cobblestoned in maple canyon.

it has been two weeks since i have had time to myself to write a new blog post.

it has been two weeks since i flew to salt lake city and began this epic adventure.

it has been two weeks since i have had consistent internet and cell service.

it has been two weeks since i stood at the shore of lake michigan and said good-bye to summer and hello to fall.

and it was two weeks ago that i arrived in salt lake city just in time to grab lunch with the santoro clan and await the silver volkswagon jetta wagon, jam-packed with living and climbing essentials, that would be carting me around for the next couple of months. colbin richard smith (aka colby) would be the driver. a recent college graduate soaking up that wonderful stage between the security of school and the uncertainty of adultdom.

a few months ago, colby mentioned he was heading out on the road to do some climbing. i thought…what the hell? it was unclear if i was invited or not, but i figured everyone wants a partner in crime. and thus this adventure was born.

after a month in the midwest full of endless hours of work and weddings and family fun, it was a welcome change to head into the woods. or into the canyon rather. maple canyon to be exact.

there is something about exiting reception that makes me heart leap. it leaps for joy. and it leaps in fear. as i see my bars dwindle, i know that this is my chance to make any last minute phone calls. any last minute emails to clients to make sure they know that my usual immediate response time will be not so immediate.

we drive and drive and all the sudden the asphalt turns to gravel. the ascent begins and after two miles of rocky terrain, trudy (the name of colby’s car) arrives at campsite fifteen. colby had already been there a week or two. the campsite already was home. a tent complete with a soft crash pad bed. a picnic table full of necessary (and unnecessary) kitchen utensils to fuel colby’s obsession with good food. a fire pit just screaming for some s’mores. and a view. what a view.

before heading to the midwest back in august, i had left colby with my things in portland. the things i thought i would need for a two month climbing trip. when i arrived at camp, i immediately went into inventory mode and took stock.

climbing gear. check.
clothing. check.
bike. check.
pillow. check.
sleeping bag…
rain coat…

uhhhh…hey colby…did you forget my sleeping bag?

yes. yes he did. and the other important things that were stuffed into the sleeping bag sack.

but lo and behold, sometimes life works out just fine. colby happened to bring two sleeping bags, one for cold and one for colder. phew. i didn’t have to freeze my ass off on the first night in maple canyon.

and now, maple life began.

always a big breakfast including bacon in the morning. (colby bought four pounds of bacon at costco prior to my arrival.) colby takes great pride in his food. and i let him…

and then, i did the dishes.

i know i know. some of you are shocked. sara? doing dishes? willingly? okay, maybe not willingly, but yes, it’s true. i understood the trade. gourmet meals = i do the dishes.

and thus, maria the dish wench was born.

always a peanut butter and jelly for lunch out at the crags. and always a big delicious dinner to fill our bellies (his big, mine small) after a long day of climbing.


this is a climbing adventure. yet, it has been months since i have been in good climbing shape. gallivanting around the country does not lend itself to keeping in shape. a month at home with mom’s cooking and work owning me does not help either.

but i was in maple canyon surrounded by these crazy unique cobblestoned walls. it was time to man up.

warm up on a 5.10b? oh yeah, sure, that sounds perfect colby…


i am weak.

it sucks when you are weak. your brain totally gives up. you look around at the beautiful rock and smile in the sun and think, maybe i’ll just read my book today.

but you don’t.

instead, you run into two australian guys at the first crag. one in the air moving quickly up the rock bulges. one on the ground belaying his buddy up the wall.

good ‘ay mate.

i ask what his name is.

ryan, he says. then he looks down at his chest with sass, and i notice it is written there on his work shirt. i knew we were going to get along. it was the kind of work shirt that i have seen my dad wear everyday of my life. the kind that has a nicely embroidered patch above the left pocket stating your name. the kind that seems to last forever, through everything. and ryan informed me that it had indeed done just that. survived it all.

and so our band of orphans began.

ryan was traveling with ben. they met in some other climbing location and just kept on running into each other along their american rock climbing journey.

i just lied.

our band of orphans began the night before.

with tim and diane.

and then kyle the canadian.

and then the two aussies mentioned above.

and then chris from michigan.

people. we collect people as we travel.

chew on that for awhile. or maybe check out some photos. my stomach is screaming out for dinner, and i have been staring at my computer for close to nine hours now.

back to exiting reception.

One thought on “cobblestoned in maple canyon.

  1. hoho. think i will take a nap: just reading about all that is exhausting! one question: how can a “foodie” eat bacon?? shouldn’t he be vegetarian?? i am also navigating “cobblestones” of old charming Collioure…..

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