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Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aaron Ralston This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

On Saturday, April 25, 2003, Aaron Ralston entered Canyonlands National Park in Utah for what he thought was a one-day hike. Then something very unfortunate happened. For the next five days, Ralston was pinned between a half-ton boulder and a canyon wall. He had very little food and water with him. Because he hadn't told anyone where he was going, no one wondered until he didn't show up for work.

Unable to sit, lie down, or use his right arm, those five days of loneliness tested his strength mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Ultimately amputating his own arm with a dull, dirty pocket knife led him to instant fame and became a defining moment.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place is an adventure that kept me reading from cover to cover. Ralston made this intense story into a very entertaining book by mixing in his humorous, happy-go-lucky attitude. The book brought back memories of my small survival trips with family and made me think about what could have ­happened.

Although his writing is somewhat childish – he often states the obvious and quotes from “The Matrix” movie – he includes great details on exactly how he survived, day by day. He is one tough guy, but I never got the sense that he was bragging. He's just a guy who got stuck “between a rock and a hard place” and did what he had to do to survive.

If anything, Ralston made himself look like an idiot because he mentions past experiences in the wilderness that not only endangered him but those around him. Clearly his poor decisions led to this situation. But Ralston's love for the wild makes up for this, and his ability to share his experience may ultimately prevent others from endangering themselves.

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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