19 September, 2016

Rebooting the System

Sometimes when my phone isn't functioning properly, I turn it off and back on again. I personally don't understand why resetting the phone this way fixes small problems, but it seems to do the trick each time. This past weekend served as a similar reset for me. My lack of paddling thanks to my sprained ankle had become a weight on my back that seemed to be affecting other aspects of my life. It had actually been so long since I had kayaked, and I go climbing so often that I had begun questioning which I enjoyed most... again. Spoiler alert: Kayaking!  

Friday night, Jamie and I met up with Adam in Shelby and drove to Lake Adger to spend the night on my families property so we could get a decent start to the day without having to wake up super early. We spent our first day on the river paddling the Upper Green. Familiar territory. Jamie was paddling my [dad's] Dagger Outburst and watching her slice through the rapids made me really want to take it down the Upper sometime in the future. Bayless' Boof was smooth for everyone, but things got more interesting at Wanda's Hole. Unaccustomed to the speed of the Outburst Jamie paddled out ahead,  turned sideways, lost all speed, and dropped into the hole sideways. The perfect line. After trying to knock her boat free from the hydraulic I was forced to roll back up and watch as Wanda's continued to munch on her boat and then consume Adam's as well. What made the subsequent, spontaneous synchronized swim even more interesting was that while pulling her [my dad's] skirt to wet exit she ended up coming out of the tube and the skirt managed to stay on the cockpit. 

Jamie also managed to provide entertainment at Pinball when she somehow dropped her paddle at the top and was forced down the double drop using only her hands and hips. Amazingly enough, she managed to make it look pretty smooth. We made a pit stop for lunch on a boulder right after Pinball. Adam, clearly thinking the same thing as me, jumped in the water and started climbing back up. Our kayaking trip quickly devolved into a bouldering excursion. I doubt anything we did was (much) harder than V1, but it didn't matter. The atmosphere was new and exciting and was a nice break near the end of the day. 

We spent the night at Wilderness Cove Campground, which happened to be where UNCG's Outdoor Adventure program was camping for their kayaking trip. It was an interesting experience being able to interact with friends in passing as they did their thing, while we did ours. A great night spent around a campfire with friends only further set the tone for what was turning out to be a great trip. Sunday morning Adam and Jamie helped me hike into the Narrows, since my ankle was sore from the day before, to run Toilet Bowl and Hammer Factor. The water was higher than it had been my previous two trips down, which allowed me to run a new line down Toilet Bowl. 

My latest trip paddling Toilet Bowl!
Boof Line!!

After warming up on the Class IV and V that bookend the Narrows I was ready to paddle the Lower Green with Adam and Jamie. It was another fun day with friends. Had a great time going off the rope swing and nice to watch as Adam and Jamie completed their Personal First Descents of the Lower Green. With the added boost that neither were forced to wet exit.  

Adam hopping on the Rope Swing.

Jamie's turn.

I swear my rope swing dives used to look cleaner...

10 September, 2016

Labor Day on Pilot

I got the chance to head to Pilot Mountain with some friends this past Labor Day! Its almost upsetting how close it is and how I have never been there to go climbing. I had a blast heading outdoors to get on natural rock again. After two canceled trips to the Ocoee River due to injury and illness it was nice to get to do something outside again. 
Jamie on Mild Mannered Secretary.
Overall the trip was a great success. We started out with a few sport routes, which was great because it gave me the chance to gain more confidence with the discipline. It was a great day spent with amazing weather. Despite still recovering from my sprained ankle I was able to climb decently well. Even when I almost came off the wall on the first climb right before the first clip, which was a little high, I still felt pretty confident. 

Derek on Pole Dancing.
One of my friends, Dustin, met us out at the crag to get a few climbs in. It was his first time on natural rock and I think it was a great experience for him. He managed to learn a lot and gain some confidence. I personally learned that I need to control my breathing and maintain a cool head while searching for solid feet placement before I tire out. 
Derek on the arĂȘte the to the right of Baby Bear. 
If you read older posts you may remember Adam who has been pulled into mine and Evan's escapades, running the Green River and Whitewater Center on multiple occasions with us. He has managed a couple Personal First Descents on a few rivers with us. While we plan on hitting up the river next weekend, this past summer he joined us in the opposite direction joining in on the climbing fun! Hopefully he will get the chance to join me in Greensboro for some climbing soon. (Especially since he is in the area this weekend!) 

We have also talked him into joining the Creeks & Crags team! So look forward to seeing some posts from him soon.