First big trip after high school...................


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susan peplow

Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 9, 2007 - 03:22am PT
My daughter and I (and a few friends) are flying to Puerto Rico tomorrow for a cruise to the Southern Caribbean. OK, so it's not the trip to Europe we've talked about but how can you go wrong with good friends, sun, white beaches and crystal blue waters?

No climbing but we will be going to Loterie Farm Treetop Adventure complete with zip lines through the jungle canopy. That coupled with the ships "rock wall" has got to count for something right?

Who's got graduation trip stories to share?


Big Wall climber
Reno NV
Jun 9, 2007 - 03:26am PT
I went to Yosemite and spent the summer with a bunch of strange people with odd nicknames.
susan peplow

Topic Author's Reply - Jun 9, 2007 - 03:28am PT
Animal nicknames?

Come on, give us some details. Make 'em up if you have to.



chico ca
Jun 9, 2007 - 03:30am PT
Susan, If your going to Virgin Gorda- B.V.I ..some bouldering -on the island.

edit: Lucky you, Have Fun!
susan peplow

Topic Author's Reply - Jun 9, 2007 - 03:41am PT
Thanks Nita, but it's not one of the ports. Aruba's got some climbing on the eastern part of the island too but I won't be able to squeeze it in as that's our sea kayak day.

Ah well. Just me and my bad Royal Caribbean helmet on the "rock wall".


Big Wall climber
Reno NV
Jun 9, 2007 - 03:54am PT
"Animal nicknames?"

Yes! Some of them were! How did you know?
Weird names like Frog and Fish!
Other strange names too like Kauk, Moffat, Deucey, Shipley, Dimitri, Russel, Largo, Werner, Bolton...etc. etc.

John Moosie

Jun 9, 2007 - 05:02am PT
My first big trip after high school was to Alaska. My brother was living there and I went and stayed with him for a month. I saw mountain goats up close and watched bald eagles fish. I got to fly in a float plane over some glaciers and land on a lake where we camped and fished for a week. Watched a moose walking across a mudflat as the tide was coming in. The tide was big, about a four foot wave, and I thought the moose was going to get whacked. Was I ever wrong. That moose took off running as fast as it could and the wave barely affected it. They are powerful animals.

Went and stayed with my brothers girlfriends grandparents in a place called Moosepass. They built one of the first homes there in I think 1910. We woke up one morning with a bull moose on the porch. Grandma had to talk grandpa out of shooting it. He was 92 and hadn't fired his 30.06 in a few years. She was afraid he would break something. He was very disappointed as he hadn't shot a moose in a few years. At night we had slide shows of things like the Seward Earthquake. He was there for it and rode a couch around his friends living room for more then 4 minutes. At first they thought they were going to die, then as it just kept going and going and the house didn't fall down they just sat on the couch and rode it out.

My brother was moving back to the lower 48 and we drove the Alaskan Highway to Haines to catch the ferry. We were in his 1975 camero. He sold his snow tires before we left Anchorage. On the way one of the biggest blizzards in more then one hundred years hit. At one point we lost control and went off the road and slid down a 50 foot embankment. Not ten minutes later a grader came by and hooked a chain to us and pulled us out. The only thing that happened to my brothers car was it lost some body molding. That was very lucky as there were cliffs all along the way. As we continued on we passed through the Canadian border. It was around midnight. I made the mistake of telling the border agent the truth that I was born in Venezuala. He was getting ready to make us unload the car so he could look for drugs when another agent called him over to inspect a motorhome with undeclared rifles. They took fee collecting very seriously back then.

Between Anchorage and Haines is a mountain pass. It snowed 17 feet in that pass in 2 days. As we aproached the pass there was fewer and fewer cars coming. Around 3 in the morning we saw one last vehicle. A guy in a giant 4 wheel drive stopped and told us he was the last person through the pass. The snow was too much for the plows. We had to keep going because we had tickets for the ferry through the inland passage. As we stopped to take a break, the clouds cleared and I got to see the northern lights. As we continued on, a sirroco type wind came in melted a lot of the snow in the road and we able to make it through. About an hour from Haines as we passed through this small valley we heard a roar. Behind us about 200 feet of mountainside had slid and covered the road with 20 feet of debris. We had just made it through. It took us over 70 hours to drive 400 miles.

