It was the best of days, it was the worst of days.
One of the first days I was out climbing this year was filled with much joy. After having been relegated to the gym for a few months, it was great to finally get outside and touch granite.
I was out at the Grand Wall boulder forest and approached one of the most popular warm-ups in the area, known as Squamish Days, named after the annual loggers sports festival.
This rock is a jagged boulder with nice holds, making it a great place to do laps.
Since it was one of the first times I’d been out in months, I felt excited. It was like greeting an old friend again. I made my way up it. No problem. I repeated the process a few times, then I did the traverse variation that involves climbing a bit to the right.
What came next can only be described as a horrible tragedy that eclipses the worst of first world problems.
Up until this point, I had considered the butt pimple to be the most insidious of first-world traumas. After that, perhaps the toe-stub, or the finger-slammed-in-car-door.
But it didn’t come close to this.
That day, as I made a beautiful ascent of a child’s level — Squamish children, that is — bouldering route, I placed my right hand on the final hold.
It felt...funny. Very funny.
I looked down and saw a dark smudge on the hold.
I then looked at my hand and saw the smudge had rubbed onto my hand. A foul odour engulfed me.
It was then that I realized what had happened. And that I realized that the smudge had not only stained my hand. It had stained the very essence of my soul.
Fecal encounters are no joke, and are not to be taken lightly.
In the first few months of 2019, according to unofficial statistics compiled by me, there have been way too many fecal encounters in Squamish.
I would ask anyone who would laugh at this to spend an afternoon with feces smeared on your dominant hand.
Luckily for me, there were outdoor bathrooms nearby, and I hedged my bets, hoping they’d be stocked with hand sanitizer.
With one hand, I wrestled my hiking shoes back on, desperate to avoid smearing the poop on my brown poop-coloured shoes. The irony was not lost on me.
I trudged through the forest, entered the washroom, and Purelled my hands until I had no more feeling in my fingers.
Why do I tell you this seemingly pointless story? Perhaps, because like smearing feces on a boulder, there is no point.
Perhaps, like this story, it should come to an end.