Pond with the pupfish
The next day we decided to check out some sport climbing nearby we heard about from another climber at Owens River Gorge. It was a beautiful location by a small river. You had to walk about one mile from the parking area down into the gorge and cross the river for the climbs we did. Again, still in recovery mode here so.. forgive us but we only did to wimpy climbs lol First I lead a 5.6 climb, then Matthew did a 5.7 lead climb. We were going to do more but the next wall we found was way too sketchy to get to, a lot of talus that... at that point we were just not willing to do.
Only photo we got that day of Matthew leading the 5.7
The day after that we were back to bouldering. It was getting pretty hot so we waited until late afternoon to start. My knee has been pretty busted since the backpacking trip so I've been on ibuprofen daily and stretching. So the intent was for just Matthew to boulder and I would spot him... but I couldn't help myself and got on some stuff, only easy things and didn't stress my knee though.
This was one of the only climbs we could get photos of, the others needed more attention from the spotter.
It was a nice easy climb, really fun and looks cool lol
I call this the 'look ma no hands!', that's not what the climb is called but it should be. The point is to climb it without your hands, it helps to realize how easily your feet stick to the rock.
We are starting an internship with Earth Knack for the month of June. It's a traditional skills internship you can check out here if you want to know more. It is located in Colorado so we started to make our way in that direction. It has, again, been longer than I care to mention since we bathed. Someone recommended we look into places to stay in Vegas when passing through because you can get some good deals in the middle of the week. A few days with a shower and a/c was starting to sound really good!
On our way we took a detour to the Creosote Rings Preserve. There's this one creosote ring (a set of bushes roughly in the shape of a ring) called King Clone, that has been dated to be over 9,000 years old! We just thought it would be cool to see. When we were almost there we couldn't take our turn onto the dirt road because of road construction so we went the long way around (this is pertinent info for later in our story). The preserve is just several acres of creosote bushes surrounded by a gate. There is no signage or anything. To find the King clone was easy, thankfully it was very close to the road and on google maps when searching for Creosote rings preserve the gps coordinates are right on King clone.
Matthew got to do one rep of a squat with Angie on his shoulders to get this shot. Not impressive looking is it?
Ok, on our way out of this place we had to take a collection of dirt roads to get out. We passed a random man who seemed to be wandering in the middle of nowhere without a car in sight but he seemed fine. We tried to get back to the main road too soon, turned around and went down an iffy wash but something our car could handle. We came across random man again with his Mercedes stuck, really stuck. He had been trying to get around the traffic on the main road and took the same wash we were in... not a good idea for a Mercedes sedan. So, we did our good deed for the day, took about an hour to get him out because we had to pull him up a hill, and in the process we ripped his bumper off! Matthew has learned not to use the bubba rope on sedans and stick to the winch.
Random guy had a buddy on the way... who showed up in a camry... with a tow chain. We definitely saved these guys from themselves, only feel a little bad about the bumper.
That evening we stayed at an awesome campsite in the Mojave National Preserve.
After the sun set and our eyes adjusted to the light from the quarter moon we went on a short walk. In the morning it was hard to leave our campsite, it was a beautiful place and the preserve showcases some amazing biodiversity. On our way out we passed what looked like an informational board. We stopped to see what we might learn about the desert and it was a trailhead! It was a short 3 mile hike to a peak and we didn't have much other than driving planned for the day so we did it.
This is the highest density of Joshua trees in the world! Which sounds impressive until you realize Joshua trees only exist in this corner of the world anyway. Only located in patches around the southwest.
first time coming cross fruit on the joshua tree
Prickly pear in bloom
Didn't get a good shot from the peak but here it is anyway.
We hit the road for a few hours and arrived at Red Rock Canyon on the west side of Vegas. I wanted to get info from the visitors center about camping buuut we took a wrong turn and ended up on the one way 13 mile scenic drive.... oops. It was early in the day so we rolled with it. It was the weekend so the plan was to hang out and play in Red rock canyon then stay in a hotel for a few days mon-wed. We were looking to hike but saw some people rock climbing! One of the hikes we considered was 11 miles round trip... but most of it was along a 4x4 dirt road then only 1.3 miles on a trail... so naturally we drove down it, then did the 2.6 mile round trip hike.
There was a quarry here in 1905
working our way down the road.. it was pretty easy for the most part
At the peak!
It worked out really well, by the time we finished to loop and made it back to the visitors center it was pouring rain. We got the camping info and the campground was too busy (concern of wood and cig smoke) so we headed off anyway to a more secluded place about 45 mins away.
Sadly due to the pouring rain we couldn't climb at Red Rock. The rock is sandstone and it becomes fragile when wet, not good for the rock or climber as it can break off. So you could get injured and ruin the climb as well. Next order of business was to find alternative climbing! I found a spot closer to where we were camping in the La Madre Range with some sport climbing. It's very hot so we got up 'early' and started climbing around 7:30am. Sadly I got NO photos of us climbing! Which is sad since the limestone is very different from what we've been on and it was an interesting climbing morning. First Matthew did a 5.7 lead climb, that ended up being the hardest climb of the morning. Then after I topped it I climbed to the top of the wall and walked over to a 5.8 and set up a top rope. We did two 5.8 climbs that were next to each other then I set up a top rope for a 5.9+. It was easy to climb up top and there was a single bolt I could use and attach to, then climb down to the bolted anchors to set up for the climb. It was all good until I then climbed back up, undid the single bolt then had to down climb to the anchors... I was basically free climbing at that point. It was all good until I hit this one loose section of rock I was using as a hold that gave way... I should have checked it. It seemed solid and a nice big hold but a large chunk came out and landed on my legs. Thankfully, I had a good hold with my right hand, and my feet were solid. I gathered my wits, warned Matthew then tossed it as best I could AWAY from the rope. I did the rest of the down climb and was fine. So that was exciting! (sorry mom)
The chunk of rock that landed on me. Carabiner is for scale. The green along the right side is from a barrel cactus it scraped along after it hit the ground and bounced.
It got too hot to continue climbing by 11am. We called it quits and are now sitting in a nice air conditioned coffee shop. I have a friend moving to the area and she's in town for interview, we are meeting with her and her fiance tomorrow, bathing and enjoying a/c for a few days, then... likely a little more climbing before getting to Colorado friday. We are arriving early to help Robin (the owner) set up for the Earth Knack gathering. Our internship is going to overlap with the week long gathering she is having (similar to others we've been to but smaller).