Wow. I find it hard to begin how to describe this one. But it came out of me going to the wall climbing gym on Wednesday. Rose, Kate and Kim encouraged me to go to the Cut Your Teeth rock climbing Rose was organizing in the meetup group. I was reluctant, but I canceled my Kayak RSVP for Saturday and put in a YES RSVP for the Cut Your Teeth instead. (For those not familiar with Red Rock, Cut Your Teeth Crag is the name of a climbing area in Calico Basin.) I had decided it would be a nice hike in followed by an opportunity to belay the climbers and a nice hike out. In amongst all that would be camaraderie and hi-jinx of fun!
I arrived at the agreed upon time with the pack, water, snacks boots and a sporting a brand new pair of REI hiking pants. We started out and as usual I am out of breath quickly but Kate and Kim hung with me. We soon arrived at the true canyon where it was nothing but scaling boulders and scrambling all the way up to the wall where the climbing would take place. It as quite difficult…..that is putting it lightly. But they encouraged and I pushed on, feeling embarrassed by my lack of conditioning. We arrived safe and sound and it kept creeping through my mind that I still had to get down and my arms were blown from the bouldering coming up. It was thrilling watching the others climb. So many skill levels and no arrogance or condescending. Just great people enjoying a wonderful fall day in the Red Rocks. I was really having fun.
I put on my harness and belayed for Kim’s climb. That is such great work and I was not in the shoulder pain I was Wednesday. but it was work. My hands were cramping and Kate jumped in to assist, keeping Kim safe on the wall and her climb a fun one.
I decided not to belay anymore to reserve energy for the descent. But I had fun watching the others just the same. I drank lots of fluids and ate a Cliff Bar.
Now it was time to go down. I was shocked at the work. <Photo 1> It was plain hard. Again, others held back with me and encouraged me. Then I bonked. Big Time. I ate a couple Shock Blocks. I had been drinking from the bladder the whole way down so knew I needed more than water. That revived me and we were off again. The others went ahead as we continued along, always in striking distance to help though. It got hotter and harder as I made my way down the steep decline using my trekking poles for support against slipping and blown legs. Another bonk, the rest of the Shock Blocks and again, off we went. By then the worst (best) terrain was about done and it was a walk out for the next 10 minutes or so. I had mixed feelings. I could tell that my legs were far stronger and more able to support my knees than the beginning of the summer. I also fought feelings of failure that I was not the competitive person I once was. But as others had said, this was not a competition. And nobody ever made me feel like I should not be there. I met so many new people that were absolutely lovely to spend time with.
This was an epic day. It was the most difficult physical activity I have done since pulling myself off the couch and ending what had become a very sedentary life. My hands are still cramping. And I am good with that. Means I am alive and changing who I am to who I want to be. I want to be active and healthy and happy. A day like today proves I can be and am quite happy! Oh. Those brand new REI hiking pants….wore the rear out of one side on the rocks. Big ole hole. Just sayin!