This was my intro to the City of Rocks. Arriving after dark, I had headed up the dirt road from Almo to the entrance of the park, and a rabbit appeared in my headlights. I drove past giving a wide berth, expecting the hare to hop to the side of the road, but this rabbit did not run. I backed up to give a closer inspection, and realized that the poor thing had already been recently hit in the hind legs and could no longer move. Its head was cocked towards me in the soft sidelights of my Subaru, but the eyes were blank, lifeless, merely awaiting whatever was to come next.
I chose to play God and end its life as quickly and painlessly as possible. Backing up further, I aimed my right tires towards the crippled critter, said a little prayer, and stepped on the gas. At the last second, my instincts kicked in and I swerved slightly, just enough to miss. Okay, one more try as it was a task I must do. This time I drove straight and true, and did the deed once more to make sure. What was the poor rabbit feeling as I bore down upon him? Fear? Relief? Acceptance? Can rabbits have those emotions?
Call it karma, call it a chance. The next day while climbing in a group of four, we noticed—heard first—a baby bird in the shallow stream next to our climb. It had fallen from a nest in the rocks just above, and was calling for attention. A survival gamble, as the attention could be good or bad, that paid off in this case. D picked up the bird and climbed the rocks to the nest, gently pushing the bird back into the rock hollow. Yes it was messing with mother nature, but I pushed those thoughts away and took some consolation in a life taken, a life restored.
After our rest day, we felt strong and ready. D geared up to lead Crack of Doom as the first climb of the day. Unfortunately it was also the last climb of the day, as a sprained ankle brought a premature end to his trip. He had placed a piece of gear on the bouldery start just a few feet off the ground. While trying to figure out the move, he decided to rest on the piece. It popped and down he went, hitting his ankle just the wrong way.
Without a partner, I decide to get out the aid gear and solo lead a quick pitch. It was a good idea that took a lot longer in reality! I knew I was slow and needed the practice, but had forgotten HOW slow! I had also forgotten how much energy aiding takes. By the end of the pitch, I was DONE. It was a good ending to the day though, and once again I knew I was going to have a great sleep.
The next day I was able to pick up with a group of three climbers and ended my stay in the City of Rocks with some great climbs, and great company! Two days of climbing with some new friends, and by the end of those climbs I am simply worn out and ready for a rest. I'm not sure where I am next headed...I will be in the Tetons (Wyoming) from the 19th, so have an eleven day window with no concrete plan. I'm not worried though—I know I'll come up with something fun to do!
Worried? Me? Old school spicy runout climbing.
Looking down at the parking lot from Parking Lot Rock
The last few days saw thunderstorms move in during the afternoon, which greatly cooled things off. The pic below (left to right, Dale, Andrea, me, Herb) is just after we finished our last climbs of the day. We had all run back to our car to add layers/change clothes, as it was 54 degrees!
Just another beautiful sunset!
Leaving the City