Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Foiled plans and new horizons

Unlike my last update, I have pictures to illustrate a few of our doings over the last week since leaving UT. Additionally, I am not sitting in a Starbucks, downwind from the shitter, while having to overhear coffee orders and the gossip of Yucca Valley. I am actually now in San Diego at Christies...but we're getting a bit ahead of ourselves.

Leaving Springdale wasn't easy. Well actually, once we got all of our gear in the car it was pretty straightforward. A campfire, hosted graciously by Joanie, was the perfect venue for saying goodbye...

I enjoyed regaling Corey and Daniel with a few tales--it makes me realize that I will miss some of the fine individuals I had the privilege of meeting this summer.

Our initial plan of coming down through the Sierras was nixed by prohibitive weather conditions. We corrected our course, changing our destination from Tahoe to Bishop, hoping that a slight alteration might buy us some time in an awesome destination close to the Sierras. En route we traveled through the Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains (the range just east of the Owens River Gorge and the Sierras)

These trees are some of the oldest living things on earth. We did a little hiking and some driving and were very pleased to encounter snow and ice after a summer spent cursing the scorching heat of the desert--putting on layers was a welcome change of pace!

Driving further into the park and gaining elevation led from cold and wet to cold and snowy

5.10 rubber still works well in the snow

As did the company jackets from ZAC

Unfortunately, the snow kept getting deeper and the hills got steeper and a few mini wipeouts on the unmaintained road indicated that a reversal might be in order.
As we headed back down towards the west (and Bishop) the skies began to clear and beautiful vistas of the snow covered Sierras came into view.

It LOOKED like we would get away with a fast one and that the weather might avoid pummeling Bishop and we could wait out the nastiness that was afflicting Yosemite and Tahoe in a wonderful place. Not so. By the time we descended into Bishop, the clouds and storms rolled in and rain and lightning furiously punctuated a meteorological tirade.

We weighed the options of waiting around in a car packed with climbing gear and food for three days with no place to stay while the weather passed versus simply cutting out for the warmth and accessibility of Joshua Tree.

The net result?

Back to yet another desert! Wheeeee!!!
Free camping, dirtbags galore and more climbable rock than can be reasonably imagined by any vertical aspirant.

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