We've made it, however some places aren't always as you expect them to be. Albeit, the climbs are plenty, enough climbs to satisfy lifetimes of climbing, the people are abundant, but the weather is as fickle as our emotions and the humidity is anything but enjoyable.
If you're visiting in the Spring and Summer, travelers to this region should check daily for ticks due to the transmission of Lime's Disease and the inspection of mold in one's living situation should take place often. In order to help curb any possibility of mold, be sure to clean your living quarters often, let in as much sunlight and air as possible into dark areas, and use bleach on your sleeping pads as needed. As the region gets warmer, mosquitos become more abundant and it would wise to take the ten minute drive into Stanton, KY and pick up some bug spray or bug clips at the Kroger grocery store.
However, it hasn't been a complete disaster. Seeing our friends we've made in Hueco Tanks and Brandon & Gaby from JustGoClimb has been great! While we've been making new friends, they've left as fast as they've came.
Through the next month, Ben and I will be based here at the Red River Gorge in Slade, KY increasing our skill sets as climbers to tackle our goals in the future. But something hasn't seemed quite right since we've arrived. Perhaps it's the lack of sun, or the omnipresent clouds, or perhaps it was the death of a pair of parents who were camping with their children just down the road at Natural Bridge.
Regardless, our internal conflicts and physical struggles with our camper diminish in comparison to the gravity of tragic events, while the stormy weather is an ever-constant reminder that we are at the mercy of nature. The groups of sport climbers at Miguel's are just as friendly, but the groups are more clique oriented. Perhaps, it's been my expectations of the Red that have fallen short of its reality due to the ongoing thunder storms and the lack of climbing due to weather windows; and as a result, there's too much energy without a proper outlet.
Reality has a way of bringing you out of the fantasy you incessantly focus to realize in your camera, and the photograph only serves as a sliver of small proof that your life is all that you imagine it to be. But certain emotions can't be isolated and removed from your current frame. After all, it's not that I believe most of the photographs are the truth, they're simply a selected version of that truth. You never know what may happen and when it will all end, and my mind is ever drawn to the fate of those children who've lost their parents.
As cliche as the saying might be, you have to try to live every moment as your last; because you never know when you're number is going to get called. With that being said, we've tried to maximize our days of good weather with climbing and photography.
Our adventure, though not entirely unique, is our own. It's full of highs & lows, obstacles to overcome, and things dangerous to come to. If one were to ask me before the start of this trip if I would've ever seen myself living out of the back of a truck, the answer would've been a resounding, no. My friends back home would have never pegged me as adventurous, curious perhaps, but always non-committal. Two and a half months later, I've learned, seen, and experienced so much with still so much left to go. I've traded in the luxury of comforts for the unknown, the discomfort, and simplicity. I often saw myself as a young Bilbo Baggins; concerned with his position and respectability in life, while bridled by social conventions and unable to follow his curiosity... That is, until Gandalf (my brother Ben) shows up looking for someone to partake in an adventure.