ON THE EDGE

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It all started with a big, yellow van and a small group of young people eager to see what falling off a mountain was like.

“Are we there yet?” I called out. I was excited, not just by the crazy thrill that I was about that I was about to enjoy, but by the entire experience of summer camp.

“It’s just up the hill,” our camp counselor (and driver) Biggles called out, while flipping his long thread of hair. He knew how anxious we were to repel, having been a camper once himself.

A long twenty minutes passed the clock before our prayers were answered. All we could see was dust as the car shifted to an abrupt and long-awaited stop. A bunch of impatient boys popped out of the car and looked up at the goliath of all mountains.

As a dozen gaping mouths stared in disbelief, Biggles set out our harnesses, and told us to stand over them. He then taught us how to adjust them and, with a final soft click, our harnesses were all set and ready to repel.

As quick as a rabbit, I put on a helmet that had obviously seen a lot of use. At this point, my nerves were at an all time high. The feeling I had inside was both churning and hopping for excitement. It was just almost unreal to get the chance to fly down a mountain connected to ropes.

Then came the part that made each of us nearly lose our appetite for repelling: the hike up. Though not even a mile, it was mainly uphill with a steep incline. Rock after rock, we drudged on knowing that, once we got to the top, we would have the time of our lives. I climbed up, wondering how many people must dislike hikes, until a big rock marked the end of our journey. We were there and as soon as everyone realized it, smiles grew upon their faces.

“We’re not dead!” one of the boys exclaimed. All of us chuckled at that remark, and quickly picked groups for each counselor.

I watched intently as all the kids in my group were all hooked up, and tossed down until, one by one, I was the last to get the chance to feel the excitement of climbing down a mountain.

I took a deep breath and stepped off the mountain into the cold, summer camp air…





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