Exploring Cairo, Climbing in New Paltz… and getting rained on


Wednesday, 27-May-2015


On the way between visiting my Grandma and partying it up with Big T in Connecticut, I did a bit of adventuring in Upstate New York.  See… I’d been reading American Gods again, and the thought of visiting the town of Cairo (I’d learn later that this wasn’t the same town from the book, unfortunately) was too good to pass up.

So I drove down the highway, took the exit, and started looking for a diner to find some breakfast.

Well, it was a wasted effort.  The town of Cairo, New York is not really what you could call a “lively” town… instead, it was mostly closed storefronts and empty houses.  Abandoned roads and… not really much, aside from a single excellent welcome sign.  Maybe it becomes more lively during the evenings, or on holidays?

But I ended up just driving through.



Instead, I spent some time at my favorite climbing spot – The Gunks, in New Paltz.

Since I was rolling solo, and the weather was kind of threatening I decided to take it safe and go to the swimming hole instead of straight into the climbing area.  Figured that I could save a few bucks on a climbing pass too.

Well, finding the swimming hole wasn’t as easy as I thought… I remembered the main turnoff, but got a bit turned around while I was driving down the back roads.  Thankfully, another car pulled up and asked me if I knew where to go – since they were coming from one side, and I knew it had to be one of the two… I got to sound all smart.  And so I led a convoy down to the waters…

But turns out that the girls were really against paying anything (seriously, what?) so the other car turned around, and I went swimming solo.

Or not so solo – I ended up hanging out with some Physics students from the nearby university – chatting, swimming, and doing some water-solo bouldering.  It was awesome, until they mentioned how close we were to some other bouldering… which I decided I had to go see.  So I grabbed the crash pad and headed down the trail.

Turns out, the trail was just another way of getting to the main climbing area that I know and love… but that wasn’t a bad thing.  Basically, just meant that I had an excuse to climb it again!

So… I did.


But see, that’s where the fun comes in.  I was bouldering all nice and pretty as your please, for maybe an hour or two. I tried a few interesting routes; mostly just traversing the bottom of some of my favorite tall routes. But I did a few pretty solid overhangs as well… at least until it started getting disconcertingly dark.

And then it started raining. Normally; not a problem. But today, I had brought my new Laptop with me, so that I could do some writing between routes. And my new laptop was not, in fact, waterproof. And I had parked a long way away…

So, I tried walking back to the car, using my crash pad as an umbrella.

That didn’t really work, since the rain was impressively heavy, and the wind was strong.

So, I found a small cave. Deep enough that the rain wasn’t getting anywhere near the back. I put the bag with the laptop on a rock, and layered the crash pad on top. Then, I ran.

I’m happy to say that the runs I did back in Cambridge paid off – I made it back to the car in record time, sloshing through the puddles and ponds and runoffs that covered the trail.

I got changed, and pulled the car up to a parking lot that was nice and close to the cave that I’d stashed the gear in. I’d thought ahead to bring a tarp, just in case I wanted to make a covered campsite, so I dragged that out of the car too. Now, clad in my full rain gear, I was ready to casually walk back out and save the laptop.

Which, I did. I wrapped everything in the tarp, and then casually walked back in the rain again. Slipped the laptop into the front seat, and stuffed everything else into the back in the car, and drove out to the supermarket to get some food, and relax for a bit before driving out to link up with Big T.


First obstacle on the roadtrip: dealt with.

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