Thursday, August 15, 2013

First Stop- Lander, Wyoming

The day after returning from Maine, I continued moving our stuff into my garage.  Every trip lowered my stress level and brought Leah and I closer to being able to start our month long climbing trip.

The loose plan was to head up to Lander, then go to Yellowstone for a few days, drive down to the Fins, and then check out Logan.  At the end of August, Leah would fly out of Salt Lake to Knoxville to attend a manditory orientation for school.  I would hang out for five days, and then Leah would fly back to Salt Lake and we would drive home together.

So with the car packed with climbing gear, clothes, food, and camping gear we shot up to Wyoming for the first leg of our trip.  Our friend Jill offered to let us stay at her house, which seemed like a gentle way to acclimatize to living out of a tiny Honda Civic.  When we arrived, we learned that Jill's house was under construction(about 90% finished).  Luckily, her friends offered to let us crash at their cozy, western style condo.

 A few days into our stay at the condo, the owners arrived, and we set up camp in Jill's enclosed patio.  We literally slept in a tent on the patio, and woke up to workers arriving at 8am.  Since her place was still under construction, we cooked outside too.  It felt a little awkward to lay in the tent, cook breakfast and sip coffee while people were working but it was super fun to hangout with Jill.

Camping in Jill's patio.
Although Lander is at 8000 feet, temperatures still hit the 90's.  This is a problem since the majority of Lander's rock faces South.  We solved this problem by climbing at North facing areas like North Country, The Remuda, and The Erratic.

The Belly Ache.  10 scoops of ice cream, 10 toppings, whipped cream and cherry on every scoop.  Never seen anything like this before.
If you complete the challenge, you get a t-shirt, and your picture on the wall.  One guy ate the whole thing in 14 minutes!

I have climbed at Wild Iris a few times and am always surprised by the tweaky and savage style.  Fortunately, I had been training mono and two-finger pocket strength for a month so my tendons were up to the task.  However, a few days of trying 5.13 left my fingers traumatized, and by the end of the week my fingers felt like they were going to explode.

As usual, Leah wanted to see some wildlife- preferably a bear or mountain lion.  Unfortunately, we didn't see either of those, but we did have a rare Maggie sighting!  We love this dog, and threaten to steal her every time we visit Lander.

Irresistibly cute.
I also visited a 7000 acre family owned ranch with some interesting stuff on their property and met their pet sheep named Elkie.

Elkie eating dog food.
Bottle feeding Elkie.

Of course we got off the beaten path.  One day after climbing, Jill took us to Atlantic City for a quick beer.  This little coal mining town is about 5 miles down a dirt road in the middle of nowhere.  They claim a population of "about 57".  However, they have a quirky bar with some friendly folks and lots of interesting stuff inside the bar.

With wrecked tendons and sore skin we rolled out of Lander towards Yellowstone National Park.  It was time to let our fingers heal and be tourists. 

Me taming a huge Jackalope.

Leah breaking in another Jackalope.

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