Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Highs and Lows

As my brief time in Tennessee has come to an end I once again begin to reflect on the trip, areas visited and general experiences.  It's also interesting to compare current impressions with those from 10 years ago when a much younger me last visited the area.  Before I get too much into my take on the bouldering I thought I'd list a few highlights and low-lights from the trip.

A few Highlights (in no specific order)

  • Getting hissed at by a opossum.  What a nasty little creature.  Still made my evening to encounter something that is best described as a "giant rat that hangs in a tree".
  • Southern BBQ.  Delicious, what more can I say.
  • Southern Hospitality.  Climbers in general are generous and at times I felt like a bit of a charity case as I surfed coaches, loaned an assortment of gear (tent, stove, pads, guides, sleeping bags, etc...) and hounded folks for beta.  I guess having an adorable 4-year old along tends to soften hearts and we are ever so thankful for all the wonderful folks out there.
  • Southern Accent.  The opportunity to listen to folks talk had me looking forward to even the most mundane encounters.  "Would ya like paper or plastic?"  Oh, I don't know. Can you ask me again?  And even in the rare cases when someone was being condescending it still sounded so sweet that I couldn't even get irritated but would simply respond with a goofy smile.
  • Climbing.  More on that later
A few Low-Lights (also no specific order)

  • Mexican Food.  I knew mexican food in TN would be bad but I didn't know the extent of it.  Maybe I just found the worst restaurant possible but it's safe to say I won't be eating any more tacos until I return to the Southwest.  
  • Weather.  We actually had quite a few good days but no trip to the South is complete without being chased away by rain.
  • Pay to Play.  It seems that many of the areas in the South require a user fee.  Don't get me wrong, I think it is awesome that climbers have good relations with landowners and a small fee can be appropriate but $5 a day starts to add up.  
  • Poison Oak.  For some reason I was under the impression that I didn't need to be on the lookout for poisonous plants this time of year.  Well apparently the don't lose potency after a freeze and it is a hard learned lesson.
  • Vomiting.  Don't think this one needs much clarification as being sick on a climbing trip just sucks.  My girls definitely got the worst of it.  
So that's just a few things that stuck out from the trip and I'll be posting more about the climbing soon.  

Poison Oak sucks.  The spot on my back is the worst but legs arms and stomach weren't spared from itchy torment either.  I've found it hard to sleep with all the burning and itching, but fortunately it should go away in a couple weeks.

Chris knows the importance of hydration.  Maybe that's why he was the only one from our group of 4 to not lose his lunch.

When not hindered by rain or sickness there was a good deal of climbing.  More on that soon

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