[15 June 2020> In a recent interview, Bob Dylan talks about the "long strange trip of the naked ape" + how us older folk have a tendency to live in the past + how youngins don't have a memory lane, they "have no past, so all they know is what they see and hear, and they’ll believe anything." This compounded w/ What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains fresh in our memory got us to thinking how kids these days are so wrapped up in the moment they have no time for reflection. Sure, everyone's snapping selfies left + right, but who has time to experience anything except what's at the top of their feeds? As Dylan says, our world (those that can remember a life before Inurnet) is already obsolete. With this in mind, we'll post another entry from our "rave bee" journal, picking up from Jan 1993.]
Feb 1, 1993—Tucson
I'll never catch up, life is going faster than i can write. Friday Harlow and I went to Chimney Rock. We had to wait til 12:00 when they opened the road. There were big landslides that had washed it out. Nature's destruction is amazing, all these rocks and cliffs that we think of as permanent are constantly changing, reshaping, the mountains collapse to the valleys, slow entropy. The earth is alive and well and can take care of its keep no matter what we do. It could care less if we put roads on it or blow ourselves up. In geological time we are nothing, our destruction will wash into the sea and a new species will arise. So yah, first Harold led George's Buttress. I was feeling a bit sketchy, the rock kind of gropey and slippery but i decided to do Mistaken Identity (5.9–), basically onsight as it's been so long since i climbed it and didn't remember it. I got to the crux and Chawn was telling he how Ed said it was easier to do it from the left so i struggled with that, started to do it and it was just wasn't happening i managed to downclimb than traversed to the right side and did it that way and finished the route. My first 5.9 fully on gear. Harlow did Stoner's Boner (5.9) net, a good lead. Then we relocated to Green Slabs. It was getting to be twilight but i decided to do M.I.A. (5.7) anyways. By the time i was most of the way up it was getting dark and i couldn't see too well to make placements which was kind of scary, but fun. It was a rush if anything. I got up and set up a belay than sat up there and belayed Chawn who had his headlamp. The cars below looked cool winding down the mountain, you could just see their headlights and they would slow down to look up at us probably thinking we were nuts. This lone light moving half-way up the vertical cliff. It almost felt like caving. I felt like i was in an atmospheric bubble. It's hard to explain, but i'm sure i'll remember it well [we had all but forgotten about it until we re-read this].
It was Harlow's birthday and he kind of knew there'd be a surprise party waiting for him. But how could we miss out on a free meal at Denny's? So we mowed down then went to his place. There was 2 kegs of beer and 2 cases on top of that and only about a dozen people. I stuck around for a bit then rode home through the dark streets on a Saturday Night, past all the parties and drunk college kids. Got to go to class now.
Saturday morning— i slept in and did chores and read until Michael 9 came in by train. Walking back from the train station i no longer felt like i was in Tucson or at least that i didn't live here, that i was travelling. I was experiencing Tucson how Michael was perceiving it. Dropped his bags off then went back downtown, had coffee at Quebec then just hopped a random bus and ended up in Southwest Tucson and walked up A hill. I saw angles of Tucson i'd never imagined, we sat on top of the hill and talked, i'm glad he's open about his homosexuality, on the boat we never talked about it [we shared a bunk w/ Michael crewing on an old schooner thru the South Pacific]. I finally got a hold of [C] late in the afternoon. Her uncle died. I got a hold of her roommate who told me and right after C showed up at the door. It was a little uncomfortable cuz i couldn't tell if C wanted to be alone with me and Michael was uncomfortable cuz it obviously wasn't the best circumstances to meet someone. Poor C, she can be so strong for others she forgets her own feelings. We went to get coffee and i guess the strategy was to keep C's mind off things so then we went to the Wild Wild West which killed 2 birds with one stone cuz it was also a novelty to Michael who had never been to such a place. As we were walking in i saw Elaine who was completely blitzed and cheery and by herself. Elaine taught us how to 2-step. Good to see C with a big grin on her face and Michael was loving it. Him and C were dancing, doing all sorts of amazing moves, everyone was in awe. Not sure where people learn this stuff (in Michael's case, his mother). We even did those scary line dances where everyone does the same thing. We dropped Michael off at my place and i spent the night at C's house to keep her company.
