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The Climbing Club • View topic - The Inland Empire Strikes Back

The Climbing Club

at the University of Washington
It is currently Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:31 pm

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 1:04 am 
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Alpine Bod
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Location: Los Americanos
Warning: this story is looong, long like a novel, and requires literacy skills of a 4th grader to enjoy. Read no further if you expect photos at some point.

An Atypical Weekend In & Around Spokane

Fine light on a sunday afternoon. Well, it wasn't exactly how things started out. I could think of many places I wanted to be rather than here. Drizzle, 38 degrees, it had been doing this for days- not exactly the sort of weather for one in my profession. This is the Inland Empire- that sort of thing isn't supposed to happen here. At least I didn't recall the grey growing up.

Kevin rolls in on the night train from the wet side of the state. The next morning when he calls the sky is a radiant blue. Powerful cumuli pass overhead. I make the trek across the vastness that is Spokane. His friends are busily preparing their place for All Hallows Eve. Spiderwebs cross the rooms and some people's worst nightmare grace the walls- 6 monitors controlled by various machines in the house. After some decorating and chatting we were on our way.

First stop- manito park. When Kevin realizes we are headed to the Japanese Garden we head back to the car for cameras. When I realize I just left my extra film in the car, I head back again, this time with an optimized path. Yeah I admit, I still do math on the weekends! Shocking. Later in the day a girl extolled the virtues of geeks so I guess all is not lost.

Kevin and I shot some photos- no surprise there. When enough frames had been devoured and Kevin had waited and waited for light to hit the bridge again we were on our way. I pointed out the place where I hit my head as a child- sort of a boy & bike meet tree kind of episode. He seemed impressed by our first stop. Allegedly beyond the scope of SPD. So it turns out that places like that are for more than taking nice girls for nice walks. There are lots of photo opportunities to boot! After a neighborhood tour of the lower west end of the South Hill we were on our way to the Aboretum via Brown's addition, another historic neighborhood. That's right, much to the astonishment of someone later in the day, Spokane has an Arboretum. The light came out for about 3 seconds while I was near the trickle of a creek (actually spelled crIck here) and I took a few snapshots on the tripod.

On the road again. I pushed the Blue Roo through the corners of Indian Canyon en route to Rimrock and showed Kevin where I had set up my famous lightning shot of the city and Spokane valley at sunrise. Kevin dug the Rimrock cliffs. I dove down a dirt road I had yet to explore; I was in the zone now. We now entered my official stomping grounds of yesteryear, Riverside State Park. Bowl and Pitcher, some property I foolishly did not purchase at 19- money I later squandered on school ... and then the 7 Mile ORV. Dirt Bikes wheelied past as I drove out to the edge of the sand cliffs. We had no time for a full tour so I headed out, directly. Kevin seemed astonished to see his old Subaru claw up a hill left alone by SUV's. Well, sometimes it's nice to put the sport back in the good ole utility vehicle.

Flying down Old Trail Road we skipped most of the washboard and were soon near Deep Creek Canyon. Wanting to travel light and really reeally fast I elected to leave the cameras in the car. First we peered from the top of the overlook into the depths of the canyon. Minutes later we were headed up from the mouth of the canyon where it joins the Spokane river and the towers were, you guessed it, towering overhead. Overhanging basalt was marked only by a white substance and some shiny things evenly spaced in a vertical manner- the opposite tower cloaked in moss. Yes, it seems to precipitate here. A glance skyward and my pace quickened. Soon I led kevin up some steep dirt. A 'veggie belay' broke and almost allowed gravity its due course. But no, Kevin did not fall because he saw I had led him into a bushwhack. He claimed to be acquainted with the enterprise.

