October 20, 2009 George Foster

An Apology…….

What was i thinking?? Who let me write such nasty things in that last post……..more specifically what was up with that title??

America, or should i say PEOPLE of America, i am SORRY. Whilst the last blog may have seemed like it was anti-US, i would like to reassure you that it was simply anti- the US system. Are we friends again?? I hope so.

The need to semi-correct myself stems from the unconditional hospitality that we have thus far received from all and sundry in this fair and wild land. To put it simply we’ve been taken to the breast of Mother America and eagerly set about to milk it dry, while the big Moma looks on lovingly. Honestly though i’m properly overwhelmed by how friendly, open and hospitable the random folk that we’ve met so far are. We’ve had offers of places to stay in Boulder, CO from retirees on a holiday whilst we tried to sneak into a 4-star hotel just for the warmth of an open fire, and had entire meals bought for us all simply cos we stopped to talk ‘English’ to them……..and news just in this second the hot coffee room lady in Mammoth has just presented us with some cookies on the house!! Shazam!……….the verdict……tasty!! Anyway………..if there’s anyone out there, American ideally, or otherwise (who cares)…….THANK YOU.

So we’re just sat in Mammoth (in case you suffer from short-term memory loss) enjoying an excellent cup of tea and some cookies sitting in a full-blown snowstorm. We’ve spent some time over the past few days high up at about 10,000ft in Tuolumne Meadows……in paradise. The place is stunning. A wonderland. An alpine playground high above The Valley where huge granite domes dot the landscape and ageless fir trees carpet the meadows. Bears can be a problem but i reckon between us by now we’re hairy enough and ugly enough to give them a run for their money! I certainly stink of  the level above shit by now so maybe that’d be enough to put them off their dinner? Who knows. 

Getting here was a trial of logistics. Isn’t that always the case so far though? We spent too short a time in Isla Vista, the true mythical Amazonia where women rule, though in this case not through immense strength and dwarfing physical presence but through another type of physicality. Rare beauty! The girls in that small enclave on the outskirts of Santa Barbara are, not to exaggerate, GODDESSES’. I’m out of any form of superlative to describe them. I had to duct tape my jaw shut after only 2 minutes of walking about and had to sit down rather than suffer the embarrassment of the ‘crouched’ shuffle (as if i have to explain what that is guys??). So alas we hatched a plot to return at the earliest possible moment to find a wife….or maybe just have a bit of a party….whichever comes first! We left with the plan to hit up a place called The Needles in Sequoia National Park, recommended to us by the Ull, who reckoned it was the proverbial dog’s. We never quite made it though, having taken a wrong turn in the myriad of trees that makes up the majority of the park…..go figure y’know……we found that we were a) in the wrong part of the park (being in Sequoia National FOREST not National PARK) and b) about 4 hours from our intended destination. Yosemite was also about 4 hours away…..every cloud has a silver lining and all that.

This trip so far has been one long pilgrimage…..we visited the birth of US sport climbing….the birth of US climbing, Santa Cruz, Sharmaland…….and now the mecca of, well, i guess, WORLD climbing – Yosemite. The Valley is as awesome as you’d expect, on a scale that i’ve just not been able to comprehend, but i’m sure the time will one day come. One day. I found that i couldn’t really enjoy the place as much as i’d hoped. I’m nervous you see…..no not cos Katie Brown has been spotted at large, somewhere in America……not even cos the rumour is that Beth Rodden has split from Time Child (see pimpinandcrimpin blog)……it’s all down to a little old route called the Bachar-Yerian. I’m desperate to climb it. Its lame and i suck for getting obssessed about something so stupid as a bit of rock but it’s THE climb i want to do in the whole wide world, for ever and ever. Amen. It’s been topsy turvy getting here, one day we’re gonna come, next day the plans change…..much like the weather in this little corner of California (its stopped snowing now by the way). Now that we’re here i’m more psyched than ever. It’s such a stunning line, right up this broad black streak splitting the dome. I’m not optimistic about how well it’ll go but you’ve got to try i suppose and i’m keen to try at least. It’s the British, self-defeatist way after all.

The weather looks okay for the next few days so they’ll hopefully open up the Tioga Pass – the lifeline between Mammoth and Yosemite via Tuolumne – and well get to head back up there. It’s gonna be cool, if only just to be in the place. 


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