I returned to the park yesterday and discovered that I’d arrived back to Lander in the middle of the international climbers festival. I think my The Birth of an Idea essay talks a bit about my relationship with climbing events. The international climbers festival isn’t one of those events, and I’m actually pretty bummed that I didn’t stick around on Friday. Since I arrived back in town I really haven’t left the park.
The park is really starting to become my favorite place in Lander. Yesterday after I set up camp I was eating some wraps when these cowboys came up to me asking me where all the climbers were. I told them they all went to Wild Iris for some climbing competition the event was hosting. Then I drove up into Sinks Canyon for a bit to keep myself busy. Even though I lost over 10lbs on my climbing trip, I’m still obsessed with being idle and losing fitness.
When I got back the cowboys were still there with there Eurovan rogue vending their shirts. I just kicked it on a park table in the shade and watched people. The event shuttles started pulling in, and the climbers in their vibrant colors, cool hats, and stretchy skinny jeans started to arrive. One group had a flat tire, and the comedy began. After watching them for about 30 minutes, the cowboys looked at me and we all started laughing and they joined me at my bench, where we gawked for another hour while these three climbed around on the ground trying to figure out how to change the tire.
While we were sitting there a climber from Oklahoma joined us, and we talked and sprayed about our grand plans for the summer. All the alpine rock we would crush, and the projects we would send. “This is where I’ve been, and aren’t I cool?” If that’s not good enough, “Look where I’m going, and aren’t I unique?”
A guy from the UK rolled up on a touring bike and said he had just left Jackson recently and solo’d the Middle Teton. The lady I was speaking to was picking my brain about the Winds, and now I was picking his about the Tetons. Actually, most people I talked to were really interested in the conditions of the Winds. We traded suggestions on must do climbs, and must do towns, and must do restaurants.
Last night was the best sleep that I’ve had in months. When I woke up, I was psyched to meet my neighbor, a man from Colorado, who had quite a lot in common with me. And we shared our stories, and experiences, and love for life over way too many cups of coffee. He had a cat on a leash, and also a dog on a leash. Both were tied up to the cooler covered in climbing brand stickers.
I sat in the park with my friend from the UK all day and we talked about how hideous mosquitoes are, and the cruxes of our adventures, and talked about how good it is to eat food that is not dehydrated. He has traveled much more than I, and he told me about some awesome “life hacks” that make for really interesting ways of life, travels, and ideas that had never occurred to me. I think he’s inspired me to apply for a work visa to Australia after I graduate from college.
And that;s a fresh experience. I got to share an amazing day with amazing people, and tomorrow we will likely all wake up early, pack up, and head our separate ways. But I’ll definitely make sure to get some contacts.
Tomorrow I’ll check out the Grand. I just got some more beta at Crux Coffee Shop in town, and from somebody who just did Exum and Owen Spalding. I have a strong feeling that in the next two days I will achieve another dream, and in my favorite climbing style.