It’s Day 3 of my adventure-a-day challenge. I promised myself that today’s adventure would involve exercise of some variety given that the past 2 days have seen me eating meat pies and Mexican cuisine and drinking craft beers. I like food as much as the next person but my metabolism simply couldn’t keep up with a month-long string of culinary adventures.
Today’s adventure was inspired by a side hobby I had when I was in university. I was reminded of it recently while hiking along the Niagara Escarpment a few weeks ago. There were rock climbers navigating a steep, smooth rock face where I was hiking and I stopped to watch them. I climbed that same rock face a number of years ago.
As I was watching them, I decided it was time for me to start doing some of the things I enjoyed when I was younger but have forgotten over the years; starting with rock climbing.
Adventure-A-Day: Day 3
If I’m honest I’ll tell you that I was quite nervous walking into Boulderz Climbing Centre this afternoon. I was afraid I’d be both the oldest person there and the worst climber. I’m essentially a complete newbie given all the years that have passed since I last climbed. I was never particularly good at it either, I just enjoyed doing it.
Mercifully, when I walked in, the large airy space was nearly empty. Although I’m quite sure evenings and weekends tell a different story, midday on a Monday proved itself the perfect time for me to re-aquaint myself with the rock face.
After a quick tour of the facility, I was suited up in climbing shoes and given a chalk bag. I decided to start with some bouldering and work my way up to climbing – both my confidence AND my muscles needed a warm-up. The markers designating the degree of difficulty for each route seemed a strange, confusing language to me but I’m sure that in time it’s actually quite straight forward (??). I don’t recall those markings from my old climbing days at all.
I tried a few different routes with varying success and then decided to just bite the bullet and request a harness to tackle one of the tall climbing walls. Another quick intro on how to lock myself into the self-belaying mechanisms, and I was ready to climb.
I stuck with the beginner routes and discovered that the climbing itself was quite doable for me; however, when it came to letting the self-belaying ‘gizmo’ lower me back down, I totally froze.
“Just let go and it will lower you down”, called out the woman who had just walked me through the how-to’s of climbing the self-belaying routes. “Just, let go” I replied? I had zero faith that the little contraption at the top of the wall was actually going to lower me safely versus sending me crashing down onto the mat after scraping my knees and head on the wall the whole way down. I looked down at her and she smiled. “Yup, just let go …and don’t hold the rope”, she said. I didn’t want to let go but even more so, I didn’t want to embarrass myself by NOT letting go and having to be ‘talked down off the wall’ for 20 minutes.
I know from experience that the more you think about something (and over think it), the harder it is to actually do it. So, I looked straight ahead and then quickly pulled both hands off of their holds. I let go.
When it was time to go, I was soo proud of myself for climbing to the top of several different routes and then just ‘letting go’. It felt empowering and cathartic; as though I was conquering more than just the wall. I think I also proved to myself that it’s not too late to return to hobbies and passions from a younger time in our lives. I don’t think I realized how much I needed to learn that lesson.
This is me letting go of the fear that I’m not as adventuress as I once was. I am.
Did you have an adventure today? Tag your adventure with #AdventureADay on your Facebook/Instagram or Twitter account to inspire others to be more adventuress too.