[28 July 2020> Rewinding back to 1993, picking up from where post #768 left off...]
[... preceded by a diagram of boxes with the words "white, black, orange, black, white, black, orange, black" written in that order.]
June 1, 1993[—Tucson]
Went up to Ventana canyon yesterday all the way to Window rock. Amazing. It really is a "window" of sorts. You can see through to Tucson if you look one way and if you look through from the other side you can see the Catalinas and Biosphere. It was a long hike, probably about 7-8 miles up a steep, rocky trail. I took a nap in on the "window" sill with the breeze on my feet.
I continued up to climb to the top the window. I had to scramble off trail, bushwhacking thru thick brush crouched low to get under. The ground was covered with leaves and i was slipping and sliding when suddenly i heard a loud rattling/buzzing that overwhelmed my senses and shot adrenalin through my system. At first i thought it was a hornets nest but i wasn't thinking, my body was busy in retreat and as i was retreating i realized it was a rattlesnake. I looked down there it was coiled back and ready to strike about 3 feet away from me. But by then i had jumped back 10 feet and looked at it more carefully. It's tail still rattled insanely loud and it's black tongue darted about trying to taste what i was doing. Well, thanks for the warning, i'll find another way to go. If i got bit there i would have been fucked... 7 miles from the bottom on a rocky trail, no one in sight. I only saw 2 other people going down as i was coming up.
After catching the view from the top of the window sill, i flew down the trail, trying to avoid the poison ivy but also to outrun the annoying bugs. Then a black, orange and yellow snake crossed my path and i didn't remember how the saying goes that helps you remember, but ends up it's a coral snake if the yellow is between the black, and the one i saw head orange between black [hence why we wrote the pattern above]. I stopped to skinny dip at the maiden pools. Refreshing. It seemed to take forever until i got back and my feet felt like jello though it's only a 14 mile hike.
I'm finally moved in! Tuesday night i talked Bill into borrowing his dad's truck. Couldn't do it earlier cuz that Beth bitch at Tucson realty kept giving me the run around. At 5 p.m. everything was in complete disarray at 53 E 5th St [our old address]. Bill helped me for 2 hours and the rest i took in small loads in C's car. Those little clepto neighbors kept harassing me, wanting to "help us move." eying my stuff inside my place.
I went and ate lousy thai food then went back and cleaned frantically. By 12 p.m. i was out of there and all my shit in 741 N. 5th Ave. I went and took Singha over to the new place and lit some incense [we still maintain this tradition w/ every move, 27 years later]. We also scattered mesquite beans in each room believing they had the power to ward off evil spirits, but still felt weird sleeping there that first night. All the windows without drapes. I felt exposed. It was also weird not having [C] there. I really miss her now, cuz it's something we're doing together. I came home wednesday with a bunch of groceries and they had turned the electricity off on me. I had to climb up the wall and snip off the wire clasp they had up there. Shaheen and I went to the climbing gym. First time i've been there in months.
Some man is outside the window in front of me at Pony Espresso. He is chain-smoking Lucky Strikes only putting his cigarette down to sip espresso. He keeps tapping his leg violently and every so often will bust into full-blown opera at the top of his lungs. He's got hairy ears, cheap dark glasses and a sky-blue polyester shirt. This other old man went out there and unkowingly sat next to him asking him for a cigarette. The opera singer switched over to Camel non-filtered now. A sleek Indian woman with a fashionable sari and glasses (the business look) walked past and came in and ordered a "latteee" to go, "with not much foam pleeease." It's hard to imagine that both she and that weird old guy are both of the human species. He's singing now. The "normal" old man is pretending not to notice, trying not to stare. He looks like he's envious of the attention, like he could be just as crazy if he let himself go. He's tapping his fingers conservatively. Burps with eyes closed and he asked him for another cigarette. The "crazy" guy is looking at the "normal" old man and is still singing and the "normal" guy doesn't know how to react. The normal old man is sitting to my left, the other to my right.
