Bass Lake Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
August 10th, 2007 – by: colinhamel
They are beautiful peopleâ€¦beautiful peopleâ€¦(Marilyn Manson reference is completely accidental). Everyone at Summit Adventure showed me welcoming kindness that blew away my acceptance anxiety. I just went to make a little video and wanted to help in other ways too, but left with unexpected friendships and a hunger for more. Connecting with people was so natural; I felt like I could relate to everyone in a different way. The unhurried pace of life at the base camp was one familiar to me as well. Much of my Africa trip related to the way we lived at Bass Lake and out in the back country; everything from a chill timeline to pooping over a hole.
Upon arrival at the Fresno airport, I had an inquisitive thought of who was picking me up, and why they were over an hour late.
Ann. She pulled up in her tan Honda CR-V, I dumped my bags in and hopped into the passenger seat. During the hour ride to the Summit Base, we talked about a bunch of random shtuff and throughout the week I had an excellent time getting to know her, a fellow Midwesterner. She and Jon, the Base Coordinator, took me bouldering at Lewis Creek and to the Yosemite Valley on a day off, where my eyes could barely comprehend the surrounding splendid-ness.
Since I had such a great time clearing brush and stuffing branches into a chipper, I was considering staying a few extra days.
Oops, I havenâ€™t even mentioned my project. I went out on course with three groups to gather footage to put together a promotional video. Adventures in Fatherhood was first. Camped with Tom, the wild man director of Summit Adventure and we spent a day and a half with Dads and their kids. I repelled of The Toad, a 200 foot drop where I locked off at about 75 feet down and shot some superb video of the others repelling while I slowly lost feeling in my feet from dangling from a rope in an unpadded harness for too long.
The second course was the Adventure Leadership group. Teaching people how to teach a backpacking trip and safe climbing setup and bla bla bla. I caught an amazing sunrise time lapse shot. Phillip, a fellow motorcyclist showed me a few important climbing knots, how to properly place a cam and how to set an anchor. I appreciated Phillip for many reasons, but perhaps none more than his witty bicep comparisonâ€¦Having someone flex for him, he looks impressed and comments on how that is a pretty big rock, then comes back with his arm flexingâ€¦ â€ślooks like it fell off this mountain!â€ť During the climbing setup, near Lady Lake, a man sat on a rock at the edge of the water a long way off.
Bryce was one of the leaders on that course. Canâ€™t wait to hang out with him more in Ecuador. I rode with him to town one afternoon in his Scout and we shared openly about our lives. So easy to connect with and we had quite a similar experience with the continent of Africa. He was hilarious and serious, sarcastic and sensitive, a real man. During a time lapse shot I had set up at the camp site he started curling the water bags in front of the camera and after the rock climbing was started, he perched on a big boulder in a werewolf style squat and howled loudly.
The third course was the Go For It course, which is designed for special needs individuals. They were great. I shot way to much footage and helped set up shade shelter, walked with Shawn, who had a problem with depth perception, which makes hiking up rocks pretty dangerous. Most of the staff on this course was hooked up to the Chariot, a carrying chair for Justin because his wheel chair would not make it up such aggressive terrain.
It was Monday and my flight was to leave on Tuesday morning. I checked my email and sang a song. Jerry, my manager, said he had no problem with me returning on the next Monday. I rescheduled my plane ticket for Friday, giving me three more days. During those three extra days I realized to a fuller extent how much I love this place and these people.
After Ann and I returned from Willow Creek, She and Jon and I headed north to the Touleme Meadows in the northern park of the Yosemite national park to climb Cathedral, named by John Muir after free soloing it and expressing that it was the first time heâ€™d been to church in that area. The view is majestic at every tilt of the head. We met Curt there and climbed it in two teams. My first multi-pitch climb (700 feet), first Trad climb, using nuts and cams, not bolts for quick draws, and my first time leading Trad. I led 3 pitches and loved it.
The next morning was my flight, so Jon, Ann and I had to drive home that night. Over three hours. Ann started the journey, Hot Tamales in hand, and cruised along for over an hour weaving along roads surrounded by a cascading curtain of trees, a natural wall as the headlight illuminated each trunk and faded upward to the star splattered sky.
Packed quick the next morning and Ann drove me to the airport. It was full of bittersweet-ness as I realized I just had some of the best two weeks ever and now had to head home to the office job. I wished goodbyeâ€™s didnâ€™t exist, and yet they are beautiful because they leave us with a sense of longing, passion and motivation.
I waited in the L.
I laid down on the ground getting tired again after reading more in David Gutersonâ€™s Snow Falling on Cedars, fearing a nearby mom scolding her son to get off the floor because itâ€™s not a place to sleep. Fun.
Those two weeks, full of edifying conversation, an amazing community of seriousness and joking, loving in a real way, tore at my heart to be involved. So, I plan on applying for an instructor position next summer. It helped me to realize that Iâ€™m not passionate about making money (though I do plan on paying my student loans off asap) but Iâ€™m passionate about seeking God with a group of people who truly love one another and living in a beautiful part of His creation and learning and teaching.
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