We got to sleep at 3:30. and i had to get up early to go climbing with Shaheen and Elizabeth. C said she set the alarm for 7:00 but i woke up with this nagging feeling and her clock said 7:09. I jumped up, threw on clothes and ran to Shaheen's which ended up being over a mile and got there at 7:08 (C's clock was 15 minutes off). Then went to my place to pick up Michael but Elizabeth was late. I invited her because Dale left her 3 weeks ago cuz he "wanted the freedom to take drugs" and she was in tears when i called Mark on Saturday. So here was another one of these situations where you're with 3 other people who don't know each other from different backgrounds relying on you for their entertainment and to be the common thread of the group. At first anyway, like you have to get the ball rolling and from there it's cool to see how different friends interact and get along. We went to Green Slabs and i led Rock Candy (5.6) a kind of stupid off-width. Shaheen cleaned and actually struggled a bit on it. Then Michael came up, he was scared but did well. He was shaking at the knees when i put him on rappel, but he really wanted to do it. Elizabeth barely got off the ground, she got one move up than just froze for a couple of minutes, afraid to put any effort int it. Finally she admitted she wasn't up to it. Harlow showed up in the meantime and was doing Monkey Business (5.6) which Elizabeth tried to follow and got as far as the traverse then Michael did it twice. I was leading Banana Cake (5.7) which was fun trying to find placements. Meanwhile Shaheen and Harlow were off doing Here and Gone. The wind was picking up and it was getting cold. I went off and did M.I.A. (5.7) again, kind of cool to do it in the light. The wind added an element, almost blowing me off balance. Michael followed and cleaned, he did really well. By then everyone was ready to leave as it was really cold and windy. We drove up to Windy Point to be tourists then went back down and eventually ended up at C's house, where she made us yummy black bean enchiladas and we watched the Super Bowl. Chawn and Tom came by with all their leftover beer. It was a strange but fun evening. Went home and slept with Michael, that was as a little awkward, but i just told him not to steal all the blankets... I mean, we did share a small single bed for 10 days at sea, sloshing against each other during that storm.
Woke up and back to reality except i've just been hanging out with C and Michael all day. I guess i should feel guilty that i'm not working my ass off and enjoying myself.... so dictates society and some sick never ending motivation within me. But i'm really enjoying myself and the company i'm with. C is amazing and Michael coming was a nice surprise. It gave me a chance to compare my travelling state with my present state. C just asked me if we could ever date. I asked her if we WOULD ever date. This is all weird, but i'm glad we understand where we're coming from. The world ain't going nowhere. It's not the destination, it's the act of getting there.
Feb 4, 1993
I'm sitting in Mechanics (Chaos) class and she's going on about bullshit and she probably thinks i'm taking notes. So if i incorporate some of what she's saying into this journal that's why. Michael left on Wednesday. We must have talked for hours on Tuesday night. Walked him to the Greyhound station and suddenly envied the feeling he had, of entering the unknown, a certain fear that would probably turn to delight when he realized how cool Mexico was. Met Rusty for lunch and we had a cool talk, he decided he's going to switch his major to physics. Wednesday night in Hinduism class [Zo] was being kind of weird and flirty, asking hypothetical questions like "what would you do if i asked you to have sex with me?" to tease me, see what i would say.
Monday night C and i kissed and i regretted it, it felt weird, there was no passion. But at the same time it felt natural and comfortable, hard to explain. I "slept" at her house but we didn't have sex. It felt like sleeping with a friend, like sleeping with Michael a few nights ago. I'm glad we didn't take it further as we probably would have woken up and said "what the fuck were we thinking?" I'm still not sure what my feelings are for her. In one sense i'm a little confused about this absence of passion (shit, she just gave us a homework assignment) but at the same time why not just go for it, what's holding me back?
Thursday was busy. I went over to optical sciences to talk to this guy Dror Sarid who works with atomic force and scanning/tunneling microscopes, interesting stuff and fairly easy to understand. After interviewing me for a awhile he let me loose with some of the other grad students. I was surprised at how small and simple the AFM's and STM's are, this guy Rick prepared a C60 sample and were able to looked at it (computer image) in a matter of minutes. Looks promising. Dror said he'd check w/ me later next week then came back 5 minutes later and said, "hell, why don't you just start coming in whenever" so it looks like i'll be interning there 4 hours a week so they can get to know me and i can get to know what they're doing to see if i maybe i can start working for them. Went to the climbing gym w/ Lyle as Chawn was sick and did 13 climbs including a 5.10+ twice and a 5.10d route then rode to Stacey's where they were carbo-loading for the Ultimate tournament and i scammed some free pasta but it was a little uncomfortable, such is that whole scene. Went home and read then C came by at about 12:30 then we went to her house and played backgammon and i got allergic and slept there. We probably slept about 3 hours.
