Climbing, climbing, and more climbing. It is a wonder that I made it back to yesterday’s court date at all, seeing that there is so much red crack to climb south of Moab. I ended up forfeiting to the state my right to travel freely since it was becoming quite troublesome to fight, having perpetual future court dates which interfere greatly with my pursuit of happiness, namely fixing my sailboat in south Texas. I registered my van, paid the state patrol, and filed a motion to change my plea to Nolo Contendere, which allows for conviction while still maintaining the distinction of not being guilty of the crime. I hope that the judge sees it fit to grant my motion, otherwise I may have to file further motions to avoid showing back up in Colorado at the end of February. In the motion I stated that “I was acting within my rights as a natural born person to travel freely on the public highways pursuant of Shapiro vs Thompson. The state converted my right into a privilege contrary to Murcock vs Pennsylvania 319 US 105. I acted in accordance with Shuttlesworth vs City of Birmingham 373 US 262 and ‘engaged in the right with impunity’, since charging a fee (registration fee) for a right is in violation of constitutional law.” I did register my van in hopes that some leniency would be rendered. As my monetary situation slips, I can neither afford nor have time to return in February.
Enough about being bullied by the state, oh the climbing! Thanksgiving was a feast, and all the wonderful souls that showed up hammered out a great dinner in the desert. We had stuffing, creamed green beans, mashed yams, turkey, pumpkin pie, and many other great small dishes that topped off our bellies. Thanksgiving celebrations in the creek have grown exponentially in recent years(to the dismay of local BLM authorities who tried to put a damper on things by enforcing two car limits at camp sites-so everybody can poop in the bush separately, because that makes ecological sense). Climbers from all over come together to be with their climbing family. Regular families are not radical enough; anti-establishment enough; anti-corporate enough; or so enlightened as to know all of the tragedies of modern society. This is the family that wants to fix things, but partially forgoes working within the system (maybe just me). Patrick recited to me one of his children’s books about water, encompassing the hydrologic cycle and the importance of conservation; certainly he will be a beacon for a change of heart of future generations.
Climbing shenanigans persisted: Ralph sauntered in his underwear, Kyle lied back through many hundreds of feet of climbing, Muddy was happily tired daily, and we all soaked up the sun in large clusters on the red rocks. On one rest day ice climbing tools came out in order to traverse the downed cottonwood tree in camp. We played hammerschlagen, and filled the campfire with friendly banter. There were many pounds of vegetables to eat, and all of us had wonderful BM’s for the duration. Sometime in the middle of the trip, the cold and snow came to meet us. Despite the flurries of large flakes, the remaining crew was not disheartened, and we stayed warm around campfires and cookstoves. Today is bitter cold, and cloudy, though the forecast calls for a warmer change. As such, I have no problem getting laundry done and preparing to go back. Yes, I must delay my return to the boat. Sometimes you enjoy the company of another so much that rational decision making goes out the window. A couple of extra bucks in gas and I’ll be off to spend another ten days climbing, high on the rocks. I feel that it may be exceptionally lonely heading down to Texas for a solitary christmas afterward: a stark contrast to all the love and laughter that I have had the joy of being immersed in over the last two weeks.
It was nice to come back to news that the Army Corps of Engineers refused the easement for the Dakota access pipeline per president Obama, but over time the news was somewhat overshadowed by the prevalence of Donald Trumps tweets in the media, this time aggravating a nation, China. The Dakota access partners will likely drill anyhow, perhaps under president Trump, or will be forced to reroute the pipeline(is that a win?). I found a segment on NPR glorifying live feed prison visits in lieu of hugs and other contact with family members particularly disturbing, especially given that the privatized prison systems are also charging up to a dollar a minute for at home live feed visits. Can’t wait to be out of the loop again, and dependent only on the changing sky. Gifts of tobacco to the gods bestow sunny days.