Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The Return To The Desert

With the Victoria Day long weekend approaching, I am tired of this city.  I want to leave.  I don't really want to come back, either.  Seems like the perfect time to head back up to the heart of awesome, the Skaha Bluffs.

After working for as many hours as I could bear, Heather and I loaded up the car and set forth on a grand adventure of relaxation.  With the intention of camping, and no reservation at any location, we were relying on our Wednesday afternoon arrival to secure us a spot.  I had located a nice little provincial site about 20 minutes from the bluffs at Okanagan Falls which was to be our intended residence for the duration of our stay. 

Upon arriving at the campground we were happy to discover that they had one site remaining.  I really didn't expect that it would be so busy, but the park was full of RV's and grey hairs, so I guess that wasn't surprising.  Our site was awesome, as high water levels in the area had caused it to flood, creating an island with a small land connection from the campsite.  The rangers advised us about concerns about continued rising water levels, showing us just how much the water had come up that day, but we remained confidant, and set up camp.

Base camp established, it's off to the Bluffs.  It was late already, we had no food yet, and the campground closes its gates at 10PM, so this is really just a climb for the purpose of going climbing, no real time to do much of anything.  That said, we head back where we were in March, to Another Buttress on Redtail.

A bronze-rated 5.8 called 'Lichen in her Panties' will be the effort of the evening, as it is close to the parking lot and not much to worry about when you have spent the last 5 hours driving.  With a bunch of new gear out for it's first day's work, I was excited.  Heck, I was excited to be out of the damned city, frankly.

It's a beautiful, warm evening, as we trek in to the crag, quickly setting up to climb.  I had forgotten just how different the rock is up here.  So edgy, so sharp!  The start was tough for me, my new shoes aren't very broken in yet, and it was all about careful foot placement.  It was very secure, nonetheless, as there were some solid edges to hold while trying to get my feet in the groove.  A fair bit of back-and-forth, and it was up, up, and away!

The top half of this climb had some pretty, hand-to-foot moves, one after the other.  I made it to the top without a whole lot of drama, and some big, big smiles.  As I set up the station and descended I thought I felt a drop of rain...  Quite concerning, considering that the forecast called for this possibility far more often than I wanted to see.  Nonetheless, Heather began her ascent of this little beauty, dancing up with ease.  By the time she had topped out the rain was actually starting to fall in earnest, and I started to pack up surplus gear, thinking only of the tent, with its mangled fly, sitting in our fair campsite.  Sigh.

As we drove down from the bluffs to buy a few days worth of groceries the sun came shining out again, and spirits were high as we looked ahead to some much-deserved relaxation.

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