Today at lunch she was talking about how she felt like "now's the time when i'm gonna fuck up." I knew what she meant and have been expecting this, so i asked her to elaborate, and sure enough.... she has a history of screwing up relationships by fucking around. Weird thing is she knows in advance, but can't help herself. She definitely can't be trusted and i can't (and shouldn't) expect her to change. If she wants to change and have a serious relationship it's something she'll have to go through on her own. And she also has to figure out if she likes guys or girls. Her behavior is so self-destructive, almost intentionally self-sabotaging. I want to help her and care about her, but i need to keep my distance. Perhaps it's her way of protecting herself from getting hurt, by not getting too close to anyone.
Feb 6, 1993
Friday afternoon played Ultimate for the first time in a couple of months. I was surprised that i was about the same. They wouldn't play Lisa cuz she was a girl and they wouldn't let Todd Shipman play with a purple skirt he was wearing.The endzones were about 5 yards deep, the field was hard as a parking lot and it was windy so it kind of sucked but i threw some points and i caught some points and handled a lot and we easily won so it was fun. After making artichoke hearts and tofu spaghetti with spinach noodles I talked C into going to a movie, though i had to race over there against the wind, shifting gears with my feet. Saw Indochine, very moving though a little soapy. Spectacular images of Vietnam, especially the sea with all it's islands. Then i left cuz she had to wake up at 6 a.m. C surprised me by saying "i think i love you." I didn't know serious she was being, but i didn't know what to say back. Love is the furthest thing from my mind right now. Kind of felt like she was holding a gun to my head, as Vonnegut says.
I stopped by Shaheen's to get his harness but he was at my house trying to drop it off but he couldn't since the key is not on my porch anymore. Saturday morning i was supposed to go climbing with Rusty and his brother Scott early but his brother left from Phoenix that morning, So hung out at Rusty's waiting for him to show which was around 11 a.m. Got up to Windy Point and Harlow was already there. He originally wasn't gonna go since he was sick but i guess he got better. Went and did Stovepipe Pinnacle (5.6+) a big piece of shit. Heinous rope drag and crumbly flakes. The chains were on the opposite side, but i belayed them all up. Had to rappel off the backside with the chains hanging over the edge. I was last and had given my 8 to Scott, so had to do a 6-biner break and it got screwed up so i had to hang there in open space figuring it out. After that Chawn led Shortwave (5.9–) a short bolted sporty climb. Rusty tried it but couldn't get the opening move so i pulled the rope and led it then Scott followed and did really well, he's a natural. Meanwhile Rusty and Chawn were doing Deranged of Late (5.8). Bill and some friends were hollerin' from atop Hunchback Pinnacle and asked if we wanted to T.R. Danglefoot Dihedral (5.10), which was fun. Very overhung, no rest, little crimpy edges until towards the top you do a barndoor into a layback in a dihedral and then just when you think you're spent there's some jugs to pull yourself out and over. Ran over and followed Deranged of Late on T.R. with a backpack full of gear and shoes and clothing hanging off of it, that made it more strenuous. It was twilight when i got up and the full moon was rising over the mountains, like a watchful eye.
Scott wanted to go again Sunday, he's a cool enough guy but i had to tell him that we had already planned on going out doing harder routes. Had shitty sleep Saturday night, I have this arthritic pain in my arms and had dreams of having sex with C which was weird. But i was mentally siked to climb, just pissed at the pain in my arms. Chawn came by at 8 and we went to Rupley's Tower. First did R-3 (5.8+), i led the first overbolted pitch, but fun and Chawn did the second then came down and then i led Team Toads (5.10–), yee haw! my first official 5.10 lead, if the one in Milagrosa wasn't. Then Chawn led Bop til you Drop (5.10) which was his first solid 10 lead, bringing him up to his following level. Actually he bouldered up to the first bolt and was stuck and couldn't climb down so i tossed him the rope up and he tied in and i put him on belay. I did it but it tweaked my arm. That's it, i've got to take a break from climbing though it was hard to quit with a few hours of climbing left. Now i'm here at Quebec and the air smells nice, a splattering of rain on the pavement like summer in coming and of course [Maya] is here and she's showing me her poetry and i really can't relate to it and tell her the worst white lie, "it's good."
