Central Oregon Service & Rock Climbing: November 18-21, 2006
We met at 8am, gathered up our belongings. Setting off by bus, we were met by Dave Corkran, alumnus who had worked 25 years ago at the same spot we would. We were joined by a staff member from the Bureau of Land Management in front of the BLM building. Expecting to find a large assortment of gear in our trailer, we were bewildered to only find a couple of shovels. We imagined our attempts at cutting down Juniper trees with those… not good. But Lady Luck was on our side, and Dave Corkran arrived with enough gear and saws for all eleven of us…mostly. On the bus ride to our site, we saw all of the Juniper trees (they covered the hillsides and extended beyond the horizon). If theres one thing we learned this trip, it was that many juniper trees should die. That was the joke anyway. We cut down Juniper trees and cut willow wands to plant, as well as digging an endless amount of weeds and tossing them away only to find them at our feet again when we dug somewhere else. After about three hours, we left and set up camp next in a flood plain. Then we ate dinner (I forgot to bring plates, forks, etc. so I had to eat in a frying pan with a spoon Dave Corkran loaned me), and went to cut wood for a fire. We used our saws to get random dry pieces of wood (we got some pretty big pieces too), and set them on fire ^_^ . Then we went to the flood plain to look at stars.
After cutting junipers for two hours, I feel like I had been running a cross-country race and run out of adrenaline and sugar. I notice something white at the bottom of the river. I set the tree down and approach the object curiously. My shoes stick to the rotting wet ground and slosh their way to my goal. The grass parts like a curtain being pulled aside and reveals a deer skeleton lying on the ground. When we drive away from the site, cars in the on-coming lane of traffic gape at our bus--we had strapped the deer skull to the grill, staring out blankly at the world. After edging closer and closer to the barbed-wire fence, a herd of cows started staring at us. After our final twenty trees, we were so close to the fenced off area with the cows, they started to moo menacingly. Finally, we had lunch—it’s amazing how satisfying a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich can be after working for two hours. We ate on the back of Dave Corkran’s car…good times. We got rid of the evidence of our feast and went back to work. I saw Andrew cutting down a honkin’ sized tree that fill the entire ravine for 30 feet.
We finally got around to going to Smith Rock Monday. Andrew and I hadn’t ever done outside climbing, and Andrew had never done any climbing. We did a bunch of climbs I thought were hard, and it was sunny and warm. It was really fun, and we got a lot of climbing in. After all of our climbing, we went back to camp and slept.
Expecting the same weather, especially because it was sunny and surprisingly warm in the morning, I wore my shorts. Big mistake. When eating breakfast, Peter points out a cloud in the distance. All of us say it’s just a little cloud, but Peter says something like, “just a little cloud? That’s an entire weather system!” He was right. Soon, it spread out across the entire sky, threatening to pour its contents over our heads. Climbing was cold, especially in shorts. Eventually, it warmed up, but only for about an hour at about two o’clock. It was still fun, and though I was too afraid to do multiple pitch climbs (where you climb, anchor yourself to the rock wall, then belay your partner up until you climb the entire face), many people did. I had fun on the smaller climbs, and we left at about three thirty. By the time we got back, darkness had enveloped the Earth.