Wednesday, Jul. 15, 2020 @ 10:57 am
We take a weekday off.
We sleep in and wake up holding onto each other. My body feels calm and satisfied with rest and safety.
We have breakfast then pack the car and drive up to the climber’s parking lot at The Chief. We rack up and head to The Apron to start a multi-pitch climb. The sun has just come around to warm the surface of the rock. A peregrine falcon screams out from above.
We alternate leads on the moderate climb. The climbing is relaxing for us, well within our ability. At the top of the fourth pitch, it’s my turn to lead. The last pitch is much different from the first four - it’s slabby and the hands are thin, rated three grades harder. I shrug and take a deep breath and head up the rock face while Russell carefully belays me from below.
There is a move across a face with mega exposure. The hands are thin and crimpy, just the tips of my fingers - maybe 4mm deep at most. I move with control and steadiness, shifting my balance and trusting my hands and feet. Move by move, I make my way up the pitch, placing gear and clipping bolts along the way.
I place one final nut, then make the final move to the bolted anchor. I secure myself to it, then turn to look down at Russell. I raise my arms in the air and scream out in joy and relief and pride.
He follows me up, falling at the face move.
After we rap down to the forest, we drive out to a secluded beach on Howe Sound. We cross the train tracks and drop our cooler and towels near some logs. I strip my clothes and wade into the ocean naked. He glances up and down the beach then strips and follows me into the water. The cold ocean water a balm on my sore, hot body. A seal bobs offshore.
We drink beer in the shade of a maple tree, waves crashing on the beach, a light wind drying the salt onto my bare body.
In the evening, after having supper, we lay on the couch and make love, the comet and its blazing tail hovering on the northwest horizon. His hands on my body, getting lost in ecstasy, and the comet in its celestial glory.
Summer. Love. Freedom.
I created my own paradise.