I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I tried google and pinterest and there really wasn't much there. My nerves rose as we got closer and closer. I was ready to unload the car, put up the tent, and start climbing immediately. I just wanted it all to start!
We followed the directions and took the turn on a bleached gravel road surrounded by sage and hills. The hill steadily crept up and then we were there. Staring at these huge rocks that looked like mud city creations I had made as a child. The rocks jutted up out of no where and all around were juniper bushes and trees and sage. It was green and granite, a beautifully strange sight.
We spent a week living outdoors, chasing the shade, meeting campsite neighbors and comparing heights reached for the day. Kyle learned how to lead climb and I learned how to let babies get caked in dirt and not even care. Max learned to warm up to new faces and Daniel learned not to eat rocks.
We got there Monday and by Friday is was so hot that I just wanted to go home. Turns out one has to pace oneself when climbing for a week. We had been so productive that we were achy all over; but still we wanted more.
So the final morning we woke up and got ready immediately. We ate a few bites of oatmeal and with the temperatures still on the lower end we head to Scream Cheese, a classic climb in the city. Kyle lead and I encouraged. He got stuck.
"Just go a little higher and check it out...." I reasoned.
He did and then he realized that it is harder to get down than to keep going up. So he kept going up until he reached the top. He made it and we were both exhilarated.
While driving home, I called my mom (who had left on Wednesday) to report our accomplishments. It had been a fun and learning trip but I questioned why we hadn't just gone to an area closer to home. After all, we had driven ten hours to reach this place where we were surrounded by much better climbers.
"Ahhh but that is the whole point of the City!" My mom explained. "You have all of these people from all over, legends and new-comers joining together from all over the world in this destination climbing spot!"
It was true. At night after dinner many climbers would gather and discuss different routes. Advice would be given and stories would be discussed. We shared our s'more fixings with a legend's 12 year-old son. He ended up playing with Max every night after that hopping around the rocks and teaching him how to perfect roasting a marshmallow.
It was still frustrating at times though, trying to climb with two small children in tow. We took turns holding and chasing babies, rocking them to sleep and applying band-aids from falls. We let Max be bored and he got better and better at entertaining himself with sticks and dirt and rocks. Life doesn't have to change completely with children, you adjust and add a lot of snacks and helping hands.
At one point a few days in, I was climbing with Kyle belaying me. I was a bit tired from the day before and lost a hold that I thought was good. I fell and was caught quickly, dropping only a little way and pushing off the rock to avoid any major scrapes. Max saw the whole thing and exclaimed with sheer glee, "MOM! I saw you fly!"
He couldn't stop talking about it all week. I won't be able to stop thinking about this trip until we get there again.