I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut when I see people doing things that are not good for the planet(However hypocritical I may be with my own actions) I’ve decided that I’m going to start compiling a list of very simple things that we all can do to minimize our impacts, and help our world. This will help me be less preachy in person, and still be able to feel like I’m speaking up for injustices on the planet. I’m sure I’m preaching to the quire with most of you who are reading this, but hey, maybe not. If I am…pass it on!
Here’s what I have so far:
1. STOP BUYING BOTTLED WATER!! You’ve all heard it before, now do it. From what I can tell, regulations and monitoring of tap water is more stringent than on bottled water, at least in North America – so go buy yourself a nice metal or BPA free water bottle and fill up at the tap!
2. Be choosy with what goes in your body! There are so many reasons to eat local, organic foods. Don’t buy GMO! Watch The Future of Food on Hulu.com.
3. It’s REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE in that order for a reason. Stop buying so much crap!! Ask yourself – Do I really need this? Or, do I have one of these already that I can repair?
4. Go outside! Although I appreciate you sitting at your computer reading this, getting outside, being active and taking your kids with you will help connect you to the natural world, and foster a sense of place in your child that could make them care about conserving our sacred earth. Other benefits include, increased mental and physical wellbeing.
Stay tuned for more as I notice other things that bother me and the planet!