June 6, 1993
I reflect the state of the "Sw-- hut" [illegible]. Everything just piled onto the floor and i don't know where to begin. Friday i played golf with Jesus and Shaheen [numerous golf scorecards are interspersed through the pages of the journal]. Shaheen is back from Pittsburgh but he's on his way to Los Alamos now. I shot terribly the first 9 but the 2nd 9 i show 43, including a birdy on a part 4 with a 30-yard putt. Took off in a rush out to Sunglow ranch. C was sleeping. She was very clean and fresh. She was distant at first (as usual). We talked about what's going on in our respective worlds, the facts, but not about us. Fell asleep. Still tension in the morning. It takes us a half a day to get back in the swing. She was annoyed that the car was dirty. I was annoyed that she would fix on that when I've been doing so much shit holding down the fort, moving us INTO the fort. So we drove in silence for a while but things slowly eased up which is one thing i like about her. We went to east Cochise Stronghold and hiked up and first did End Chimney (5.6-5.7, 2-3 pitches). Lots of options, we picked this one that started up this meat-grinding jam crack/off-width/chimney. Just sliding the #3 and 4 camalots up as i went. Finally got to a belay in the mouth of this sort of cove. The next pitch was way cool. It went up this jam crack up through a hole in the rock for about 60 feet. The "cave" was actually where 4 big blocks met [draws pic] so there was cracks to my sides and in front and behind. Chimneying up this crevasse making placements on all sides. C led the next pitch, which was more just practice for making placements. We scrambled around on top of entrance downs in it's field of chickenheads and other weird formations. Had to descend to the north but i collected more mesquite beans there then i've ever gotten before. After that we did Beeline (5.9), most excellent line! Starts off in this clean layback then into this hand-foot jam crack and tapers down to a finger crack. Lots of placements. The top 15 feet got to be too thin to get my fingers in. I was hanging by my tips, absolutely nothing on the face. I pulled through the last hand section, my arms turning to jello, shaking, barely made it. The book describes the route as continuing around the roof but we didn't want to risk not having there be chains to rap off of. So i pulled up the other rope and rapped down to belay C on top-rope. C was being weird and not wanting to do it, whereas 30 minutes prior she was siked. She eventually did it. I did it again on T.R. and it was a blast. We forgot to bring food so we had to leave early. Went all the way to the Gadsen hotel in Douglas and ate there. 1 mile from Mexico. Classy establishment. C moved rooms when we got back to the ranch and i ended up staying there and eating breakfast with them. Then left to the Chiricahuas early this morning. I did the Echo canyon loop, through all the bitching rock formations. It's a crime to not allow climbing there. My mouth was watering imagining all the potential routes, pockets, huecos, cracks, striations, lots of weird shit that looked fun to climb. I looped out the Hearts of Rocks trail and continued on that, through plush forests with red squirrels and raccoons, tons of lizards and chipmunks, woodpeckers. Did the detour to "inspiration point" and around "Hearts of Rocks" and back to the Echo canyon loop, stopping to eat food i stole from the ranch and enjoying the sun. It was like looking at a menu and not being allowed to eat. All that rock. All in all it was about 12-13 miles and i was back at the car by 11:40 a.m. It was too hot in Tucson so i went straight to the theatre and saw "Dave". I'm supposed to be doing my laundry but i made a detour to get some joe here at Bentley's. O.k. time to watch the clothes go round.
I was just unpacking stuff into the house when i heard a rustling in the trees outside the window. I looked out in time to see a sketchy looking character sit out on the steps. I decided to paint the cinder blocks for my bookshelf as an excuse to keep my eye on him. Laid out newspaper then put the cinder blocks in a row, got the paint out and started to paint. It seemed the man was crying. He was mumbling to himself and held his head in his hands. I pretended i didn't notice him. He'd look back and i'd be concentrating on painting. I painted about 6 blocks then he stood up and walked up to my porch. He had an unusual expression on his face and his arms hung uneasily. He sat next to me on the arm of the couch without a word, not even saying hi.
"You live around here?" i asked.
"Yah," he answered blankly. He reeked of alcohol and had an empty glazed look on his face.
I tried to probe further, "which house?"
"Oh, around," he said. The silence was awkward.
"Were you at a party?" I asked.
"Feeling alright?" I continued.
"Yah." He put a little more emotion into this because i guess he misread me and thought i was inquiring into his well-being.
More silence. I continued painting. He just breathed alcohol breath in my face. He had short hair and a moustache. I was thinking maybe he was gay, was he expecting me to do something? I realized i didn't have my phone hooked up yet. When i finished the bricks i said "I've got to do some work in here and went inside, closing the screen door behind me and deliberately locking it. I whistled and found excuses to do an errand where i could see out the screen door. After ½ an hour he was still there staring off into space.
I'm at the laundromat now. I forgot to put soap in. Everyone always comes to laundromats alone, from many backgrounds. In silence we all do our laundry together. It's weird when you stop to think about it. The machines tumble and spin. People leave feeling better now that their clothes are clean.
