Surfing La Push Slash Why Does My Back Hurt

Friends. Lovers. Times are tough right now in Wetzlerlandia. I hurt my back last Wednesday and I still don’t know how bad it is. I was just jumping down from a route at the climbing gym, just using my legs to break my fall, and I felt something kind shift or get tweaked in my back and it’s felt gnarly ever since. Surfing a lot yesterday and the day before might not have helped. It might have helped, but it also might not have helped. That remains to be seen. Either way it feels stiff and gnarly right now and makes me sad.

But.

Anyway.

Hi.

My succulents are sitting in the cockpit. I just did some child’s pose and cat cow. Smoked SO many cigarettes (rollies) over the past two days, so now my body is detoxing. I need to axe cigs completely, but it’s kind of a ritual with the friends I smoke them with and so I’ve been hesitant to completely axe them. But, like, they’re gnarly. Not good. They don’t make my body feel good. They don’t make me feel good. The only thing they DO do is make my cognition as sharp as a tack. But I’m not ready to sacrifice my soft tissue for that.

Do you follow?

You don’t follow.

You’re not even paying attention.

How dare you.

It’s a beautiful sunny day here. Please stand by while I check the Gold Bar forecast.

….

OK the HIGH tomorrow in Gold Bar, WA is supposed to be 80. Which means I could go bouldering in the morning. Which I won’t do because my back feels gnarly. HOWEVER! The highs for like the ENTIRE week after that are only around 70 degrees. Aka perfect bouldering attempts. Aka will I ever go back to Canada? Aka I need to talk to my physical therapist today about my back. Aka I’m drinking matcha right now and it tastes disgusting. Aka I just bought four packs of sardines. Aka bee pollen. Aka turmeric pills.

OK. Time to concentrate.

Honestly that might be it for today.

I guess I could talk about the surf trip.

El Cazador and I went to the Olympic Peninsula on Sunday, surfed near PA on Sunday morning and then La Push Sunday evening. It was my first time surfing in a couple months and only my SECOND TIME SURFING since my knee injury though lately I never think about my knee my knee is great it’s my damn hip flexors now and MY MOTHEREFFING BACK GOD WHY DOES MY BACK HURT SLASH.

The waves at La Push yesterday were, in one single word, primo. Well, they were “good,” but the sun was out and they were fun and playful and it felt pretty darn good to be back in the water. I only surfed one sesh cuz I wanted to take care of the BOD, but El Cazador surfed two cuz he’s a beast. Then we slow-rolled out of there and made the late 8:10 ferry back to Seattle and I didn’t get home till like 10:10pm. I was tired. I still took the time to rinse my westuit and shower and get all the gnarliness off me. So many things went well from the expedition, namely the WEATHER. Sun in La Push?????????????? Almost never happens. Mist in La Push? Happens all the time. But so much sun that your face gets charred? Um, yeah, pretty rad.

Now I’m back on the boat as I alluded to earlier, drinking matcha and stuffing my maw with bee pollen. I want more caffeine. But I’m not going back to Whole Foods. But I want more caffeine.

Slash.

Coffee on the Beach

Good morning, friends. How are we doing today? I’m drinking black tea, as you might’ve guessed. I thought about trying to fast today but then realized that I can’t drink black tea on an empty stomach and so had some nuts. My knee has felt pretty shitty this last week, and I’m not really sure why. Diet? Running a mile? Hiking six miles? Climbing very lightly but still jumping off the wall a couple times from a few feet up? Am I not ready for that even though it felt completely fine? Or maybe I just need to stop touching my knee constantly, constantly massaging it, checking the LCL to see if it’s intact.

No climbing today, as that just seems inadvisable considering the state of my knee I described to you just now. It’s not that it hurts, it’s just that it feels kinda…weird. Like every so slightly stiff. Or actually that the fear is stronger lately, the fear of walking on uneven surfaces, the fear of unexpected lateral movement. That’s a much better way of describing it.

The fear.

But that same fear goes away quite a bit when I put my knee brace on.

Yesterday, as you might’ve guessed, I was out on the Olympic Peninsula checking out Barold’s new property that recently got cleared and had a road put in on it. I spent a night out there surveying the burn piles, roasting hot dogs, taking walks, and generally looking at the stars. It’s amazing how much more briliant the stars are out there than Seattle. Thousands and thousands of twinkling orbs, a general celestial glow pervading throughout. In Seattle when you look at the stars you can only see the big guns, the Big Dipper, Orion, but when out on the Peninsula you realize that behind Orion is a blanket of thousands of other stars, quivering, pulsating, dreamy. The milky way throbs. The blackness is total. And to have that arena above you while in front of you are the glowing embers of a fire, well, it ain’t too bad.

