A good friend took a group of kids and parents rock climbing in the Sierras recently. We walked ten minutes to a steep rock face and unloaded the gear and started setting up. My son has taken indoor classes at a gym, and hanging out in that atmosphere, I have never been enticed to join in, but in the mountains, out in nature, it was a totally different story.

I know my limits. Jumping out of a plane, bungee jumping from a bridge, crossing the Atlantic or Pacific in a small boat or running a marathon are not even remotely on my bucket list. That said, it’s invigorating to try new and adventurous activities at any age, to keep your mind and body fit, flexible, and to constantly look for new challenges.

I watched all the kids take turns, some shimmying up with relative ease, others powering through the tough climb. I watched, inspired, by their limber, lean bodies, equally strong and flexible, find their route up the rock.

I debated whether or not to try. It was a beautiful day, the group’s mood was buoyant and I felt completely comfortable and secure with the Belayer. I had tried rock climbing once, before kids, in Joshua Tree in the mid-nineties. It was a magical experience but sadly all documentation was lost as I somehow left my camera there. For the last twenty years I’ve retained the memory of that climb, but never felt inclined to seek out a rock climbing adventure beyond some boulder scrambling when hiking.

My husband took a go and having once climbed quite a bit he made it to the top with great effort (and serious soreness the next few days). Would it be an epic fail if I tried? Would I be felled by age, fears and years lugging kids and gear around? I decided to try, with little pressure on myself to “succeed.” I just wanted to enjoy the experience.

It takes a ton of courage, core strength and flexibility, and immediately my calf started cramping and I remembered what a full body workout climbing can be. I teach and practice yoga—there is a lot of crossover—but add a slight fear of heights and a seemingly difficult rock and I was happy with only making it a bit of the way up. I certainly enjoyed the rappelling down and of course documenting this special adventure!

Filed Under Adventure Travel, California, Family Travel, Hike/Backpack, Northern California, Rock Climbing, Sports, Yoga


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