I chalked up, let out a shaky breath and started climbing above my last piece of protection. Making the initial moves flawlessly, I rearranged my feet high up on a ledge, went for the first of three crimpers, and cried out in dismay at how small it was. Going for the next hold I realized my mistake: my hands were in the wrong positions. Knowing that I was going to fall, I yelled, “Take!” as my fingers slipped….
My 2015-2016 school year has been a little unusual because my family has spent the fall traveling around and exploring the western US which has changed my personal outlook on life, on nature, and my future goals. I have learned that it is very rewarding to push my limits, struggle through something scary, and take controlled risks. Lead climbing embodies these concepts and each time I finish a climb, my idea of what I can accomplish changes and I want to push my limits even more. As our “Careyvan” travels continue, I have also come to appreciate the beauty of nature and nature itself much more then when I started this trip. This realization was spurred by a small spark which blossomed into an ember and possibly into something that I would like to pursue further in life: protecting nature from the people who want to abuse it. Thanks in part to the encouragement of my family, I have become aware of many environmental activist groups and am happily supporting Greenpeace in its various goals in trying to protect and save the environment. Additionally, through this trip I have seen how a perceived risk such as introducing wolves into Yellowstone National Park has turned out to benefit the ecosystem, and how conservationists like John Muir devoted their lives to protect a piece of land, which many years later would be treasured by Americans all over the U.S. In essence, this trip has made me appreciate the benefits of taking risk, the beauty of nature and how protecting our environment is the greatest gift we can give to future generations.
The fall, while only six feet, felt like eternity. Shaking out my arms, I looked around to take in the beautiful landscape of the Cochise Mountains in southern Arizona. With a sea of knee high grass extending out to the horizon, the picturesque countryside is dotted with trees and an occasional cactus. Thanking the people who enabled this mountain range and valley to be protected, I looked up, took a deep breath, and started climbing.