We’re currently embracing social distancing by submersing ourselves in the healing isolation of the desert southwest. About three weeks ago we returned to one of our favorite haunts…the Hurricave. Here, there is an abundance of moderate to hard routes to help us return to some semblance of climbing fitness. Maggie’s total time away from climbing was a little over four months. My time was slightly less, with two and a half months off. And I at least had the luxury of training on the MoonBoard during our respective downtime which was somewhat helpful for finger strength and power enhancement.
The drier climate of southern Utah is a stark contrast to the near rain forest offering of central Kentucky. The mold we acquired through a drizzly winter has been hastily mitigated here in the arid desert surroundings. Our now one year old Scamp trailer, Alexander SuperScamp 2.0, is much happier overall. Even our pups, Frankie and Lola, seem happier and healthier. My hunch is they’re mostly content that their family is whole again.
The desert in the springtime is not only therapeutic, it’s awakening. The night silence facilitates a deep, relaxing slumber. The coyotes tend to visit just after sunset, for only a short serenade. They arrive and depart just prior to bedtime as if to let us know they’re onboard with our need for curative sleep and will bother us no more. The dogs “wuff” quietly in response to their canine cousins before retreating to their nocturnal rest.
Morning typically brings a brilliant, colorful sunrise with instant warmth. We embrace the intake of vitamin-D on our pallid skin and immediately feel the healthful benefit. The budding tree life, greening desert grasses and the multitude of shades of khaki colored cacti provide stark contrast to the surrounding red soil and multicolored cliff bands. Shades of brown, gray, tan and vermillion frame our surroundings. To the distant north tower snow covered mountains, adding to the scene of pleasing dissimilarity. The panoramic view adds a visually metaphysical healing source to our desert therapy.
Climbing days begin with the mildly challenging anaerobic hike to the Hurricave. Lola gently, yet persuasively, herds us ever upward. The first few days quickly remind us how much the time away has affected our bodies. We begin gradually by relearning and repeating routes we easily warmed up on in prior seasons. After a couple of weeks things start to click as kinesthetic muscle memory sluggishly returns. We are in no hurry as we proceed methodically. Nothing in life should ever be rushed. I endeavor to remind myself that a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step
As time marches on, we find the aches and pains of recovery progressively diminishing. The joy of relearned climbing movement surges, and life becomes transcendent. We are once again enlightened by the endless pursuit of climbing perfection. We are incredibly lucky to have this opportunity to share a crag with inspiring climbing companions who are on the same wavelength. It speaks volumes for the progressive nature of the southern Utah climbing community, and for fellow random traveling climbers who stumble onto the path leading to Hurricave. We’re equally certain that like us, many earthlings find remedial therapy in a return to the desert.
EPILOGUE: With the adaptations the cities of Hurricane and St. George have made to help limit the spread of covid19, our internet options are becoming more sparse every day. A major component of our relatively austere lifestyle is a refusal to use cellular date (i.e., we do not get internet service on our phones). Therefore, our latest plans to ramp our posting frequency back up are not likely to manifest just quite yet. We’ll do our best.
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