20 feet up, laybacking in a corner, chalky fingers wedged into the crack where the two walls meet, feet smearing the rough granite…so far so good.  I move my feet up, then reach for a large side cling up to my left…got it…legs begin to tremble as I bump my feet up to my last gear placement, a purple cam.  I can feel my body starting to give out, my legs are trembling and my arms are shaking and it’s getting harder to think…hanging on to the rock with one arm I reach my other hand down to my harness for another cam, a green one, then shove it towards the crack, too big, fuck, I find some place to re-clip it as I grab for some smaller cams…and by this time my grip on the rock is about to give out…my hand free hand is shaking too and I’m mentally forcing it to move.  I finally manage to get another cam, grey, from my harness, jam it into the rock, then grab at the rope dangling from my harness…got it, I bring it to my mouth, grabbing it with my teeth while I reach down again to pull more up, then awkwardly jam it into the carabiner…click.  “TIGHTEN” I yell as I lower my weight onto the rope…the cam holds…phew…I hang there, arms dangling…

Climbing Hand

Climbing is one of my favorite things in the world.  But in the moment it can be brutal…clinging to the side Continue reading

My First Time Couchsurfing

My first experience “surfing” as a Couchsurfer…

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(Fernando, our host, is the tall one in the back)

We had never met Fernando, we were hitchhiking to the town where he lived so we didn’t even know when we would get there, but we had called him and sent some texts and it all seemed good.  We had the address, found his house, and just walked up and knocked.  Fernando answered and was really friendly!  He immediately showed us around his small house, showed us the spare bed and mattress on his floor where we could sleep, showed us how his British shower worked and the shampoo we could use, showed us the kitchen and where we could put our stuff in the fridge as well as the food he had extra of that he encouraged us to eat.

He also introduced us to his housemates, and warned us in advance about one house mate in particular who was very crazy but as Fernando said this guys heart was in the right place.  This all turned out very true and we appreciated the warning, he was very kind and friendly but you had to get through a lot of loud and crazy to see that!

Next Fernando took us to the local pub where he was meeting another couch surfer from Texas.  When we got to the pub there was this guy sitting alone who looked slightly out of place, probably passing through and not a local person.  Fernando wasn’t sure what the Texan guy looked like so he went up to the dude in the pub and asked him if we was the Texan from Couchsurfing.  He wasn’t, but he was into Couchsurfing, so he came over and spent the rest of the evening with us anyway.  The Texan arrived, as well as a bunch of Fernando’s local friends, and it ended up being about ten of us having a great evening with loads of good conversation and travel stories.

The rest of our stay (a few days) with Fernando was wonderful, he was working a lot but we had a great time with him when he was around and his housemates were great fun too.  Sleeping in a strangers bedroom could have been really weird, but it was totally fine, and it was clear that this would be the case so it wasn’t an awkward surprise or anything.

When we left we were sorry to leave them all, and felt we had made some great friends.

Thanks Fernando!!!