Monday, May 12, 2008


This weekend was more fulfilling than I thought it was going to be.  Friday night my roommate Pat and I ordered pizza from the worst place ever.  I forget what it was called, but it took over an hour for them to deliver the wrong address.  We finally got it and I ended up eating it while sitting on my floor an watching The Office, season 3.

Saturday morning, I awoke bright and early and well rested.  I packed up my climbing gear and headed for Emma's.  We walked down to the Lower Haight together and parted way at Steiner and Haight, her to work, me to climb.

I met up with Ben in front of Edo Salon.  We did a quick scavenger hunt for Emma's Mustang.  After loading up the back seat with our beach/climbing gear we were on our way out of the city.  Lately, driving out of the city gives me a great sense of escape.  We drove up and over Mt. Tamalpias and along the coast to Stinson Beach.  
The beach wasn't very crowded.  The surf was small, maybe two or three feet.  The tide must have just gone out as the sand was still tightly packed and wet.  We walked along, barefoot, for about a quarter of a mile to the south end of the beach.  There is a group of maybe a half a dozen or so boulders ranging in height from 8' - 40'+.  We warmed up on the 8' boulder.  I haven't climbed regularly in year and a half or so so I ended up on my butt more often than on top of the rock.  We did some nice problems but ended up leaving this rock after about an hour.  
The second boulder we worked on was a nice little triangular traverse up the diagonal edge.  We only worked here for about twenty minutes or so before heading further south to explore some of the larger boulders.  The 40'+ had some nice juggy holds.  We decided on a nice spot to call the top out and worked on getting there.  I never made it. 
Regardless of how crappily I climbed I had a great time.  I love that I have all these activities that allow me to focus.  Muay Thai, climbing, rafting, and biking.  I love the problems they present, the process of figuring out the right line, route, combination what ever.  Anyway, it was great to get outside and work some problems with my renewed friend Ben. 

Saturday night was spent with my family at my Thea Anna and Theo Angelo's home in Oakland.  I absolutely love their house.  The architecture, the landscaping, the art and decorations, everything.  Oh, and not to mention the food.  Oh. My. God.  Amazing.  I ate my self silly and then went home to Emma and fell asleep.

Sunday.  Rafting the South Fork of the American river.  I woke up at 5:00 a.m. and stumbled home grab my gear.  Suzanne was going to pick me up at 6:00 a.m.   I stumbled around between my bedroom, the kitchen and the bathroom for a while, collecting my gear.  Waiting for the call.  When I finally climbed into her car it was still foggy and dawn was barely breaking.  Again, I felt incredibly relieved to be escaping the city.  We met up with Yukihiro on some gravel road off of the 80 and then continued on to the river. 
We had decided earlier that we were going to do all 21 miles of the river that day which meant a lot of rowing, a lot of sun, a lot of white water, and a hell of a good day....regardless of the sense of urgency that we all felt.  The flows peaked some where around 2,000-2,200 cfs (cubic feet per second).  Suzanne started out guiding Meat Grinder, the first rapid on the Chili Bar section.  She did a great job of choosing her line and sticking with it.  Just ahead of us was a commercial boat, I believe it was White Water Excitement.  They had flat wrapped their boat in a little parking space just below the main wrap rock in the middle of the rapid.  I should mention that this is the rapid that took the life of a 13 year old girl just two years ago.  She swam from just above where this boat had flat wrapped.  She got her foot entrapped in some rocks and was sucked under.  Anyway, this WWE guide must have been a rookie because he made several dumb decisions, the first of which was getting himself flat wrapped in an easily avoidable spot.  The second of which was to get out of the boat to try to wriggle it free and push it around the rock.  He ended up getting the boat free but what he did then was just plain dumb.  He decided to turn the boat perpendicular to the current (now the right-starboard side of the boat is facing the rock) and then push back into the current and jump in some time soon after and then smoothly guide the rest of the rapid.  I knew this wasn't what would happen.  Yes, I too have been stuck in that spot.  Only once, and, yes, I was a rookie.  So he pushed the boat but I guess he forgot to jump in because the boat floated out of the eddy and into the current, guide-less, it was then pushed back up against the same rock, sideways, only to dump all of its paddlers into the rushing white water.  The boat floated close enough for Yukihiro to jump into and paddle into a nearby eddy.  Most of the paddlers swam to the other WWE boat that was in an eddy below, all but one.  She was frozen.  I spotted her and was shouting directions to Suzanne as to how to pick her up.  We finally rowed close enough to her for me to grab her paddle and pluck her out of the water.  She was a bit shaken but I talked to her and calmed her down.  We did a quick body assessment to check for injuries but found nothing, save her rattled nerves.  We eventually reunited her with her boat and guide and took off on our way.  
The rest of the river was smooth sailing....or rafting.  Between Yukihiro, Suzanne and I what could go wrong?  We all took turns rowing through the class III water having a blast, teasing each other and enjoying our time back at our home away from home.

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