Stage one of the Ride with the Rep:Texas to Arkansas.
With the Rockies sliding away behind me in a spotty white and blue-black line, I snapped the window closed with a clunk- the two in the seats next to me were asleep anyhow, and for the next hour and a half I’ve not got much to look at... With the exception of a month in Hueco, I’d spent this past winter in Boulder, Colorado. It was the first time I’d more or less hung around there through the cooler months in the seven years since I came up to the Front Range from the Southwest, and the ragged winter was receding behind me, with Austin, Texas coming in cool and rainy with spring, according to the forecast.
Funny how you become accustomed to things you once thought were so very foreign: the first time I ever got on a plane I stepped off in Paris. I recall thinking, despite the obvious foreknowledge “Huh.. There is another side to the world”. Anymore a flight is kind of like a noisy nap after the hustle of security and boarding, and you come to in another place altogether, akin to a transporter room. At least I do my best to make it so.
I was born in Texas and lived there until I was fourteen, when I moved up to Colorado and ran into rock climbing. It’s a funny thing going back down there, after such a long stint up in the mountains, after a whole other section of my life has gone by, a different stage in the formation of every person. It’s funny to get down there in the heat and humidity, to get some barbeque in me and a Lone Star or two, and catch my voice slow down a bit, though somehow charged with more than I feel like I usually have to say. It’s funny to think back to when I was a kid and climbing was something people did elsewhere, way up in the mountains where I live now, but in a handful of hours I’ll be jumping and hauling myself up a steep limestone cave, deep in the heart of Texas. I don’t remember exactly what the season is down there for it, but I’m really hoping to catch the bluebonnets bloomin’, and that the wait at Franklin Barbeque isn’t too much over an hour...
Dawn came too early, and daylight savings time makes less sense than ever. It has finally stopped raining, and we got in some time at McKinney Falls State Park, with a neat 10/12’ tall band of nice limestone stretching alongside a river for about 3/400’.. Most everything was wet with runoff from the top of the band, but with some hold drying and some sunshine we ended up climbing for a couple of hours, getting acquainted with the particulars of gently overhanging limestone. It was educational, and I did a move I’ve never done before.. It was odd, and hard to explain.. LIke a drop knee, but with my elbow, and on a two finger half-pad underclimbg pocket. I definitely learned something about climbing..
Once the sun got high and hot, we headed back into the city to meet up with Clayton Reagan for a taco and margarita tour.. Not too late of a night, just a couple games of pool at the Liberty and some hustling to dodge the crowds massing for the upcoming South by Southwest music festival. We’ll be in Arkansas by then, and weather permitting, climbing great featured sandstone.