"It poses a bit of question would you eat food from a dumpster?"
If there was to be a physical line somewhere in the world that kept everything ridiculous about the human race on one side and the beauty and wildness of nature on the other, then I've just found it. Heading out on Charleston Boulevard, Las Vegas toward Red Rocks National Park you cross the idiocracy force field into the desert. We are looking for the campsite. It's a definite line as well. We arrived at night so the lights of Vegas were at their brightest and the desert at its darkest. This place was built so you could use the word juxtaposition confidently in a sentence.
We arrive on Veterans weekend a public holiday in America so the campsite is rammed. Our friend Bill has managed to jump in on a site but forgot to ask them before they went to bed if we could sleep there. Stereotypically British we feel too cheeky to pitch our tent so wonder around asking others if they want to share their pitches. At $15 a night it's expensive so most people will share sites. We just don't have any luck because it's a holiday. I manage to find a free space in the walk-in campsite. Although the board says it's taken we try our luck and sleep there anyway. Leaving an apologetic note on the outside of our tent. We sleep ok but a little on edge, however all is well in the morning and we switch the tent to Chris's site after speaking with him.
The place is buzzing with climbers and seems to work on a very different clock to the big city it sits next to. People are up at 5am with the sun, plotting routes and packing backpacks. The campsite is quiet by 8:30pm as weary climbers turn in after a hard days climbing.
Over the next week we climb all over Red Rocks picking out sport climbing crags mainly. Although Colin and Bill have been off doing big trad routes most days. I really like the rock here. Crazy sand stone formations form the holds with some amazing steep climbing taking crazy rests in huecos.
My favourite crags were Sunny and Steep, Sweet Pain and Stratocaster, all containing some amazing climbing. In fact the walk into Sunny and Steep Wall takes you on a crazy adventure through what seems like a world made by Dr Zeus. Red and white candy cane striped rocks and boulders flowing up from the wash in the ground in waved shapes blow your mind as you wonder along thinking how is this possible.
I must add that the newly christened "Daves Dyno" start to the classic line Stratorcaster will stay in my mind for a while. The direct route is a pretty stout 7b roof. However due to the shape of the rock our good friend Dave found a spot he could dyno out of the bushes to the glory jug over the roof. Watching this go down felt like watching a car crash but low and behold Dave comes flying out of the bushes "arrrrrgh" and sticks the move. His legs swinging heavily underneath the roof and we all laugh and holler!! What a start. So if you're ever there check out the Daves Dyno start to Stratorcaster.
I think Red Rocks is so unique because of the craziness right next door. I might add you don't escape the idiocy while in Red Rocks fully. Unfortunately some tourists venture through the force field to "drive" the scenic loop in a variety of ridiculous vehicles from jeeps, scooters to three wheeled skittle coloured toy cars. Getting out only to take a snap then back to the city.
That being said having been in Vegas 10 years ago we had to venture back into the madness one more time to see how much we had changed and if Vegas had changed. The Strip was sensory overload for us. We walked around for a few hours, ate our packed lunch outside the New York New York and left. Apart from looking a little tired and dated noting had really changed about the place. It is fair to say that 10 years on we have definitely changed. Climbers like to live cheap and simply and Vegas is the absolute opposite of this. We had a great time 10 years ago and have very fond memories but I don't think we will be venturing to the Strip again.
Dumpster diving seems be a bit of a theme following us around. Our friend Martin introduced us to it in Moab and now two of our buddies have joined from there, bringing with them their dumpster diving skills. They arrived one night telling us after we left Indian Creek they got two massive joints of cooked ham both priced at $100 and had a veritable Game Of Thrones like feast. Anyway I digress, from the supermarket in town they got five blocks of cheese, avocados, eggs and loads of other veggies and treats! It is just amazing what these places are throwing away! Showing again how much we waste in this world. I suppose it poses a bit of question would you eat food from a dumpster? I have and it feels great! Free food people, free food.
Sarah also went to an amazing thrift store to buy some clothes. Her jeans just couldn't take anymore Gorilla Tape. For all of you people at home that love vintage clothing or cheap second had bargains the thrift stores here in America are the bomb. Oh no! You think we have turned into hobos, not really we are just doing everything we can to keep on the road. The thing is this life, travelling, climbing being outside is like gambling, it's addictive and we don't want it to end.