Wicked trip

Back home am I after my good vacation home in the land of the snow! Great trip — the fun in the snow, spent good time with my parents, saw lots and lots of friends both near home and up in Ottawa, including some I hadn’t seen in many years (hi to all of you!), watched some interesting films, watched Ratatouille a few more times, did Tai Chi a bunch, ate some fantastic food, read some great books (The Art of Possibility, A Separate Reality, a bit of The Principles of Effortless Power, re-read bits of The China Study, and the reference classics book China), worked on the Bloodstone Campaign some, made a mask that turned out awesome, set up my parent’s new computer, took the train, relaxed a bunch…

While in Ottawa we climbing at my old, er, stomping grounds(?). Well, the gym where I got my start climbing, Coyote Rock Gym. And boy, what an interesting time — certainly something about the climbs there vis-à-vis the climbs here at Planet Granite. A climbing friend had said to me, years ago, that there is a difference in the way easterners rate their climbs compared to west; basically the western routes were generally rated more difficult. Can’t be sure if this plays in here or not, as I’m only comparing two gyms, but the climbs at Coyote’s were certainly different. The walls are shorter there, and the climbs are much more technical, with smaller holds and a much greater reliance on body positioning and crux moves than what seem to be at PGs these days. (I do seem to remember the old PG location in Santa Clara not seeming all too different when I began there after moving, so it is possible they’ve mollified over time) I could get the 5.9s pretty easily, but as soon as I hit the 5.10s it was like hitting a wall (pun intended). Wow, good stuff. There were some moves I just couldn’t get my body wrapped around (needed to bring more Tai Chi to it, I think), and some where my fingers simply looked at me and said “What? Oh! You want to hold on! Haha, too bad.” Must get more climbing time in! I’m looking forward to hitting it again in the future after I get more back into the swing of it and seeing what comes out of it, it was a great afternoon of fun challenges. I even declared some routes my nemesis, but they’ll be changed by the time I return…

My flight home from Toronto departed right at about sunset, and during an overcast sky. As we took off, we went through, in succession, three layers of cloud cover, treating me to a succession of gorgeous and varied sunset tableaus, climbing steadily until we broke through and glided over a sea of clouds. Coming into Chicago, as we descended closer to that sea of clouds, again I was treated to scene after scene of the orange/red rays of light playing across the cloud tops, mountains of cloud rising like Mont St Michel from the cloud sea (also catching the light), and most interestingly, views through open pools in the illuminated cloud tops to the city below, where night had fallen and the city lights were on. Stunning, dazzling and magnificent.

A great batch of holiday wishes to all!


Chill-ish morning at around 5~C as I arrive for kung fu practice… but clear clear sky full of morning sun, glorious 38th parallel warming sun…  not yet even done my warmup I’m ready to remove my sweatshirt, basking in the sunbeam… mmmmm….