At first I thought this trip was going to be a complete bust. I came back from Baltimore after the ABS Nationals with a heinous virus that quickly turned into many different sicknesses all combined into one, and on the morning I flew to El Paso (my flight left at 6 a.m.) I felt deathly ill. For the first week out of the three weeks of my stay in Hueco I was pretty much bed ridden, or shall I say campsite ridden. But eventually I got better, passed on the sickness to others and fell into the groove of Hueco bouldering. I tried to climb a few times that first week, but my body just didn’t work properly. I did however get scared nearly to death by John Wallace’s rubber rattlesnake. Imagine how badly you could scare someone chasing them with a real rattlesnake, its jaws gaping open. That’s how badly I was scared for about five seconds, before I realized what a chump I was. Everyone had a god laugh about it afterwards, so all is well that ends well, I guess.
My friends from San Fran that I’m traveling with (Mark and Vin) brought two bikes down just for the two of them, but fortunately one has a rack sort-of thing covering the back tire that one person can sit on, while the other person pedals and steers. It looks goofy as hell but it sure beats starting the car up to drive a mile every day and it definitely beats walking, which is what we have been doing since one of the bikes got an unfixable flat. Another thing that I have managed to get away with the entire three weeks I have been here, mainly because of marks Texas Parks Pass and not going on any commercial tours is, not having to pay a single penny to climb in this place. Hells yeah. I have spent $72 dollars on camping, though.
One thing I did miss this year was not getting to eat at El Rancho Escondido, my favorite El Paso Mexican restaurant (its about as good as the worst one in the mission, but they have the bomb margaritas, oops, not supposed to say that for another three months) because they were closed for remodeling or something lame like that. Jen, a friend from Salt Lake, even got my hopes up and said she saw that they put a sign saying that they were now "Open,” so we made a special trip into town for El Rancho, but when we got there we realized it was the same sign that had been there the previous 15 times we had driven past it. Damn.
I don’t think I’ve fantasized about a climbing area more than Arkansas, so I’m pretty psyched to be headed there next. I’m trying to convince the guys to drive all the way there in one push, the whole 13 or however many hours it takes to get there so we can get to the climbing ASAP, but they're not quite as psyched as I am. One thing is for certain: we will definitely have to go through the Vista Mercado and Buddy’s Beer Barn on the way out of town tomorrow. Buddy’s is just for the experience of course.