“Why ? Why, why, why do I do this ???” Chuck Pratt
“No one is completely useless — they can always serve as a bad example.” Anonymous
What is everyone looking up at, so apprehensively, you might ask?
Why does my mom look skeptical, Emily look mildly hysterical and Elise look, well, like she’s ready for her closeup?
This is why.
Yes, this past weekend, the Semenoff clan took a walk on the wild side and scaled some cliffs. About a year ago, we found a deal through Groupon to have a 5-hour rock climbing lesson with Denver Adventures. Various members of my family had climbed on indoor rock walls, or scrambled about the many mountainous outcroppings that surround our home, but never before had we experienced the thrill of full-on, harnesses and ropes, tell-your-mother-you-love-her-because-you-could-plummet-to-your-doom-at-any-moment, outdoor rock climbing.
It was simultaneously one of the most exhilarating, terrifying, heart-pounding, finger-scraping, knee-bruising, get-the-blood-pumping adventures I’ve ever participated in. It was awesome. It was intimidating.
It was fun.
Once Fearless Guide #1, Aaron (pictured above), had finished stringing our courses, Chris and Steve (remember Steve?) were up.
That’s Fearless Guide #2, Elizabeth. These two, employees of Denver Adventures, are certified leaders for these rock climbing excursions, as well as other such things as snowshoeing adventures, mountain biking, active sightseeing. (Yes, active sightseeing. Trust me, we threw around quite a few jokes about that. Makes you wonder what inactive sightseeing would be like. Or, heaven forbid, passive aggressive sightseeing.)
Emily is rather wary of heights. So, when she agreed to this rock climbing idea, we were all very proud. (She of course was a champ and just rocked it. Oh come on, you knew I had to use that pun at least once!)
Meanwhile, Steve, in all his black belt trained agility and strength showed us all up.
The instant my toes left the ground, my heart was in my throat. I didn’t expect to be so instantaneously freaked out. All I could think about was that I had to eventually come back down, and that Gravity (yep, the capital G is totally warranted here) wanted nothing more than to bring me down as soon as possible.
Me: “I would like to come down now please….Mommy?”
(Oh, quick clarification: there’s nothing wrong with my camera. The sky clouded over and we lost that beautiful blue hue. OK, back to the adventuring.)
That is not the sort of confidence-inspired face I would like my Fearless Guide to be wearing.
Elise: “Where’s the down button? Wait, what? There is no down button?!”
Before long, it was time to be on the other side of the contraption, and Emily, in all her older sister, trusting-ness, let Elise be her guide.
You’re a trooper, sister-friend. Be brave.
Fearless Guide #2: “See how your sister is in one piece? We’d like her to stay that way.”
Picture one: “Ready for my closeup.” Picture two: “Elise, don’t drop, Emily.” “Oh, right.”
We soon discovered that Fearless Guide #1 had another tool up his sleeve…
…and we had a quick Canon/Nikon shoot out.
I’d like to think I prevailed.
You think our necks were getting tired by now, for being tilted at that angle for so many hours? In a word, yes. But that’s not why Emily looks concerned.
She’s got that face because that new belayer…it’s me.
But don’t worry. Fearless Guide #1 is an expert. And if he trusted me enough to be on the other side of that rope, then it was surely going to be fine.
“Yes, and don’t call me Shirley.” (Name that movie! – I’m sorry, it’s late. I’m in a mood.)
See…he was never in any danger.
Can you even spot Denver through all that haze?
All-in-all, it was an exquisite trip. Reminded us that getting up at 6:45 a.m. on a Saturday isn’t so bad (what am I saying?!), and if you’re willing to trust yourself and take a little chance, you’ll be just fine.
To Aaron and Elizabeth, if you ever stumble across this: thanks for a great 5-hour adventure. We just might take you up on that active sightseeing tour one of these days!