The Cat that Broke the Mold
At around midnight last night, Spenser and I pulled into the familiar parking lot of the Food Ranch in Orangeville, Utah. It felt good to be back at Joe’s.
I haven’t written in a while, so I guess there’s a lot to catch up on. Since I wrote last, we’ve left Bishop, released a video, blasted through Vegas, and arrived at Joe’s. In combination with work, I’m not surprised I haven’t been amped to sit on the computer and write up a post. I guess I also haven’t felt inspired. And there’s really not point to blogging sans inspiration.
Now that we’ve returned to Joe’s, I have my inspiration. When we spent fall here last year, Spenser and I fell head over heels with a neighboring camper’s kitten (who we lovingly called ‘Kitteh’ as we did not approve of the owner’s choice of name).
This was the first feline that I’ve ever become affectionate with. Sadly, her life was cut short by her owner’s incapability of taking care of a kitten on a road trip (she was run over by a car).
Fast forward to Bishop. When we moved our trailer into the backyard of the Zoo in the middle of February, I was looking forward to more frequent hot showers and an easy place to cook. Never did I imagine I would also meet the cat of my dreams. Let’s just start with my confession: I am no longer adamantly a dog person. I fell in love with a cat. A very specific cat…Hank.
Hank is a Maine Coon, known for loving to cuddle (being dubbed “the gentle giants” of the domestic feline world) while being independent and not clingy. Normally, I avoid cats. They know I’m allergic so they head straight my way, wanting me to pet them (just for a second) so that the allergy tsunami can be unleashed. But, I know that they know…so I stay as far away as possible.
At first, I thought Hank was just like the other cats. I thought he was just coaxing me into petting him so that he could immediately turn his soft, furry back to me and run away. …Leaving me sneezing and wheezing and wanting more… But, Hank was different.
After a single night shift with him in my lap, I was hooked. You could even call it obsessed. Hank would sneak onto my lap and softly purr as I typed away. He never asked for more attention and if I swatted him away, he would leave and not come back until he was beckoned. It was a purr-fect relationship (sorry, couldn’t help myself). Having him with me while I worked a solitary 12-hour shift made it the experience much more pleasant. I’m a bit nervous about how I’m going to cope with not having him around for those work shifts! Who else is a cat lover out there? I would love to hear more about what kinds of cats are better to own if you want a (not-too) affectionate cat who is easier on the sinuses. I’m ready to give other felines a chance, too! 🙂
On Wednesday, March 20th, we departed Bishop for Las Vegas. The last week in Bishop was a flurry of climbing and working. Gitta Lubke, a Red River Gorge regular, happened to be in town so we climbed every day that I wasn’t working. Having Gitta in town was great because we had to plan each day since her time in Bishop was limited, and I actually had to stick to the plan!
Some of our most memorable hits of the week would be The Rail Problem, a fantastic V3 on Roadside Boulder in the Buttermilks, and the unnamed V4 highball that has the same start. The Fang (V4) at the Sads was my most difficult day flash to date and Gitta’s first V4-in-a-day. It felt great to be able to send The Fang on my first go when I was unable to get past the first move last time I got on it in early February. I guess my easy circuiting mentality worked!? Lastly, we both managed to send Burning Rubber Necklace, a pumpy V4 traverse in the Happys. It felt really great to dial all of these problems that were “not-my-style” and to send projects in each of Bishop’s main climbing areas before leaving!
Timing could not have been better – after Gitta left I severely needed a few rest days to recover from our climbing frenzy, so I focused on packing up and preparing for our departure. We also managed to finally complete our latest video, let us know what you think!
It was especially difficult to leave Bishop this time. I know I can speak for both Spenser and myself when I say that we LOVED living at the Zoo. Although it would have been interesting to experience the Zoo during it’s infamous crazy times, the newest iteration was just what we needed. Everyone who lives there gets along and does their part to keep the communal spaces clean. The best part is that all parties involved seem to be upfront and honest. If there is an issue in the house, it gets brought up immediately instead of swept under the rug where it can fester into a bigger problem. I think we fit in quite nicely and we already miss every person (and animal) who lives there (Sandra, Elliot, Ian, Frank, Evangeline, Ryan, and Paul – we mean you!).
So…we went back to Vegas…for TWO weeks. Even though we were no longer Red Rocks virgins, we still left Vegas yesterday feeling completely wiped. A quick recap… The first weekend was a Portlandian bachelor/bachelorette celebration, which we excitedly joined in on. I successfully navigated my first bachelorette party, it was so sweet of all the ladies to let me be a part of it!
As the Portlandians departed (all except for Alana, of course), Evan and Jeff arrived, and we all moved into a condo that Will had rented half way between The Strip and Red Rocks. Spenser joined Evan for a couple of long routes, including Epinephrine and Sour Mash, while I stuck to bouldering, mostly in the late afternoons as the midday heat went into the 80s and beyond.
Adding to the list of recent really lame injuries, I broke my pinkie toe on my left foot. All I’ll say about it is- I’m happy Spenser is doing his physical therapy, but I’m unhappy that the 20-pound weight he uses came into a head-on collision with my toe. Walking has been fine, but putting on a climbing shoe has turned into an even more painful experience. Since it was ridiculously hot in Vegas, I decided to just take a break from climbing altogether and wait for the sandstone at Joe’s Valley.
Other highlights include Alana running a half-marathon for the first time and the surprisingly amazing off-strip restaurants that we found. The Vegas off-the-strip guide will be written up by Will in a guest blog post soon.
Just like last time though, we were ready to leave Vegas when the time came.