During our rest day in Chattanooga, Zach and I found a music store! It took us a few tries to locate the elusive store because it had changed locations, but once inside, we found it! A cheap, decent looking mandolin. For only fifty dollars, we added another member to our vanventure. I have never played a musical instrument, so we thought it would be fun to learn together and have another evening/rainy day activity. I traded my Chaco sandals that I so far haven't worn much for this opportunity and I am pretty happy with the trade:)
Chattanooga was such a fun city to explore. The climbing is abundant and we were lucky enough to have some good weather days to enjoy the rock. We did traditional climbing on the Tennessee Wall which overlooks the Tennessee River. It was a beautiful day and the climbing was just awesome. Becca, Zach and I all took turns leading the routes and placing our own gear in the cracks. I didn't make it to the top of my climb on lead, but i did take a few falls on my gear and got to feel more confidence in my trad climbing abilities;) Zach lead a finger crack called Finger Lockin' Good (10b/c) and Becca and I both had an awesome time top roping it. Becca took on a 5.9 In Pursuit of Excellence that was so fun! My climb was a 5.8 called Passages, that was fun, but also a little scary on lead. All in all it was such a fun day and we got a lot of great climbs in!
|Our crew at Tennessee Wall|
|View from the top of the climb!|
|Showing off my awesome finger locking moves:)|
|Zach leading Finger Lockin' Good Time.|
|Searching for the right gear to place.|
|Becca getting her trad climbing on!|
|On a walk in Chattanooga.|
We did some rainy day bouldering with Becca at Little Rock City (LRC or Stone Fort as some people call it). This is off a golf course and very funny to see the combanation of rock climbers and golfers in the parking lot. It works out pretty well and we had fun climbing there on Halloween. Becca and I even took a shower in the club house. Apparently, in the men's bathroom, they had turned the shower into a bathroom stall so Zach was surprised to find a man behind the curtain when he headed in to take his shower...
A few climbers wore costumes for the holiday. One was and elf and one was a sumo wrestler. Their costumes only sometimes got in the way of their climbing. Our group dressed up like rock climbers, some of us cleaner then others:), and enjoyed trying hard on different boulder problems around the area.
The weather got worse Saturday and so we decided to take another rest day. We said goodbye to Becca and went to watch the Head of the Hooch Regatta (boat race) along the Tennessee River. Apparently, the weather has to be better for the boats to get into the water, so it ended up being a bust. Zach and I had fun wandering around though and trying to stay warm. We tried to memorize information on climbing areas in the outdoor gear store, but eventually called it day and headed out to find a campsite.
|Trying to stay warm (and psyched) for the regatta.|
We found an area in the Cherokee National Forest called Starr Mountain with some traditional climbs on it. The cracks were not very tall, but they were supposed to be in the sun. Camping was also free, so we were pretty happy with it. There was a State Park near the mountain as well and Zach finally got a shower. I was too cold to want to have wet hair all day, but I had commandeered a shower at the golf course a few days before. I finally got brave enough to lead the full length of a 5.8 trad climb and placed all my own gear! It was a short route, but I made it to the top without falling and I was pretty stoked! Zach lead the harder climbs and we enjoyed most of them. There were a lot of hikers walking along the path above us, so we eventually left because we were worried about rocks getting knocked down from above. It was still a fun day along another beautiful river.
It was finally time to say goodbye to Chattanooga. Leaving the lovely state of Tennessee, we ventured into Georgia and found another awesome climbing area called Rocktown. It is a large number of boulders up on a plateau. We had snuck a picture of the guidebook map of the area, so we had better idea of where the different boulder problems were. This place is so packed full of awesome boulder problems! It was so fun exploring. We also made friends with a few other people on the road like us and they were kind enough to give us some info from their guidebooks. I started working a problem called The Belly Button (V3) and it was a blast. It had this little dish on a bulge in the rock that looked like a giant's belly button. I couldn't get all the moves the first day, but the second day we went back, I got it! It was a fun one to have worked on and gotten all the moves.
|I made it too the top!|
The second day we were in Rocktown, we happened upon our now good friend Becca! It was fun seeing her again and the entire day, we spent running around together. We added two more climbers, Nick and Aaron, and had a great day working moves and hanging out. That evening, we all combined efforts in building a campfire and watched a climbing moving called The Sharp End on Zach's laptop. It was such a fun experience, we even popped popcorn! I love having these moments on the trip and getting to share them with such awesome people! Thanks for hanging out with us!!
|Just hanging out.|
|Becca climbing on The Orb.|
|Getting ready to project Iron Claw (V6)|
|Our bouldering crew at Rocktown (Becca, Aaron, Nick, Zach and Me:)|
After Rocktown, we headed back to South Carolina to spend some time with Zach's mom, Stephanie, before we head South and West on our road trip. It was great to see her again. We did a fun hike at a National Park near Abbeville, SC. The trail took us around a really pretty lake and up to a fire tower built in 1935. The trail was full of beautiful fall trees and even a few wildflowers left over. Despite the rain trying to turn us around, we a great time and all pretty tired when we got back to the car.
Back at her house, Stephanie mended my favorite sweatshirt which had a giant hole in the back. It looks so much better now and I really like the patch:) Thanks for saving my favorite shirt!! We also made dinner and cookies and just enjoyed getting to spend time together. It was a lovely visit.
|The marsh the trail took us straight through:)|
|Beautiful fall colors and giant trees along our hike.|
|We made it to the fire tower!|
|Zach and his mom:)|
|Reading our "map" that did not have all the trails on it.|
|What a cutie:)|
We are now settled in Atlanta, GA for the weekend with our good friends, Patrick and Rachel, from Colorado Springs. We are already loving where they live and are excited for the weekend with them!! I love getting to see people I miss and hang out:)
Next up, we are trying to follow good weather through the South and make our way back to Kansas for Thanksgiving. It looks like a cold snap might be hitting this area, so we shall see what activities we end up doing:)