Ropes Course

January 9, 2010
Just take the first step. You can do it. Trust in yourself. I thought as I secured the bright red helmet on my head and adjusted the harness, that was already suffocating me, tighter around my waist. In all of my eight years, I had never been particularly afraid of heights, yet to say I enjoyed them would be far from the truth. Walking across a minuscule string 35 feet above the ground didn’t seem very appealing either, but the high ropes course was just one of those things you have to try in your lifetime. So, why not today? I had questioned myself many times in the last hour waiting for rest time to end at Camp Cho Yeh.
“On belay?” I questioned timidly, following the direct commands of the camp counselor standing behind me.

“Belay is on,” she replied in a confident tone. The commands continued on, and before I knew it I was climbing the thin wooden stake that seemed to stretch far into the blue-grey sky. Well, this isn’t so bad, I thought as I looked around and realized I was almost half way to the top. With my new found realization, I moved my hands and feet faster up the pole, now in a hurry to get to the top and start my dissent across the cable. As I reached the summit, I pulled myself up onto the platform, and without the slightest bit of hesitation, I took the first step onto the thin wire that now supported me. This minute, grey cable was the only thing that kept me from becoming “splat” on the gravel beneath. As I took the second step, I looked down to check that I would place my foot onto the string, but I didn’t see the cable. All I could see was the ground swirling many feet beneath me, my friends transformed into microscopic ants, the trees and bushes dancing around the ground below. Whoosh. I felt the wind whip my face and the grey, churning mass below approaching too quickly on me. I was in absolute free fall. I had left all my insides up at the tops of the trees, leaving me a limp and droopy doll. Suddenly, with a strong jolt, the spinning and churning terminated and I hung, face down, in mid air.

“Are you okay?” a concerned voice called from the ground. Dazed and confused, I nodded my head. “Can you keep going?” The voice called again.

Keep going? What was she thinking? All that I had feared would happen, happened. My brain screamed inside my head. But just then the words my mom always said to me rang in my ears.

“Keep going, honey. Trust in yourself. You can do it.” With a burst of hope and determination I grabbed hold of the line that was in fact positioned right above me and pulled myself up to a standing position. Placing one foot in front of the other, I walked gracefully down the cable, aimed at the safety of the ledge ahead.

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