Rainy Weekend in New Mexico, Part 1

May 23, 2009 at 6:28 pm

The traditional gathering of friends for climbing over the long Memorial Day weekend took place in New Mexico this year! Dylan and Ann, Doug, Zach, Claire, Dennis, Mark and I all met up at Tres Piedras in northern New Mexico, in the dark and the rain, late on Friday night.

Inescapable stormy skies

Thanks to the inspiration of a local photo gallery, I decided to shoot the weekend in black and white, playing with different settings on the camera and post processing. I think the pictures turned out… interesting. Some look a little over done, others under. Let me know what you think!

All of the shots from the weekend are up in the gallery. Also, Dylan started a flickr group for our photos here.

Mountain Oaks

We knew the weather forecast for the weekend was bad, but the sopping wetness that we all woke up to on Saturday morning seemed unreal for the desert state. Dylan joked, appropriately, that we had been transported during our dark drive the night before to Squamish, which seemed more likely than New Mexico on Saturday morning. The air was thick with mist and fog, the Ponderosa pine trees dripped water from their needles, the sandy dirt road was running with new little rivers, and the lovely granite domes of Tres Piedras were slick as glass.

Mark and Liv climb up to the top

It seemed unlikely that we would get much climbing in. We hiked around the rocks, identifying nice looking, but very wet, routes. The skies stayed dark, and rain drizzled on and off all morning.

Tres Piedras looks like a fantastic place to camp and climb. We could set up all of our tents just a few hundred feet from the rocks, in a fantastic grove of Ponderosas. The area was quiet. The granite routes looked beautiful.

Tents in the trees

After our hike, we retired to camp, and munched on lunch while the skies opened up for another downpour. We relaxed and debated the weekend plan for the next hour. Should we hang out at the wet camp, and hope to climb the next day? Or pack up and drive to Santa Fe, where Dylan and Ann have a loft apartment and we could all “camp out” on their floor?

Enjoying the rainy view

The idea of sleeping away the afternoon in a tent sprinkled with rain, or slacklining between wet trees did appeal to me. But after an hour, the rain got harder and harder. Our tent appeared to be leaking slightly (note to self – need to redo the seam seal). Slacklining would be nearly impossible in the deluge. We needed to leave.

Dylan and Ann drive into the darkness ahead

Two hours later and we were in the tasting room at the Second Street brewery in Santa Fe. Still a little damp, but with higher spirits. We grilled our camp food on Dylan and Ann’s deck, drank lots of beer in the loft, and played card games until late at night. Note for other rained-in campers: Apples to Apples seems to be much more fun than Fluxx for a big group. If you can find it, though, invest in a few decks of Dutch Blitz. You won’t regret it.