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Traveling, living, loving, exploring and trying to make some semblance of sense out of this crazy world.  


Friday, October 14, 2011

Another Power Couple Adventure

We were spending too long inside, in the city. No doubt, we had done good things, were working on doing more. And I remain grateful for opportunity and income. But the groove had become a rut, the routine a Routine. While Cindy explored the city and met interesting people, I marched through the endless chain of 5-7 hours frying fish, slicing veggies, washing truckloads of plates and pans and either cursing or racing the clock under glaring lights in a kitchen alternating between hip-hop or mariachi for a soundtrack. When the end of my shift came, I usually found myself too tired mentally and physically to enjoy or join the nightlife and frenetic energy of the crowds negotiating the streets of Old Town Flagstaff. After months of epics and adventures, Life had devolved to predominantly sitting in our tiny apartment reading and passing time until the next shift of work.

We did not leave West Virginia and all that was home to fall back into the grind of 9 to 5, or the illusions of urban prosperity. Our visits to the local hot new climbing area had left us both with a yearning to do a few new lines and get out more tempered with a bad taste for Flagstaff climbers' insistence on taking their dogs EVERYWHERE, in packs that often outnumbered the humans at the crags, and their propensity for gathering in the middle of a silent forest to shout, pose, spray and socialize.

This was the Scene.

This is what we left behind, what we had never been a part of, what we had no wish to become.

We went looking for unmarked branches on the Path. Mount Elden's fire-scarred flanks sport a host of cliffs, many covered i routes and fairly active, especially as winter drives climbers to the sunny Southern slopes. Finding solitude now only to lose it to a crowd later had little appeal. We needed something with a touch of crazy.

With a hint and a nod from John Burcham, local photog and climbing guru, we followed a trail leading out of an unmarked parking lot beyond a sagging fence along Highway 89, a lost corner of Heaven with open meadows, owl calling in the dusk, deer climbing the steep hillsides, ancient junipers offering shade to weary travelers, and a mountainside covered in hundreds of feet of pinnacles, faces and slabs, two hours' hike from the car, three minutes from the city limits of Flagstaff.

After an initial hike to recon the road conditions and get a better look at the target, Cindy and I set out Early Thursday morning with snacks and water bottles, chalk bags and shoes and cameras, determined to break out of the box we had been slowly building.


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