On the ferry I got to see a pod of killer whales. The inland passage was fierce with monster waves crashing over the front of the ferry. Lots of fun. I love fierce weather.

For our last little adventure we got to drive a dune buggy on the sand dunes at a place called Honeymoon park. Lots of fun.

That was my adventure right out of high school.


Trad climber
Jun 9, 2007 - 11:36am PT
Nice stories guys,
I dropped out of High School a month before the end of my junior year. I was 16. My Dad took my younger bro and me to Europe that summer. We spent four days in England. Went to Stonehenge and lots of other ruins, castles and long barrows. Before my school allergies had developed my plan had been that I was going to be an archaeologist so thats the kind of places we went. Then we hit Spain for 20 days. My Dad had this tourist map with little castle icons on them. As we drove, when we would get close to an icon we'd start looking for a castle. Sometimes they represented a major city like Avila, some times just a pile of eroding earth, the remains of a castle after the outer casing of rock had been removed. We had a bunch of cool adventures. A couple comes to mind.
The water was still running in the Roman aqueduct in Segovia. Must have been running for 1500 years. I heard it is stopped now. I sure hope that is wrong.
At that time the country would shut down for siesta every day. In Toledo one day, we had a big lunch and a pitcher of sangria. My bro and I were really tipsy. Dad went to take a nap. We went out walking the narrow winding streets. There was no one around, completely deserted. And it was hot. Baking. We wandered out of the city down to the also deserted train station, which Id been told was tiled with cool Mudejar tiles.
Later my Dad left us in Paris for a few days on our own. We roamed the city by subway. Mostly we ate at this really bad cafeteria. I tried to talk my bro into going to a nice restaurant but he was to shy.
Someday Id like to go back. My son has been accepted to graduate school in England so maybe that time has come.

beneath the valley of ultravegans
Jun 9, 2007 - 01:06pm PT
Daily trips to the Fish Products Bartack Gulag in Sierra Madre. Heard a language unlike any other on earth and learned to appreciate Butt Bongo and endless loops of Ministry. Oh, and cactus too.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jun 9, 2007 - 01:32pm PT
The day of my high school graduation ceremony I hitchhiked to Squamish with Steve Morgan. The next day we did the Grand Wall, for the first time.

Steve, John Arts and I left for Yosemite two weeks later, the same afternoon I finished scholarship exams. Our first expedition to the Valley - it was late June, and sure was hot.

Social climber
Jun 9, 2007 - 02:13pm PT
For a college graduation present to myself, I agreed to join three of my buds for a backpacking trip to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. We drove from Texas to the the South Rim and secured a permit for the next day. Started in early, It was the middle of May and bluebird - 85 degrees. The hiking was gorge-eous! Got to the bottom and set up at Bright Angel campground. 100 degrees at the bottom. Went swimming in the Colorado to cool off. Spent a beautiful night under the stars, didn't need to put up tents. Next morning dawned very windy... (Remember an era before internet weather forecasts?) We planned on hiking up halfway and camping at Indian Gardens. Crossing the suspension bridge over the river, we had to crawl because of gale-force winds. Started up the Bright Angel trail and got some sprinkles... Then rain... By the Tonto plateau... sleet. We bagged on the plan of camping and decided to make a dash for the top. By the final three mile headwall... heavy snow. We had very minimal clothing, no raingear at all, we were broke college kids. Two of our party were faster, and they disappeared up the trail. I was hiking with a friend who hadn't even brought long pants. We each had a towel, so I improvised some wind chaps for his legs with towels and spare pair of bootlaces. We were completely soaked through and frozen. He started stumbling and slurring his words. We were now the last hikers on the trail, the snow was accumulating rapidly, and it was getting dark. We had some trail food, snacks and candy, but he was too far gone to chew. I threw his arm over my shoulder and basically dragged his ass up the trail. Pitch dark, deep snow, no headlamp... I was scared s**tless! As I turned up the final switchback, my other friends and a ranger appeared out of the blizzard to help us to the top. We got my buddy into the lodge at the rim and fed him hot drinks and the lodge staff wrapped him in blankets by the fireplace. The ranger took down a report and left us on our own. When my friend revived enough, we fought our way to the cars and drove in heavy snow down to a Flagstaff motel and hot showers. I'll steal a quote from Warren Harding on his epic first winter ascent of Mt. Williamson: "It's a good thing hypothermia hadn't been invented yet, or we would have caught it for sure!"
susan peplow

Topic Author's Reply - Jun 9, 2007 - 03:37pm PT
Wow, such wonderful stories. Many way more exciting and adventurous than our cruise line trip with 3,000 other people. Nonetheless, I'm hoping that my daughter will remember her graduation trip with the same detail and enthusiasm as you all.

