It's like my grandfather always told me: Mike, when life hands you Lemons, ask for a paternity test.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Rock Climbing

I know in the past I have derided and complained about my current living situation. I am a student and live in Utah, several thousand miles away from family. However, after Thursday, I found one of Utah's redeemable qualities: rocks. They're all over the place; there are pebbles, boulders, rock faces, canyons and mountains. And their allure over me was as strong as when I was a child. Actually, allure is not the correct word; enchantment is more fitting. But I'm digressing into emotions, and as a man, I am obligated to speak of manly things (like climbing and conquering new heights).
Thursday morning found me eating a bowl of Apple Dapples, Kroger's solution to Apple Jacks, when my roommate entered the room and asked if I wanted to go rock climbing. I had never rock climbed before; in East Texas, there are no mountains to defeat, only pines. I decided to go, and we joined a few friends for an afternoon in Rock Canyon. To paint a picture for you, Rock Canyon is one of the more awe-inspiring sights in Utah County. The cliffs rise on both sides, small trails branching out from the Bonneville. The hiking up there is spectacular; when Will visited me, we went to Rock Canyon and explored. This day, my friends and I came with rope and harnesses, belaying equipment and carabiners. We broke from the main trail and followed a sliding rock path up to our first climb. It was a 30 foot rock face. A few of the more experiences climbers secured the rope, as I watched with some trepidation. A friend climbed up easily, as did another. My turn shortly arrived. My roommate assured me of the safety of everything, and slowly I began the climb.
I learned quickly the effects climbing has on the body. First off, I had to use my toes more than I thought. I had previously assumed that climbing focused mostly on leg strength, but the pressure placed on the feet became apparent. It didn't help that I had hurt my foot playing soccer the day before, but I continued my ascent. Finally, I made it! I climbed my first rock face, and quickly repelled down. I had a sense of accomplishment I haven't had in a while, not since winning a comedy competition in March. There was no time to dwell on past laurels, because we quickly left for another part of the canyon. This time we crossed a dried riverbed via a tree bridge, and arrived at the "Appendage," which housed three or four increasingly more challenging climbs. We selected one, and began our individual climbs.
Here I will explore my physical weakness, which wilted in the face of mental resolve. About 2/3 of the way up, I couldn't find a hold within reached. I immediately thought of a joke someone told me: Once you're up there, you find yourself wishing you had two or three more inches in your reach. Well, my hold was two inches away, my legs were spent, and my toe was killing. I lost my one grip, and swung for awhile at the end of my rope, yelling down that I couldn't do it. My friends, in their upmost wisdom, disagreed with me, and encouraged me to try again. I decided to listen to them, and not to my protesting muscles. I caught onto the rock again, found my holds, and hoisted myself up the rock face. As I repelled back down, I just laid on a rock bed, to the congratulations of my peers.
I opened with a mild rebuke against my current environment. Now, I look forward to next week, when my friends and I will get together for another trip to Rock Canyon. It doesn't change the fact that I will return to Texas after finishing up, nor does it cure the righteous contusions on my big toe (it's a palette of purple, black, and green). Nevertheless, rock climbing brightens the outlook of being in Provo for the summer. Which brings me ask: what do you guys have planned for this summer?

1 comment:

  1. Rock climbing sounds very intriguing. I hear it's very different from climbing a rock wall though. Is that true?