Feb 14, 1993
Rainy Sunday evening and I'm sitting here at Coffee Etc with C feeling slightly disheveled, confused and thoroughly depressed and hungry, tho the Southwest tempeh tacos are snapping me out of it. I can't remember much about last week except i was siked for friday to come around. Harlow and i left early for Mendoza canyon and after finally finding the series of roads, signing in with Fish and Game (no trespassing unless you're fishing or hunting) and getting stuck and having to dig it out and jack it up and stick rocks under the wheels, we finally found the trailhead. We had to walk for about 2 miles on a fairly nice road until we got this gross pond that looked more like a cess pool and from there we had to bushwhack for another 45 minutes to the base of Table Dome. Lots of beautiful rock in this canyon, a lot of it much higher up, the Great White Wall. Harlow won rock, scissors, bomb so he led the first pitch. We found the brown streaks and were certain we were on Wily Javelina. The bolt was 25 feet up so Harlow goes up figuring he'll figure it out from there. The next bolt was another 20 feet up and he continued up and couldn't find another bolt, spent a lot of time traversing around and finally found a cam placement. Hmm, this is all sounding a bit familiar, especially when he clipped the 3rd bolt and finally after much ado, got to the belay, a full 165 feet and 3 bolts and a cam placement. Bill was just telling us the night before about his climb he put up, Three Draws and a Lady (5.8R/X) that as the named implied only had 3 quickdraws and a cam placement. Was this coincidence? I remembered Bill saying that 3 Draws and a Lady was 200 yards from Wily Javelina. I followed with the pack. The next pitch was similar and i led that, 30 or 40 feet to the first bolt, little edges that were crumbly, i'd grab a hold and they would come off. All that kept going through my mind was how sick this was, 30 or 40 feet between each bolt, and it wasn't like easy runout, it was 5.8 move after 5.8 move on flakey micro-edges. My were killing and i really needed a rest but looking down and seeing a bolt 40 feet below was not reassuring and it made me just want to plod on. 3 bolts on the whole 150 foot pitch. Completely sick and twisted. When Harlow got up to scout out the next pitch, he's like "dude! Look at all those bolts!" There was this line of bolts going up 20-30 feet over, bolts every 10 feet or so. That was Wily Javelina (5.9), the 3rd pitch anyway. Harlow cut onto it and up for a ½-pitch to a belay. The next pitch was great fun, the rock was cleaner though it was definitely 9ish, especially the traverse under the roof and then this high step with the bolt 15 below me. The next 2 pitches were a little easier, 5.6 –5.7ish, with some placements and chickenhead wraps, fun climbing, big boiler plates and jugs. The last pitch was pretty much 4th class to top out.
The sun was going down so we quickly bailed, having to leave a sling on a tree than 6 more rappels. 3 raps down we pulled the rope through and it got stuck on a rock. We tried everything, flicking it over and over and even pulling really hard which was scary cuz a few minutes before Chawn was freeing the rope and it dislodged a massive rock that probably weighed at least 100 lbs and it went crashing down. But whatever the rope was stuck on was straight above us. It was definitely stuck and it was getting darker every moment. I guess it was kind of assumed that i would climb back up since i led that pitch so i got on belay on my rope, got my flashlight out and also put my eight on Chawn's rope that was stuck and i started leading back up, taking in the slack on the other rope but not wanting to rely on it should it come loose. It actually was easier than earlier cuz there was more incentive, i had no choice. I clipped up 3 bolts and finally freed the rope (wedged on a horn) and had to leave a biner behind and have Chawn lower me. Phew! I was sure happy when i got down to the belay stance, though my feet were freezing and sore. The rest of the night was a series of things to look forward to.... i'll be siked when we get off the rock! I'll be siked when we're done with the bushwhack and on the road! I'll be siked when we get the car, when we get to Los Robles Jct for coffee, when we get home, when i get food in my belly, etc. Actually on the final rap i was up there by myself thinking i didn't want to get off. I turned off my light and it was insane. Here i was on the side of a huge slab of rock, balancing precariously (I couldn't see that i was tied in and imaging that i wasn't). The black sky and fuzzy stars, fuzzy cuz of the moisture in the sky. I started howling like a wolf and felt very alive, like an animal.... [here's a scan of this next page from the original journal].
