{July 8, 2012}   Oh, the Places You’ll Go!


“You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.”
~ Dr. Seuss

I’m 3 months into my 47 and Fearless project, and if I stopped right now, I’d be happy with the results. I accomplished one of my goals—to encourage my sons, Dylan and Jamie, to embrace something new, even if it’s scary.

Recently, the boys and I made our first attempt at indoor rock climbing at Adventure Rock. Dylan, 8, initially said he didn’t want to go.  He’s cautious in general, so I really had to talk up the experience. But Moms can only do so much. The fact that his Auntie Lisa and cool, 16-year-old cousin Mac were joining us for the afternoon sealed the deal.

Adventure Rock’s Clip ’N Go Program makes it easy for beginners of any age to start climbing. After a short orientation that explains how to use the hydraulic auto belay system, climbers are fitted with harnesses and encouraged to try the many climbing stations on their own.

To use the auto belay, you remove the clip from its anchor on the wall, clip it to the loop on your harness, check that the clip locks and then start scaling the wall. The clip is attached to a cable that runs to the top of the wall and over. As you climb, the system automatically keeps tension on the cable so if you lose your grip, you won’t fall.

The best tip the staff member gave during orientation was to climb a few feet, then grab the cable to slowly descend. This gets you comfortable with the feel of coming down before you’re at the top of a 20-foot wall, looking down and feeling nervous.

Mac had visited Adventure Rock before, so he was a great guide for all of us. He helped both boys feel secure on their first climbs. Like me, Lisa was new to the sport, but eager to learn. We preferred to start out at stations that had convenient hand and footholds.  Once we got the hang of it, it was a lot of fun—and a lot of work! It didn’t take long to break a sweat, and I was out of breath after a few climbs. (The next day, the muscles in my arms, shoulders and back reminded me that I’m not in the best of shape.)

We worked our way up to the tallest walls, which top 35 feet. Rappelling down was the best part!

Jamie, who is 5, liked to climb up a few feet, then hang from the wall for a bit before climbing back down.

It was watching Dylan grow in confidence as he climbed higher and higher that truly made my day. He scaled even the tallest walls, and when the rest of us were tired, he was eager to continue. As his mom, I couldn’t be more proud of the places he’s going.

I will remind the boys, whether they are climbing rock walls or embracing other challenges, that Dr. Seuss is right:

“On and on you will hike and I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems whatever they are.
You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.
And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)
So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way!”


et cetera