Friday, July 3, 2009

Another Scouting Mission

After breakfast this morning we packed up our bags for a day of climbing. Unfortunately, as we were literally walking out the door it started raining. The skies looked like we could have rain all day or that it could clear up. Based on the forecast, we thought it best to put the climbing gear away since wet rock is not really fun to climb on. We made the wrong decision. It turned out to be a beautiful day and didn't start storming until about 4:00, so we could have gotten some good climbing in. Oh well, the rock will still be there tomorrow.

We put our hiking boots on and headed to Chautauqua. Dan had two spots he wanted to check out. The first was a piece of rock called South Amphitheater Pinnacle. There are not really routes on this piece of rather crappy rock, but it is quite high and can be seen from various areas around town. We hiked up to the Spy and scrambled along a ridge to get to it. We did find it and despite all the steep scree fields we managed to get to it. Dan climbed to the top and rode what I dubbed "the dragon head." As he was exploring the summit, Dan startled a peregrine falcon which proceed to screech at him for 15 minutes--from another rock, of course.

Since the weather was still good, we headed on to point of interest #2. This was a cave that Dan read about in the Gerry Roach book all the way in Bear Canyon. We hiked the 3+ miles over there and started scrambling around rocks called the Dinosaur Eggs. Surprisingly, we actually were able to find the cave despite Gerry's usually challenging directions and our lack of familiarity with the area. It was very cool even though there was quite a bit of poison ivy around.

After we climbed out of the cave we noticed a little hole in the base of the rock, described in the book as so: "Small people with large imaginations are best suited for entering a peculiar passage a few feet west of Bear Cave." Getting in and out of this mini-cave was interesting. The cave was larger than expected on the inside.

As we hiked back there was quite a bit of thunder and a curtain of cloud off to the east. It was very surreal looking and if we still had battery left in the camera we would have taken a picture.

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