There are two paths in life. One can either have friends or one can have a blog. I now have three or even more people in Seattle who I am happy to call my friends because they say things like "we should hang out," or "we should totally get together sometime," or even, "you guys should take Monica rock climbing instead of me because I'm going to be too tired to go." Which is what someone actually said last night when I was out drinking with said friends at a posh hotel called "The Edgewater." One of these friends, Stark, is a member of the running club that I accidentally joined, and Saturday morning he had been cleaning up Alki beach for Earth Day with his roommates when he ran into Max walking on a tightrope on the beach. He asked to try the tightrope and somehow both of them realized that they both knew me. Amazing - only a week in Seattle and I'm already known by two people who meet by chance. Which is how I ended up drinking with Stark and friends at The Edgewater Saturday night.
Which is why I woke up at 6:30am on Sunday morning so that I could throw some clothes in a bag and get a ride to Leavenworth. My new friend Stark arrived promptly at 8am to pick me up, an hour after the planned arrival. His friend Pierre, in the front seat, assured me that he's always late because even though he's a rocket scientist he doesn't realize that driving takes time. We met up with five other friends in Ravenna and loaded the gear into the cars (well, they loaded the gear into the cars. What are friends for?). We also took in another passenger, Nathaniel*.
On the two hour drive to Leavenworth we shot the shit about a million topics, ranging from electronic music to Pierre's past involvement in French gangs, to Nathaniel's semi-past involvement in being a geek. The topic turned naturally to sports, and Stark regaled us with his kayaking exploits, such as going over a twelve foot waterfall.
"But it only looked like it was ten feet because there was a lot of foam at the bottom," he said modestly. "Do you still kayak?" I asked, intrigued. "No, I decided that I wanted to devote more time to tubing."
Yes, tubing, a much more hardcore sport. To help him get better, Nathaniel and Pierre drafted a tubing conditioning program for Stark, which included exercises such as floating in his hottub in an inner tube, and perhaps even attempting to hold onto a cooler full of beers with the hottub jets turned on.
Finally we arrived in Leavenworth and drove along Icicle Creek to the climbing area, an outcropping that overlooks the creek and looks up at the snowy peaks of the "Sleeping Lady." After another hour of dilly-dallying, including a trip to the gas station for snacks, we were ready to climb. We grabbed some gear (even me this time) and made our way up the slope to our start point. When I say that "we made our way up the slope" I mean that after wandering around in the brambles for slightly less time than it took Israel to get to the Promised Land we finally found a path to the desired outcropping.
As a Pennsylvanian, even just getting to the foot of the rock face felt higher than I usually go in the chair lift when I'm skiing. I mean, we were looking down at the birds. Not that I'm afraid of heights, I'm just afraid of falling off of them. We were thankfully with our seasoned guide, Mountain Man Matt, so there was nothing, or not much, to be afraid of. Matt and Nathaniel fastened the rope to our first climb. I don't have my own shoes, but thankfully someone had shoes my size, a harness my size, and a helmet that fit my small brain perfectly (my brain is one of my favorite body parts so I choose to protect it).
When it was my turn, I was strapped in and tied up and I started up the rocks as my belayer, Stark, shouted "you're doing great" (I told him to encourage me). There was a ledge, and then a second, steeper rock face. I couldn't get my foot up onto the second face, but thankfully Mountain Man Matt used his brute force to haul me into the air from above (I thought Stark was doing it, but later found out that it was Matt) and I finished the ascent. I scratched my knees up pretty bad while climbing and I'm sorry to say that my days of being a knee model are over.
After that I climbed once more and there was a lot more shooting the shit, eating, and lying around getting a tan before we called it a day and went back to Leavenworth center for delicious Mexican food and beer.
Stark suggested that we all join him in his hottub for some tubing exercises but since tomorrow is my first day of work I decided against it. This is possibly my first wise choice as an adult.
*names in this story have been changed to protect the innocent
P.S. I am drinking tea and I just saw that my tea bag has a quote on it. It says "Chances multiply if you grab them." I like that and I'm going to use it as the title.