The View On Top

29 Thu, 2010 § 6 Comments

“This is what I desire most; to be able to sit with you & watch the shifting shadows cross a cliff face of sandstone.”


It was in Indian Creek that Dave & I realized the love we shared for the desert — & for each other — & we knew we would spend our lives together experiencing this kind of beauty & adventure.  It seemed only fitting we marry here with bands of red cliffs looming overhead as witnesses.  For us, the heart of Indian Creek has always been in the canyon…at the base of 300-foot sandstone cliffs…admiring the sheer faces & clean lines [cracks].

For us, Indian Creek is not just rock climbing; it is crack climbing.  It is perfecting tape gloves & hand jams; consenting to gobies, scars & blood.  It is sweat, tears, feeding off the desert’s calm & facing fears.  Fulfillment & success are equated to falling into our sleeping bags at the end of the day…exhausted.

What does a typical Creek day look like?

[Take a deep breath now…& GO]: I’m awake just before the sun bundling up in layers, trying to wash the sleepiness from my eyes; I let Eisley out of her bed, do some quick yoga to warm up; Dave’s up, scanning the climbing guide for our daily agenda & preping required gear while I prepare a simple breakfast [usually oatmeal & yogurt], hot chocolate & tea, still trying to warm up…pause…just long enough to admire the sun spilling over the horizon into full view…eat, quickly clean up, jump in the FJ, aim for the crag, always at least second — if not the first group – at the base; finally, climb until our muscles, joints, skin, nerves, all-of-the-above fail.  [& breathe]

So what happens when you take the familiar, with its established meaning, intimacy & expectations, step back & peel off the layers?  What does it look like naked, raw & fresh without our agenda?

I’m still up before the sun letting Eisley out.  It’s a bit chilly, so we walk.  At the point of a drop off, I find a perfect stone platform to watch the gold & orange expansion of the soon-to-be-sun shooting across the horizon.  I let Eis wander within eyesight, while I practice sun salutations & warrior poses with the rising sun.  I sprint back to camp overcome by the desire to share this with Dave.  We bike down the dirt road looking for other sunrise photo ops.  Eventually we walk to the rim to experience the morning view.

These same walls are normally met by our anxious ambitions to get up close & personal; this time, we admire their beauty & magnitude from above…from a distance.

We spend our days practicing yoga; biking till the road ends, then hiking till we discover a new path, then walking until it’s been too long since Eisley’s last drinking puddle 🙂  Rather than concerning ourselves over what will be quick & effortless over the fire — & take up less space than the climbing gear — we savor “gourmet” camp meals [Salmon with Blackberry Sauce, Chickpea Burgers, Eggs & Bacon, etc]; we even enjoy actual lunches rather than bars & snacks hastily consumed between pitches.  We sleep under the full moon on cots.  We borrow my parents’ one-up!?!  Partake of midday siestas?!  Have we gone soft??  We read & write; we enjoy music as well as the stillness.  We love just being in the desert & just being with one another.

Our trip wasn’t always this sunny, light-hearted view; we were initially welcomed by tall bolts breaking through the sky not nearly far enough away.  Among the grey, drizzling sky & massive gusts of wind, we found what appeared to be an ideal campsite & waited out the storm.  Dave entertained me on his ukulele with John Williamson’s “Home Among the Gum Trees” & tried to teach me the Maori Kamate Haka…with little luck :P.  We became immersed in our own little world & cannot tell you when exactly the rain ceased.

The wind never really eased up that night…& after a coyote sauntered to within 15 yards of camp [my primary concern regarded Eisley; I could claim sole concern, but coyotes have always creeped me out], we seriously contemplated packing up & heading to more familiar pastures down in the canyon.  The point of our venture was to experience the less familiar though, so we committed to give it until morning.

Our faith rewarded.

We will not be giving up our typical climbing-centered/active camping trips any time soon; however we did gain much from loosening our grasps & letting go of an agenda.  It is ok for us to bend even how we enjoy recreational activities: rather than baha-ing downhill on mountain bikes at god-knows-what-speed [Dave, not me], we can also be more moderate & playful with our approach.  We do not always have to dig in so deep; we can relax, welcome flexibility & leave room for spontaneity.  Let life happen…& enjoy.

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