[... Sean lead making muffins] while C and i went over to do Party Pooters (5.8), my second time leading it. Fun climb though a little weird at the bottom. C did it with no problems. Along with Agatha and Hai Karate. It was all in her motivation to do it, she's improved immensely. Ajay didn't get too far. He seemed too afraid of falling and didn't trust the rope or shoes. It was a cold, cloudy day and there was actually patches of snow to be found, we weren't far from the snow line. It was too cold after that so we bailed and hit Mi Niditos after stopping at Stacey's for bong hits. 1:15 wait at Mi Niditos so we went to La Indita (the 5 of us). Afterwards C and I went hot-tubbing at Stacey's friends Karen's apartment. then C and i saw Chaplin, piece of shit. C slept over at my place and we woke up late.
Today was a dreary cloudy sunday riddled with weird emotions. We went to breakfast and then suddenly it's 1:00 pm and we're at the Tucson Mall for some reason and C lost her keys and society and consumerism were getting to me and we were eating really gross yogurt and feeling vaguely unhealthy and bored and then were at my place under the sheets, wrestling and fooling around and then we were flipping quarters to decide if we should go to Ultimate and it's gloomy in my room and we're listening to Bulgarian voices and playing with fire frolicking in bed, but i'm wondering what we're doing, feeling sorta bored.... should i take these vibes as a premonition or a psychological barrier i need to overcome? C made a funny analogy though i'm not sure she realized it, about the sports climbing mentality, about how even if you're not sure what the next move is you just gotta go for it and hope it works out (and risk falling) whereas "traditional" climbers make cautious deliberate movements knowing he/she doesn't want to fall at all, but then again isn't living large. So should i just "go for it" and hope it turns out? Problem with this metaphor is that i identify more with trad climbing than sport climbing.
Feb 21, 1993
My wrists are sore and i have a cactus needle in my thumb and am starting to sink into a warm coffee buzz. Had a quantum test so i actually studied last week but of course procrastinating by going to the climbing gym or working out every day. Harlow tried to talk me into climbing but i managed to have the will power to decline. Screwed up the quantum test friday then went home amidst the rain to make tons of calls to Los Alamos. The first calls i made they were like "you need contacts, referrals". Hmm. That threw me off so i'd cold call personnel and be straight forward like "what would you do in my shoes?" One woman told me the previous lady was full of shit, but i should dish out my resume and let it circulate before calling. She had a point as all the groups were like "eh, er, sure, you can stop by, i guess, if you want." Harlow, Shaheen and I were planning a trip to Los Alamos for the weekend to ski in Taos then have interviews on Monday. But since Harlow was having the same lack of luck we aborted.
After the climbing gym Friday night C and i had these notions of going on a date. She was all stressed out about it, going home to do her hair, the whole works. But by the time we got our shit together it was getting late for most nice restaurants and we were being indecisive and weird and wanted to go see King Missile at Club Congress. We ended up going to Blue Willow then to Club Congress to see King Missile... interesting show, strange evening. We were out til 3 or 4 in the morning just talking, i don't know about what, some pretty heavy stuff that would be too difficult to get into now. Went and slept at C's house and Harlow calls there at like 9. "I figured you'd be there". Hmmm, does that mean C & I are an item? He wanted to go to the Dragoons even though the weather was sketchy. I finally talked him out of it and to just go up to Windy Point with C. We went to Lost Hawk Pinnacle and Harlow was geared up for Lost and Undecided when it started hailing and being weird which sucked cuz i was totally siked to do Chihuahua Power after that. We were undecisive for a while and finally just opted for Milagrosa, the west/north side. First i on-sighted this new climb which Bill said was 5.8 [draws topo map of routes] Then Harlow did the one i did last month which Bill said was 5.10a. and both C and i followed. Then we top-roped the 510b. next to that. Excellent stuff. I love face climbing. The way you have to balance on thin edges, crimps, probably my favorite stuff. And another cool walk back at Sunset.
