The most real way to meet other humans is to do so while traveling and in nature.
Yesterday David and I had breakfast at Erhard’s Café, the European café that has become my favorite pre-work coffee shop. On our drive home we decided to drop by REI to see how much crash pads cost – we’d been planning on buying one since the bouldering scene here is splendid, but were planning on waiting for our next paycheck.
It turned out that REI had one two-fold crash pad in the back which was less expensive even than Amazon… we took the leap! Excitedly we drove home with our new gear. We quickly grabbed our climbing shoes, chalk, and clothes and began driving up Baseline toward Flagstaff trail (known for awesome bouldering routes).
It was raining off-and-on as we drove up the mountain, so once we got to the bouldering area we waited a few minutes to see if it would stop raining in time for bouldering to be safe. As we walked back to the car, Lacey panting lightly ahead of us, we saw another car pull up and a couple got out. They both had crash pads on their backs and were hesitantly approaching the rocks. David saw them and said hello, excited to see more climbers. We all introduced ourselves and admitted that none of us had climbed outdoors before; Kate worked at a climbing gym in Chicago and Benjamin had climbed often but we were all new to real boulders. We decided we would all climb together, and walked off in search of a route.
The most honest way to get to know people involves what I just described. It creates fast friendships, somehow, in a beautiful way. We spent hours hiking over rocks, chatting and climbing, with Lacey tagging behind or running in front. The rocks felt incredible; harder on the hands than gym holds but so much more satisfying.
Today, we all met up again to go bouldering for a few more hours; Kate and Benjamin are only visiting Boulder so they’re adventuring within the music scene for the rest of the day. We found new routes and Lacey found shade – it was scorching today. It was deeply gratifying, cheering each other on with the layers of mountains in the background and the feel of the mossy green-grey rocks under my hands.