God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning –the sixth day.
Right now I am sitting on a crash pad in Joshua Tree National Park, struggling to see my screen due to the suns glare, but thoroughly enjoying the view in front of me. Climbing has caused me to visit a lot of amazing places that I probably wouldn’t otherwise explore. It also causes me to stay places longer, pausing to take in the details of its beauty.
Rock climbs are typically off the beaten path along climber trails. We scramble along these little trails, away from the crowds, through local vegetation, to a hidden oasis of a wall. This was particularly true in Yosemite National Park. It stands as my favorite national park, but it holds that status because of the secret escapes from the 4 million annual visitors. There are great crags (climbing areas) tucked into all kinds of hidden corners. I just found myself on a wall in Malibu, where Planet of the Apes was filmed.
When I get to the crag there is also the beauty of the rock itself. The rock at each crag has different nuances that force a climber to adjust their style. I look up and see the potential lines and wonder how good the holds really are. I see the challenge that lies above. Each time that I visit one of these locations, created by wind, water, earthquakes and volcanoes I am in awe of God’s creation. There are a multitude of different types of rocks, vegetation, and creatures. I can’t believe that this all could have formed by chance. I don’t think that I’ll could ever get tired of exploring this amazing creation.
Climbing also takes me up the rock to some jaw dropping views. I love looking out and seeing for miles in every direction. Sometimes you see a whole mountain range, flowing rivers, or wide open valleys. The only climb that I completed three times a Smith Rock was an easy multipitch called Voyage of the Cowdog. This route is one of my all-time favorites because it is simply fun movements to an absolutely amazing spot. The picture below is sunset from the top of this climb, which was my last route before leaving Smith Rock. I climbed the exposed pitch to the top, then belayed my partner up while watching this sunset through the clouds. Even if I could no longer push my limit, trying harder routes, I would still climb for places and moments like this.
What stands out to you when you wander? When I wander I notice particular features of the rock. I see seams, flakes, jugs, and crimps. I see the challenge and the mystery of what lies above. Do you notice the shapes, sizes, types, and colors of leaves? Do you notice the down logs that litter the trail? Is it the way the stream meanders and tumbles over the rocks? Is it the waterfall that crashing along its path? Is it the lone flower that survives in the middle of the trail? Is it the bird tracks along the shore? The otters playing? Do you listen for the coyote that howls in the evening? Do you bask in the warmth of the sun’s rays against your skin? Is it the colors and shapes in the clouds at sunrise and sunset that stand out? Is it the way the snowflakes fall from the sky, and the wonder that each one is different? Is it the way your skis glide through the fresh snow? What stands out to you? I challenge you to take a wander this week and see what you find. Take your time and really enjoy the details of the wonders around you.
Below are a few more photos from the wandering.