Monday, 27 October 2014

Back full circle to Estes Park

Jackie at the top of a 5.7 climb in Red Rocks

Joseph didn’t reappear before hunger got the better of us, so we went out without him and sadly didn’t see him again that evening, he did put a very sweet note under our door which we found the next morning, thanking us for the welcome and conversation as he’d really appreciated the normality and family feel. Turns out his Granddad has died since he’s been on his road trip, so it’s been very hard for him.

The same climb but from a distance away
Abseiling (or Rappelling) down the 5.7
Also didn’t see much more of Andrea, she had a difficult dinner meeting (though not as bad as she’d been expecting) and then her boss was round in the morning talking things over. I told her I was jealous as I’d wanted her to share breakfast! She left us a lovely review on airbnb, so fortunately she enjoyed our company as much as we enjoyed hers!

Jackie at the top of the 5.10a
Our last stop before Estes Park was at Colorado Springs – a last chance to climb at Red Rocks Park again, so we pottered off, arriving in time to go to the tourist information where we met a lovely lady, who knows she is losing her memory, so thanked us profusely for waiting while she answered all our questions! She’d answered them and they hadn’t been the standard tourist questions either, “where can we get Brian’s watch fixed?” “Where can I find a barber (not a hairdresser) to cut my hair?” and “where is REI (the outdoor shop of choice)?” We did forget to ask where the post office was, but the watchmender (who had replaced the bent pin for $1) could tell us that. He also said I could try the barber we’d noticed just back down the road!

An evening walk round Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs
Only one guy waiting (and he really had very little hair anyway) so I thought I’d wait and B could go to the post office to ask them about shipping our holdall of climbing gear and un-required clothes home. Have to say it is a good haircut, and it was an enjoyable experience, but he was the worlds slowest barber. It turns out though that he’s 83, been barbering for 20 yrs and did ladies hair for 32 yrs before that! I’d have put him at 60ish, but 83?

I liked the shadow in this one
She just can't resist climbing things!
Put the address for this airbnb into the sat nav which said turn round and go 2 blocks! We were that close! Arrived just after Tonya and met O Yeo the cat, with scary opposable thumbs and were welcomed into a tiny apartment. That is half the fun of airbnb, you never know what you are going to get, and it was clean, and she was sweet, reminded me a lot of me when my first marriage split up, we were about the same age, she’s taken up Argentine Tango and bouldering, and I took up Ceroc and climbing. Although we’d been to Colorado Springs before, last time we were way out in a very nice suburb, this time we were walking distance to downtown, such a different experience. We walked out both nights to very pleasant restaurants full of the after work crowd. Made such a change to be able to walk out, no one walks anywhere here, so there are few sidewalks so you don’t either!

Jackie, Roger and Jane on our walk up to Balanced Rock
We had a great morning climbing, till the sun came round and it got too hot! It’s the end of October, we are at 6000’ and it’s too hot? So back to the ‘belief school of climbing’ there are few handholds and footholds, but amazing friction, so you just have to believe and you can walk up it! We peaked on a 5.10a, though it really wasn’t, we are claiming it as the pinnacle of our US climbing! We did a 5.7, a 5.8, a 5.9 and then this one, and they all felt about the same!

A section of Rogers 'Off Piste!'
Four likely looking suspects!
Off to REI for climbing chalk (apparently it is white gold in Vietnam – you can hire a chalk bag, but it will probably have flour in!) and a US adaptor for the tablet. Great chat with the manager who the sales assistant called over, as he spent 2 months in Vietnam and loved it. Trip to Starbucks to use their wifi, before another wander around Garden of the Gods!

And the view back down into Estes Park
This rock is called Paul Bunyan's Boot. Apparently Paul Bunyan is a giant lumberjack in American folklore and there are many tall tales of his superhuman labours. There have been literary compositions , musical pieces and theatrical productions about him
Looking down on the others from 'The Boot'
It seemed like a long journey back up to Estes Park, mostly due to a ‘prang’ on the freeway which really slowed everything down, but it was lovely to arrive back with Jane and Roger, welcomed back with big hugs and lots of talking. We were off to a party for the evening, friends of J&R who had moved down to a lovely house in Boulder. They had one fierce scaredy cat and one adorable cat, so another cat fix, always good. What was not so good was having had a nice plate of food and half a glass of wine, I came over all unnecessary, suddenly felt sick and hot before crumpling to the floor! 
Didn’t actually faint, and was right as rain within 15 minutes! What was that all about?

Peering through the hole in Paul Bunyans boot
We had planned to hike on the Sunday and pack etc on Monday, but with the baggage people we’ve found we had to be packed and ready at 0900 Monday morning, and they will collect, sometime before 18.00. So here we sit WAITING (actually B is outside, in the snow with Roger, what they are doing we don’t quite know, but there’s lots of hammering and stuff going on!) We did manage to get a hike in yesterday afternoon which was great, it was a bit windy, but fine in the trees, one layer of clothing and Rog was in shorts! 

Balanced Rock. We didn't know those people climbing on it
What a change from when we came through with Mum (sleet) and today (snow)! So packing is done, all went in very easily (thanks for taking that stuff though Mum, really helped) and the rucksacks don’t feel too bad (but that’s putting them on for a second and walking nowhere!)

Went out for a yummy Indian last night, to satisfy the 'biryani craving' I wonder when I'll get my next fix?

The route down wasn't so good, very steep, very rocky and skiddy bits of sand in between. Jane and I stayed at the back and grumbled! Jackie chatted with Roger on the way down without a grumble - had I been leading this route down I have no doubt she would have grumbled the whole way!

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