C was supposed to meet Bill for dinner but he flaked (or she did) and she took me home since Harlow and i were going climbing today. He picked me up at 8:00 and we went to Sabino to Kor Route (5 pitches, 5.8). We walked 2-3 miles on the tram road then had to take off our shoes to wade across the cold swollen river then we had to bushwhack back up to the phone line trail and follow that for 4 miles, passing all the beautiful rock, the Acropolis, Whipple Wall, the more bushwhacking to get to the base and then 300 feet of 3rd classing up to the base of this huge 70-80 foot block that formed a chimney against the main face. Every aesthetic, you could see all the way through to Whipple Wall. I led that pitch going in and out of the squeeze chimney, getting stuck at one point, wedged in. Finally stemmed back out to a cool belay stance and watched Harlow coming up between my legs. The second pitch was this supposed R traverse but that's only for people without the patience for creative placements. Following was almost as scary as i would have penjyed 20 feet across and i was wearing the pack. The 3rd pitch i stitched up, having fun making placements, sewing up the wound. I was a bit confused as i saw a nut on the run out face 20 feet over, but it didn't seem natural though i was supposed to find a fixed pin and was thinking maybe they meant fixed nut. But i kept going up and found the piton and ooh, the bulge, a weird move. Then i had the belay stance from hell, hanging off of natural pro, a few hexes and a camalot and belaying Harlow over the bulge. He struggled and i was tasting it too, cuz if he fell he would have penjyed 10 feet or so directly on me in my hanging belay, on my nuts. But he finally got over then did another pitch with a long traverse. Back and forth across Kor Wall. Once again scary to follow as i would have penjyed 30 or 40 feet across the face. The last pitch was short and sweet, a strenuous layback on unusual rock. It was still very light when we finished but it took forever to get back. 7 miles back with 9 river crossings in the dark having to wade across rushing torrents up to our knees, then sloshing in boots full of water. Cold and dark. Bentley's is closing on us and i don't feel i've expressed myself adequately. I mean, i described the fact, we hiked 14 miles, climbed 5 pitches, bushwhacked, crossed rivers ,etc. but the experience itself i can't do it justice, in words. You had to be there, on the side of the cliff, the river below, the details of the rock, the clouds, etc. One of the cool things about Kor Route is that there wasn't a single bolt. I'm not sure thy that's such a cool feeling, something about scaling the face conquering and leaving it as it is (besides the fixed pin). Like a surgeon, or a seamstress, then taking out the stitches, maybe there's some deeper analogy to life itself, climbing and setting things to fall back on.
Am I too comfortable? Am i too happy? Am i kidding myself? Do i just think i'm in control? Am i achieving my goals? Goals are stupid anyways cuz what happens when you achieve them, then what? The only happiness is in desireless action. Doing things for the experience and not for goals. Sometimes when i climb i think i can't wait to get off the rock or to be finished, so it's more like after the fact enjoyment. But that attitude annoys me. Every once in a while i get that feeling of wow, i'm doing it, right now. And all of reality gets focused onto that instant. It collapses. But it's nothing you can strive for. You can't make yourself feel it, nor can you really describe it. I was interrupted by a phone call and now am too cold and not in the mood to finish this.
Why is Venus always on the Western horizon? As if it is beckoning me. Now it hangs near the moon, contrasting its identity... it does not dance with the stars. It is the lone shining globe on the horizon, always at sunset. I feel no desire to go west. Tucson is my home now, the mountains are my friends. Saguaros have root systems that go down a 100 feet or so, standing silent and proud. I am the tumbleweed blowing from the west. I may get snagged and take root or i may tumble on. [Seems we have only tumbled further east since....] Always look west for the weather. I have never been in touch with the weather like i have been here. I heard the rain during colloquium yesterday, it only lasted for 10 minutes but when i went out the streets were flooded and hail was on the grass. What the hell does "hail" have to do with Hail Mary's? I had my sandals on and shorts so i made no attempt to sidestep the currents. The water was cold and carried dirt and grease, on my way to a sorority house to tutor three sorority girls at once for $15 bucks, feeling like a gigolo. Now it's still cold but i feel it is the last gasp. Winter is dying and spring will arise bringing long warm trustworthy days.
