July 03, 2010

walking with Watkins

I walked down memory lane with an old friend today. There was a time many years ago when Eli and I, along with a few other close friends found ourselves clinging to boulders in the Lower Teton River Canyon. Eli has been and always will be a seeker of adventure but this is only one of the many threads which bind us together as friends. He was a support during the disintegration of a long lasting and important relationship, a companion in dealing with the tragic and sudden loss of a best friend, and simply by being an all around good guy, Eli was a part of the circle of friends who helped me get my life together. Not to mention a big supporter of Heather and I getting married.

We have climbed ice and mixed routes together, adventured on obscure Teton rock routes together, and explored the Lost River Range in winter. And while we accomplished some great feats together; like linking three routes together in a day on the East Face of Table Mountain in the Tetons and climbing the ridiculously thin ice smears at the head of Rock Creek below the north face of Mt. Borah, we also spent a lot of time on local sport climbs and bouldering at the Big Dam Boulder.
A father of two beautiful girls and married to the perfect wife, Eli makes his way through this world as a big time Lawyer with an office in the Sears Tower. Yet despite his professional success in this crazy world, he can't escape the pull of gravity and the need to rise above it. Only in town (Rexburg) for just a few days, Eli made the time to get a quick tour of the latest bouldering development at the Dam.

Eli joined me, Heather, my little sister Debbi, Jaron, Jennica and a few of their kids for an afternoon of bouldering. We toured many of the new problems at the Big Dam Boulder Sector; burning up routes like dry grass in a prairie fire before walking back physically spent and missing a few layers of skin on our finger tips.

We picked up Justin B. and Chase on our way out of the canyon and made a quick stop at the Power Box Boulders so they could watch us fall of the easy problems while we watched them crush everything! After some humorous attempts our group headed up the switchbacks while Justin and Chase disappeared to their "secret" project!

Eli being spotted by Chad Jr. in the Crypt

Eli making sort work of Rocket From the Crypt while Chad Jr, Jaron, Jennica, and Debbi moved pads and cheered!

Chad Jr. sticking the opening moves on San Callisto V9

That's me hanging from the big holds on San Callisto

The top-out on San Callisto

Although Eli was only able to spend a few short hours with us, he commented on the positive vibe he experienced with the crew we had out today. Both Heather and I agreed that we are lucky to have a tight group of climbing friends here in the Upper Snake River Valley. He was also impressed with the new routes and only just two encounters with Rattlesnakes.

My mind is heavy with nostalgia; with thoughts of friends from that chapter of my life. Memories, like souvenirs collected, were dusted off and admired once again.

Memory Lane was an enjoyable place to walk down today. Thank you Eli.