This is why I should make an effort to blog more often.
And the winner is…
Traveling by myself in remote places!
This time I went to Las Vegas for work once again, and decided to check in with my climbing coach on a good place to go for climbing…
He immediately pointed me to Bishop in the Eastern Sierra region of California. He also mentioned Red Rocks National Park close to Vegas and some other spots around Nevada and Arizona.
Now it was time for me to do my research! I googled everything climbing/bouldering and Bishop, Red Rocks, etc. I came across some interesting blogs and contacted the people behind it for further info. The first one to answer with a Mike Doyle (NV) who categorically told me that anywhere in NV would be way too hot for climbing in June. And indeed it was. When I got there it must have been around the 100’s.
In my somewhat generic e-mail I also mentioned Bishop, CA. Mike mentioned that he wasn’t as familiar with the area, but that he thought Bishop would be on the hot side as well. But he pointed me to MAMMOTH LAKES, CA! He gave me a link to the “Mammoth Bouldering”.
So I visited the website, and contacted the author. In my e-mail, I was pretty much asking if they could point me to local climbers or places to climb/boulder.
So, I got an e-mail from Charlie who authored the guide to “Mammoth Bouldering”. He asked me to contact him one week before I headed that way, and mentioned that if he was around he’d take me around to see the area. Not too bad I thought.
A few weeks later, I got an e-mail from Wils (Bishop, CA). He and his wife are simply awesome climbers and have developed a lot of the area with first ascents. He said he was going to be away the first two weeks in June, but that he could be my guide if the timing worked out. Pretty awesome! The only problem was that I was going the Mammoth Lakes in the first week in June.
I was getting more and more excited as I started researching the area. I also bought the guide from Charlie.
My climbing coach got me even more excited. I went for a class one day, and he kept raving about the area, and showed me pictures, etc.
I looked into finding a guide for at least one day while I was in Mammoth Lakes. I found the “Sierra Climbing Guides”. So I reserved a guide for one day, as soon as I arrived in the area. I was planning on going it alone the next few days.
I bought a lot of new gear in the meantime. New climbing shoes, a serious hiking backpack, and much more.
Alright! It was now time to head to Vegas for my work conference. It lasted 3 days, but all I could think and talk about was my climbing and hiking adventure in Mammoth Lakes.
I texted Charlie the day I arrived in Vegas to let him I know I was going to be in Mammoth on Sunday. He answered saying that he’d be around then.
On a very hot Sunday, June 2nd to be precise, I picked up my rental car and headed to Mammoth from Vegas. It was a good 6 to 7 hour drive through some pretty amazing landscapes, which ranged from arid desert low vegetation with the Canyons in the distance, to high altitude green fields with snow covered mountains as a backdrop, as I approached the Eastern Sierra region.
I felt so great! So happy! So lucky to be experiencing all of that!
At the very start of my drive, I received a text from Charlie asking me if I was in town already. “Yay!” <I thought to myself> “I get to meet the freakin’ author to the guide book I purchased, and on top of that…a pretty awesome climber!”. I told him I was driving that way and would be there in about 6 hours.
I get to Mammoth Lakes and headed to the airport to switch my car. In the meantime, I get another message from Charlie asking me if I had made it into town.
Side note: the airport is a stretch of land, parallel to the main road leading to town. huh….the planes land pretty much where cars drive! ah!
I get my car, head to the hotel, drop my stuff…and now it’s time to eat! I was starving!
I texted Charlie and asked what would be a good place to go eat. He mentioned “Whiskey Creek” and something to the extent that they had happy hour. So that’s where I went!
I texted him again and said (if I remember correctly) “I’ll be at Whiskey Creek. If you’re bored, come out and let’s have a beer”. He answered back and said he was coming. We met briefly. He came across as a quiet, somewhat suspicious, somewhat shy, only comfortable with people he knows well, kind of guy. Very polite. He mentioned something about being hung over because the day before was the last day of the skiing season at the resort…he drank with a lot with friends, had snowball fights at the top of the mountain, and skied…yes…drunk.
I was really thinking about the next day, when I would have a guide to climb the whole day at 7,500+ altitude (that’s the elevation of Mammoth).
I bought a few snacks and water for the next day, got my backpack ready, and caught some ZZZZssssssssssss.
Next day comes, I have my coffee, banana, and yogurt! Off I go to climb! The real FUCKIN’ DEAL! Real rocks, with some breathtaking surrounding vistas!
The climbing took place at about 9,000+ altitude, in Rock Creek close to Mammoth.
Getting to the actual slab I was going to climb was a good upward hike, crossing a small lake on a slippery log, and walking on sandy ground. All of this while carrying a pretty large and heavy backpack. Yes, I thought…the real deal. Suck it up and do it!
I have to admit that although I am pretty athletic and active, the altitude did get to me a bit with its thinner air. But nonetheless, I made it!
We get to the spot…well…to some spot. We dropped our gear…my guide pointed to what I was going to climb.
<hummm….that’s what was going through my mind, but my face was as calm as the water on the lakes we had just driven past.>
The rock I was going to climb was a mix of slab climbing and yes! some crack climbing. It was about 100-ft high.
<breathe Sassi, breathe Sassi>
My guide set up, while I belayed him.
Now it was my turn! I climbed like I had done it a million times! So exhilarating. The height, or fear, didn’t really register. Just adrenaline and a feeling of accomplishment.
My guide moved me over the slab over the afternoon, making the ascents harder and hard, with some overhangs here and there, and very little to hold on to. A lot of balancing.
I’m not sure what grade I climbed, but I felt really great!