Just finished Luci Tapahonso's "The Women are Singing". I just bought it this morning and haven't put it down except when i had to go to class and then to work over in optical sciences with "thinking mentals" (Navajo word for computers), taking images of silicon, shearing them, shrinking them, flipping them, cutting them up and rearranging . Powerful book, especially "Uncle's Journey," had me almost in tears. That one night spent over at the hospital will remain with me for life [we'd all but forgotten about this until we read the previous month's entry]. I learned more there then i will ever get out of a PhD in physics. I learned that i have no family, no culture. I am the tumblin' tumbleweed. I witnessed something so sad yet too powerful for words. Something i will never experience firsthand, but as a witness. The Navajo tradition is alive and strong. It is sad in some respects but in other ways amazing, that they should have to adapt to this modern world, driving in cars, dying in hospitals. There was a powerful presence in that sterile waiting room. Technology all became irrelevant and immaterial—they'll adapt their customs to any environment—it is an unspoken tradition that lives on generation after generation. I learned so much about C that one night. I felt so helpless, such an outsider. When C's dad thanked me for coming it meant more than any other thank you i've ever been told. And it's not like i even did anything. I guess it was just being acknowledged at a time when his attentions was obviously elsewhere.
Now i sit in this bustling coffee shop. It's about 10:00 on a Thursday night and C is on a date with some Jeff guy. The tables could turn so easily and it's not like i haven't been expecting it. That's probably why i have refused to let myself get closer to her. All i can do is patiently wait for her to figure her shit out.
Jesus surprised me the other day by giving me a short story he wrote. I was impressed, such a fully developed style, i can't believe it's Jesus, the voice so strong, at times vulgar and violent. But simple, like a Chicano Hemingway. A story about 2 brothers, the younger intellectual and the older macho hombre. Anyways, i'm inspired, maybe i'll try to write something—not that i'm not doing that now, but this is all just to me. [At which point we started drafting notes + writing various starts to story based on our trip to Machu Picchu in 1991, of course, never published...]
Feb 28, 1993
Here comes March, a rather demented feeble lion. Sunday morning in the sun, well actually Sunday afternoon, too beautiful out to pass up an opportunity to go to Milagrosa. Went with Harlow and this guy named Boyd. Boyd led Valentine's Day (5.8) and we followed then Bill shows up and does Stealin' (5.11a!). As the exclamation marks infer, i followed it and did it without falling. My first 11. Harlow did Community Service but i decided to do Last Lonely Eagle (5.10c). I clipped the 3rd bolt and there was this weird bulge you had to dyno to get over and i was flamed so i grabbed the draw for a rest. Then i continued up and got to the last bolt and it looked completely sick going straight up and to the right was another line of bolts so I figured it was off route (but that's the way i was supposed to go). I went around to the left which was easy and belayed from up top. Harlow followed and so did Boyd but he flailed the dyno a few times. Where the Buffalo Roam (5.10d) was on the same TR so we did that, i went first and hang-dogged my way up, resting 2 or 3 times, strenuous as hell. I was pumped. Harlow led Valentine's day again and i followed way to the left or that cool route i like. We left out the back way, continuing up the canyon. It was amazing. So beautiful, rock canyon with big deep pools and chutes carved of water. There's some climbs up there too. Me and this guy Josh were on the other side of the canyon—Chawn, Bill and Boyd were on the trail side. I don't now if Josh felt like i did but i was sick of all this he-man climbing talk and wanted to soak up the scenery. As a consequence we got ourselves stuck on these cliffs having to climb with our packs on. The water 100 feet below looked tempting, big dark pools, we could have jumped into. Boyd and Bill went skinny dipping but they looked cold. And we couldn't get to the water. All i have to say is that area is really intense. [Strangely, we have fond memories still of other places we climbed, but don't remember Milagrosa so well.]
