Saturday, 23 January 2010

Jagged Little Desert

My mobile home.

Well I have eventually made it to Hueco Tanks, Texas, and so far apart from some rain all is good. There is going to be plenty of climbing to keep me occupied for a while that is for sure, although no significant sends to report yet. There are a lot of rules and regulations for climbing here, but so far we have not found it too much hassle. One thing that you do have to watch out for are the plants, everything seems to be very spikey and I do not want to land on any of them, so good spotters are a must on some problems.


Big thorns

Thorns and cactus

Spikey yuccas

Photographs by Caroline Harvey

Friday, 15 January 2010


Here are a few random photos that I took on my recent trip back to Bishop. I took a drive up to North Lake one day, and found that the road was still closed due to snow so I had to walk instead. It was a lovely walk with beautiful scenery, although the Lake itself was just a big white space of frozeness.

Low clouds over the mountains

Blocked gate

Nice fence post

More mountains

I love these signs

I like sign posts these days.

Photos by Caroline Harvey

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Ye Dancing?

Buttermilk country

"Ye dancin?"
"Ye askin?"
"Ahm askin"
"Then ahm dancin"

..... but sometimes there is just no one there to either ask or dance with. After a rather depressing day of climbing, or not as the case may be, in the beautiful Buttermilks yesterday I decided to head to the Sads area in the hope of finding easier problems with bigger holds.

I was out and about early as the condensation dripping off the inside of my tent woke me up. I have only been once before to this area so was interested to see what it had to offer. It seemed fairly quite for the weekend with only a dozen or so people throughout the canyon. Again I found myself just doing my own thing and trying to build up my confidence, as my injury inducing falls have set me back more than I thought. Anyway, I have been listening to my Ipod a lot at the moment and just losing myself to the lyrics of various artists. Today though I needed to dance, and I mean needed to. I realised that I have not danced in months. It is not like I go out clubbing when I am back home but I am prone to dancing round the house with tunes blasting and it is one of the things I miss. So today I found a quiet spot and danced! I think I danced for about 45 minutes and only to 3 tunes repeated over and over. Awesome! It felt good. I am not a great dancer in any way shape or form but it felt good just to groove a little. I don't think anyone saw me but to honest I did not care. I think it gave me a little endorphin release, which I have been missing since I have not been running in an age.

The tunes I danced to in case any one is at all interested were;
K T Tunstall - Hold on
Paolo Nutini - 10/10
Sublime - Caress me down

It also made me smile because a friend once told me that I only like music that makes you do a jazz hand, side to side style dance thing (the demonstration was better than my words) and I think he was probably right!

I need to dance more often, make sure you do to.

Photo by Caroline Harvey

Friday, 8 January 2010

A slight change of plan

Plans, always good to have even a vague one but sometimes you can not account for unforeseen circumstances. This was one of these times and circumstances beyond my control mean that I am not in Texas but back in Bishop. I am not sure how long I will be here but I reckon till the weekend at least. I still have not fully recovered from the injuries that I sustained on my last visit here, so have had a very wary first day back on the rocks. Very easy and low ball climbs were on the menu today and that is exactly what I did. It was a beautiful day here in Bishop, much warmer than my December visit, although the nights are still quite cool but at least it is above freezing.

It was good to get back on the road again after nearly two weeks of recovering and festivities. I have very kindly been given a loan of a car this time which is making this unscheduled trip a cheap one. I had forgotten how much I love road tripping in this country. After the chaos of LA traffic that is the I-405 N, which took about 2 hours to cover 30 miles and extreme vigilance as most of the time there is not enough room to squeeze a credit card between each car, I cruised steadily towards Bishop. This car as a power output unit in it so I could listen to my Ipod through my headphones without draining its' battery, which is great because the radio reception is bad. Good music, loud singing and the road, I love it.

I have learnt over the years that for the most part I am a social animal and enjoy the company of others. However I have noticed since embarking on this solo trip that there are times when I just do not want to talk to anyone simply because I am not in the mood for idle chit chat with random people that do not know me. This may seem like a fairly anti social thing to do and is not a great way to meet people but sometimes I just can't fight the urge to hideaway and that is exactly what I did today. After a fairly relaxed breakfast I ventured to the Happy boulders and found a few easy problems within one area and just hung out and played there all day. None of the problems were overly hard as I am trying to be very careful not to further injure myself, but I had an enjoyable day being lost in my own thoughts and more good tunes. I would like to say that what I was thinking was amazingly monumental, inspirational, insightful etc, but alas no, just general musings. One of these days maybe, you never know. Anyway it was a good day maybe I will try and be sociable tomorrow.

Monday, 4 January 2010

America, F**k Yeah!

Second hand couch, one previous owner, now deceased.

Although I am on this trip to primarily climb, I feel it is always good to get out and experience the culture of the country that you are living in. So today in order to get that true American experience we drove out into the Southern California desert to shoot some mother fricken guns.

It was quite an experience as I have only ever very briefly shot with an air gun before. Today I shot with a 12 gauge shotgun and a 40 caliber Glock, and believe me I never want to be on the receiving end of one of those things. I think we live in a world where we have become desensitized to guns as they are often portrayed on TV, films and video games as being glamorous and the fact that people are being shot sometimes does not even register with the viewer. It is not until you let the recoil rattle through your shoulder or pull at your wrist and arm, that you really appreciate the power behind the weapon. I like to think that I have reasonably strong shoulders, but shooting the shotgun with buck shot cartridges was fairly intense.

I am not a great marksman but did manage to shoot a few cider bottles to smithereens, which I have to say was quite satisfying. Wes on the other hand is fairly nifty with the old trigger and I would recommend that he is probably quite a good person to stand behind should Dooms day ever come.

As you can see from the photos below the area we were at is popular with the local gun community and the ground was just littered with an amazing array of brightly coloured cartridges and junk that had been shot to hell.

Me with a bad ass gun, just don't ever give me one when I have bad PMT

The 2nd amendment states the right to keep and bear arms, so felt it my duty to comply

Pretty colours

The scene of the crime.

Sharp shooter extraordinaire.

Shotgun boy, don't mess!

After our gun games we headed off to Joshua tree national Park. It was a relatively quick visit but well worth it as it is a very pretty desert landscape.

A Joshua tree

I have almost recovered from my recent injuries and now feel rested enough to get back on the road, so am looking forward to be heading to Hueco Tanks in Texas in the next few days. Psyched!

Photos by Caroline Harvey and Wes Dodson.