From Thanksgiving week til the week before Christmas, I made my home in a brand new town.
written April 5th, 2019, I backdated the published-at date on this post so it'd show up chronologically
After nearly a month in Red Rocks I pointed Ahab west for a turn of something new.
Back around election time in Salt Lake City, Catherine, Sam and I agreed to do a hippy climber friends-giving in Bishop, California. Given that I do no bouldering and almost no alpine, I'd never been before. Catherine and Sam can't claim the same excuses (those bouldering monsters!) but hadn't made the journey either.
After having a good time living in Ben's condo together, my buddy Tony of Vancouver decided he'd join in as well.
Bishop's scene was pretty different from what I'm use to. I've heard about the Sierras for ages; it was nice to see them for myself.
I think it's fair to say we absolutely destroyed friendsgiving dinner itself. After having two practice goes earlier in the season my signature butternut squash & kale risotto was on point. Other people made things too but dammit, that's what sticks with me. I was so proud of me.
We ate next to a fire under headlamps and a full moon at site 23 (or was it 42?) in Pleasant Valley Campground, or "The Pit," home for a few weeks.
Sunrises were kind of something else every morning. I woke up around six most days, and would lift my head up just enough to try to figure out if it was a fiery-sky morning or not. If not, another hour of sleep would bring golden light to the morning meal prep
Just as Cat and Sam's time in Bishop was coming to a close (Tony stayed strong the whole way!) an old compatriot rolled in.
Having Reese around was a hoot. It was our first outside- the Creek hangs in the five years we knew each other. Reese was also on about the same level as me with bouldering, as opposed to the three crushers I'd been rolling with the week before. We crushed only six packs.
I was working in town now that the holidays were over. Reese and I would meet at the Happies later in the day, taking up beer to make up for our lack of crash pads. We usually found folks willing to make the trade.
I don't know how we met Mishka and her boo, but even now, five months later as I write this post, their leftover bigwalling groceries - mostly canned beans and dried camping meals - sit in the van.
Working in an office kept me up to date on local goings on too, like this big ol' small town parade Reese and I sidelined.
And then the improbable happened, and more hamburger rockers were in the same place at the same time, and it wasn't the creek - Jack and Brooke were moving from San Jose to Moab and seeing friends in Bishop along the way. Lucky them Reese and I were there too! Just like with Reese, this was the first time I'd seen Jack outside of the Creek, having known him for over five years.
Jack introduced us to many of his sweet friends around town, growing my Bishop friend group just that bit more.
Matt and the Northlanders
After a substantial storm brought winter to the east side Reese switched sports. He spent more nights up in Mammoth chasing pow than down in Bishop climbing icey rocks. I was sans partner for finishing up a project he and I had started together.
One afternoon I walked up to the Happies with a sixer of peebers and a bag of chocolate covered espresso beans looking for Tony, who was out with some friends of his. I didn't find him before walking by the project, where a group of Canucks I'd maybe been introduced to by Tony a few days before were getting after it. I asked them if they'd seen Tony around, and when they said "No," asked if I might not fall on their pads too.
And that's how I got to be buddies with Chloe, Lydia, and Richie - along with their tykes Julian, Tate, Mesa, and Julian's-younger-brother-who-definitely-has-a-name. These three - seven — eight with Lydia's partner Sonnie! - pretty much became my social crew in Bishop and made for a really memorable few weeks for me.
After that first day the families would tag off who got to go climbing and who was watching the kids. Lucky for everyone, Uncle Enlow was always down for.. well just the climbing bit, really. I was always down for that.
The New Tempo
I got burned out on my routine of waking up at The Pit, driving into town to knock out some morning work, driving off to go bouldering, driving back to town to work the other half of my workday at night, then driving back to the pit solely to crash and wake up and repeat.
Ben and Katie, owners of the coworking joint I was working out of, also happened to have a duplex. One half of it they rented out for vacation rentals... When I floated the idea of cutting me a deal for a long term lease, they were happy to oblige.
Tony, also not super psyched on cold days at The Pit, took the other bedroom.
It was pretty much just a sitcom from there.
Happily, I did not only boulder while in Bishop. Tony took Reese and I out to the Owen's River Gorge on Reese's first day. (I actually ran into a guy named Alan from Mammoth whom I'd met two years earlier in the Creek while there, too)
Tony and I went back for round two with Chloe and Lydia when it was their turn to be sans-munchkins.
A few days before we ventured in, all of the climber-made bridges over the Gorge's small river had been removed due to sudden demands from land-owners.
I remember having a great day of climbing and unsurprisingly very low endurance after weeks of short-and-powerful Red Rocks routes followed by weeks of bouldering.
Other than that one day though, me and the Canucks spent our time at the boulders.
One of my favorite days out was when I was invited to join a group that was otherwise all women. It was awesome getting to be in such totally different energy out at the rocks. Awesome and comfortable, mhmm.
Another night, Chloe and I snuck out late and met up with Michelle, whom I'd initially met in a yoga class and later again at the rocks, where I'd insisted we become friends. That night ended with some of my fave bouldering shots from the month, as we pulled the most we could out of the remaining minutes of twilight.
That same night, Chloe and Richie hooked it up at their camp outside of town, where we could look at the mountains in the starlight as our sausages cooked over the fire, the lights of Bishop off to the north.
Maybe I'll Come Back
At the end of my time in Bishop I went to a potluck. My attendance was orchestrated by friends I hadn't seen in years, who had friends of their own living in Bishop: Josh and Adrienne.
Between the potluck, a dinner I cooked just two nights later, and an evening of bouldering, well. We may as well have been roommates right there at the end.
My very last day, after I'd finished packing a good bit of the house up, Michelle came by and took me up for one last session at the Buttermilks.
We decided we were definitely friends just in time for me to peace out and start a long drive back to Wyoming for the holidays, with a quick stop in Flagstaff to see old friends along the way.