The day I fell out of the van

It was no ordinary day. Not even at the start. That morning, I had used our poop shovel for the first time. And not to dig a garden, my friends. Colin, triumphantly, had already used it on multiple occasions, even twice that morning. My body had been kind to me and prior to that day, had timed itself perfectly around public facilities. Not this morning. After reviewing our climbing plan for the day and enjoying some gourmet oatmeal (read: with nuts, raisins, and peanut butter), a realization struck. There wasn’t enough time. We were at least 15 minutes out from a public restroom.

Admittedly, I was kind of excited. It was a beautiful warm-ish morning, we had our stellar dispersed campsite and no one was around for at least a mile. Conditions were perfect. So, shovel and TP in hand, I marched up the hill to the sounds of Colin cheering me on to make him proud. I dug my hole (about 4 inches down) and christened the land.

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Up and to the right is the “poop hill.” Vaniel’s looking fine, as always.

By the time I got back to the van, I felt incredibly accomplished and indestructible. I just pooped in the woods, I can do anything! A 5-pitch climbing route? Bring it on! Hell, give me a challenge. After the celebratory congratulations, Colin and I packed up the van and hit the road for Smith Rock: a hop, skip, and 15 min drive away.

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The stunning landscape of Smith Rock State Park.

We pull into the park; Colin’s raring to go. Me too, mentally. But I only remove sweatpants when absolutely necessary. So I needed to change (it was noon… vanlife is FANTASTIC). I got dressed, clipped my nails, put the last few items in my pack, and then immediately fell out of the van.

No reason why. I didn’t trip on anything, I was sober (truth), we were on level ground, conditions were A+ for an exit. We even had a rest day the day prior, my legs should have been functioning just fine. However, the process of stepping down was simply too much for them and they caved beneath me. Thankfully, Colin was nearby so even though my ass hit the ground, I still had his beefy arms to hang onto and stabilize myself. Incredulously, he asked if I was all right and why I fell out of the van. All good questions. Thankfully, only my ego was bruised but I’m sure I didn’t give Colin much confidence in my ability to partake in our 5-pitch climb that afternoon, given the task of departing our van was too great. Every now and then it’s good to remind him that I am mortal, despite his firm beliefs in my badassery. Mission accomplished.

Much to both of our delights, our multi-pitch was a great success. We climbed First Kiss, a classic route in the Smith Rock park. With the exception of one soul-crushing ledge on our very first pitch, the climb went without a hitch. I had redeemed myself… That should buy me at least a few days before I eat pavement again.

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As a rule, I always match shirt to helmet.
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Awesome view from the summit of First Kiss, 450′ from the ground.
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Another great view to soak in as you make your way back to the parking lot.

Author: Lisa

Over one year in van life and loving it. Hiker, rock climber, novice mountain biker, and professional napper. Official “documenter” of our time with Vaniel. Favorite podcast: Stuff You Should Know.

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