It was time to head back…NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
I would still have a few hours of sunlight! I hopped in my car, had a light lunch, and headed to the Yosemite! Charlie had mentioned to me the night before that it was a 45-minute drive to the Eastern Gate of the Yosemite.
The drive itself was well worth it. I have hundreds of pictures to tell the story. Oh…what would I do without self-timer!
Yosemite is…well…it is…DIVINELY beautiful! I visited the Tuolumne Meadows and other close by areas. On my drive up, it was foggy, raining, with some sleet too…then sunny, then rain, then sunny, then rain…yes…just like that. I have hundreds more pictures to tell this story! 🙂
I headed back to the hotel, took a shower, and headed to town (a very small town center) to have dinner.
What I keep forgetting to say is that most of this was me…all by myself…surrounded by beauty, which seemed to be all to myself…a harmonious silence…and just plain happiness and peace. Alright…with some occasional bursts of adrenaline!
I “sassi” planned what I’d do the next day. Which means…not a whole lot of planning…but more like…general things I wanted to cover and boulder.
I got up early! Headed to a local coffee shop (my favorite 🙂 ). Very nice people in this coffee shop I have to say.
I packed my snacks, water, backpack, camera, and off I went.
I wanted to find the famous and well-hidden hot springs first, and then hit some other natural sights that were on the guide I had purchased…and who knows…some bouldering later…by myself…but without a crash pad, which put a small brake on my excitement.
I found 4 AMAZING hot springs! A bunch of lakes…lots of dirt road driving and cows along the way. I went for a quick dip in one of the hot springs. Quick…because it was kinda hot for a long soak…
All of the springs were in the middle of nowhere, and I was always by myself…surrounded by the Sierras and marvelous landscapes. Except for one…as I was walking towards the spring, I could see from a distance that the man/woman was butt-naked! ahahahhaha…he managed to get his shorts on before I got close enough to tell if it was a she or he. We said hi to each other…and I proceeded towards the spring and he proceeded toward his car in the loooonnnnggg distance….
Oh sorry…I lied…there was one man from Bishop, CA in the spring I actually went in. We talked. He seemed nice…and then I left.
It’s so funny…I never registered AT ALL any “danger” or “fear” of being a woman, all by herself, in the middle of nowhere, with a man in a hot spring! Pretty sweet!
Life should always feel like that!
I still drove to other places…an earthquake fault, the Devils Postpile, and some summit somewhere…
The drive to Devils Postpile was a bit crazy…steep, dirt road, in my shitty ass rental car. However, the surrounding scene was so amazing that it served as my natural visual valium. Such a calming and securing effect.
The small hike to the actual Devils Postpile monument was a bit scary for me. It was a 30-minute hike, literally in the middle of nowhere, in bear and wild animal land…where I…Sassi…was the “foreign” animal.
The columnar basalt formations of over 100,000 years ago were well worth the drive and “passing” fear of lonesome walks through wilderness.
<ok…this post is soooooooooooooooooo longgggggggggggggg, and i’m not even 70% done>
After all of this…I went to the hotel room, once again…took a shower, and headed to Whiskey Creek again.
On my way back to the hotel, I grabbed a few local brews and asked the guy working at the store to open the bottles for me. ahahahahahahha!
I was so bummed I had to pack for the next day! So I figured the best way to do it would be to do it while drinking…and finally…while drunk! And listening to good music.
And so I did!
I was all packed up! I had my “Sassi” plan for the next day. Well…it involved summiting Mammoth Mountain, and BOULDERING in Deadman Summit.
My flight would leave at 5pm, so I had a good chunk of time to enjoy that beautiful place.
I woke up slightly hung over, headed to my favorite coffee shop, grabbed my double espresso cappuccino, and a bagel!
I packed everything in my car and headed to Mammoth Mountain.
Ok…ok…I didn’t hike the whole thing! C’mon! It is 11,059ft elevation, and I only had a few hours to do that and boulder! I got to the summit and then hiked around…took another hundreds of pictures at 11,000+ elevation, walking on snow, in very few layers…feeling a bit out of breath (ah!), but just BEING in the moment.
I came down the mountain…had a light lunch, and off to Deadman Summit I went!
Wait! Wait! Not without a quick stop by the Obsidian Dome. Huh…I later found out it was not such a quick stop. Scary drive too…damn it! But then again…very worth it.
Now, to the awaited bouldering, without a crash pad, by myself, in a completely unknown place. WuTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!?
I did it…for a while and then unfortunately had to head back towards the airport for my flight.
The adventure did not stop here!
I went to San Diego to meet some pretty amazing friends. One in specific! Almost like a brother to me! 🙂
I also surfed! Experienced some good Flamenco performances, ran on the beach barefoot, watched a soccer match…and so much more…
I feel so Blessed in so many ways! So so many ways!
I feel really good to feel comfortable and happy with my own thoughts, with myself…with my family and friends.
And so much more!
Please SASSI! Don’t forget this!
The next topic will be somewhat relevant to this…
It has to do with the fact that, if I can, I will ONLY allow a very, very cool, relaxed, healthy (in every way), stable, honest “partner in crime” guy in my life for love and romance. Please God, help me in this endeavor. I want to find this man. I want this man to find me. I am open to this man. I want to love and be loved. I want to share these great adventures, in Beautiful places, with this man. I know it can and will happen.
BUT, in the meantime, I’ll have to deal with the douchey guys, who have girlfriends, but still shamelessly flirt with me (without disclosing the relationship status)…until I ask them the subtle question “Does your girlfriend know you flirt like this?”
You motherscrewers! ahahahahhaha! not funny! Grow a f’n pair!
Yes! That the next topic of my entry!