Back at the car I sped off once again for high ground. The run was cut short when it was obvious the scarlet had left the clouds. We simply took in the view and left the overlook for night to come. A showing of some grassy meadows and the lovely 9 mile dam took us to the Little Spokane River Natual Area- my little slice of heaven at home. Amazing running trails, stunning scenery ... that place is tough to beat. Well Kevin never really saw it because it was dark but I made the loop anyways and headed home over 5 mile prairie- once a flat plateau with grasses and wheat farms, a schoolhouse, grange and farm houses- today suburbia. Food cravings had been replaced by something else hours ago ... but there were other things to do besides just eat. Kevin soon became a bank robber while I was a not so instant Steve Prefontaine. My brother became a "redneck cougar fan" with about 5 minutes notice. This almost caused him grief at the party for two reasons. 1)No one likes redundancy 2)many party goers were UW supporters. All was well when Peter explained he attended the honorable University of Washington and hates the cougars as well as the Verizon guy.

Many things happened at the party, which would require many volumes to document. Eric Gratz would have been in heaven. Hard A, as he likes to put it, was in large supply. Best costume was split into two categories. Jesus and the Ring Wraith took top honors in the boys camp. Slutty school girls seemed to present a strong showing on the ladies side. Most said everyone was a winner because who were they to judge. I offered a discourse on the canadian slang word wicked, prominently displayed on a certain female's shirt. The Drama club made a fine showing. One fellow among their ranks was kind enough to teach me some French, something I've found necessary for the acquisition of a second citizenship. However, this did net one slap in the face; perhaps this was part of a scheme as he seemed a bit taken by the slapper. Ali G busted a lot of moves but found out the next morning he kind of busted his knee. This slightly altered Sunday. Oh yeah I took a lot of pictures of the shindig with the house supplied disposables. Surprisingly two, yes 2! people recognized Steve Prefontaine. Good tymes.

The Alpine Start was abandoned due to the alpine finish. Kevin deemed it safe to call his friends at the stroke of 11:15am new time. And soon, after a superb prep job by yours truly, we were on our way to the South Hill for the nth time. Some meaningful conversations were had with those milling around. One fellow was having serious problems with a boot failure. Just when things started making sense he fell into another loop. It was too bad really but made for stimulating conversation that most found enjoyable.

Time for Palooseee. I still prefer that pronunciation no matter what naysayers say. We wound through grasses, forests and Latah creek. Valley Chapel Road soon launched us out into the rolling palouse with the forests of the east marking the end of Washington. We paused at the chapel as fine light danced across the wheat fields. Kevin made use of his zoomer while I employed the wide angle. Things became interesting as Kevin grabbed the map in the backseat. This was my kind of driving; we rarely stayed on the same road for very long and pavement was the exception at times. Steptoe Butte seemed a long way off as the shadows became longer. But great light was to be had in abundance now. After some roadside poaching Kevin was in a hurry to make it to Steptoe. I issued the fasten your seatbelts statement and got on it. We spiraled up the Butte as a hue left the sky. I spotted Mt Spokane- we hopped back in the car, cranked up the heater and headed to 195 North. Rockford, Latah and Oakesdale became warm memories as we passed though darkness to dinner in Spangle.

Back at the South Hill Pad Kevin rounded up the X box and displayed his company's latest creation. We were impressed by the grass blowing in the wind along with the realistic physics. I passed up an opportunity to game in favour of eyelid inspection. My brother would have been disappointed in me. Next, Kevin's USB drive, which had supplied the tunes for the drive, now brought us photos from years in the wilds. The 2am train was still far off when I had a ground breaking idea. Soon we were taking night photos of the grand castles and cathedrals of the south hill- old mining dollars with H3's now in the driveway. Soon we were downtown as I chatted here and there with homeless folk. Kevin always amazes me with his eye for scenes I would never see. He test drove some lens offerings from Nikon ... and before we knew it the time was all gone away. 5 minutes after dropping him at the train station it began to rain.

It hasn't stopped.

I would gladly post some photos but my film is chillin in the freezer eagerly awaiting the lab fairy and a slide scanner someday. Kevin's on top of things so you'll probably see his shortly.


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