What An Adventure This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   "No way ... there is no way I can do that," I whined looking up at the 65-foot slab of vertical rock.

"Sure you can," urged Matt the Marine. He didn't like quitters. He was working at our summer camp, teaching kids how to rappel, rock climb, and use a compass and took his job very seriously.

We had walked a mile up a hill of sliding, chipped rocks, then halfway down the other side. On the steep incline Matt expected the six of us pioneers, with our backpacks and gear, to put on harnesses and helmets and watch each other move slowly up the death rock. We were rock climbing and this didn't look like the bunny trail.

I was the fourth to venture up the great unknown. As I waited, I wished to God it would rain. It didn't. As Elizabeth, the third person up (the only one to make it to the top so far), rapelled down, I crouched on the muddy hill trying to put on the climbing shoes Matt brought. I held on for dear life as I started to slip. I was told copperheads nested on the bottom of the hill.

Uh, oh. Elizabeth was down. No more stalling. I'm gonna do this, I told myself, but as I looked up, I sure doubted it.

"Well, get going," Matt commanded. He didn't like to waste time.

So, I locked a carabiner onto my harness and said, "On belay."

"Belay on," he spit out immediately. I looked back at him. He was leaning against a tree so he wouldn't fall while keeping me safe. Yeah right.

"Climbing," I said, unsure of myself and him.

"Climb on."

"Well, here I go ..." I started up and soon found it was easier than I'd imagined. I was enjoying myself and couldn't wait to find the next foothold. I made it to the "milkshake maker" and yelled down, "Strawberry." Matt had told us it was a tradition for everyone to yell their favorite milkshake flavor when they got to this point.

"All right," I said. "that was fun."

I was ready for more, but I could not find any hand or footholds. I must have stood there contemplating my next moves (a big part of rock climbing, I later found out) for 20 minutes.

I remembered Matt telling us about the "Railroad Tracks." They were just small lines where the rocks had cracked and worn away or expanded. I found one, dug my toe into it, and headed up. I only fell once the entire trip and, to my surprise, made it to the top. I was exhausted, but as I breathed in the warm summer air, I found I was also exhilarated. My calves were burning, my fingers were cramping, and adrenaline was pumping through me.

I turned around and admired the view. Stretched out in front of me was beautiful country. I could see a stream directly below me and a few houses scattered through the trees. An old, lonely railroad track meandered through the woods. In the distance someone was tuned in to a country station.

Knowing this adventure would soon end, I planted it all in my memory, turned around, shouted, "Rapelling"and began my descent.

At the bottom, I urged others on. In the end, only two of us made it to the top. I was proud - I had done something I never thought I could and had fun doing it. It was tough, and my bruises told the whole story, but I paid no attention to my scrapes and scratches. All I could think was, "Boy, I can't wait to do this again!" l


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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