We woke to 50 degrees and gnarly, threatening clouds.
Ick. Is this the best weather A-Z has to offer? Who's running this joint?!?
The esteemed DG proudly toured us around her personal backyard trails.
Not so much a big climb kind of place, South Mountain has lots of short punchy ones, followed by fun chunky downs.
And yeah, more prickly stickery type stuff too.
I had hope-hope-hoped that this one would at least give Skippy pause.
Nope. He walked up, sighted it in, backed up and then promptly sent it. Not just once, but twice because it was 'so buttery sweet'.
I earned 'that guy' status for the day by wasting 10 minutes of precious light thinkering on it, then failing to engage. I suck.
Pic by Scott Morris
We rolled along the spine of the mountain, testing ourselves on, well, everything.
DG was happy to point tough moves and sequences out to us, but often didn't get the chance before we found that move and the two others attached to it.
An alleged Lesser (Greater) Common Striped (Spotted) Loggerhead Shrike. Stalker or spectator?
Blue skies, tacky trails, good friends, and a whole damn day to spend out in it.
Scott smoothes 'that' switchback on Holbert.
Skippy caught between grins.
DG clearly confident.
Reaching for the camera or putting it away? Greg's always doing one or the other.
Back up to Viejo.
After smoothing this move for the first time, ever,
...can you guess how DG was feeling?
Viejo was new to all of us, in all of it's steep, rubbly, chunky deliciousness.
Not my favorite kind of trail, but that didn't keep me from grinning anyhow.
We finished up in the last literal light of the day, exhausted and euphoric and feeling, over pizza, like we had it all figured out.
In a lot of ways, we did.
And we still had three more days to go...