Thinking and writing creatively can often be tough. I learned a few tricks early on in college that helps me gather and organize my thoughts. Instead of typing, I went traditional. I used pen and paper to write most of this post, and although messy, it felt good to write, and scribble, and write some more.
After nearly three weeks sans shower, we finally took advantage of the pleasant morning away from climbing to scrub, shampoo, and lather up in a small creek just outside of Lake Tahoe. It was definitely not the ideal way to wake up; bathing in chilly creek water that undoubtedly carries icy melt water down the mountain side, but nonetheless, it was indeed: refreshing, much needed, and free (a huge attraction when living on a tight travel budget).
Morning coffee and creek bath aside, we tacked on another rest day and are hoping to meet up with Charlie, E’s longtime friend and co-counselor from New Jersey. If not, maybe we’ll make plans to grab a beer-sampler from one of Tahoe’s finest breweries, or snag a new 22oz-er to satiate our bellies (at least a tiny bit) while we make dinner, and then.. you guessed it… We’re off for more climbing!
Our climbing plans consist of a few fine and noteworthy items. 1) Locate sweet camp spot near crag and make said spot homey. 2) Find granite crag and climb inspiring routes until our fingers and bodies are tingling with tendery-soreness. 3) …is really a list of multiple happy things: eat good food, enjoy tasty beverages, laugh until our bellies ache, love life and each other, and live simply.
With our list established and agreed upon, we’ll kick off our new crag-travel-adventures by camping near Echo Lake and climbing some beautiful granite routes 30 minutes south of Lake Tahoe. Though small, only a six-pitch sport crag, this pit stop will provide us with the perfect break from driving and some afternoon exercise our minds and bodies desperately crave. According to our South Lake Tahoe Guide Book, these routes are “..all on great rock and are well-protected with bolts,” which in my mind translates to fine, granite roadside gems! We are thrilled!
In Vincent news, the handsome fella handles sneaky curves and bumpy back roads like a champ (gravel, broken pavement, or dirty loggin’ roads-he’s got it)! Speaking of champ, California finally stepped up to the plate and delivered some tasty brews from a smaller-scale brewery. Unlike Cali’s two major and fantastic breweries, Chico’s finest Sierra Nevada, and Sonoma County’s delicious Lagunitas, until today, the Golden State lacked tastefully zesty, small and local craft beers (at least according to our palates).
The Double Nut Brown Porter by Mammoth Brewing Company is super scrumptious and is tackling the deliciously small-California-craft brewery void, one beer at a time. Although we’ve only sampled one of their brews, it was phenomenal, and according to down-grader Davis-Etrain, “I’d stock my cellar with that!” And, if that statement weren’t enough to persuade you, maybe a tiny bit of background information will be just the ticket.
This jumbo beer is considered a ‘local’s favorite,’ and brewed at a high elevation of 8,000 feet. Mammoth has crafted this coffee-licious, chocolatey thick porter that will make your mouth sing. A special ingredient includes only the freshest alpine water from high atop the mighty Sierra! That said, we highly recommend you give this unique and delightful brew a try. You’ll fall in love…
Falling in love with our camp spot is not exactly what happened; however, it wasn’t too shabby, either. After settling in to a nice and cozy, back woods sno-park lot for the night and possibly the next day or so; inevitably, climbing talk is floating between us – ‘What routes do you want to get on first?’ or ‘Let’s work these routes and then project that one.’ So far, E has his sights set on a techy and bouldery 12b, while I hope to get more climbing mileage in on harder routes and more leading. It should be super fun and we’re stoked!