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Random thoughts

Monday, June 26, 2006

Marc's Mammoth Birthday

Okay, since I've been delinquent with posting here, I'll have to do multiple posts in one day. This is really for last weekend (Jun 16-18), which was Marc's birthday weekend. I've been delinquent about preparing the pictures as well, so those will have to come at a later time.

After work on Friday, I drove to Chatsworth to meet Marc and get ready for our trip. It didn't make sense for me to go back to West LA, only to head back up in the same direction. So we agreed to rendeszvous at one of Marc's old clients' house.

I got there shortly after 5:30, and we were soon on our way. We were anticipating really heavy traffic but were surprised that we only had little pockets of it here and there. After a little over an hour, we were just cruising.

Cut to around 10pm, we finally found our first stop - one of the hot springs in the area. It was a short walk from the car and it was just lovely to soak in the warm water while it was freezing everywhere else. The sky was really clear that night, and we could see the Milky Way so distinctly. It was the perfect night for stargazing.

After we turned into wrinkly prunes, we finally got out of the water and settled in for the night. We simply camped by the car, under the stars, thinking that it would be warm enough without a tent.

At 4am, I woke up and our sleeping bags were frosted over, and my feet were wet and cold. It took all of my willpower to get out of the bag, pad over to the car and lock myself in with what warmth the car had kept in. Sleep came in spurts, but by 7:30am, I was bouncing and ready to get going. Marc grudgingly gave in and got up.

We found ourselves in a winding road reminiscent of old unmaintained Manila roads, where the potholes were as big as craters and there were huge rocks all over. The guide said that low-clearance vehicles were not recommended, but we inched along anyway, myself cringing at every bump that felt like an air pocket for a plane. Soon we reached the parking area for Clark Canyon, and massive rocks jutted out of the ground. I was in my element.

So we spent the whole morning and most of the afternoon in our rock playground, shimmying up several 10s and socializing with the other climbers around. We actually had expected less people but were pleasantly surprised that two of the people that did show up were people we knew.

Afterwards, Marc and I were both aching for a shower so we headed to our hotel to wind down and rest. When we rounded the corner to go to our room, we saw that the pool was right outside it, and we couldn't resist - we dumped all our climbing gear and other bags in the room, quickly changed and jumped in. The water was so warm and I didn't want to get out. But we still had a couple of things planned for the rest of the night.

I rented skis at the only place still renting them out, and in my head there was a weird feeling of walking out with skis into a 70-degree evening, in my flimsy shirt and flipflops. The cashier gave us some tips for a place for dinner, and we found ourselves in Lulu Restaurant - a little fancy, but just right for the occasion.

The next day - still in just a shirt and some flipflops, Marc and I walked up to the Main Lodge to purchase lift tickets. We then changed into our jackets and ski pants and made our way to the mountain before we melted in our clothes. The skiing was great - the snow was slushy but still manageable, and the sun was shining. There were actually people skiing in shorts; one guy even had his shirt off.

When we were done, we grabbed lunch and started our journey home. The heat was becoming unbearable by then, so we had to shed our layers and change into shorts and shirts. Only in California.... :).

I still had lots of energy when I got home; I bustled about, unpacking everything and doing laundry. Marc said he simply passed out in exhaustion. I was done with laundry by 10pm, and then went to bed.

Pictures to come shortly!

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