We’re pulling out of Arkansas in the middle of a storm that appears to stretch from Mexico to Canada. The weather, though hot, has been pretty fair for the most part, even a bit of wind as this storm approached. This was my second trip to Arkansas, and like my first, the weather was unseasonably warm, but not enough to shut us down entirely. Again we visited a handful of unique crags, and again I was surprised by the similarity of some of the sandstone in Arkansas to the sandstone I climbed on in southern Colorado when I first began. The quality of the stone is high: it’s well-featured, nicely textured, and really solid, with interesting shapes and holds thanks to the interaction of rain and iron. Another plus is the intimacy of the small crags, where every route and problem is appreciated for its individuality as well a contributor of sorts to the feel of the crag.
We saw the Invasion Wall and climbed routes and boulders, worked projects on both. We blew a rest day at Lutz Cave on steep letterbox edges. We baked in the the sun slabbing at DeSoto, burning skin on the south facing slopes. We showed up early and stayed out late at a new crag where the first half of the routes are on limestone and the second on bullet sandstone. We hiked flat singletrack in the dark returning from forested lakeside bouldering at (the other) Lincoln Lake.
Now we cut west through this crescent of a storm towards Four Corners, back to the first stones I climbed, fresh from the last stones I’ve climbed, from the newest-to-me area to the oldest. It’s kind of like coming round full circle, allowing me to further appreciate what I began with, and what I have now, which is sort of a feeling of having experienced a number of alternatives and arrived at satisfaction, at a sort of peace, by comparison. By going to see what’s out there, drunk on the new car smell of how different it is, the energy of its attributes, its individual spirit and flavor.
I digress. Climbing is cool.
We’re barreling through the Arkansas frontier at the edge of Oklahoma, flooding is evident and rain is pouring. We’re aimed for tornado country while a cold front the size of the nation is lumbering towards the hot and steamy southeast.
There’s no place like home?