Gunks – August 2008

Chrystal and I were finally able to sync up weekends so that we could go to the Gunks with Paul and Lauren.  We carpooled out to New Paltz on the morning of August 16th.  This was Chrystal’s first trip to the Gunks.  We headed straight to the main climbing area and hit up a bunch of climbs.  Unfortunately I don’t remember any of the routes we did.  Paul and I paired up for a little harder route while Lauren and Chrystal something a little less aggressive.  After lunch Paul and Lauren did their thing while Chrystal and I did one together.  I lead a route that I’ve done before.  The route is only a 5.7 or so but it has a couple roofs in it.  The route doesn’t go over the roofs, it kind of sidesteps them.  Chrystal followed and didn’t have any trouble with it.  I had a lot of fun lead the route then having her follow.

We out voted Paul on what to do for dinner.  We decided to spend a little bit more and go to the Guilded Otter.  The beer was tasty as well as my burger.  Chrystal got a really good rasberry mojito and mussels.  Paul’s friend from school, Matt, and his girlfriend joined us at dinner as well.  Though we did bring our tents and sleeping bags we were able to crash at Matt’s parents house even though they weren’t there.  When I first saw the house last last year the second floor was still in need of sheetrock.  This time the house is almost finished.  It is looking great as well.  Chrystal thought it had a real country style feel to it.  Chrystal and I stayed up looking at the stars from the deck.  We even saw a few shooting stars.

Sunday threatened rain at mid-day so we got to climbing early.  We hit up the Nears around the Birdcage area.  The highlights were doing Birdcage 5.10 and watching Chrystal rock out on another 5.10 a few routes to the right of Birdcage.  She did really well on it despite the fact that a storm cell rolled in and started some crazy thunder and lightning.  She lowered down after a couple minutes of that and we crawled under the overhang, using my rope bag to keep the rain off of us.  Paul went up and cleaned the route as well as calming down a less experienced climber who was a little stuck in the rain.

The second half of the day brought more heavy rain and light hail.  We packed up the climbing stuff and headed over to a small orchard and farm nearby.  The Brenners were going there to buy an apple tree for the fall.  The deal is $50 for all the apples on the tree for a season.  Not bad, eh?  The farm uses all natural growing, organic-type methods and doesn’t use any hormones or man-made chemicals.  In addition to the orchard they have a chicken coupe that they keep heirloom breeds of chickens.  They have Egyptian, South American, and Southeast Asian chickens among others.  Plain white chickens were not too be seen among this bunch.  All the birds were speckled and flecked with different colors.  Some of them had feathers on their feet.  Others had big tufts for feathers on their heads.  The eggs they make sell for $12 a dozen in NYC.  I’m not sure why, but they are nice to look at.  Green, brown speckled and little tiny ones too.

The farm was quite interesting and so were its owners.  I don’t have enough time to go into their story but I will say that they were some of the sweetest people I’ve ever met.  Stevia sweet.