Thank you for reminding me that this trip will live longer than a week.

Off White

Tenino, WA
Jun 9, 2007 - 03:43pm PT
No offense Susan, but I think one's first big trip after high school does not involve parents. Shortly after graduation BVB and I hitchhiked up to Washington, though we left without a destination. It was a good aimless adventure.

Filled up the rest of the summer with time in the Valley, several trips to the Sierra, and lots of time hanging out with my ne'er do well climbing buddies. Sort of set a template for the next decade.

My son spent the summer (well, and the last two months of High School) crewing on the Brig Niagara, official ship of the state of Pennsylvania, sailing up and down the eastern seaboard.

All in all, that post high school period is a good time to come into your own as a self directed adult, pitfalls abound, but that's what makes life interesting, innit?
John Moosie

Jun 9, 2007 - 03:53pm PT
"It's a good thing hypothermia hadn't been invented yet, or we would have caught it for sure!"

Best quote so far. LOL. I know that feeling.

This is turning into a cool thread. The real Blinny being nonchalant about climbing the prow solo. Jeebus. WOW... Riley jumping off draw bridges as they rise. Too cool. The fake Blinny surfing in Mexico. Oh.. that makes my mouth water. And lots of others with great stories. World travelers. YES....

Thanks.... Keep it coming.

I sort of agree that a trip should be done without parents. Unless the parent is hella cool and gives their kid plenty of slack. I think Susan probably fits into this catagory.
Jerry Dodrill

Bodega, CA
Jun 9, 2007 - 08:11pm PT
I did exactly what Shack did.
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand.... man.....
Jun 9, 2007 - 08:40pm PT
I got a new rope (Orange Mammut if memory serves) and new pair of Eb's from my Mum and Dad and hitch hiked to the Valley maybe the same day school got out...... Missed all the pomp and circumstance of graduation, grad night, prom..... all of it... Was either at JT or in Yosemite for every school event.... Go Bulldogs! At one point after I got out and disappeared, the school called up to see if I was alive and did I have a forwarding address so they could mail me my diploma... they were sick of looking at it after a few months.

San Fran Cisco
Jun 9, 2007 - 10:35pm PT
after college i did a total road trip through, um, like birmingham, alabama and scottsdale, arizona, to see friends. then straight to grad school. i am still woefully adventure-deprived, which explains my extreme risk-taking behavior in middle age, such as climbing a lot of top-ropes in the gym.

Social climber
Jun 9, 2007 - 11:12pm PT
two years after high school about 1980- right around Mt. St Helens. and after I had flunked out of college for the second time (it became a spring tradition) My first big climbing trip Grant and I caught a freight train from Minnesota- a real hot shot we made it to Portland in like 32 or 40 hours I forget exactly but it was fast. We switched cars around Spokane and we ended up with a real flat wheeler- we were getting bounced liked 6-12 inches off the floor of the car. I remember looking at the Columbia in the early AM, We got to Portland and then to Seaside for the obligatory hitch down the coast. I see the Ocean for the first time.
We got dead headed and had to split up with plans to connect in San Francisco. I got a great ride all the way and, 2 miles into it, we see Grant and pick him up and ball the jack to the city in 16 hours.
We do SF tourist things and i was given some great advice by this guy who hopped on the cable car- he asks if I'm traveling and I say yes and then he says "let me tell you something-Smile-it relaxes people"
We go to the Yosemite and it is way way way too big for me. We do the Royal Arches and some sunny side bench. And then I start to grim out and have to leave. I hitch a ride to Reno and then catch the Greyhound home leaving the depot at midnight.
Not too great on the climbing but I sure dug the West and I've been coming back ever since.

Social climber
Hell on earth wondering what I did to deserve it
Jun 10, 2007 - 10:37pm PT
Murcy - you totally crack me up!

Trad climber
Altadena, CA
May 23, 2017 - 01:17am PT
yo russ, are you a PHS alum?
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