"Not all those who wander are lost"

10 Days of Not Climbing

I live in my own little world. But its ok, they know me here.

-Lauren Myracle


I rolled into Jackson, WY after a night spent covered in frost at 10,000 feet.  I was amped and ready to spend the day rafting, the first time I would be back on whitewater since guiding in 2008.  Maybe I was a bit too amped or just wasn’t prepared for the pace of my friends.  After two hours sitting in a parking lot watching movies on my computer I finally heard back from Scott and we headed off.

We ended up just having three of us on Scott’s newly acquired raft, but it was fine for the little boat.  We pushed off into the Snake River and within minutes found that the cold water had seriously deflated our tubes.  We took turns trying to pump up the sagging boat while one person navigated the small rapids.  People we passed with our floppy boat gave us concerned looks and disapproving comments.  Scott and I laughed them off, we had both been guides, why be concerned?  Worst case we just swim it.  Scott’s friend looked even more concerned.

The water was quite cold, but as long as the clouds stayed out of the way the sunlight warmed us and we spent most of the day laying on the tubes and chatting.  Eventually we neared the more serious rapids so we pulled off to the side and filled our tubes up until they were firm again before continuing on.

We splashed through a big wave or two, but the rapids weren’t very large.  Although not too intense, it was a fun ride through the wave-trains.  As the day wound down there started being more and more boats around.  It seemed that half of Wyoming decided rafting would be a good idea for Labor Day weekend.  It made the people watching great too.

One of the most entertaining groups was a group of 4 on a huge standup paddleboard.  They had four GoPro’s recording their shenanigans as they continuously wobbled and toppled each other into the water.

The other entertainment was a group of 9 or 10 people in their 50s and 60s piled onto a raft smaller than ours.  They also had a popped tube and most of them were quite drunk.  It looked like a cartoon seeing so many people piled onto the three quarters of the little raft paddling down river like it was another day at the office.

We made it to the take out, loaded up the gear and were about to head off when some of the people with the popped tube came over and asked for a ride to their cars.  Somehow they dropped a car off at the take out, but had left the key for it at the put in.  We gave a couple of the more sober ones rides to the put in and continued to town.  We finished the day off hanging out around a fire.

The next day I got a ride to Lava Hot Springs, ID to meet up with my dad.  I arrived just in time to help organize things and prepare the bus for the road.  The next several days were filled with moving boxes, trying, often unsuccessfully, to help get the bus loaded up, and lots of meeting people.

There was a going away party so I got to meet the entire Lava crew, but maybe saying dad got to show me off would be a more apt description.  Nearly every person’s greeting was “Hi, you must be the climber, we’ve heard so much about you.”  I kept expecting a few younger people to show up, but in the end I was the only person under 40 and most were over 50.  An older crowd has one serious advantage though: the food, wine, and beer are always good.

It was great to see my dad and meet his friends, but I’ll be honest, the best part about the whole time in Lava was getting to see and play with six puppies that his friends dog just had.  They were only a few weeks old which meant they were heaps of fun for about 15 minutes until they all got too tuckered out and went to sleep.














Eventually the bus was loaded up for a two week jaunt north and we headed out.  We spent two nights camped by hot springs and enjoyed soaking.  The first one, somewhere south of Jackson was especially nice because the scalding hot water poured out from the rock right on the side of an ice cold river, just down from an amazing waterfall.
When we got to Yellowstone it was my time to turn around and head west for more climbing.  I was off before 6am to meet up with my friend Sam at City of Rocks for the weekend, but only made it 10 miles down the road before my car died.  Shit.

I went through everything I could to try to get it working and eventually gave up.  With no cell service I decided to hitchhike back to the bus and see if dad could figure anything out.

I stood on the side of the road with no luck for quite a while before a car finally stopped.  Of course, just as they stopped a ranger came and put on his lights so they left.  Finally a ride and the ranger scared him off.  Fortunately the ranger turned out to be fairly nice and gave me a lift back to the bus.  When we got back to the car it started right up.  We said a tentative goodbye and I pulled onto the road again.

Six miles later the car died again.  We looked over everything we could only to repeat the process to no avail the entire day.  12 hours and many hours on the side of the road later a tow truck dropped me off in Jackson.  The good part was that I wasn’t stranded on the side of the road.  The bad part was I was sitting in a parking lot on Saturday night waiting for Monday when the mechanic shops would open.

I managed to get a hold of a family friend, Jacob, who lives in town.  He was very hospitable; inviting me out with his friends, giving me a place to crash for two nights, and recommending a good mechanic.

I spent an hour at Able Auto Monday morning while they decided they thought it was an electronic component in the distributor.  My options were to replace the part and hope that it wouldn’t burn out again or wait a few days until they could replace the entire distributor.  Of course, I went with the spend-less-money-and-hope-it-works solution.

They replaced the part, were really nice, and charged me less for parts and labor than the shop in Ten Sleep charged me for labor that I could have done in 40 minutes.  I was happy to have my car back and probably even fully functioning.  Just to be safe I drove 20 miles going back and forth through town to make sure it wouldn’t die again then finally hit the road again.

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