Monday, April 8, 2013


 (All photos in this post are courtesy of Ben Shapiro,

I'm having a crisis of misplaced motivation.  Lately I've found myself digging deep and pushing my limits, bursting through plateaus and feeling like a better version of myself every day.  But in these last critical months of grad school, there is something more important than all of that: the dreaded thesis.  Not a single ounce of my super charged drive and determination is focused on work.  Every paper I read, word I write and hour I spend banging my head against some glitchy computer program (*cough* Arc...) is a chore that sucks the life out of me.  I keep asking myself, why?  Do I not love geology anymore?  Am I not cut out to be a scientist?  The questions are a downward spiral that could end in me curled up on the floor questioning my very existence . . .

Happy camper

. . . but I think the answer is more simple than that.  I'm not the first grad student to feel this way, and I wont be the last.  I've had an amazing winter, as far as extracurriculars go, and an even better last two week(end)s.  In comparison, sitting in a dank office banging away at a keyboard doesn't hold a candle to doing the things I love in a beautiful place with beautiful people.

Monkey Face, with Kristin, Sean, Jon and Graham

One of the things I love most about climbing trips is meeting new people.  Scattered pages throughout my notebook have names, numbers, email addresses of friends we've made climbing around the west.  The couple we camped with at Red Rocks, a Camp 4 neighbor who climbed with us and showed us the El Cap Meadow rope swing in Yosemite; all from different places, but there for the same reasons.  It's in these situations that I realized why, in almost two years living here, I don't feel at home in Eugene.  I have a few of the best friends anyone could ask for, but I'm missing the community.

Luckily, I have misplaced my motivation in just the right place. 

On the Ale Trail

So this post is a showcase.  To share Ben's photos, climbing with friends old and new, to share the memorable moments, laughter and faces of the community that I love so much.

Peter in the mouth cave, Monkey Face

Monkey Face!
Kristin, from Norway and Squamish
Kristin being fabulous

Topping out.

Ben sending!

Peter working a 5.11d

Kaeli, my awesome new climbing girlfriend!
The perfect climbing food


Richard in the Lower Gorge
Kaeli in Pleasure Palace

Goofing off
Chalking up

Aggro Bumbly, 5.10d
Nick working the crack

Pleasure Palace

Nick leading in the Lower Gorge


5.10b on the Testament Slab
We let the photographer climb sometimes :)

Last Saturday it was raining at Smith, so we went to Bend and attempted the Ale Trail (self-lead tour of all the breweries.)  We hit most of the pubs . . . and a Chinese Buffet.


Deschutes Brewery!



Kristin and Jon

Richard and Jon at McMenamins

Some cribbage was played, can't remember who won...




My favorite Bend Brewing Co beer. Sour!


More buildering
Faces of buffet determination.

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