The past week has been a blur. We left Joe’s Valley last Tuesday afternoon and Spenser drove us straight to Bishop. Leaving our amazing campsite at Joe’s was the most difficult part – we will likely never find a better fire pit, but it will be there waiting for us when we return!
A scene from our Joe’s Valley campsite. You can partially see the amazing fire pit that was built up by earlier residents.
After an 13-hour drive with a quick stop at a barbeque joint, we were back in the Pit. As we drove in around 3am on Wednesday morning, as suspected, the Pit was FULL. Since we were the first of our group to arrive, we grabbed one of the only open campsites we could find and passed out. Thankfully by the time we had woken up, there were multiple open campsites. As we waffled about saving site #15 for our friends (a prime spot with tons of flat real estate for cars & tents), Spenser ran into Jenn Zecchin, who we know from the Bay. Jenn was on her own this Thanksgiving and was driving around the Pit looking for a campsite. Perfect timing as she was able to park in site 15 and save it for the rest of our group. A benefit to all since we didn’t have to feel guilty about saving a site with just our crash pads, as we know many groups in Bishop are in the same boat.
The gorgeous sunset that we drove into as we left Utah.
Wednesday was a rest and get ready for the gang to arrive day. While I’ve only been to Bishop a handful of times and Spenser has been coming here for years, both of us were surprised at the state of the Vons parking lot – almost filled to the brim. Bishop, at least around this time of year, is now even more of a bustling community. Since we had gone to bed around 3:30am the previous day, we were wrecked after running errands and headed to bed extra early in preparation for the next day…Turkey Day!
Our first sunset in Bishop this year. The sky was filled with a fire-y red!
While snuggled up in bed working on our Burning Man video, we receive a knock on the door as friend #2, Kyle, had arrived. Shortly after, Jondo also arrived and the four of us ended up chatting in the trailer for over an hour. Although we neither went to bed early nor worked on the Burning Man video, it was worth being able to catch up with a couple of our Bay Area friends before the Thanksgiving craziness ensued.
We awoke the next day to find most of core crew present – Glenn, Zack, Kat, and Chris had arrived late in the evening. We fueled up on coffee, bacon, and eggs made in the trailer and, as it was a scorching day, headed to the ‘Milks.
As expected, the parking lot was popping at its seams with all the dirtbag-mobiles and a Mercedes-Benz (WTF?). We all met Steve and Angie in the main area and began the painful warm-up process. I forgot how much the Buttermilks bite back!!
Steve working the moves on The Mystery. One of the only people in our group trying hard Thanksgiving day.
After hitting the usual suspects, Hero Roof, IronMan, and the Peabody Boulders, a few of us headed back early to start the food prep process.
Our yearly Thanksgiving feast continue to outdo itself. Kat was nice enough to volunteer to prep the turkeys, while Chris donned his ‘fry shirt,’ a red plaid long-sleeved number that was bought at K-Mart last year for the same purpose, and dunked turkey #1 into the sizzling oil. Zack began preparation of his famous stuffing, while Jondo was in charge of creating a gluten-free (yay!) gravy from scratch. He’s the chef for the Facebook group nowadays, no big deal. Kyle made some incredible mashed potatoes, Steve and Angie brought some creamy-cheesy vegetables (a huge hit), and Adam and Nichole rounded out the food with cranberry sauce.
Kat getting down n’ dirty with the turkey.
Turkey #1 being removed from the oil by Chris. Yep, that’s THE fry shirt.
While we waited for some stragglers, turkey #1 was quickly devoured and deemed an appetizer. After everyone had arrived, turkey #2 was also quickly gobbled by the group, which by now included a few more friends, even Jackson and Ryan, a couple of awesome Canadian dudes who we met during our time in Joe’s Valley. Surprisingly, there were no leftovers and after a raucous campfire, we all went to bed with full, happy bellies. While many of the yearly crew was missed (most of Spenser’s Santa Barbara climber friends are currently dispersed throughout Europe), it was still a great campfire with many old and new friends.
The only negativity that punctured the celebratory weekend was the trash and crap (literally) that I found around our favorite crags. As I ventured to relieve myself on Saturday, I ran into a disgusting pile of poop next to the Pollen Grains parking lot. The icing on the poop cake would be that is was covered by wet wipes. My second run-in with poop was at the Happy Boulders on Sunday, also witnessed by Liberty. This is seriously disgusting and upsetting. Not only are people pooping without digging an appropriate hole, but also leaving tissue or wet wipes next to or on top of the business that they dropped. It’s UNBELIEVABLE to me and needs to stop. Even if there were not any access issues in Bishop, this behavior is still unacceptable. Be prepared when you go out to the boulders and bring a baggy to pack it out, it’s really not difficult and is your responsibility if you are a climber.
The next few days were a whirlwind of climbing, campfires and a game night at the Pizza Factory. Lastly, a ridiculously fun first-ever BishGNAR completed our weekend (more on this later).
A Bishop Thanksgiving could not be complete without a trip to the Pizza Factory. Don’t let the smiles fool you, Dan and Jondo are cold-blooded buck hunters.
Now, with everyone gone, Spenser and I picked up the pieces of our shambled and dirt-ridden lives today. The truck and trailer are clean again and so are we! A soak and shower at the Keough’s Hot Springs is just what we needed… Now it’s time to create our Bishop ticklists!
For now, we will leave you with this photo of the glorious Zack Macfarlane from the day of GNAR.