Barold and I had coffee on the beach yesterday. Yes, you read that correctly: coffee. I’ve had a coffee embargo the last couple weeks, but I’ve decided these embargos must be lifted from time to time! Let the people be free to make mistakes, to indulge in excess, etc. etc. Also, as they always say, moderation in all things, including moderation. Which is why from time to time you must jump off the high dive, even when you don’t really feel like it, especially when you don’t feel like it, and even better, when you DO feel like it, and this is why I indulged in a glorious thermos of coffee yesterday on the beach.

Looking out we saw a bald eagle sitting on the piling that marks where the waves break when they’re really big. That doesn’t happen very often. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen it happen. We walked out to the point, an alluvial fan created (ostensibly) by the river and storms shaping the sediment. Here we could see little peelers ripping down the beach, and I wondered when I’ll be able to surf next. I should be able to surf before I can boulder, I mean that sort of makes sense — surfing is a much lower impact activity — but surfing is also unpredictable. You don’t know what the wave is going to do, what the ocean is going to do. You don’t know the contours of the bottom. Surfing everything is fluid and liquid and slippery whereas in bouldering everything is static and your body is the only thing that moves. Your body must adjust to the contour of the rock. Your body must be accommodating. The rock will not yield! No matter how much power you might bring, the rock will not yield. And so it will only let you up if you learn the secret key, and that key consists of how strong you are, how much you weigh, how hard you’re able to pull down, and more importantly your technique. If you can combine and excel in all these aspects, the rock might let you up. Might.

Though actually the rock is indifferent. It is fabulously indifferent.

What am I talking about.

I don’t know what I’m talking about.

I need to do my physical therapy.

I think I’m going to do that right now.

Talk soon.

– Wetz

First Days of the Road Trip | Cali Road Trip #1

Near Madras, Oregon.

Checkout at Motel West in Bend, Oregon is at 11am today which means I only have about 15 minutes to write this post. Maybe less. I just went bouldering at the Widgi Creek area in Bend and while fun it threw in stark relief how amazing the bouldering in Washington is. Widgi Creek felt like one tiny area of the Icicle Canyon in Leavenworth, of which there are TONS of areas, and then in Leavenworth you don’t just have the Icicle but also have Tunwater and Mountain Home, too. Not to mention all the insanely good bouldering in the Skykomish Valley. Which reminds me: If I ever move away from Seattle (and I will), I only have one option: Go north. I can move to Leavenworth, Squamish, Victoria or Vancouver. These are literally the only options. But I am not allowed to move south. Which means I can never move to Bend. Which is fine.

My body was hurting after the drive yesterday. Too many hours sitting. And today I’m probably going to do it all over again because the goal is to make it to Colusa, California. But first I need to go to REI. I need to go to REI here in Bend because a) I love REI (I drive a Subaru, for Christ’s sake) and b) They might sell surfboard ding repair stuff (though they probably don’t). They also just have so many treats at REI. I love browsing REI. They’ll probably have a copy of Central Oregon Bouldering so I can read about all the boulders in this area that I have no idea exist that will probably make me eat my words in paragraph one. And then after REI I’ll get on the 97 headed south, first to Klamath Falls, and then on to California. I need to beat this cold front.

Breakfast.

Why Colusa, you ask? Well, it’s a sleepy town on the Sacramento River. It won’t be as cold there as in other places. And most importantly it has good lodging at a reasonable price. This trip might become a surf trip pretty soon. I’m not sure. I realized today that bouldering is hard. It took every fiber or strength in my body to climb a V1. So maybe I’ll just go to the coast. Maybe I won’t even make it to Bishop. Who knows.

For now though I need to make sure I’ve gotten all of my stuff out of room 241 at the illustrious Motel West. Luckily most of the stuff is still in my car. Then check out. Then go to REI. Then hit the road.

 

My Attention || Road to V4

It has come to my attention recently that I don’t know how to write. I’m often told: You’re a good writer, and I only about 30% believe this. But reading through recent blog posts I only about 5% believe this, and I’m not really sure how to change this so I more about 90% believe this. Though, to be fair, I don’t think a writer can ever get to 90%. The best a writer can get to as far as self-belief is probably somewhere around 84%.

It has been about three weeks since I’ve bouldered. Let me give you a quick update on the state of my bouldering and also what I’ve been up to since the last time I bouldered:

Current state of bouldering:

Sent three V3’s (U2, Rocksteadeasy, and Unnamed V3 at the Index River Boulders)

Sent a bunch of V2’s (among them I Heart Jugs, Beam Me Up, Magic School Bus, and Insanity Later)

Almost sent one V4 (Dirty Dancing at The Washout Boulders in Leavenworth).

