Niles Barnes – Reader Blog 3
Community is everywhere.
It’s a Saturday morning and I’ve just arrived at the airport in Riverside, CA. I take a cab to my hotel where I am stationed for the weekend participating in interviews to determine who will eventually be the head of the organization I work for. The front desk tells me I’m too early to check into my room. I ask if there is a climbing gym anywhere nearby. My request gets answered with a blank stare. I’m informed the concierge’s desk is around the corner, she can help. A quick google search later and I have an address. A cab is called to take me to the climbing gym. As I wait for the cab to arrive I laugh to myself imagining riding in a cab to a climbing gym with my carry-on roll away luggage.
After a 30 minute ride in the cab (that should have only taken 15), I arrive at Thresh Hold Climbing. As I’m getting my luggage out of the cab I can feel eyes through the glass window of the gym looking at me. I know that the laughs I recently had to myself about arriving by cab were being shared by those in the gym.
As often happens when I go somewhere new, I’m reminded that the climbing community is real and awesome. As soon as I step in the door, I’m given a warm welcome. It’s not long until I’m shooting the breeze with the folks there as if I’m back home at the Red. Part of me likes to think it was the southern charm that did it, but I know the real reason was because, amid the pissing matches that happen on the “instanet” (climbing forums, blogs), climbers actually are a tight, supportive community that is willing to extend a welcoming hand to those passing through.
It’s interactions like this that are part of the reason I climb and love to travel to climb. My next climbing adventure happens to be taking me to Spain to experience the “land of limestone” where I’m eager to feel the community that is there. I’ve heard that the climbing is stellar and the wine and food is equally top notch. What I’m most looking forward to, however, is slipping into the relaxed Spanish lifestyle and seeing how that translates to the climbers there. I only have two weeks but already am preparing for a packed trip – please send me any and all recommendations you may have (from cliffs, to lodging to food). From Barcelona we plan to check out Terredetes, Santa Linya, Siurana, and perhaps Margalef. I plan to bring back some photos and other goodies for you loyal readers!
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