Why Hueco is like Pretzel Day

Hueco time is coming up soon. 12 days and a 1,239 mile drive are all that separates me from another week in one of my favorite places in the world (at least from the places I’ve been). Here’s why I’m pickin’ up what Stanley’s puttin’ down in his Pretzel Day spiel, and I feel like the climbers (especially the fresh graduates with new-found careers) will feel me on this one.

If you’re anything like me, your average day probably goes a little something like this. You start out with an alarm that goes off about 10 minutes earlier than you want it to every single morning. You wake up and grab a quick bite to eat and hop in the whip (no doubt a fierce, road-destroying 4-door sedan that would be the object of any middle-aged, comb-over-rocking-nobody’s envy, hopefully in a hyper-dope color like sea-foam green). You make a drive to work that somehow becomes less and less eventful every day. You probably get stuck behind a couple of school buses along the way. It’s okay, you’re a G, you’ll make up for it cause you will absolutely MERK on any yellow light that gets in your way. No mercy. Eventually, you make it to the office and settle into your desk for the long haul. You ask a co-worker how their day’s going and they respond with the typical “I’m still above ground, must be doin’ alright” or “Just another day in paradise”. You throw up in your mouth a little bit, but keep it together, cause Doug sent you a dope snapchat vid this morning with a psyche vid from the cold porcelain donut he’s warming up somewhere in the great white Northeast. For the next 4 hrs, you go hard in the paint on spreadsheets and call lists. Just when you think you’re about to explode, it’s 11:30, lunch time. Whip out that turkey sandwich, and since you splurged at the winn-dixie this week, you got muenster cheese on that B, now you’re on some serious N.L.S. homey. While you woof down the sandwich, yogurt, and banana, you manically browse through your usual list of climbing blogs. Catch a couple of mediocre vids on DPM, or maybe it’s a particularly good day and there’s some new footy of one of the mutants out in Colorado climbing some V-wicked project. Scope 8a real quick, “oh look, Adam logged something this weekend without topping out and took full points for it”, then you know what time it is. Hit that fool with some 8a-hatemail, because no doubt he’s paper-chasin’ just as hard as you are in his cubicle 300 miles away, and we all know there’s nothing a climber loves more than opening up his 8a inbox only to find some mockery from a friend. 12:00 rolls around, the sandwich is gone and the post-lunch cup o’ joe is making real quick work of your GI system. Hightail it to the king’s throne and enjoy 15 minutes of silence and phone games while you drop bombs. Now that you’ve prolonged your stay in the oval office as long as reasonable, it’s time to trudge back to the desk and make the bossman happy. Turn up the Black Keys radio (to an appropriate listening volume, of course) and get back after it, son. There are documents to be printed/stapled, spreadsheets to be cleaned up, and clients to solicit. Another 4.5 hrs pass with relative ease, thanks to brain-numbing tasks and a little help from the homies on g-chat. It’s 4:45 now, and the end is in sight. You start to label your file folders, organize your pencils, or anything else that will keep your eyes from being glued to the clock for the next 15 minutes. 4:53. On the home stretch. OH NOOOOOOOO here comes bossman to remind you of that thing he told you to do but you forgot because you were daydreaming about how you can dyno like Jimmy Webb when really you’re just a mediocre slab climber, and now he needs it before the end of the day and you already shut down your computer but you gotta make it happen because you don’t have enough vacation left to cover the climbing trip you reaaaaaaalllly wanna take at the end of the year and you need to come out of this week smellin’ like roses, yadiddamean? So you bear down. You type with a fury of a Kenyan trackstar/death metal guitarist on bath salts. By 5:14 you’ve got it all wrapped up. Boom, save, submit, handled. Later boss, hasta manana. Your sanity is slowly being restored as you walk down the hall, out the door, into the parking garage, and finally settle into the cloth seat of your “musclecar”. You pull the ipod out, and bump “Forgot About Dre” to get amped up on the short drive to the climbing gym. You roll in, change out of your khaki’s and button-down shirt, and unleash every ounce of frustration you can muster from the long day on the red taped problem, only to punt the last move 4 times. You salvage the session by climbing every V3 in the gym and maybe even hitting a quick hangboard/abs session before you hop back in the sea-foam-green-4-cylinder-road-devouring-hellbeast and drive back to your 1 bed/1 bath apartment. At least it’s late enough that you missed rush hour traffic, probably because you stayed at the gym way longer than you should have. When you get back home, you quickly whip together something for dinner and settle in for a couple of episodes of Always Sunny or Futurama or Trailer Park Boys or one of the few other remaining decent TV shows on Netflix. Before long, it’s 10:00, and you know if you don’t get to bed soon, 5:45’s gonna be hard to deal with. The next morning, your alarm goes off about 10 minutes earlier than you hoped…

Life goes on like this for most days of most weeks. Sure, after 5 days, we get the ever-welcome weekend, which offers a couple of days of relief (assuming it’s not raining both days, which seems to be the norm in the DUUURURRRRRRRTTTYYYYY SOUFFFFFF). For the most part, though, it’s just enough to keep us truckin’ through another work week.

Then there’s Hueco week.

One week every year, for the past few years, I’ve made it a point to hop in the sea-foam-green-speed-machine and drive out West. We start driving at 3 or 4 PM and finish driving at 3 or 4 PM the next day. The destination? The home of the pumpiest, juggiest, longest, most-sickest roof climbs imaginable. The windy, dusty, quiet, hot-then-cold, bizarre, desolate, amazing desert. The Mecca of American bouldering. Hueco Tanks State Park and Historical Site.

For a week, school doesn’t matter. Work doesn’t matter. I’m approaching my mid-20’s furiously still lacking any sort of serious relationship with a member of the fairer sex, but that doesn’t matter. Childhood George would be enraged that I’m not an astronaut driving a Corvette with Cindy Crawford on my arm, but he’d be proud this week. This week? It’s Hueco week… and I like Hueco week.

Here’s a couple of our old Hueco vids and one from a friend, Michael Rosato. I hope everybody reading this (both of you) finds their Hueco Week, whatever that may be.

Happy trails.

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