We've had an interesting and eventful week at Rifle. The weather has gone from chilly to uncomfortably hot and showers are expected over the next few days. We've been swimming at the Rifle outdoor pool in the afternoons which Elise loves! She is really getting into diving and jumping and literally exhausts herself. Other activities from the week (remember to click on the photos for larger images):
We've tried to feed some horses on the farms around here, but no dice so far. The horses seem "suspicious" of our intentions.
We visited the local fish hatchery, which was a HUGE hit with Elise. She absolutely loved feeding the fish, which were all rainbow trout (some very large). When we threw the fish food into the tank the water literally foamed with flipping fish. We then took a tour of the indoor portion of the facility which had hundreds of thousands of fry. It was an interesting visit and Elise can't stop talking about it. Between this and our actual fishing in the creek, we think she's starting to develop some sort of obsession with fish.
We took a day trip to the famous ski area of Aspen, which is the US equivalent of Whistler in BC. We toured the town and then drove up a canyon for an afternoon hike in the meadows. The wildflowers were out and it was very pretty.
We continue to enjoy the climbing, although I had a setback the other day when I hurt my finger on my project climb. I've spent the last couple of days resting and hope the injury improves so it doesn't interfere with the remainder of our stay. This is a photo of the Anti-Phil wall at Rifle.
This is a photo of a climber on Hang 'em Higher at the Project Wall.
This is a photo of a local climber on "The Path" at the Arsenal.
We continue to enjoy the camping and have been having evening fires now that the weather has dried out a bit. Elise really likes the fires. The other night, she jumped up from her chair and started doing an incredibly funny and bizarre sideways shuffle/dance in the dirt. This reminded us of the famous Monty Python sketches revolving around "funny walks" and we immediately labeled it "Elise's funny walk" and told her so. We all had a good laugh and tried some different "funny walks".
Finally, we participated in Rifle's annual "clean-up day" where climbers gather and volunteer time to clean up garbage, build new trails and, in this case, bridges. Pam and I helped build a belay platform under a new climb and then watched the guys hoist logs into place for new bridges. In the evening, there was a party with food, music and movies, which we all enjoyed.
Funny Elise Story: During the outdoor movie portion of the evening, Elise took her little camp chair and went and sat with her "friends" (some kids she met at the party and was playing with). Pam and I thought this was interesting and sat with some other adults, but kept a close eye on Elise across the crowd. The movie started and there was a funny scene where a couple of climbers were on a dirt road miming the moves to a rock climb they had been practicing. As the climbers in the film contorted their bodies, waving arms and legs, Elise stood up and loudly proclaimed to the audience, "I have a funny walk, too! Want to see?" She then proceeded to do her bizarre sideways shuffle in the grass between the rows of seated climbers. Pam rushed over and sat her down and spoke to her about keeping quiet. We had a REALLY good laugh over that one!
Check back soon!