"Ouch." We say this word in hundreds of different ways each day we go out here in Hueco. Sometimes there are adult expletives attached before and after the word. Sometimes we scream it so loud that the resident Javelinas run in all directions. Sometimes we whisper it as we clutch our finger tips and shake with frustration and pain. "Ouch." "Oooouuuuucccchhhh!" "Oooowwwweeeeyyyy!" The syanite here is unlike anything I've seen anywhere else. It can be as hard as steel or as sandy as a crumbling old brick. Mostly though the darker, deep hued red rock dubbed "bubbly iron rock" lives up to it's name. Forming features like that of some prehistoric dinosaur skin. We are noticing that our strength is returning and our skin is slowly turning hard. With any luck, within the next two weeks our finger tips will look like those of a seasoned mason.
When we're not touring the fairytale land of Hueco Tanks, discovering new problems and dispatching those just barely within our grasp, we play Ping Pong. Let me rephrase, we play a SHIT load of ping pong. I would say on a climbing day we play 24 games or so, and on rest days it's double that. We're not ready for the Chinese national team yet but we have two distinct modes. We either have "Forrest" moments where we miss the table completely with the ball, miss the ball all together, or just plain screw up royally. OR we have "Gump" moments where we dive backwards, blindly, left handed and return the serve with shocking speed and dangerous accuracy. There's no rhyme or reason to it but damn is it fun. The handful of moments we're not playing, I'm building furniture for Trevors house, Lindsay's shouting for Bodhi and Amico who LOVE chasing the jack rabbits, or we're resting, rubbing hand salve anywhere we dub and "ouch" zone.
All in all we're getting stronger, day by day, minute by minute. We know we're getting stronger because we climb a bit harder each day and in the meantime we hurt like hell! Sound logic I think. The dogs are getting a bath today at Petsmart so Lin and I are headed to the dollar theater for some sweet old movies. We may even take in an ice cream before we head back out into the desert. I'll have a large, not because I'm hungry but because I think I can probably fit both my hands into a large bowl. Mint chocolate chip too, for when we pull our tips out and like them!