Saturday, August 4, 2012

That First Step is a Doozy!

Out of all the things offered at Camp Redcloud, rappelling was at the top of my "want to do" list.  When it was time to sign up for activities, I was ready to put my name down.  Jerry was a bit surprised.  "Really?"  He asked.  I asked him why he was surprised, but he couldn't really give me an answer.  (Apparently I think of myself as adventurous while everyone else sees me as more cautious!)  He signed up with me, and when we explained to Gracie what it was, she signed up too.  Maggie, however, gave us a quick, "No way!" and promptly made plans to be with Nana during that particular time slot.

After we finished our trail ride we quickly went up to the lodge and changed out of our jeans and boots and into shorts and sneakers.  We hopped into one of the camp vans and headed down to road to a rock face that was on federal land that the camp receives permits to use.  We pulled up and got our first look at the rappelling area:

As usual, pictures just don't do it justice.  Perhaps a different shot, one that includes a person, will give you a better idea of the scale of the rock face:

What?  You can't see the person?  Look again!

Yes, up top is a person, waiting for us to climb to the top.  At this point, Gracie is getting a bit nervous.  Can you tell?  

Actually, I was getting a bit nervous too.  Not about the rappelling, but about the climb to the top of that rock.  I'm remembering our leisurely hike to the waterfall, and how quickly I tired on that one.  This trail promises to be a lot steeper!  We get in our harnesses, grab our glove, and head up the trail.  About halfway up the trail we stop for a breather.  Jerry has his camera, so he takes a few shots - that's the equipment truck down there:

Now we come to a large area with lots of loose rocks.  There are a couple of staff stationed to help us up this last part, which is very steep.  Gracie goes first, and I'm convinced she's part mountain goat, as she is up at the top, lickety-split.

I make it to the top, and flop, exhausted, down on a rock.  Jerry is behind me, and then Dad.  Jerry has the presence of mind to take more pictures - here's Dad on the way up:

And me, wore out from the climb.  (Later Jerry would ask me why I stuck my tongue out for this picture - poetic justice!) 

There are six of us rappelling that day, and we can go three at a time.   They ask for the first group, and no one moves for a moment.  Gracie is more nervous than I thought she would be, so I decide to lead by example, and get up.  Gracie and Jerry decide to come with me - one whole family on the rock at once! 

I take the middle rope, with Jerry on my right and Gracie on my left.  Jerry goes first, then me, and then Gracie gets started.  She's having a hard time getting started - that first step is a real doozy, and she wants to stand up straight, not lean into her harness.  I am so focused on her, helping her remember to lean back into her harness and keep her feet wide apart, that I barely remember to look around.  Jerry and I encourage Gracie, and we begin to make downward progress, very, very slowly. 

Once we get part way down, Jerry goes ahead and speeds up to make it to the bottom in time to get a few pictures of Gracie and I on the ropes.  The wind is picking up a bit, and Gracie is so light it blows her around if she forgets to keep her feet wide apart.  All the sudden the rain that had been threatening all afternoon came down, and it was cold!  We started moving a little faster!  

Pretty soon we were all down, all in one piece!  We took some photos, but Gracie was a little reluctant to let go of us now that she was down.  In each picture, she released her grasp a little more, and by the time Granddaddy got down she was relaxed again - although she wasn't sure if she would want to do this activity again next time! 

Next it was Granddaddy's turn - along with the other two campers that had come with us.  They had gotten to sit in the rain on top of the windy rock, so they were cold.  They didn't take nearly as long as we did to get down the rock face, and in fact, one of the guys that had been rappelling several times before took the whole thing in about five big jumps.  He was cold, and he wanted off that rock! 

Granddaddy didn't go quite that fast, but he looked like a pro:

There's not much that Granddad won't try once, and lots of people told me how much they admired him for all he was willing to try on the trip - they said he owned that 30 mile bike ride, but that was no surprise to me!  

Once Granddad was down we took a photo - three generations of rappellers, victorious! 

We climbed back in the van and headed back to camp - just a quick drive down county road 30, and on the way back we saw a moose feeding.  The gal driving the van stopped so we could get a good look:

I didn't have my large zoom lens, but I had enough zoom to get a couple of decent shots.  I am still a good distance away though, because I've heard that moose are fast and mean!

That evening was the variety show.  We had a great time laughing.  Maggie and I entered an act, and we played chopsticks as a duet, just like I used to do with my Amy Sr.  Maggie did very well. 

It's hard to believe it's our last night at camp, and tomorrow we'll be heading back home. 

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