First Thanksgiving sans turkey

October 15, 2002 at 4:49 pm (Climbing)

Went to the Shawangunks on Friday night, seven of us, arriving at around midnight. As we were driving through the Adirondaks, the rain started and did not let up for the whole drive. We arrived at Camp Slime (yes, it’s really called Camp Slime, for good reason), trying to set up our tents in the dark. Within five minutes, everything was drenched: the tent, the sleeping foams, all our clothes and, worst of all, our sleeping bags.
Awoke on Saturday morning several hours before anyone else, the rain pounding. I’m kinda depressed, and don’t even feel like making coffee. Took a walk for a few hours and, because I am a rain god, was followed by clouds who wanted to be close to me (5 points to anyone who gets the allusion). Get back to Slime and, feeling lonely and hungry, start throwing branches and pine cones on my friends’ tents, hoping to wake them up. By now, the rain has shifted into fourth gear. My friends wake up and, like me, are depressed and lethargic. What to do, what to do? “Let’s just go into town and grab a greasy-spoon breakfast and American coffee, we can decide what we want to do after.”
Drive to New Paltz, eat breakfast and head over to a gear shop and salivate for several hours over their selection of clothes. Luckily, there’s a video room in back, so I plonk myself down in front of the tube. We leave, wondering how to spend the hours until we can go back to sleep in our wet sleeping bags. We have a choice, drive another hour to NYC, or hang out at the theatre. Hey, the vote for a US$4 movie is unanimous. It’s decided that we’ll see Red Dragon, which is pretty good—if watching utter crap on celluloid is your kind of thing. At least the theatre is dry, and we all take this opportunity to remove our boots and socks, which stink almost as bad as the movie. After the movie, we head over to a tavern, getting slightly tanked and playing 7-person darts (cricket). One guy at the bar would tell us our age by looking at our calves. All a bit surreal. Have supper at a really good Greek restaurant and head over to some friends of mine who live in town. Spend a few more hours there, delaying the inevitable, and then we all head back to camp. Awoken at around midnight and kept up for a few hours by acquaintances from Quebec City who, having waited out the rain for five days, have given up hope and gone on an alcohol and pot bender, coming back to camp absolutely tanked and obnoxious. The noise doesn’t end until someone, pushed beyond their patience, yells for them to “shut the fuck up.” Hey, it worked.
Awake Sunday to drizzle, but at least the rain has stopped. I’m told that the weather is supposed to be beautiful the next day. Discuss with partners, and we decide to wait it out. Walk along the cliffs, sending out vibes to the rock to dry up. Spend all of Sunday in this endeavour. That night, we’re back at camp, where we chow down on tofu curry that I had prepared beforehand. Oh, and we polish off a bottle of whiskey. True to form, I was the butt of the women’s humour. I usually give as good (or better) as I get, but I was so completely out-manned, the three other guys sitting off to the side, enjoying the show. Stumble off to bed, not wanting to sleep in the water again. Kept up all night by the cold and the wind.
Was it all worth it? Well, Monday morning, awake to beautiful blue skies, the changing colour of trees, and this, which I led yesterday in these same conditions. Oh, yes, it was worth it.

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