Home Is Where The Car Is – Stop 1: Indian Creek

Desert dusk in Indian Creek.

What Am I Doing

I'm moving back to California.

I've lived in Colorado for ten years. I came to Boulder as a skinny, clean shaven 18 year old. I studied writing at the University of Colorado, then chose to work in restaurants and climbing gyms. I fell in love numerous times, had my heart broken, learned how to function as an individual. I became disenfranchised with the Boulder climbing scene while living within it, then moved to Denver. I met incredible people there – people who inspired me to fall back in love with Colorado alpine bouldering; people I will be friends with forever; a woman who I, despite the tumult of our relationship, continue to love.

Denver, from the north.

But I always missed my home. And for whatever reason, right now felt like the appropriate time to go back there. So I rented a storage unit, moved out of my house, rigged my car with a rooftop box, and embarked on a climbing trip across the western states. I left Denver as a skinny, bearded 28 year old.

What have I learned?

What I Have Learned

I've learned that I'll probably never end up walking the well-worn trail that so many people assume represents reality. This wasn't a conscious choice I made. It's not an intentional resistance. I just want to hike into the ravines and look for boulders.

I've learned that I would rather live and sleep in my Honda Element than in a hotel room. The less space I have, the more comfortable I become.

I've learned that doing what's right for yourself is – so long as you're doing no intentional harm – always the right thing in general. Living the idyllic life of someone else is an impossible life to lead.

I've learned that being a penniless, emotional kaleidoscope is a great way to self-induce change.

I've learned that rock climbing will be a part of me forever. It couldn't possibly be any other way. And that's what you call a segue.

Where Am I

I'm in Moab, Utah, for a rest day. I drove here on Sunday, December 4th, and, after stopping to refuel and resupply, drove straight through to Indian Creek. What was the plan? Other than meeting Nate Davison there, there was no plan. Besides bouldering, of course.

Attempting World's Greatest, a line that epitomizes the Indian Creek bouldering style. Photo by Nathaniel Davison.

"The least we can do is be mindful of the trail we're leaving behind."

The above quote was said by Indian Creek bouldering patron saint Chris Schulte. It's the concluding statement of his 2015 video titled "Up The Creek." He's referring to the climbing community's responsibility in conserving the desert environment, and the need to maintain the positive relationship between climbers and the other groups who share the area. He's right; being mindful is the least we can do. As climbing activity expands in Indian Creek, it's up to us to tread lightly.

But if you take the quote slightly out of context, it goes a little deeper, doesn't it?

I've written about this before, but I always find the idea reiterating itself in my mind: virtually every act of life is based around a series of choices. Whether those choices should be deemed "right" or "wrong" is often less relevant than the reality of their consequences. And every choice comes with consequences.

Is packing up everything I own and moving away affecting my opportunities in the Denver area? Of course. Is it affecting the people there who love me? Yes, it is. I am fully aware of the trail I'm leaving behind. That's the hardest part.

But I know this is a necessary step. I need a reset. I need to circle back. I don't want to deny myself the opportunity to return to my place of birth, spend time with my family, work from home, climb rocks in California, and gain perspective on life in Colorado. Despite the pain my decision has already caused myself and others, it's the decision I needed to make. So, off I go.

But before I get to California, you'll find me climbing on the sandstone of the gods. Behold.

FA of Strange Trails V5. Photo by Nathaniel Davison.

Where To Next

The cold road trip continues. St. George (Moe's Valley) and Las Vegas are tentative destinations . Bishop is a guarantee – The Place Where It All Began. My ancestral bouldering home. And I will be reuniting with my brother Giovanni Traversi there, in the climbing area we first visited all those years ago.

The arrow points west, and I follow. Excitement levels are high!

As always, thanks for reading.