It's not the most popular tour route in Saint John but at 7:30 pm on a January night it gives you a lot to think about. Some time the best tours are the ones you'd avoid if you knew any better. But I didn't, just moved to the city, itching to climb at the gym I thought it would be just a regular jog out to the edge of town.
Across the causeway, along cold water, and cracked sidewalks I ran towards the Community College. The road became less busy, the street lights farther apart, and the sidewalk disappeared. The snow painted black and the air striped with creosote farts. In the night unseen hums churn from the twinkling distillation towers. The dirty secret that warms us as we sleep and drives us to work is actually ... pretty. Lit up like a big Christmas tree the sea of lights give texture to the black sky.
Maybe the fumes aren't the best to breath when exercising in cold air- but this monstrosity of invention and money is pretty damn fundamental to how we live as consumers. In my thermal long underwear and wicking layers, I'm swimming in the belly of the beast. Crunching along the gravelly shoulder, my footsteps pay my respects to this despised piece of land.
Out of the dark I smile at passing drivers hoping to furl brows and ignite curiosity. "What the hell is he doing out here?", " You can jog in the winter?", "Idiot."
I arrive at the climbing gym, in the Community College, to a small group of stoked climbers. It feels great to be among climbers after months of separation. The wall is a good training wall for experienced climbers- even has a couple overhanging sport routes. While out west last summer, the New Brunswick climbing scene percolated in my head. I was anxious to come back and be part of it.
It's hard not to be excited for what's happening here but it's not like this everywhere. This scene is unique and I intend to spend my time getting to know what makes it different.