Part 1:

“This trail’s so fucking long. La Lala La La. There’re so many stupid mosquitoes. La Lala La La. But I don’t care, cause I’m going home to see my babe, my Lovebug. La Lala La La.”

That’s about all I remember to my song of self-induced delirium. Sometimes climbing borders insanity. Sometimes it pushes you to the edge. Sometimes the line fades and you cross back and forth. I had begun to wonder ten miles from Titcomb Basin, my 100 pound pack broken and knotted around my waist, if maybe I had bit of too much. The thought of biting, that mosquitoes bit me in droves and sucked at my life, made me furious. Had I bit off too much? I really thought about the action of biting and it made me so incredibly hungry. I watched a hamburger dance ahead of me, pirouetting through the pines, spinning deliciously across the trail. Maybe I really was losing a bit of my mind.

I’ll rewind, if one can rewind, and take you to a time before a little bit of me snapped. It was a slow process, snapping, one built on mental and physical exhaustion. It took time. It took dedication. In the beginning, all I remember is mud.

My soaked approach shoes swung from a carabineer on my backpack. Their constant thwap made me think back to the rolling log that had cast me into the tumbling stream, or was it a river. I never know how to differentiate between the two, but for our circumstances, to make sure that you can see it clearly, I want you to envision a plummeting body of water that smashes into boulders and roars like some conniving carnivore. I sloshed through the remaining water and stood triumphantly on the other side. I spit as all victors do and watched as my saliva rolled into a ball of mud. Now I can read the foreshadowing, but at that moment I was oblivious. Up to that point the trail had been relatively calm, and so I smiled nonchalantly, sat down, and replaced my dripping shoes with sturdy Chaco Sandals. Not half a mile later my feet sank deep into the earth and as I pulled them forcefully out a loud slurping sound echoed and reverberated off the granite domes. Schlwap. Schlwap. Schlwap. The sound pulsated like a second heart for 11 more miles.

Read below to find out just how we got to where we are right now…!!!

This last honeymoon post really encompasses our final week and a half on the road. So take a deep breath and have a shot of something strong…then maybe this babbling will seem a little more coherent.

From Great Sand Dunes National Park we drove pass the beautiful Spanish Peaks and up to Denver where we doused our bellies with the flavors of Snooze and then, under the delightful hallucinatory coma that followed, veered the mighty Big Red into Boulder where our mates Dustin and Barb awaited.

We had a very berry time in Clear Creek Canyon with Dustin and his friend Mike, climbing at the Wall of Justice (sadly we left our camera in Big Red – and the only pictures we have are from phones). I had a good day and was able to onsite all the classic rig-a-roos as the pros now call them, except for Finger Prince, a 5.13 bolted crack that I got second try or, a la deuce. Michy onsited two hard and very tubular 11s, Miss Trial and Hanging Judge, and we rounded off the evening with a meal out with the two bugaboos, Dustin and Barb.

Day two took us to Boulder Canyon’s Animal World Wall, where we did several really nice 12s and a super 5.10 called Talking Out of Turn. Day three brought us to Boulder’s very own Snooze, where we relaxed with a perfectly engineered bag of weed and our Eggs Benedict and Pancake Flight (ok, we didn’t buy any hash, but we could have). After our big “Farewell to Colorado” meal we lifted our bellies into the van and Dilly-Barred (TM Matt Spohn, but I will sell to Dairy Queen) our way to Vedauvoo…where we climbed four really classic routes at the Holdout Wall, including the slabbiest 5.12 I have every been on and, Eleven Cent Moon, a super-d-dooper-over-the-top 11d!

Phewweee! It’s going to be just a bit more to get you all caught up. Day two at Vedauvoo brought us to the classic, Horn’s Mother, a 5.11 offwidth crème-de-la-crème. As the clouds darkened and sprinkles of joy began to fall out of the sky I tied in and Michy frowned and franticly pointed upwards towards the looming swaths of billowing and electrically charged death balls (it’s all about perception…I thought they looked more like cotton balls). Needless to say, I slipped and slithered and cursed and tore my way past the crux and into a dripping alcove, where I sat and pondered my educational upbringing, surely I was smarter than this?

With lighting bolts crashing about, we packed up and said good bye to the amazing Vedauvoo and let the wind violently blow Big Red to Jackson Hole, where we canoodled the evening away in a quant little bungalow built in the 1920s!

