Tomorrow I leave the Red River Gorge. I’ve been here for the past month (minus a weekend and a few days) and have made excellent personal progress climbing. I feel I am just beginning to get the idea of how to live here. Just getting into the flow of here, making friends and forming bonds, and now I have to up and leave. I suppose I should get used to this. This is the next seven months for me: landing somewhere, beginning to figure that somewhere out, then leaving again.
In terms of my time in the Red, I’m sad to leave the wonderful people I’ve met here. Also, I feel I am just beginning to get my climbing legs (like sea legs, but for climbing) and have already accomplished all but one of the goals I set this past spring. Those goals:
• Lead at least five routes. (Done and surpassed.)
• Climb 5.9 routes clean. (Done. Except for the scary one I lead today. Let’s not talk about that.)
• Climb (on toprope) at least five routes in the 5.10a-d range. (Done.)
• Do one pullup. (This is the one goal I did not achieve.)
I’m very excited at my achievements, especially because when I set these goals back in April, I wasn’t sure I’d complete any of them. I thought maybe I’d get to cross off one goal, or half of one. I was just getting myself together mentally for leading, my climbing technique needed serious work (and surely still has far to go), and overall I was still fumbling around. My expectations weren’t that high. Now, I’m amazed at how solid and confident I feel on routes that used to feel scary and difficult. The progress is exciting and exhilarating and remarkable. And now I want to set even higher goals.
But I’m not sure what those goals should be. The rest of the trip will not have me climbing as regularly as this first month. So maybe my goal will be simply to climb as regularly as possible, within the bounds of the everything else I’m doing on this trip. At the very least, I’ve learned that I’m capable of more than I thought, and just learning/knowing that is enough.
Red River Gorge and everyone therein, I will miss you. Thank you for your friendship and for all that you have taught me about myself. I’ll see you soon.