Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Asterisk Pass

Yesterday the fambly and I and my bro and niece headed to Smith Rock State Park for a little hiking and poking around. The day was drop dead gorgeous with crystalline blue skies and not a cloud in sight. The serrated rocks cut the sky with a crispness in sharp contrast to another day I spent at the Park. But I will defer that story for the moment.

Yesterday was just about the perfect temperature for the park. Warm but not roasting in the sun and cool but not freezing in the shade. What a Goldilocks moment. The Mimsical creature got a little toasty, being a black critter, but a dunk or two in the river seemed to cure that ailment and she scrambled up and down the rocks to Asterisk Pass like a little goat. I didn't quite make the pass, being on the road to recovery from a chest cold a couple weeks ago the lungs were willing but not able to sustain the effort. So I sat in the shade partway up and penned a draft of this entry.

As I looked eastward I remembered another day we had spent at Smith Rock with some friends from Hungary. It was not a perfect temperature day, I think it might have been August and the sky had that hot hazy look to it and the edge of the rocks were smearing against the sky. A stiff hot breeze kept the air moving and things somewhat more comfortable than if the air were still.

We had just set up a top rope on a short pitch and were about to do some climbing when we noticed little wisps of smoke passing overhead. Clambering up to the top of the pitch (and the parking lot) we found that the park was full of dark smoke so we pulled up our rope and headed for the car (which was all of perhaps 100 yards away). Driving back through the park, we were berated by park personnel for lingering so long in the fire zone, while we wondered why park personnel hadn't check the series of pitches where we were climbing because they were so close to the parking area and were popular climbing spots for that time of day (being in the shade).

Later we found out that the fire started because a park employee was welding a fee box for the bivy area and with the stiff hot wind caught the nearby grasses on fire and it spread fast through the rest of the park.

Yesterday, about 15 years later, it was hard to pick out signs of that fire. But maybe I missed a few as my lungs labored to recover from the trek back up the grade to the parking area. The Mimsical creature provided invaluable assistance by pulling on her harness to give me a little boost up the tough parts. I thought she well deserved the ice cream cone (minus ice cream) to chew up on the way home.

No comments:

Post a Comment