"The Pit" is the campground that we always stay at when we come to Bishop. Ben and I have been here twice before: in 2001 with Jacob Chambers ("Flex"), and in 2003 with Phillip Sauerbeck. It's the first time we haven't had friends along, which feels grown up, but also less fun. Waking up in the campground was very familiar but strange too. The 'scene' has changed so much: back in the day, it was mostly young ripped dudes and some of them had dogs or girlfriends, an the occasional old ripped dude. These days the gender balance is pretty much equal. And with gender balance means that not only are there at least 400% more women, but also children. Also old ripped ladies. The dogs are still there, the young ripped dudes are still there, but...this is like a full-on family outing these days. I wonder how much of it is the sport maturing, and how much of it is the young ripped dudes of yesteryear settling into family life and bringing families along. Anyway, it's a different feel, for sure. Today, when we were at the Happy Boulders, I was struck again with a sense of the same feeling. It was strange to see little babies and toddlers with their beach hats and beach pails & shovels under the boulders, digging in the sand. The same feeling I used to get with dogs being in the way, I can imagine that I might feel toward kids being in the way if I were bouldering for any length of time. There was an older couple in their late 50s/early 6os cranking, and while we had Chicago Ed, I never knew his female counterpart. It was really encouraging to see that if I take care of myself I can still come out and do this sort of thing for a very long time to come.
Yesterday, we went in search of the petroglyphs.
We found them once before, but weren't so lucky yesterday. During the search, though, we saw several jackrabbits bounding through the sage, their long, black-tipped ears serving as flags and clearly marking their progress through the landscape.
Looking around in this vast wilderness, I bet lots of people would think "lots of nothing"...but I see it teeming with life. It's just a more subtle life than the jungle, for instance. We saw jackrabbits, lizards, deer tracks, bobcat scat, coyote scat, and there were lots of insects and birds. Not to mention all the vegetation. I'm not terribly familiar with this landscape/ecology, but I hate the idea of doing away with it simply because humans don't see much on first glance. I'm glad these sorts of expanses exist, just the way they are.
I love the color palette here.
On the drive home I saw a couple little kangaroo rats cross the road. Cute!
Today we went up to the Happy Boulders, and dusted off our climbing shoes. The forearm pump feels good. Familiar. My climbing shoes feel foreign, it's been 3 yrs since I've climbed! Ben and I played around on a few V.0s before our skin was too thin to take any more. What a gorgeous day. Warm, with a cool breeze. Sun on my skin feels good. My brain needs to chill out. Walking up to the boulders I was very out of shape and I was doubting myself incredibly, especially with all the changes to the 'scene' as I mentioned before. Do I belong anymore? Am I just a poser? But it doesn't matter. I had fun, and that's what it's all about. I am sad that I didn't spend more of my 20s climbing. I had the distinct thought as I walked up to those boulders, "Vet school was the worst decision of my life." It ate up 4 years of my youth, and left me with PTSD and a shit-ton of debt. That was the first time I had ever full-on REGRETTED going to vet school. It may be the only time I've ever really regretted anything. I hope it's the last time. What a terrible yucky unhealthy feeling. I am happy to be here in Bishop, doing a smidgen of bouldering, enjoying my warm sleeping bag at night and the cool air, cooking on my cookstove in the morning, exploring the high sierra desert,and just chilling with no real agenda. I think we might go to Keough Hot Springs here in a minute.