Friday night C and i were up til very late. I wanted to get some sleep cuz we were planning on doing Wasteland, in which case we would have had to get up around 5 a.m. C finally got to sleep around 1 or 2 but i just couldn't sleep which was weird cuz i had maybe 4 hours of sleep the night before (went to see Room to Move, then hung out at Denny's w/ Mark, C and this guy Jeff who was Cs date... hmmm). We decide to call off Cochise and after much debate to hit Sabino Canyon. I don't know what we were thinking, but figured we could go up Bear Canyon past 7 falls and do a bunch of climbs on the way, such as Antler Dance, a 3 pitch 5.9, then stop at the Fruitstand and climb there then stop at Acropolis, coming back through Sabino. Well we went up Bear—of course with 20-25 lbs of gear on my back and when we got to Seven Falls we started doing this crazy along the river bushwhack, rock jumping stopping to look at minerals realizing, it's not the destination, but the journey and this was cool, it was new to me, Bear Canyon, the rocks, the river, the plants, the air, C, that feeling that these will all be memories etched into what i am. We finally met up with the trail and kept to a pretty good clip for the next few hours, stopping only to eat avocados, almonds and dried cherries. The sound of shoes on soil and rock, breath going in and out, the pack creaking with its weight, the sweat, the certain animalistic feeling like a horse plodding, sounds become very pervading creating a rhythm, in line with breath, the smells of sweat mixed with desert plants and moist air, the feel of muscles working and of course the sights. But seeing is overrated when it comes to hiking. People think that you go hiking for a view. But it is all-sensory, every sense organ in full swing, all-encompassing and engulfing, nature cradling you and your pulse, pulling you into her rhythm. We eventually got on a trail that headed up to Thimble Peak. I think it should be called Nipple Peak, a protrusion on top of a mountain. We walked right up to it but not up, guess we're not peak baggers. We decided to not go down hikers gully but continued along the ridge hoping we could find a way further up. After much scrambling and tromping we got to a point where we couldn't go down cuz of all the cliffs. [draws following map of hike]:
We had our last chance at the saddle and if that didn't go down then we would have to back track all the way back. We made our way over and got to the ridge we decided to hold hands, imagining sloping green pastures leading down. We'd will our way off this cliff escarpment. We had faith in the magic red beans we collected along the way. We surmounted the saddle and it was cool cuz there and it wasn't like green rolling pastures and all that romantic unrealistic cornball stuff but it was like O.K. this will work, it was doable. Anti-climatic but it was a good feeling cuz we knew we'd make it down, though we couldn't see around the corners. It was representative of my relationship with C. It's just realistic—nothing overly dramatic, no easy pastures, no boring slopes. Instead it's a canyon with obstacles, cacti and big rocks and thorny bushes and no distinct trail. Still an element of mystery as to whether it will go through, but i had this good feeling, like this will work, we can go through but it won't be easy. My head wasn't in the clouds, but i was in control, i was finding my own trail, we were finding our own trail.
[in Bear Canyon (+ no, that's not our tie-dye shirt... we woke up at C's house without a clean shirt so she lent me this one)]
So yah, we finally met up with the trail and after some frustration dealing with the book's description we found the Fruitstand. Went up there. I was planning on doing this 5.8/5/9 climb and i got 20 or 30 feet up to the bolt and it's a wimpy old rusty bolt and it's weird slab and above there were streaks of water coming down the cliff where i had to climb. Add to that how far out we were, if i got injured. I was getting weird vibes and after a few bouts of having to downclimb + not finding a backup for the rusty bolt i decided to not deal with the wet cold slab with rusty bolts. I decided to do this 5.6/5.7 layback crack called Layback Crack. It was kind of dumb though there was one cool layback part, actually i just laid it back the whole way, only stopping 2 or 3 times to place gear. We were running out of light anyways. C carried me across the river since her feet were already wet. She's so cool. Another walk back down that road in the dark. We got almost down to the bottom, of course with Venus on the foggy horizon, when suddenly everything was overwhelmingly beautiful. I was tripping out on my breath going in and out and where exactly it went into my body. Everything was so peaceful we just stopped in our tracks and sat down and soaked it in. Everything was alive, "there were spirits everywhere" as C said. We took the magic beans and scattered them about, for C as an offering to the spirits, for me just to return them to where they belonged, the earth. Or maybe a bit of both. It was a special moment i'm sure i'll remember. [again, we had completely forgotten until we read this... funny how we don't remember what we think we'll remember and remember what we don't think we'll remember]. After a nice dinner at Olive Garden and orgasmic evening in bed we slept for like 10 hours and meanwhile the rain set in. [....followed by an entry that C wrote to us on 2-28-1993 about how angry she was at the world and life and how she couldn't control saying "evil words" for no reason at all. "The hatred in me becomes too overwhelming to control. I feel like screaming and getting hysterical." + also a bunch of golf scorecards from golfing w/ Jesus and a note C wrote on the back of this Kalsbeek Counting Net (C was a geologist):]
[ ... onward to March 1993 ]