Friday, May. 22, 2020 @ 5:12 pm
I work a short day. He picks me up and we drive out to the bluffs, the sky threatening rain.
The bluffs are quiet; it’s mid-week, and the weather is risky.
We choose a climb and work together to pass the troubling crux: a thin finger crack layback. A light rain falls intermittently, more mist than precipitation, and the warm rock stays dry.
We move onto a second climb, one of the most popular at the bluffs. We revel in having it all to ourselves. We are slow and methodical, checking all of the gear, checking all of the protection. The sun dips lower towards the mountainous horizon.
I climb the final ascent. The granite crack varies in width, and I shift my hand in various ways to move up the wall, my feet smeared against the smooth rock on either side of the crack. The sun begins to drop below the horizon as we prepare to rappel. As I lean off the wall and descend along the rope, the sky lights up with streaks of magenta and orange. A wind blows against me, the air fragrant with cedar and salt.
I land on the dusty ground, and Russell begins to descend to meet me. I crack a beer and begin to organize and pack the gear while he lowers himself down the hundred feet of granite wall.
We stand at the foot of the crag and share the beer and laugh and talk. The sun has disappeared. We saunter down through the woods in twilight, my hands tired and my heart full.
I am so very happy.