Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Oh Canada

Okay, so I flat out don't know the words to the Canadian national anthem. And even if I did, I can't sing. But I still won a backpack at the Squamish Mountain Festival for running up on stage and making a fool of myself. Totally worth it.

Driving north was restorative. The feeling of hot soft sand under my feet at the mouth of a river, the healing smell of the saltwater, twirling silky smooth wild grasses in my finger tips. A couple of days in Mendocino, savoring the sea and season. Fourth of July festivities, morning jog through the Headlands, afternoon soak in a hot tub at Sweetwater spa... followed by a couple of days in Portland, Oregon, fresh food and yoga, working on the art of doing nothing, relaxing and reading.

Here's to random people from the road: Mindy the flutist, practicing The Rite of Spring, which carried out into the breeze and drew me in to her home to ask for a lesson! Cat the surfer girl, who I hope to meet up with on my drive south at the end of the summer when the water is hopefully warmer. Spencer from Santa Cruz, setting off fireworks with friends on a beach that lured me off the road for a rest stop on Cali's Lost Coast.

It's been a rainy July in Squamish and still doesn't really feel like summer. But the Chief campground has a great community and I've enjoyed the company and sometimes climbing time with partners from all over the world (lots of chance to practice my French!), especially Nick from Canada, Nina from Austria, and Siebe from Belgium. We all took three day ferry bound getaway to Vancouver Island for overhanging limestone sport climbing above Horne Lake- a bit burly for me but a nice change of scenery and good times making smores and stick bread over the fire.

Despite all the wet weather, some climbing highlights from the month: stellar 5.10 multipitch routes on the Squaw with Mike and Inigo; my second time up the Grand Wall, this time cruising as a "tourist" led by Matthieu and Siebe; a challenging ascent of the twelve pitch 5.11d Freeway; my first climbs on the Apron (the classics Calculus Crack and Diedre) followed by a trip up the Buttress; plus several awesome cragging days, especially with Nick on the white granite splitters at Lower Malamute.

Still in Squamish, seeking sun and solace and apparently snow-- Next stop, Bugaboos!