Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Stop Three, Flagstaff Part Three

Fourth of July weekend saw an influx of caravans into the forest. Gypsies from the surrounding areas, some local and some escaping the heat from southern Arizona, set up camps and campfires to enjoy the long holiday weekend. Every type of vehicle and tent was represented, from buses larger than my old house to decrepit trailers evidently dusted off for just this occasion.

My friend Brigette and her daughter Stephanie came up from Tuscon to climb with me, this time at The Overlook, just south of Flagstaff on the way to Sedona. The Overlook is a popular stop with travelers, and has not only a terrific view of the surrounding cliffs but also a number of local native crafts for sale at about a dozen tables. Although the necklaces and bracelets are assembled by natives, the beads and other materials themselves mostly come from China, Taiwan, and other SouthEast Asian countries. I noticed the same thing when in Alaska trying to buy a small jade bear trinket...everything was completely made in Taiwan.

Now I'll support a democratic Taiwan most any day, but I would at least like to have the option of buying objects made in the U.S. I know the economic issues are complex, but I'll support someone like Ryan at www.AmericanClothingExperiment.org in his quest for American sourced and American made products.

Back to the climbing. More basalt awaited, a little more featured and quite a bit shorter than at Paradise Forks. The climbing and company was great, and later included Brigette's father who was in the middle of a several-state motorcycle tour.

We were rained out one morning, and so drove down to Sedona in quest of drier weather. As we emerged from Oak Creek Canyon, the spires of the West of my imagination suddenly appeared...awesome! Sedona is located in the midst of spectacular scenery and numerous vortexes, of which I have yet to form an opinion. New-agers, cowboys, and tourists explore the west exist side by side in Sedona, making for an interesting mix of craft shops, horse-drawn wagon tours, and jeep off-road tours.

Sedona is also hot, about twenty degrees hotter than Flagstaff on this day, and we quickly decide to head back to The Overlook to see if the weather has cleared up. It has, and we spend the next days climbing and seeing the sights of Flagstaff.

After Brigette and Stephanie leave, I head back north of Flagstaff for a few more days of crack school at Paradise Forks. It is easy to set up top ropes there, and I can knock off six or seven routes quickly, running as many laps on each as my fists and fingers can stand. I climb my pain into oblivion, scars and callouses and aches accumulating slowly but surely. I'm soon ready for a day of rest, and take up Brigette's offer to visit Tuscon and climb at Mt. Lemmon for a few days.

Marcus leading a crack
Me following a crack. When it's the wrong size, it's just wrong. But when it's right, it truly is Paradise!

A rare featured overhanging flake

Every climber in Flagstaff knows that Paradise is down below

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