Sunday, May 14, 2006

Vacation Stories, Part 1

Yesterday. How the fuck did I end up here? Here is about six feet up a rock face, climbing a waterfall. The waterfall was supposed to be climbable. And it was for the most part. Because of the hard-rushing water, there was no moss. So, if you have a decent pair of rubber-soled shoes, you were golden.

And I was. I was zipping up the rockfaces, hopping from rock to shallow pools to rocks. Then, I hit...them.

Most people are understandably freaked out by the notion of climbing a waterfall. And, to allay those fears, there were guides that would take these long human chains up the water fall. I was supposed to go with one, but blew it off and set off on my own. Climbed it in 20 minutes.

I was on climb number two, when I managed to catch up with the group again. And, they were slowly making their way up the easy ascent, on the left side of the waterfall. I thought about just waiting them out.

Then, one of the guides waved me to the steep, right-side ascent. Fuck it.

So, I hop into a chest deep pool and wade over to the rockface. Couldn't find a foothold at first to pull myself up. Finally, there was this crevice-like gap between two rocks. And, I was on my way.

I knew almost instantly that cowboying the right-side ascent was a bad idea. The water was coming down hard and fast down the eight foot or so rockface. I slowly worked my way up the foothold when trouble struck. There was moss on every conceivable foothold. Nothing to grab onto either.

I tried to scurry up the moss foothold on my right. I spun around somehow as I fell and slipped down about four feet. I also had landed on my right hand and bent the thumb awkwardly. Not broken but sore. I turned around and set to trying the left foothold before rationality set in. Slipped again, spun the other way and landed on my left hand. My slide down the rockface was stopped by my knee hitting a rock.

So that is how the fuck I got there, with bloody knees and two jammed thumbs. I turned around and scurried back up to the "moss point". I looked left. The chain was lumbering along like some super-lethargic caterpillar. I didn't have the patience. So, I took a deep breath and leapt off the one foothold that had grip. I started to slip and the water started to push me back, but I grabbed out with my left hand and grapped the edge of the ledge just over the rock face. I pulled myself up.

The rest of the second ascent was uneventful. The thumbs are getting better. I had a tough time holding onto my beers last night, which could have been truly tragic.


Blogger Stefanie said...

That must've been hard. I hope the injuries didn't ruin the rest of your trip. Sometimes it's the little injuries that annoy and hurt us the most.

3:33 AM  
Blogger Joseph K said...

No, they didn't ruin the trip too much (especialy when I figured out how to hold a beer bottle without too much discomfort). Although, I did get a newfound appreciation for the value of opposable thumbs.

6:57 PM  

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