 

And now, what I’ve been up to since I last bouldered three weeks ago:

Went to Mexico. Surfed better than I ever have in my life. Surfed the 6’1” Wraith (based on the Pyzel Phantom or Ghost at this point I don’t even remember and shaped by Northwest Native Parker Worthington). Ate a bunch of good food. Smoked a bunch of rollies with friends. Lounged in an air-conditioned room. Went to Mexico City. Did nothing there but drink matcha lattes and eat prickly pear fruit. Flew back home to Seattle. Thinking about climbing tomorrow (or maybe even today).

Oh, and also I might be going on a bouldering road trip starting next Saturday.

But that’s still kinda up in the air.

At this point in this blog post you’re probably wondering what I’m doing at this exact moment, since I talk about that pretty much every blog post. I’ll give you three guesses. Ok, you got it first try: I’m sitting on the boat drinking Earl Grey from Trader Joe’s out of a cup from a matcha latte I got yesterday at Whole Foods. I can’t believe you got that. You’re good.

Chelsea play in 15 minutes. I hope Christian Pulisic plays well. Then I’m having coffee with a friend and I don’t know what I’m doing this afternoon. If my COVID test I took yesterday comes back negative I COULD go climbing today at SBP with my friends Bloom and Jessa, but we’ll see. That time slot is probably all booked up anyway.

I could also just get in my car right now and drive to Serenity Now V4+ and pick up where I left off. But that sounds kind of awful.

I could go to Whole Foods and get a matcha latte.

I could use my foam roller.

I could write another blog post.

Or I could drink some mate.

The choice is clear.

-Wetz

 

Finger Strength

The end of a long week. Sitting on the couch watching bouldering videos and listening to the song “Loyal” by Odesza. Making black tea. Drinking said tea. Playing the game “Tomb Raider II,” starring the enigmatic Lara Croft. Making forays into the garage to do max hangs on a board screwed into the wall. So far on the two pad setting (which is, incidentally, the only setting, since it’s a 2×6), I can almost do 20 seconds. I know this is not a lot. I am not a strong climber. I am not a TERRIBLE climber, because I’m not super afraid of falling and am quite athletic, but I have next to zero climbing technique and also very little finger strength. I regularly fail on V3’s/V4’s in the gym. But it doesn’t matter. Because I love it. I love it and I have no plans to stop.

I pound a cup of black tea but it’s just not cutting it. I need more caffeine. The Friday afternoon doldrums have set in. It’s almost as if everything has lost its flavor. I’m bored of playing the piano, I’m bored of going on walks, I’m bored of playing video games, I’m bored of watching movies, I’m bored of seeing how long I can hang from a board in my garage. I want to do what I’ve done best all my life: Just get up and go. But since I CAN’T do that right now, I’ll just talk about what I hypothetically would do if I could.

What would I do right now if I could do anything, go anywhere, but of course taking into account current coronavirus closures, social distancing guidelines, the strength of the yen, etc.

First, I would go for a surf. It’s been a long time since I got in the water. Sunday is looking decent. Monday, too. So I’d do that. Then I’d come back, spend another week or so on Bainbridge, do one last big grocery run for my parents, and then get out of dodge. And by out of dodge I of course mean I would go to my boat. Where I would spend a few days cleaning it, making it less awful, etc. And then. And then. And then I would head for the mountains in my ’97 Subaru. Or I would go up to the San Juan’s in my boat. The stratosphere is the limit. And then I would head south, stopping at famous bouldering places on the way, until I got to southern California, where I would wait on the northern side of the Mexican border until they opened it and I could finally get across. More bouldering, more surfing. Speaking Spanish. Eating tacos. Some tacos. Smoking a few rollies even, maybe. I’m in Mexico!

Further and further south in my car? Maybe.

Or maybe not. At this point I would make my way back to Washington where I would star The Grand Adventure, aka sailing to South America in my 27 foot sailboat. First night, Port Townsend. Bounce around the San Juans for a bit. Maybe, MAYBE, stop in Victoria. Then round Cape Flattery and start heading south. Stop in La Push. Stop in Westport. Stop in Oregon, and then make the big push for Southern California. Bonfires on the beach, more surfing, and then back into Mexico. A couple weeks in Ensenada. Fixing things that have broken on the boat. Fitting it out for even more sailing, bluewater, bluewater baby, bluewater all the way, all the way to Puerto Vallarta and points further south, anchoring at La Calechosa to surf, anchoring by that little town across the bay and paddling over, that beautiful right point break, oh how she’s beautiful, further and further south, surfing La Ticla, surfing The Ranch, SKIPPING LA SALADITA, and further and futher south, and now we’re in Central America, and Costa Rica, and Panama, and maybe we just say to hell with it and go through the Canal. Into the Caribbean. And that’s it. Why would you need to go any further?