So my company was hit pretty hard by COVID-19, and instituted a 10% furlough program. Reduced pay, but balanced by various furlough days scattered throughout the year… primarily around holidays. July 4th was one of those, which meant that I had Thursday through Monday off from work – the 2nd through the 6th. Five full days for adventure!
My original plan was to drive out to City of Rocks in Idaho. I reserved a campsite maybe two weeks beforehand, and started planning out what to bring, and what route to take.
But… It’s a 10 hour drive, shortest route. 11, by the route I was thinking of taking. And that doesn’t include stops for gas, food, and the stretch breaks that I’d absolutely need on a trip that long. I kept trying to talk myself into it, but in the end I just talked myself out of the trip.
I canceled the reservations, and put together a new plan. A staycation, full of relaxation, organizing my new apartment, and re-aquainting myself with the Pacific Northwest…
I haven’t climbed outside in… longer than I can remember, actually. I think it was Joshua Tree? There must have been something since then… maybe a run of The Beacon, or something, but nothing that stands out.
So I went outside.
I pulled my guidebook off the shelf, and leafed through it. I opened up Mountain Project on my phone, and paged through that too. It took a while, but I finally settled in on a bouldering area called “The Garden” that claimed to be the best bouldering in Oregon… at least on Mountain Project.
The car packed, I headed out. Finally tracked down the parking, thanks to some friendly climbers I met – the trick is to say Hi to people with crash pads. Since only climbers use crash pads, it’s a pretty good guess that the random people parked on the side of the road, loading crash pads into their cars, are probably climbers.
After hiking in, I set about to exploring and climbing! And quickly learned that… well, I politely disagree that The Garden has the best bouldering in Oregon. It was… okay, but not my jam in any way. The rock was pretty, and the scenery beautiful, but the routes themselves were… not good. Maybe it was just too overgrown, or maybe the rock had worn down over time, but it just wasn’t interesting, you know?
I stayed and climbed for a while though, and even headed downhill to try and find more boulders down by the nearby river. I didn’t find any, unfortunately, but I did find some beautiful rapids, and excellent views of the river!
I’ll take that as a consolation prize. I’m glad I got out, and got my hands on some rock, even if it wasn’t quite as stellar as I was hoping for.
To quote a YouTube channel I’ve been watching, “A parade of mediocrity… is still a parade”