Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Know when to hold em'

Know when to fold em, know when to walk away, know when to climb. This past weekend marked the KCCC spring trip to Arkansas' Horseshoe Canyon Ranch. Leading up to the trip the weather report looked suspect and continued to get worse as Friday approached. The last report i saw before taking the 5 hour gamble of a drive, showed a 40% chance on Friday with 60% chance through the weekend. Friday arrived with cloudy skies and splendid temps. Natalie and Mike arrived that morning with Dick Dower and Andy Eastman not far behind. Ross Fischer and myself had been there since Thursday and after securing the best campsite in the canyon we all headed up to the North Forty. Everyone did their own thing for the most part that day, and we all joined up in the evening for dinner at the Ozark Cafe down in Jasper. As usual, a full day of climbing put a small dent in everyone's pocket book, with full plates of burgers, fries, salads and of course a couple of milkshakes for dessert. After arriving back to camp, we all chilled out at enjoyed the nice weather. Jim Grace arrived late and soon retired to the cabin that Dick and Andy had secured. The rest of us huddled into our tents hoping not to wake up to rain. 

Because there had been no rain on Friday, the forecast had changed to a 100% chance by 9 a.m. on Saturday with a huge front moving in. At daybreak, Saturday morning greeted us with ominous clouds and perfect temperatures. By 7:30 a.m. everyone was up at the crag trying to take advantage of what little time might be available to climb. Chuck and Terre Millen arrived with their friend Tim with plans of hitting the river in their kayaks. Jim after already getting some climbing in, grabbed his canoe and joined them. By 11 the weather had not changed and we all left the North Forty to grab some snacks at camp and head over to the east side. While coming through camp, Carl Brockhoff arrived eager to fondle some sandstone. Carl had never climbed in Arkansas before, so within the hour he was sampling some of the fine moderates that the ranch has to offer. 

2:30 p.m. brought the inevitable, a light sprinkle which slowly became a light rain. Everyone retreated to camp and hung out under the easy-up tent that Natalie brought. Some of us went down to the barn to experience the Spelio box. What is this you may ask. Essentially it is a 10' x 10' x 10' plywood box with over 100' of small tunnels winding through a simulated cave. To sum it up, it is awesome fun, even for a big guy( I did get stuck 3 times). By 4 p.m. the wicked wind that followed the rain had dried up all of the rock so we grabbed our packs and headed back up to the East side. Although it was getting late in the day everyone was able to get in another 2 or 3 routes. 

Darkness settled upon us as we arrived back at camp. Carl built a beautiful fire and we grilled burgers and brats. As usual Natalie not only cranked hard all day, but also provided the club with a huge spread of food brownies included. With full bellies we retreated to our respective tents and cabins hoping for more dry weather, since the forecast still claimed a 100% chance of rain. 

Every once and a while the weather man gets it right. Sometime after midnight the heavy rain arrived and continued through the early hours of the morning. By daybreak the rain had stopped and we headed for the Ozark Cafe to enjoy a fine country breakfast. Dick and Andy decided to bail after breakfast, the rest of us headed back to camp, grabbed our climbing gear and were able to enjoy a handful of routes that were completely dry. By early afternoon the KCCC crew had all hit the road.

Despite the poor forecast for the weekend, a group of 11 KC Climbers made the gamble and came away with a decent payout from the house. The house doesn't always win!

1 comment:

  1. Glad you guys had a good time ... I was worried about the weather! We are heading down this weekend and it is supposed to be 75 and party cloudy!