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The Cat that Broke the Mold

By April 4, 2013January 30th, 2014No Comments

At around midnight last night, Spenser and I pulled into the familiar parking lot of the Food Ranch in Orangeville, Utah. It felt good to be back at Joe’s.

I haven’t written in a while, so I guess there’s a lot to catch up on. Since I wrote last, we’ve left Bishop, released a video, blasted through Vegas, and arrived at Joe’s. In combination with work, I’m not surprised I haven’t been amped to sit on the computer and write up a post. I guess I also haven’t felt inspired. And there’s really not point to blogging sans inspiration.

Now that we’ve returned to Joe’s, I have my inspiration. When we spent fall here last year, Spenser and I fell head over heels with a neighboring camper’s kitten (who we lovingly called ‘Kitteh’ as we did not approve of the owner’s choice of name).

Kitty the Kitten. Adorable, no?

Kitteh the Kitten. Adorable, no?

This was the first feline that I’ve ever become affectionate with. Sadly, her life was cut short by her owner’s incapability of taking care of a kitten on a road trip (she was run over by a car).

Fast forward to Bishop. When we moved our trailer into the backyard of the Zoo in the middle of February, I was looking forward to more frequent hot showers and an easy place to cook. Never did I imagine I would also meet the cat of my dreams. Let’s just start with my confession: I am no longer adamantly a dog person. I fell in love with a cat. A very specific cat…Hank.

This is Hank.

This is Hank.

This is what happens when Hank plays with a carabiner.

This is what happens when Hank plays with a carabiner.

This is what happens when Hank plays with Spenser.

This is what happens when Hank plays with Spenser.

Hank is a Maine Coon, known for loving to cuddle (being dubbed “the gentle giants” of the domestic feline world) while being independent and not clingy. Normally, I avoid cats. They know I’m allergic so they head straight my way, wanting me to pet them (just for a second) so that the allergy tsunami can be unleashed. But, I know that they know…so I stay as far away as possible.

At first, I thought Hank was just like the other cats. I thought he was just coaxing me into petting him so that he could immediately turn his soft, furry back to me and run away. …Leaving me sneezing and wheezing and wanting more… But, Hank was different.

After a single night shift with him in my lap, I was hooked. You could even call it obsessed. Hank would sneak onto my lap and softly purr as I typed away. He never asked for more attention and if I swatted him away, he would leave and not come back until he was beckoned. It was a purr-fect relationship (sorry, couldn’t help myself). Having him with me while I worked a solitary 12-hour shift made it the experience much more pleasant. I’m a bit nervous about how I’m going to cope with not having him around for those work shifts! Who else is a cat lover out there? I would love to hear more about what kinds of cats are better to own if you want a (not-too) affectionate cat who is easier on the sinuses. I’m ready to give other felines a chance, too! 🙂

LaVern, the Zoo mascot.

LaVern, the Zoo mascot.

My first stab at making gluten-free cinnamon rolls from scratch! I took full advantage of the oven at the Zoo.

My first stab at making gluten-free cinnamon rolls from scratch! I took full advantage of the oven at the Zoo.

On Wednesday, March 20th, we departed Bishop for Las Vegas. The last week in Bishop was a flurry of climbing and working. Gitta Lubke, a Red River Gorge regular, happened to be in town so we climbed every day that I wasn’t working. Having Gitta in town was great because we had to plan each day since her time in Bishop was limited, and I actually had to stick to the plan!

Some of our most memorable hits of the week would be The Rail Problem, a fantastic V3 on Roadside Boulder in the Buttermilks, and the unnamed V4 highball that has the same start. The Fang (V4) at the Sads was my most difficult day flash to date and Gitta’s first V4-in-a-day. It felt great to be able to send The Fang on my first go when I was unable to get past the first move last time I got on it in early February. I guess my easy circuiting mentality worked!? Lastly, we both managed to send Burning Rubber Necklace, a pumpy V4 traverse in the Happys. It felt really great to dial all of these problems that were “not-my-style” and to send projects in each of Bishop’s main climbing areas before leaving!

Gitta Lubke on the finishing crux of The Rail Problem in the Buttermilks.

Gitta Lubke on the finishing crux of The Rail Problem in the Buttermilks.

Gitta reaching wide on the opening move of The Fang in The Sads.

Gitta reaching wide on the opening move of The Fang at The Sads.

The sunset as we left The Sads after both sending The Fang.

The sunset as we left The Sads after both sending The Fang.

Timing could not have been better – after Gitta left I severely needed a few rest days to recover from our climbing frenzy, so I focused on packing up and preparing for our departure. We also managed to finally complete our latest video, let us know what you think!