Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Deep water soloing in WV, whoopie pies in NY

Only four hours from Columbus, we hit the second Fayetteville of this trip. This time we’re in the wild and wonderful West Virginia. Wild and Wonderful. On every license plate. Everywhere we look.

We had hardly set up tent at the Rocky Top Retreat, when Roger comes bouncing over. “Howdy! Ya’ll here for biking or climbing?” With helpful advice, Roger points us in the right direction. “We got hot water and coffee in the morning.” My eyes open wide and the corners of my mouth curl up; I haven’t heard good news like that in a while!

The southern drawl has been trying to sneak into my daily speech.

Nate is itching to go explore and possibly get a climb or two in. I would rather not. So after he sees that I’m content where I am, he grabs his shoes and hikes down. Meanwhile, I whip out my book, swat at flies, listen to the sounds of the campgrounds, and unwind.

The big day begins the next morning. After a brief breakfast, we shoulder our packs and zoom we’re off! The air is sticky and thick with humidity. We pass butterflies, poison ivy, daddy longlegs, spiderwebs, and large capped mushrooms. We climb a 5.9, Nate attempts a 5.12c, and I find myself a new enemy in a 5.10b. As I repel down, I’m fuming and ravishingly hungry! On the hike back up to the campground, I stumble and pant my way up.

Pb&j’s and then deep water soloing at the Whippoorwill. I got my workout swimming and climbing and falling!

Back in town we flew to Pies and Pints. We blaze through a large pizza and Nate has an extra sandwich. The waitress is astonished, “how can two skinny kids eat so much?”
That night, we sit on the porch feeding the mosquitos. Lightening lines the horizon and thunder provides the soundtrack. We make it to the tent as it begins to sprinkle. All of a sudden, the sky opens up and releases a downpour. The lightening lights up our tent and the thunder roars overhead. Nate and I scare ourselves silly. Soon the storm is right on top of us, the lightening and thunder play leap frog at 2 second intervals. We cower in our tent wondering what St. Elmo’s fire is like and if will signify the end of us.

But the storm passes and with it our fears. Before we know it, it’s Monday morning and time to get up.

We hike down to some climbing. Get lost. Turn around. Where’s the right path? Ugh. It’s sweaty. No time. We turn back to the car.

Next stop, Pirate’s Cove for some deep water soloing. Park the car. Hike down the path. Not this path. Wait, was it the last path? Get lost. Time passes.
Frustrated we start heading back to the car. Nate’s not satisfied. Run into other climbers, who point us in the right direction. The water feels good in the afternoon sun. We claim the rock back from the spiders.

Quickly back to the car! We have 8 hours of driving until Rochester!

With me at the wheel, we set out. Whoops! Wrong direction!! Let’s try that again.

The gas prices dance along the state borders. We’re in the last stretch. Go go go! But not too fast. What a shame if we got a speeding ticket this late in the game. West Virginia. Pennsylvania. New York! I-90 brings us almost right up to Highland Ave in Rochester.

Nate turns off the headlights as we sneak up the driveway, but Mike and Terri have planned for our arrival. We see a huge map of the world waiting for us on the top of driveway with colorful balloons (orange on top, of course!).

We’re met with arms wide open! Big hugs all around. Let’s scoot on inside for hot lasagna and late night catching up.

A shower and soft clean sheets have never felt so good! It’s bedtime for this weary traveler.

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