Wednesday, June 17, 2015

In-between Photos of Last Summer

Here I am again in the land of tough orange sandstones of Oz.  It's now winter, it's cold. Crimping on the rocks feel like biting fingertips onto an abrasive kind of hard dry ice.  The mythical sending wind, natures way of whispering "you can finish this climb", does little in way of helping on an ascent and instead howls "go home, sip some hot soup, and warm your toes."  Maybe that latter one is just me on self-talk that I mentally hear echoing across the valley but it's for these reasons that I'm now drawn to look back at the summer six months ago last December when I was here last.

That time of year is warm in the Blue Mountains.  The days are longer, climbing is possible until it is 8 o'clock in the evening and eating dinners by 9 p.m. is normal.  That toasty Christmas season is a first for me as normally those times of the year have cooler temps on the right-side-up side of the world.

To help me remember that summer, I have these photos of the wide-open green fields of Megalong Valley, memories of the fastest car in New South Whales that I fondly call "The Millennium Falcon", and a still shot of old people drinking hot coffee by the sidewalks of Blackheath.  I now have bitter sweet recollections of projects left undone and have real and tangible connections I now take with me with people who shared their time with me on and off climbing. These are some of the few things I now call upon to thaw out my icy fingers as I type in these words. 

Quaint old Blackheath, it's where the Anonymous coffee shop is, a must stop before and after heading to the crags.  Coffee to start project-days start there until we get a good cookset for this side of the world.  At the car park there's a painting of a giant heart.  It's on that brick wall we stared at during a rainy day.  Near the small town and right before heading to Mt.York there's the petrol station where we clean-up after sweaty climbing sessions.  We take turns using the toilets longer than usual so we buy long blacks and flat whites so we can take our time and not be too obvious about it. 

These are things that happen between each of the photos.  These are what I like to call, well, just that, "in-between photos."  These are the happenings too varied and too plenty to commit all onto mega pixels. These are the many photos committed to memory only I and a few others can see.  These are moving images that play inside my head when I close my eyes or stare off blankly into space at the cue of the few pictures on this blog.  Let's see if these things can end up warming my toes.  

Centennial Glen, one of the many crag areas in the Blueys.  I remember the long walks we took down the winding trails to get to Wave Wall and Shipley.  With these, I remember the many glued "step-up" stones that gets one to the first holds on the long routes at Boronia Point.  I also remember "The Way of all Flesh", a long pumpy route and area classic at Barden's Keep, the long victory jump after finishing the line, and the last of the steps on the trail leading to the car park that never fails to give a sigh of relief.

The valley we see every climbing day is a view I can not get enough off.  Many in-between photos play like a long panoramic landscape in my mind when I see this.

The trails in between crags that hold many twists and turns.   

My "Tsunami" project on Wave Wall.  I can still remember the total sequence of moves from start to finish.

The view from Shipley.

Her Project.  The calm before the send.

The area classics.

More area classics.

 And more projects.

Do I feel warm now?  It's not exactly the warm I wished for but yes.  My fingers still feel icy and the coldness of the kitchen floor still run up my entire body.  It was a good exercise though.  I tried and at least I now have another page I can turn on this blog, another set of photographs I can look at and another set of "in-between photos" that warms my soul if not my fingers.     

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