A Slight Change of Style – Week 4
Hey guys! So it has officially been one month living in Ben 🙂 Which has been a milestone in my mind that I’ve wanted to pass to see how I truly feel about van life. And to be honest, I really don’t feel like I’m missing out on too much by living in a smaller space. We have everything we need in here, and more. We’ve even been getting rid of things we feel are unnecessary. And I love being so close to nature, all the time and that almost every morning I can open our back doors and know that I have a hike waiting for me or a mountain calling my name 😀
The few things I can say that I am missing by living on the road are the social aspects and constantly having to relocate. I can’t just call up a friend and grab drinks after a long day and WiFi can be hard to come by when we’re in these nature spots. I also can’t just pick up the phone and call my family whenever I want to. And there have definitely been a few days where I just really don’t feel like researching a new place to go and would rather have something a bit more permanent. But other than that, I’m loving it and I’m loving feeling adjusted to all the little quirks that go along with living in the van like finding places to shower, not having a refrigerator, washing clothes by hand, fetching water for our water tank, etc. All just small adjustments and necessities for van life!
But on with the updates: It’s been a pretty packed week! The day after our ‘off day’ in Mittagsfluh (where Paul and I weren’t in the mood to climb) was super cloudy and it was meant to rain around noon. I went for a nice long run up along a trail before the rain hit and Paul did some editing. We just relaxed and listened to our audio book in Ben while it rained the rest of the day.
When we got up the next morning, we decided that this would be the day we would climb the route we had backed off already. Little did we know what was in store for us! First off, the route was impossible to find. I went up to the wrong bolt at first, backed off, and tried again. By the second pitch we had concluded that there was no way it was the right route but we continued on anyways.
We ended up getting half way up the random route (which did turn out to be a really nice route) but then a storm unexpectedly came in and nearly blew us off the mountain. And we had prepared for a sunny, hot day by applying sunscreen and wearing short sleeved shirts! But now, it was freezing and we were huddled together at an anchor, shivering. And because we had gone up a route that wasn’t the right route, we didn’t have a long enough rope to repel down. Lesson learned: don’t go up the wrong route.
Luckily, a group of 3 Swiss climbers were repelling down just above us and helped us out. They even had extra jackets! We got off the mountain and rushed down to Ben for some warm coffee and more clothes. It was a fun route, but we were glad to be back in the warmth of Ben 🙂
At around 6 that night, we headed to Magic Wood to meet up with some friends we knew from our climbing gym back in Copenhagen. They had been bouldering there for about a week already and we thought it would be a great switch of scenery and style to join. We got to the campground around 11 that night and the vibe was so cozy. There were a bunch of tents set up and a big campfire in the middle with all the climbers sitting around hanging out. Ah how I’d missed these camping vibes!!
In the morning, we met up with our friends who took us into the forest with some crash pads and we got to do some boulder problems. Magic Wood is a very enchanting place. A forest dense with pine trees and large boulders that have fallen everywhere from the surrounding mountains. The boulders have been there for so long that the roots of the trees have grown over them, pulling them into the ground. There is even a wonderful river running through the middle of the forest that you can cool down in after a hard days climbing or hiking!
There are over 900 boulder problems in Magic Wood, and more and more problems get created all the time. It’s very cool and so much fun just to go hang out in the forest for the day and climb boulders. It seems so silly to see a constant flow of people walking around the forest with huge crash pads on their backs and groups of climbers sitting around boulders, discussing how to get to the top of them. You might ask ‘What is the point???’ But what’s the point of any sport really?? There are many objectives to bouldering but for me the point is mainly to see my potential and watch it grow. While having fun and being in nature, of course 😀
Bouldering is very different from sport climbing, which is what Paul and I have been doing this whole time. It’s much more social and supportive in a group setting. It is an individual sport where it’s just you getting yourself to the top, but everyone works on the problems together, discussing possible solutions to unlock the problem. I really loved it and it was really helpful to have our first day there with Soren who has been outdoor bouldering plenty of times and had been in Magic Wood for over week. He really knew the area and gave us many tips on etiquette and where to go.
The next day I went on an amazing 7 hour hike up to the top of a peak. I’d overheard some girls talking about a hike they’d done that sounded really cool and I asked them where it was. The girl showed me a little diagram drawn by a French woman they had met along the hike when they had gotten confused. I took a picture of it so I would know where to go. That’s definitely something I love about travelling and staying in social places, just being able to get recommendations and little tips from people and passing along information that you normally wouldn’t get when in total desolation!
The hike was beautiful. Very steep and difficult, but got to an amazing view. It was also really fun following this little drawing I had on my phone and not being completely certain I was even going the right way! I eventually got to this refreshingly cold stream next to a small hut where I took off my hiking boots, put my feet in the water, and enjoyed a yummy lunch. From there, I continued up to a peak behind me and enjoyed the views before heading back down. When I got back to camp, I took a freezing cold, but much needed bath in the river by Magic Wood and then Paul and I made some dinner and relaxed.
On our last day in Magic Wood, Paul and I and two of our friends went into the forest to boulder again. It was a really great last day there and so much fun to climb with people so much better than us, but still feel so supported by them and like they actually cared about our successes. The picture below is Paul working on a boulder problem called Supercrack. It was pretty crazy and we struggled with it for awhile, while our friends did it barefoot.. Haha we definitely have some room for improvement 😉 We headed back to Ben around 4, had a late lunch, said bye to everyone and headed for Italy! It was time for pizza and the Dolomites!
We got to our parking spot late at night and it wasn’t until the morning when we saw how beautiful of a place we had found! We had a great rest day, swimming in a river, picnicking, doing laundry, Paul built us a shoe rack, and we did some grocery shopping. An Italian man saw us hanging out by Ben and stopped to give us a basket of his freshly picked tomatoes from his garden! Great intro to Italy 😀
We had another rest day the next day and then headed for the Dolomites where we stayed at Lake Misurina. The plan was to get a guide book from Cortina the next day and do a little climbing 😀 We’ll have a new post up soon letting you know what we’ve been up to in week 5!
But leaving you guys letting you know that all is well in Ben and things are going good. Feeling well rested and ready for some hard climbing days again soon 😀 Here’s a wonderful video by Paul summing it all up, definitely take a look!!