A few weeks ago we took a few of H’s students out to Joshua Tree for an overnight trip: camping, rock climbing and hiking. The night before was Halloween, where it poured rain and we slept maybe 4 hours. The lack of sleep was no fun, but I knew the rain was going to make the drive to the desert a gorgeous sight.
I was right.
The guides we hired decided we would climb the solarium at Joshua Tree. Most of the kids had never rock climbed before and the weather report that morning was saying cold winds – the solarium is one of the warmer areas to climb at JTree.
The guides spent a lot of time talking about the mechanics of climbing, even demoing a climb, and then got the students up and going.
The routes they set were easy so the kids were having a good time. If they weren’t climbing they were talking, taking photos and eating snacks.
I was able to get on a 5.9+ / 5.10 route later that afternoon. It was really difficult. It took me quite a while, and while the guide belaying me wasn’t the best coach, another guide encouraged me from below, and I made it. There is nothing more thrilling than reaching the top a climb you’ve never done before – and this was a difficulty I’d never climbed outside. Woo.
After climbing all day, we all piled into the 12-person van and H’s car and drove out of the park into town. We went to Pie for the People where H and I split a Caesar salad and sausage, mushroom and ricotta calzone. (This is the same place we ate after our climbing day Memorial Day weekend, which I still have to blog about…) The students all sat at a table together, eating and talking, and being the purely young and self-sustaining people teenagers are. And from the pizza place we were given this awesome sunset.
And that’s just part 1.