This year’s Thanksgiving avoided the crowds in Red Rocks and in Indian Creek and saw us in St. George, UT doing some limestone bolt clipping. Weather was gorgeous and in the mid-70’s in the sun and perfect comfortable temps in the shade, which is where we climbed. We avoided the crowds, had some turkey, pumpkin pie, and showed a French colleague what Thanksgiving is like in the US.
This Thanksgiving I once again stayed in Utah as traveling for such a short time and during one of the worst travel days makes little sense. Rather than visiting Las Vegas like last year, which probably would have been the warmer option, I traveled to Indian Creek. This trip was not just to go down and do some climbing and eat turkey, it was also when many of the Salt Lake and Bozeman crew would remember Kevin in his favorite place in the world.
Weather was less than ideal for the trip unfortunately. While it didn’t precipitate while we were there it was overcast, damp, snow covered in northern aspects, and cold. This ultimately cut the trip a bit short for everyone.
Matt and I headed down after a short day at work Wednesday to meet all of the Bozeman Contingency and Coppi, Ian, and Brianne who were already there, with others to arrive later. After we rolled into Creek Pasture we were greeted by the many dogs that we’d have the pleasure of spending time with for the weekend. I forget all the names, but we had Fitz the puppy who was having a very bad week including getting her toe broken by a car, Ella the endlessly fetching border collie, and some other friendly pups.
Thursday we headed to Broken Tooth Wall for some climbing before getting back to camp for cooking dinner. Since we had such a crew I think there were no less than 9 ropes set up at the peak. I was able to jump on Mondo a 5.12- after Mini Mike got the rope up through the chains. This route is a tough, #.5 and #.75 start that goes to an endlessly long #4 fist crack above. I was able to get a good way through the fist section but at some point it just got ever so slightly too big for my fist and I thrashed without being able to finish it. Jamie recommended another really long route (two rope TR) that was a bit more moderate at 5.10. This route had it all, fingers, fists, hands, a tiny bit of off-width, before getting to the chains. Really good route worth leading next time.
After climbing wrapped up we had a short remembrance for K-Bone. He had loved the Creek and traveled there endlessly in search of all its cracks. Marge spoke wonderfully and we all embraced Kevin’s spirit in the special place that is Indian Creek.
Once back at camp I started my objective for the weekend, cooking a turkey in a dutch oven over a campfire. I had read up a bit about how to do it and finally got an oven from REI. I also decided that having just one big dutch oven wouldn’t do so I found a smaller one from a guy on KSL, the SLC equivalent of Craigslist. Not having ever cooked a turkey before I was a little apprehensive. After cleaning a bit I seasoned with salt, pepper, sage, garlic, lemon, thyme, and shallots. Putting the 12 lb bird in my 12″ deep dutch oven was a little tricky. I needed to smash it down a bit. We put it in the fire and placed coals, or at least what we had for coals, on top too. After some basting, many pot/lid rotations, and 2.5 hours we had a finished bird that looked pretty good. However there was so much food from everyone else that Jamie and I didn’t even bother bringing it to the table. Since it was so cold we decided to just put a big rock on the lid and leave it for the next night. Everyone else’s contributions, which included turkey, were great and no one went hungry. We also enjoyed some before, during and after dinner drinks.
Friday morning was a rough start for most, including myself. We all rallied and went to climb a bit at Second Meat Wall. I got to climb with JoFo who put up some entertaining routes the last of which I had some difficulty with since it was about 70ft of #1 size in a tight dihedral.
Friday night we all took it easy since the previous night was still having an effect on most. Jamie picked all the meat off our turkey and we served it up to any looking for another dose of T-Day. It turned out great. Gravy would have finished it off perfectly but we weren’t able to make any. The turkey was mostly moist, though there were a few burnt spots on the bottom. Overall it was great and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.
Saturday morning once again dawned grey and cold. For everyone this was about all they could take of the weather. Had it been bluebird and warm I think most would have stayed for another day but the raw cold was wearing on everyone so we all headed home. This turned out to be nice too since it allowed a relaxing drive back and an “extra” day and a half to the weekend at home.
While I missed seeing family I was able to spend the holiday with friends and strangers who became friends as well as remember one friend who we’ve had to say goodbye to.