You have to love the Journey. Meeting at gas stations, someone is always running late, the sun starts to warm the day, the last check of canoes tied to rooftops, the highway pullover to double check something that doesn't look right and the anticipation of adventure as the Boston Mountains come into view.
We joined some friends on a new adventure this weekend. I'm not much of a climber so we we're excited to join someone who knows his stuff in the climbing arena. Tim has a tremendous amount of knowledge about climbing, so we spent the weekend with him, Michelle, Quenton and Heather. We traveled to Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Arkansas, near the Buffalo River. It had been a while since we visited the Buffalo as a family and our daughter had a new perspective of the landscape. As we exited Harrisonville Arkansas, and entered the Boston Mountains she took note in the change of scenery with enthusiasm, bigger hills, and long valleys presented themselves as we traveled to Horseshoe Canyon Ranch.
We checked in at the Horseshoe Canyon Ranch office to pay for an overnight and rent some climbing gear for my wife and daughter. Our friend Tim met up with a friend, Tracy that lead us to her camp site. As we where setting camp along side her we were warned about the horses.? We were told they were "worse than bears", apparently, this is true, if they find any food out, they will eat it!
The next stop was "Kindergarten Boulder". This is where we spent the day, it had a good mix of routes, up to 5.10, and it suited our needs. My daughter was taking things in, she had climbed at some gyms previously, but she prefers bouldering. Tim was kind enough to lead climb the routes and set up a top rope belay. I took time with Sophia to review the process by which she will be belayed and went over the knots, and strength of ropes and harness to keep her safe. She climbed her first route and was quite successfull, descending down the wall was the most difficult portion of her climb. She tried one more route where the crux was at the beginning of the climb. Unable to get past this sticking point, she called it quits and spent the remainder of the afternoon reading Harry Potter and chasing goats. Kelli knocked out two climbs in grand fashion. She spent the remainder of the time with Sophia as they ventured around, thanks for taking pics! Tim, Quenten, Tracy and Heather showed their climbing prowess, knocking out some good routes. Quenten can no longer claim to be a beginner!
We spent the evening in camp with good conversation. We had a few visitors venture into camp, a family of skunks seem to like this camp also. They moved on peacefully.
Sunday we headed to the waters of the Buffalo River. At 8 inches of airspace, it was a perfect day to be in a canoe. We came upon a pinned boat, the people where safe, Tim and Quenten put their swiftwater rescue skills to work to unpin the boat, a little crinkled but still floating. We made it out unscathed, Kelli and Sophia got quite wet on a couple rapids, with whitewater splashing over the bow of the boat. We lent out our extra paddle so a kayaker who lost his paddle could make it a couple of miles downstream to Kyle's landing. Sophia is old enough now that she has the kid's version of Me and Kelli's life jacket. It fits her better and is more comfortable. She also has a good comfort level with the water, but she isn't a daredevil. Grape Soda still does the trick for a happy face, just add jerky to the mix and her smile will double.
Gotta Love It!