Holy shit, according to Lord Kelvin if you take a glass of water and somehow tag all the molecules and dump it in the ocean and let it mix, then if you remove another glass you'll find, on average, 100 of your original tagged molecules.
Entelechy—a vital force urging an organism towards self-fulfillment. The condition of a thing whose essence is fully realized.
"A chicken is how an egg makes another egg"
The heat is on. A weekend in Tucson. Friday Jesus and I shot 18 at Silverbell. I did well on a few holes but then screwed up. Shot 51 on the first 9 after taking 8 hots on the par 3 9th. The 2nd 9 had "∞" because we lost all our balls (no pun intended) over fences and in lakes so on the 18th hole we played "air" golf. That's the best way. It was hot as hell, i don't know what we were thinking. Saturday Scott woke me up at 6:30 a.m. I talked him out of climbing cuz he wanted to climb both days. I had to move C's shit. Gave Harlow a call. He helped me load the first load. We drove to Denny's where i bought him breakfast then dropped him off at Circle K where he now works. The Circle clerk with a degree in physics willing to help someone move for a free breakfast. He let me borrow his truck. Did it all in 2 very full loads in sweltering heat. Sweating like a pig trying to carry her big oak table by myself. There's a lot of shit in the house now. I went and worked out then hung out at Bentleys all afternoon and night. Preparing Biophysics lectures. I'm excited, but nervous... i mean, it's not clear cut, like a cookbook, i hope i don't forget the things i want to say. Why am i nervous? Humans are weird. What do i care what other people think? Shit, i should write his over and over til i get it.
Today i woke up at 4:30 a.m. and figured that was a sign i should just go for it. I drove out to Pima canyon before the sun was even over the horizon. A car in the parking lot had it's window broken and was ransacked. It struck me as just happening recently. I walked in the cool morning though you could tell it would be a scorcher. One foot in front of the other. Saw the owners of the car a few miles up, let them know about their car. Continued past the mortar built in the rocks where women grinded mesquite beans. Stopped and tried to imagine. I made an offering of water. One hell of a hike. It kept winding back. Around another corner and it kept going further back. You can't see the end from below. Keeps zig-zagging in. I didn't see the sun until the top of the canyon but it was still blazing hot. Back soaked in sweat. At the top it swung underneath the ridge then finally up in the saddle where you could see the back of Finger rock. That's when the bugs were really getting to me. I went quickly on to the top. The bugs were thick, like a prehistoric jungle. There was the usual blanket of ladybugs covering the trees atop Mt. Kimball [strange phenomena... we don't have pics, but the first time we saw it was freaky, looked like the trees had red undulating bark, but it was all ladybugs]. I found an outcropping and ate a PBJ looking at the view to the north-east. And all the way down. At this point A story was formulating in my head about these 2 guys who climb some heinous tower in South America, they go up the easiest route and they have to aid climb, 2000 feet. They get to the top and they find pottery and signs that humans had been up there. I haven't decided what else. It's written in the form of a journal. These 2 are never found again, but a subsequent party (knowing that this party was mysteriously found below without ropes or gear) goes up and finds all their gear along with the pottery and the journal. The implication being that they killed themselves. I'm reading, or just read "Heart of Darkness" so obviously it's having an influence.
I've got a fairly decent buzz going on here, was just watching the Suns beat the Bulls and had a few beers. I was thinking alcohol doesn't inspire me to write, but then started thinking of all the boozer-type writers... how do they get their inspiration from this shit? Maybe i just don't know what's good for me. After polishing up "Adelaar" i cranked out "Tecolote" in 3 days. I'm pretty content w/ it though i think i will have to let it simmer since i still am not in a mode to proofread. I'm too close to it to know whether or not it's any good. Before i even finished that i'm totally into this "Apu" one, the one about the unclimbed peak, but now I've got a few new additions. What they'll find on top are "khipu" (and elaborate system of knotted cords) that the Incans used to communicate. I can bring in all sorts of other Quechua and Incan anecdotes and it got me thinking, why not make it a metaphor for Columbus discovering America? The leader of the group will be Christopher McCullen, they'll conquer a peak only to find these Khipu up there and bones and drums. I've hit a dead end w/ the ending. The honorable thing to do is have them jump off, but i'm not sure how to tie that into the Columbus thing. Maybe could be the ending it should have had. Of course an outsider will find their bodies... no, the Bolivian police will. The police report will state they were found without ropes attached, but this new group of climbers in 1992 (the original party tried in 1942, on Oct 12) will assume the gear was stolen until they re-climb the route finding their gear along the way thinking "this doesn't make sense, they made it this far and look like they were fixing to rap off." They find all their gear up there, webbing and ropes, along w/ Khipu. It will be just as much a mystery and surprise, trying to figure out why they organized all their gear and "fell" or "jumped" or some "force" killed them. The reader will have to decide for themselves. This will involve a lot of research that's for sure, hunting down the Columbus log and finding a book on Quechua and these Khipu knots and maybe even some Incan history with the coming of the conquistadors. The climbers will have red hair and beards and their porters will fear them. O.K. how about this, how about if they make it and the natives consider them gods of some sort? How would that work? [this Apu project, which we started calling "Navigating the Senses" was one of the massive binders in our unfinished projects that we were sorting through the other day.]
