Tuesday 21st March – On the Cliffs of Sedona with Old Friends

We had a very laid back morning. We slept in until the bright sun became too much. Kevin lingered in bed while I set up our outdoor setting and did some blogging. We sat in the sun to combat the cool breeze while we had breakfast. After his coffee, Kevin entertained himself on the internet before climbing back into bed for a snooze while I looked around for a new door handle part on Ebay and a post office to send it to, which was more of a hassle than necessary. All the while, I was messaging Dan, the guy we’d met on Kevin’s first camp and he was nearby having just explored the Verde Hot Springs on our advice. We told him where we planned to camp tonight and invited him to join us.

Just as Kevin was awaking from his snooze and we were contemplating the day’s activities, Dan rolled up in his van with Cleo. I was amazed he’d found us so easily and much earlier than expected! We caught up for a bit, sharing stories of the last few days having been to the same places and we heard all about Dan’s new job at a jet ski tour company, which sounded like a sweet gig. Kevin and I got a long-overdue tour of Dan’s van and it became known as Air Force One, thanks to the private jet-style seats inside the car, with huge armrests and electronic controls. The van was luxury, with the fancy seats, wood trim and TV.

Eventually we made a plan to hang out for the day at a climbing spot we’d researched the day before. Dan followed us into town and we went to the Airport trailhead where we’d ridden the day before. After a bit of mucking around finding parking in the small pullout, we made an early lunch which we shared with Dan before doing a scout of the cliffs to try and find these climbs. Of all the climbing in Sedona, most of it is trad so we were limited to the few sport climbs in the area, two of which happened to be here. The view was just as good as yesterday and Dan enjoyed it as much as us. The first climb we found easily, the anchor rings shining in the sun atop the cliff. After walking around the “Vortex” rock, it was the only gear we came across, so we resolved to make the most out of the one route.

Back at the car, I dug my climbing gear out of the depth of the van, Kev and I kitted up and we walked back to our route, which conveniently had a shady tree that Dan and Cleo could hang out under while we climbed. We’d lathered up with sunscreen so the boys had their shirts off and we lavished the warm rock in the sun. I lead up the route which was only four bolts high, then came down and Kevin and I rotated around, doing two or three climbs at a time, switching our positions on the wall, doing a left-variation and right-variation of the actual climb. They were all different so it was a nice workout. The climbing session was completely chilled. Dan was happy drinking beers under the tree, Cleo found a shady hole under the tree and fell asleep, and us climbers chatted away with each other and with Dan, pretty much picking up where we left off the last time we’d seen him.

We stayed out on the rock for a good two hours, playing on all the different variations and knocking a lot of loose flaky rock off the wall. At least it meant the climbing kept changing! Eventually, full of sun, we called it a day and meandered back to the vans. Dan went straight to the camp we’d told him about while Kev and I did our daily Starbucks stop so he could chat with Claire and have a coffee and I could catch up on the blog. We stopped in at the shops for more beer and water containers to replace the broken one, then were off to camp where we found Dan parked in what had been our spot. On the way down, we saw Darth Vader heading out and Dan told us they were off to a drum circle party but would return later that night.

We set up for the afternoon/evening down at the creek shore. The fire was going, our chairs were out, beers were set in the creek for cooling and I strung my slackline between two trees infront of the creek. It was the perfect afternoon chill out set up. Kevin had a creek shower and a shave to cleanse himself of the day’s climbing and I did the same soon after, wanting to get in before the warmth of the day disappeared. Dan eventually decided that would be a good idea, but he suffered because he left it a little late.

We whiled away the afternoon playing on the slackline and drinking. It was Dan’s first time and he was getting the hang of it after a few attempts. Kevin and I were competitive as always, so I was happily triumphant when I finally made it from end to end of the 40-foot set up. My audience was suitably impressed.

A few beers deep, the boys convinced me to try a TAC vapour (or maybe it was called THC?) I have no idea what it stands for, but it is essentially an oil-form of weed. It took me a couple of goes to get the inhalation right, but it was an interesting experience. Dan suitably explained it as being similar to the buzz of having another beer. As the sun went down, Kevin started cooking up a delicious Chilli Con Carne dish with beef mince, zucchini, corn and taco mix. It smelt great the whole time it was in process and it tasted even better. Meanwhile, I sat in my comfy chair with my sewing kit and fixed Kevin’s boardies that had suffered a tear in the stitching in the crotch region. It would have been light work with a sewing machine, but I got into it with needle and thread, doing a pretty decent repair job if I do say so myself. Next on the jobs list was one of his riding gloves that had busted some stitching on the palm. Not as neat a job, but functional enough.

Dinner finished cooking and we all dug in, including Cleo, surprising ourselves that we finished the huge dish. Kevin kept the party going all night long, suggesting another beer after each round was finished. Dan and I duly kept up. We talked the night away, sitting around the fire that just kept getting bigger and bigger. Cleo was nagging at us to pack it away since she was tired and not a huge fan of fire, but we kept at it. Kevin’s music played in the background as our drunkenness made us stare into the fire for longer periods of time and the conversation kept flowing. Dan and I were in fits of laughter as Kevin came up with new terms for everything, refering to our saber sword-owning neighbour as Darth Vader, then Saberman, then Hans Solo, then Luke Skywalker. It got better as he invented knew names for Dan’s van, going from Air Force One to F1-11. He even started using different acronyms for the TAC vape. It was bloody hilarious.

Our night ended when we ran out of beer. I was astounded to find that Kev and I had managed to demolish at least twenty beers between us. We were both more than full and astounded to find out it was 2:30 in the morning. Kevin, fed up with me stealing blankets and wanting the Air Force One experience, opted to sleep in Dan’s van with Cleo which meant that Dan got the Astro experience for the night, snuggling in with me.

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