While cruising the Grand Tetons we ran into Nadene, a long lost friend…what a qawink-e-dink! And another amazing thing: Driggs, Idaho. What a great place that we will definitely return to and better yet, it is home to Teton Canyon, a pretty little climbing area with a lot of sweet routes and sweaty potential. Most the walls were sopping, but we managed and afternoon at the Grand Wall where Michy did a cool 10c called S.O.S and I managed to free the Aid extension called Guides Wail, a technical 5.13. Yippy skippy!

And finally, this all brings us to City of Rocks, surely the best climbing area on the planet. A day and a half here will make you silly enough to eat a noodle off a cat’s nose! And I guess that’s where we are at…

We did it! We hiked to the top of the Great Sand Dune, the largest most sandy brownish goldish reddish yellowish cold in the shade hot in the sun dune in North America. Here is the proof. And see those clouds? They rained and hailed and blew cold air on us! Off to Denver to eat at Snooze and then to Boulder to see Dustin and Barb and climb in Boulder Canyon. Be home soon!

We had a great time in Penitente Canyon in S. Colorado. With some crazy weather the hordes were kept at bay and we had the canyon, at times, completely to ourselves! The climbing is very technical and low angle with lots of microscopic edges and pockets. I was excited to get a lot of routes, including a Flash of the classic Bullet the Blue Sky, 5.12d and fast ascents of two great 5.13s, Casandra and A Virgin No More. Michy climbed the very cool 5.12, Forbidden Fruit, in the rain and also worked out the moves on a 5.12b called Sister Mercy. All in all it was a great first visit to Penitente Canyon and we will be back.

Sante Fe had a very cool Folk Art Museum with these crazy wood carved animals!

We also made our own Japanese Kite!

And we met Ricardo Cate, a native artist from the Kewa Pueblo. His cartoons are excellent and we bought a few of his paintings which will be showing at Stoneworks Art Gallery when we get back!

A few not-so-awesome things:

1. Getting to the Four Corners and it being closed
2. Taos (Eek!)
3. Matt being blown out of the van in a fiery ball because of a gas leak
4. Sexist idiot at a crag who insulted Michy (reward, Michy climbing the route he couldn’t even start)
5. Both coming down with a bad cold
6. Raw finger tips (Matt thinks they are cool)
7. Matt’s cracked big toe (Michy thinks its cool)
8. Guy who listens to sappy reggae on an iPod portable speaker at Great Sand Dunes National Park (2014 version of boom box on a shoulder)

But they have made us giggle in the aftermath!

A few not-so-awesome things:

1. Getting to the Four Corners and it being closed
2. Taos (Eek!)
3. Matt being blown out of the van in a fiery ball because of a gas leak
4. Sexist idiot at a crag who insulted Michy (reward, Michy climbing the route he couldn’t even start)
5. Both coming down with a bad cold
6. Raw finger tips (Matt thinks they are cool)
7. Matt’s cracked big toe (Michy thinks its cool)
8. Guy who listens to sappy reggae on an iPod portable speaker at Great Sand Dunes National Park (2014 version of boom box on a shoulder)

But they have made us giggle in the aftermath!

The Chacoan Pueblos!

Chaco Canyon National Monument is amazing. The drive is a bit tedious. The Pueblos are huge and jaw dropping. I would compare the ruins to anything I’ve seen in Europe…there are roads between huge religious and trading centers, dwellings, art, it’s an ancient metropolis and surrounded by a beautiful canyon.

Skyscapes and a dusty road.

Out in rural America, and here within the Navajo Nation, you will come across some of the most beautiful towers the color of our souls and sunsets that wrap you up and shake you till you sleep and straight upon straight roads unbent for miles and pot holed and cracked from so many of you’s and I’s steeping down them and fences not holding in any of the dust and grabbing at too much garbage and people weathered beyond repair and always smiling and always trying to get some or give some. Out here, in the Navajo Nations, on Route 66, in Santo Domingo Pueblo, in rural farm lands near La Garita or Tres Piedras, you’ll find people who need some help just like city folk…living day by day to make ends meet. Tired of that American Dream that’s just a nightmare or at least a bad nights sleep. Work from sun up to death. And then get on going again. A smile’s worth a million dollars but it doesn’t feed us. It doesn’t put shoes on our feet or fix the busted spring door or pump water to our faucets. Dust is still blowing. Droughts are still drying everything up. And there are Wal-Marts everywhere. Let’s all help each other out a little bit.

Two climbers in a van eating m&m's

Sights