I gave 2 lectures in Biophysics on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Tuesday i gave a general overview then went into phyllotaxis. Wednesday i did it on population dynamics.
A couple more additions to the plot... the climbing party will not be found dead at the bottom, but flares will be seen coming from the top. This will spark a riot of religious fanatics, flares coming from the "finger of god" as they call the peak. The U.S. Air Force will come rescue the climbers and also have to quench the riots. The helicopter will blow up (this will be foreshadowed by a castillo [tower of fireworks] before the expedition in La Paz) and a certain corporal at the bottom will pick up the journal and a couple of these knots (webbing will fly down too) and keep to reveal later.
C returns today, i'm glad, it will change my pace. I haven't been too inspired to write in my journal. I guess I've been doing too much writing otherwise. I've made a lot of corrections on Tecolote (Midnight Flight) and started on "Apu"... got 10 pages into it, in 3rd person, unlike i originally planned and i don't think it's working so I'll go back to my original plan of writing the journal in 1st person (of Christopher) and the intro and epilogue in 1st person of a Bolivian soldier, or his guide.
C is back and we're in Flagstaff. She got back on Wednesday afternoon and i ditched out on "work" to go to Flagstaff with her. We left Thursday morning after lots of errand then took that road east of the 10 up to the outskirts of Phoenix and kept going thru little town out to the Superstitions. Beautiful mountains, they give a very unique feeling. We headed north on whatever road, by, shit, i don't remember the names, Roosevelt Lake? A big "lake" in a big canyon. The road turned to dirt and it was windy. We went up and the back down to another dammed up lake. Finally we got on paved road and we're getting into pine forests, them past Mormon lakes and some others... it was the "Drive of Lakes". Now i really don't question the existence of bodies of water in Arizona, question is, are any of them "real"?
We got into Flagstaff then ate Thai food with her parents. Friday morning C and I went to the Petit Verdon or the infamous "Pit". God, "pit" is right. Kind of a little limestone wall in a gully. Started out on About Face (5.8)... well supposedly 5.8. The other book at the store said 5.9. I'm still leery about leading up in these parts. Very pumpy stuff, steep with an occasional jug, mostly lots of little finger pockets and roofs and bulges. After that we just TR'ed Monster Mish (5.10) which was right next to it. I started off wrong then rested at the 2nd bolt, but finally got it (lots of pull-ups on little finger holds). Then we tried English Landscape (5.10) a cruddy crack. I though a star meant it was good, but it meant it was a gear route. It was basically a heinous bouldering problem then onto easy terrain. I couldn't o the initial roof off the ground, a dyno to a finger jam. I couldn't do the 5.11 next to it either so finally (after C tried it) i did the first few moves of another 5.11x then traversed over and finished Anasazi Eyes, next to English Landscape. I think C was even more frustrated than i was and she didn't want to climb more so we went back and cooked spaghetti.
Friday night went out with her brother... what a weird experience. Totally gave me a different perspective on C and gave me a fair opinion not based on C talking about him... well, a lot of what she said maybe true i just didn't believe or understand clearly what she meant. He's definitely very intelligent, maybe too intelligent for his own good, and uncompromising. He's street smart with the matters at hand, what's going on around him, or with what interests him. In this sense he seems self-centered, unwilling to sacrifice himself for the good of others. He didn't seem interested at all in what was up in C's life (or for that matter who i was) and when we had dinner over here with her parents he talked the whole time or we were talking about him. Reminds me a lot of Kevin. But anyway, Friday night we went out, first to Mad Italians, but that was full of lame college types and Frat boys so went to what [M] called a "savage place," i forget the name. They had a cheesy rock band, hard rock. We had many pitchers and shots. M and C were playing pool, first against some other Indians then against some other annoying preppy dudes, with their own cues. Then C and I danced a bit. It was pretty crazy. Then we went back to his place. They smoked a bowl. I tripped out on culture and tradition, here they were sharing a pipe, almost as if it were a peace pipe. They started getting into the whole race issue, about learning Navajo, about being "half-breeds" about how fucked up it was, his speech plagued with "what not" and "talking shit", though he definitely knows what's up and C goes out of her way—almost to the point of not being herself—in order to gain his respect.
