Jtree, snow backpacking and Ham
Long time between posts with a lot going on, I guess that’s a good thing. Just back from Josh with Sue. It was two week road trip testing out our new rig. We were the oldest dirtbags in Josh, though I’m not sure I qualify as a DB anymore with my Tundra.
We stayed in a county fairgrounds park in Roseburg, then 14 hours later in a noisy rest area north of Sacramento. There were massive diesel trucks idling nearby, not a good nights rest. We arrived at Hidden Valley in the afternoon. It was packed as usual and looked like it would be impossible to get a spot…ever.
Next morning we did the dawn tour at HV and scored big, site 18 was empty. It’s the walk in site with the trail to Iron Door Cave and the huge aid ladder boulder.
Sue climbed 7 routes but wore out her thumb at the short wall. Her year old surgery pulled a bone out of her thumb, and hand jamming aggravates it. She did great on Toe Jam, and the slab routes.
I was worried about playing my guitar and disturbing the neighbors. I only played between 9am and 8pm but still…I know how bad I am compared to real players. Afterwards, both neighbors either clapped and cheered, or told me later that it was lovely. Nick said that he loved the sound of guitars in a campground.
Two sites away was a very high end Sprinter van. Nick turned out to be a climber and former base jumper who knew my friend Ammon McNealy. A decade ago Nick went on his honeymoon with his fellow basejumping wife. She died jumping, as all BASE people do if they jump long enough.
A BASE jumper once described the sport to me like this:
You start out with two buckets. One is the experience bucket and it’s empty. The other one is the luck bucket, which is full. Each time you jump, you pour a cup of luck into the experience bucket. After a certain number of jumps, your experience bucket is full, but you’re out of luck.
Nick, in Jtree, also had a very bad BASE accident, not sure of the timing…but he said he gave up the sport. Said that being a former BASE jumper was like being a heroin addict sleeping with a syringe under the pillow. Base feels that good.
I met Ammon 10 years ago in Site 27 where he and Ashley shared a campsite with us. Now Ashley is dead, and Ammon is missing a leg. I really dislike BASE jumping. I lump free soloing and BASE together. I get that it’s a free country and you only live once. “Die like a lion or live like a sheep” blah, blah. Or should I say: Baaa, Baaaa.
Sue and I hiked Dash Point where I set my radio on a log at low tide. I spoke to other Amateur Radio Operators (Hams) in New York, Connecticut, Colorado and Alaska. I got 13 in all, which was enough to qualify as an ‘Activation’ through the POTA website. POTA = Parks on the Air. It’s a non profit organization devoted to getting people outside while promoting Ham Radio.
Ten years ago I got into ham radio as a bucket list thing but quickly got bored. But with POTA and SOTA, it’s fun again. There are a bunch of young youtubers having a lot of fun doing ham. I know it sounds stupid, and you have to study to get a license…but, gosh darn it…it’s just fun. And it’s a good break for me from painting, climbing and yard work.