Thursday, September 15, 2011

New River Gorge

After 12 hours of hell on the greyhound bus from Toronto to Philly, we finally took off to the New River Gorge...It seems like I spend more time driving on busses than anything else these days!  The past 2 weeks have consisted of a few days watching tennis at the US Open, catching up with some old friends in NYC, and a week playing tourist in Toronto.  The US Open was better than I would have imagined and we were lucky enough to see some of the best tennis of the tournament.  Thanks to Mr. Packard for bringing us along, and to Mikes grandmother for providing us a place to stay in Manhattan and some of the best breakfasts I have ever had.  Her lattes are top notch.    

From NYC I took a 12 hour bus ride from New York to Toronto to visit Kayla in her new home for her birthday!  Her 22nd story apartment in downtown wasn't a shabby place to see the city from and was within a 5 minute walk to the best pub in town & best independent espresso bar in town (I take credit for finding this).  I had my first encounter with poutine and real Canadian bacon.  Poutine is a french dish made up of fries, gravy, cheese curds and other ingredients (pulled pork in my case).  I think that I can still feel it sitting in my stomach!!

Temps in the New are just about perfect and I am really looking forward to doing some climbing and living off $5 a day again.  Lucky for us Mike Suleiman decided to join us and help pay gas for the next few months.  Our first day of climbing yesterday was bitter-sweet.  The lack of climbing this summer took an obvious toll on my strength and confidence I had climbing on ropes.  Hopefully it will come back within a few days!  Although Mike (Suleiman) didn't come with quite as much money as he was hoping, he definitely came prepared to climb.  The New River Gorge is beautiful and it would be impossible to come up with any complaints about the rock or the setting.  We are currently camping at "The Rocky Top Campground" which is a 5 minute walk to some of the climbing spots.  For $1 we can enjoy 7 minutes of heaven in the "lactic acid bath"  and Roger, the campsite host and one of the nicest people you will ever meet, provides free coffee in the morning and free wifii.

It didn't take long for us to find the need for nicknames for the 2 Mikes.  From here on out I will either refer to Mike Packard as "Pickle" or "Mitch" and Mike Suleiman as "Suleiman" or "Michael."  Keep checking out the blog, and in the rare case you get bored with ours you can mosey on over to 


First Poutine...


Boulder problem in Central Park

First climb in the New

Hopefully he will enjoy the outdoors some time soon...

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