Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Place of Discovery

Through tunnels and around bends...

There is a place where the river meets the rocks.

Fly-fishermen occupy the former. Climbers, the latter.

In the dog days of summer, the two meet, as climbers, hot from the exertion of reaching (and often surpassing) the birds...

Take to the water to cool off.

Not this day, though.
Early May is too early, the water too cold. Instead, we are content to bask in the beauty of the nature...
(some still)...

(some rushing)...

 All around us, and content ourselves with just a dip of the toes.

And although at lower altitude the Aspen trees are full, here in the mountains, the trees, too, seem just a little hesitant to unfurl in the chill that the higher elevation brings.

The leaves are tiny, the foliage not yet concealing the deeper recesses of the forest. 

This canyon is not far from where I grew up, yet I don't remember ever going there. I'm grateful for that, because sometimes, when you grow up familiar with something, you take it for granted. I certainly didn't with this place. I was able, instead, to look at it with the eyes of someone wanting to discover.

And like the river, revealing its beauty secrets upon closer inspection...

Or the forest, prodding you to look past the grove and see the details...

So there were mysteries set in stone, routes in this rocky playground waiting to be unlocked. A lot of looking at the rock, trying to decipher what it was saying. A lot of moving my fingers in all directions as far as I could reach, searching for holds so small they were invisible until I touched them. Like reading a good mystery novel and trying, with each page, to figure out the twist at the end, the rock held back and made me do the sleuthing.

I discovered more than beauty that May day at Eleven Mile. I discovered that due to all the mantling, which I love more than any other move, it is my favorite place to climb.

My day of climbing in Eleven Mile Canyon also marks another milestone. It was the first time I led, anchored in, and set up my own rappel.

Indescribable, it is, this thrill of so much discovery (lesson learned).

Cannot wait to get back to where the river meets the rock.

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