Day 1- City of Rocks

City of Rocks

City Rocks

Got up early because I couldn’t’ sleep much. My bag is old and the down is probably packed, but we were also sleeping in 31 degree (or less!) temps and on a slant. When I awoke at around 6:45 am and decided I just couldn’t pretend I might sleep more, I was quick to notice that the zipper to the outdoor elements had been unzipped at the bottom all night. This was, of course, right by my head. No wonder.

As Steve was still sleeping, I decided I might as well entertain myself. Opening up the frost-covered cartop carrier, I grabbed an extra layer and took the car for a drive around City of Rocks in the daylight to get my bearings since we had arrived well after dark. I’ve never been here before and was thoroughly enamored when I found myself parked next to “Elephant Rock” which looked exactly as named, no imagination required.

Eventful news: what better way to start an Epic trip than with a ticket from a park ranger? Apparently, in our sleepy stupor the night before, we had chosen a campsite where there was none. The ranger apologized, saying “We really need to make this look less like a campsite; a lot of people mistake it for one.” So many smart-aleck comments come to mind, but I’ll refrain as I am generally a fan of park rangers. Side note of interest- the people who had camped there before us had actually cut down several trees on that site for their campfire and then denied it while their chainsaw sat openly next to their tent. Again, so many smart-aleck comments. And I’m not a fan of people like this, so I only refrain for the general mood of this post…


Steve belaying first climb

We did get some climbing in today, though a lot of our time was taken up because of the useless guidebook we had on hand. For instance, while climbing at Hostess in Castle Rock, we discovered that the 10.c that Steve was leading required a piece of protection in addition to the several quickdraws he had on hand. This information was discovered as he was, unfortunately, clipped into the fourth bolt or so and staring up at a very long runout where the protection would have been placed. Climbers next to us shouted up to Steve “That’s where you place your gear!” to which Steve replied “What gear?” Apparently, all guidebooks but ours had this crucial bit of information. He had to bail, as climbing through the runout left him open to possibly decking (falling to the ground). He left a carabiner behind as a momento to the climbing guide.

We headed into town to see if we could get cell phone or internet somewhere. We quickly found that Verizon really does have the largest network and that T-mobile is useless in this part of Idaho. This is great, because we were planning on using my T-mobile’s 4G network & smartphone as a wi-fi hotspot for the computer so we could update in various places. See what I mean about unforeseen circumstances? (See Day 1) It’s been difficult for me not to be able to update from our first area, but I suspect there will be lots of places where we won’t be updating as daily as we would like.

That evening we were actually able to find a legitimate (and FREE!) campsite on BLM land. Another bonus- we set up camp and finished cooking and eating all before the sun went down; a rare circumstance in my camping experience. Got to use my little CampChef stove for the first time and for the first time, Steve saw its merit as being more than a luxury space-taker-upper. The burners ignited instantly and our dinner cooked quickly as compared to the backpack stove I used that morning for breakfast. Victory for a small luxury!

More shots from the day:



3 Responses to “Day 1- City of Rocks”

    • Gina

      It was my first time. Steve has been there before, but wow… I was amazed. It is so lush!

    • Stephen

      Definitely one of my favorite places to climb. I think there will be more favorite places added with this trip though ;)


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