We didn't get home til 2:30 or so then had to wake up early to golf, this time the 5 of us. We went out to Williams, nice course, but only 9 holes. I shot 50 the first 9 and 48 the second 9. All in all it was cool just casually cruising around. Came back and BBQ'ed. They did spare ribs and i had a salmon fillet, boy did i feel like the dumb hippie white guy. We went to bed early, like 9 or 10. Been watching T.V. way too much, that's all we do around here. Today C and her mom went shopping in Sedona while i went to hike Humphrey Peak (her dad was off to D.C.). Amazing hike. I drove up to the ski resort, already at 8000 feet. Hiked through the woods for a while. There started to get more and more snow. Rich smells of pines, a different feel. I passed about 30 people on the way up (only 4.5 miles) but it was steep, up to 12,600 feet at the top. After a few miles there was only bristle-cones and they were short and mutated like bonsais. Then past the timber line. Lots of weird tundra-like plants. The signs below it said "tundra" but that seems unrealistic. But very barren and hostile. It got cold and windy. I got up the saddle separating the big bowls of snow, then plowed on. There was like 10 people on top, but well worth it. The highest spot in Arizona. The highest i've been in the U.S, besides that one time in Colorado at 13,000 feet. It was getting pretty hard to breath up there. When i got back down to the saddle i kept moving along the ridge towards Agassiz peak. I "skiied" down the scree and cinder, excellent fun til i met up with the actual ski run. I skiied on the snow in patches for a while. There was actually 2 guys trying to ski (with skis on). I saw 2 other guys carrying their skies all the way up to the top of Humphrey peak, to ski down the North face. Got back and just chilling except we went to drive some balls and putt.
[we din't have a camraw at the time so not sure how we got this pic, but pretty sure this is us atop Humphrey Peak...]
July 3, 1993
C and i left Flagstaff monday morning but of course (no pun) we had to stop and shoot 18. Shot 52 + 53 = 105 but it was a fun course. Then we had searing Thai food. This feeling of anticipation of waiting for rain is killing me. It's been teasing the past week. Got back Tuesday and went into Pima and all that, an of course there was no class. Lame. So i did errands, got $165 for my drum machine and drums and another $50 in used books/ CDs/tapes at Bookmans. Tuesday night climbing gym, Wednesday played golf w/ Jesus and Tom Nelson. I was 2 over par after 6— 4 pars and 2 bogies, then fucked up, shot 47 + 51 = 98. Stayed up all night unpacking. C stumbles in at 4:00 a.m... had been at the Chicago bar and met some "homeboys" and decides she wants to experience that life (we saw Menace II Society the previous night) so she gets into this guy's Mercedes and i don't know why she was surprised when one of them starts coming onto her, wanting her to give him a blowjob right there in the car. A weird scene ensued where they had to dump that guy off cuz he was out of control, then after some drug deliveries went to some other girls house where they went on about "smoking" some guy on the east side. The things C gets herself into. She took cocaine with them so they didn't think she was a cop and she forgot her keys in Davis's car so she walked back from the University (at least she didn't have them drop her off at the house).
This morning i woke up to go to the U and mechanically locked the door and for some reason i called C at 11:30 and she was locked IN! Went to the climbing gym on thursday night w/ Ajay and C. Saw Josh and asked him if he wanted to go climbing. We went today up to Windy Point. His style and ethics are completely opposite of mine, total siege climber. We did Tongues Lashing (5.11–). He made 2 placements then got to a bolt and rested. He fell 3 or 4 times and rested until he finally pulled through to the next clip where he rested again, then sieged and fell a few more times before finally getting to the top. He climbs as if bolts are resting points. It was fun as hell to follow, i had to rest 2 or 3 times but did it. Then he led Nancy's Crack (5.9+) but botched it up, once again grabbing the draws on virtually every piece, as if they were handholds. I did it again and didn't fall, unlike last year when i couldn't do it, so i guess i'm getting better. The rain still hasn't come. C and i are sitting here outside the laundromat watching the clothes go round and this is the final page of this weary journal. Another new shiny blue one awaits. But for now i still await the laundry. The cleansing of thy paper which to lay thy thoughts. [followed by a drawing of our floor plan.]