At some point, we will hit a literal bump in the road, and our new camper will definitely break in half, our bed will smash down onto our heads, and we’ll learn our forever lesson about trying to live a life that makes us happy. Until then, we’ll just keep not taking the hint. Our maiden voyage, like most new things, felt a lot like trying to puke on someone else from a rollercoaster, but throwing up into the air instead, not understanding what direction your body is travelling through space, and slamming straight into your own floating vomit ribbons.
BRAAAP, BRAAA-GLORP. My bike came to a dead stop, sunk deep into the confusing embrace of mud. There’s nothing like not crashing your dirtbike for long enough to conquer a hill climb, only to find your riding buddies waiting with a camera pointed at you. This is not what I encountered at the top of this particular hill. Eli knew that if he pointed a camera at me, I’d either choke, or just avoid the giant mud puddle, both of which would bore him. So with no warning, already committed to my line, I pin it straight through the deepest water-filled rut in the mud puddle naively expecting only a gross shower. Instead, I had to squlorp my boots out of the deep mud, climb off of my dirtbike statue, and laugh until I cried. Luckily, there were 3 of us, so after taking pictures and gawking at my bike being held upright by the earth’s own hands (see below), Travis and Eli each grabbed a handlebar while I lifted and pushed the rear, extracting my bike with extreme efficiency. I attempted to roost all the mud onto Eli, stalled it instead, and then we continued ripping around the OHV area until we were all exploding bottles of bliss. We arrived back at camp to drink some beers and yell through our salty helmet hair about how that was the Best Rip Ever.
What does sending your hardest climb yet get you if not eternal glory? Not sure if I answered that, but I certainly typed a lot of words:
“Their enthusiasm has no bounds, and therefore people born under the Sagittarius sign possess a great sense of humor and an intense curiosity. Freedom is their greatest treasure, because only then they can freely travel and explore different cultures and philosophies. Because of their honesty, Sagittarius-born are often impatient and tactless when they need to say or do something, so it’s important to learn to express themselves in a tolerant and socially acceptable way.” Hey, fuck off, you don’t know me!
All human life is spent trying not to fail at any more things. Reassuringly, nature’s first green is gold, her hardest hue to hold. So even she fails, and we get seasons. Failing can take infinite forms: burning food, hurting yourself, and letting everyone down. Generally, barfing is a sure sign of failure. You take a risk, you fail, and puke comes out. When walking into the boulders, hikers ask about our crash pads. With bright eyes we explain that they are for rock climbing, and they say, “Oh, in case you fall, I get it!” But there’s no “in case.” It’s inevitable, climbing is falling. I should say, “They are for falling off rocks.” Maybe you can’t identify with any of this because you’re not a walking train wreck, you have a shiny golden face, and all your wheelies are eternal, but you have definitely failed at something, and will most definitely fail at something else again.
If all those internet trolls wondered why Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson were wasting their lives doing something as useless as climbing the Dawn Wall, then boy are they going to be disappointed in me. There’s nothing like a glued-together cave problem with a drop-off finish in a world class bouldering area to make you question what the hell you are doing with your life. Fortunately, if you look into the cave with the right kind of eyes, you will find the definitive answer to soothe any existential crisis: Going sideways, to that glued jug, DUH.
Well here you are, lost in a maze. It could be haunted and made of corn, or you might be stuck inside of a cheap plastic toy, with a tiny ball bearing ever in pursuit. It’s none of my business. Eventually you will happen upon a dead end (a legitimate one, not a wall… that seems to have features on it…), where the only way out is to turn around. Except, sometimes it isn’t that simple. Sometimes, there is a family of bears waiting for you to turn around, ready to savor your flesh while you call your mom and tell her you’re dying. Sometimes, you turn around only to discover yourself in superposition, already having turned around, finding yourself eating a Schrodinger’s catdog. Sometimes, you turn around and see yourself hunched over in a terrible superposition, not even knowing which end of the Schrodinger’s catdog you are supposed to eat first.
If you’ve never asked a 3 year old to guess your age, put that on your bucket list. I’ve been put anywhere from 5 to 100. They usually guess below 10 because you must be however old the other big kids they know are. If they don’t guess “big kid age,” they usually guess the highest number they know, because the older you get, the bigger you get. Little kids don’t understand peaks or primes of life. To them, age, strength, and “bigness” are directly proportional.
Every year, usually late in the summer, somebody’s underpants get hoisted up the flagpole at Longbow Forest Camp, and the freeballing owner is sacrificed over the bonfire in front of a cruel audience of hissing creeps who used to call him family. It is the most wonderful time of the year!
Longbow has been a family tradition for almost 30 years. Not technically my family, but my best friend’s family, which is close enough. A monstrous rotting stump of a tree sits near the kitchen, and all of the kids, who are now 30, used to drive their little toy cars all over its terrain. I’ve been coming to Longbow for close to 10 years*, just barely missing toy-car-stump era by about 15 years. Usually we enjoy activities such as moving huge logs, teasing Karl for bringing a gun, badminton, crawdad capturing, cold river swimming, and making the fire so big and hot that it melts our beer bottles, but this year was slightly more death-defying.
“Who shall call them from the grey twilight, the forgotten people? The heir of him to whom the oath they swore. From the North shall he come, need shall drive him: he shall pass the Door to the Paths of the Dead.”
-Malbeth the Seer
In this passage, Tolkien was actually referring to the boulderer’s destiny of climbing at Priest Draw. You shall walk the paths of the dead, and the forgotten people will fulfill their oath: to let you cam your flesh into their bomber limestone pockets.