Do you sometimes have a serious craving of doing something adrenaline packed or outrageous just out of the blues? Well, good news! That makes the both us. 😉
I have always wanted to try out rock climbing.
The where,the how,the when, and the which was what was a bit blur in this item that needed to be checked out of the bucketlist anyway.
Last Friday evening, the irresistible urge to just do something adrenalinish struck. I had to think hard and fast. My pal Lawrence of Expeditions Maasai Safaris always have events planned for the weekend.So I called him up to find out if they had something.
Next thing I know I am at Hells Gate National Park in Naivasha the following morning. I told you Lawrence and team never disappoint.
I am not the biggest fan of heights but I am a daredevil.
A few minutes later there I was, ropes around my waist and thighs, and a not so smiling Mr.John the rock climbing instructor standing right opposite me fastening a helmet on my head.
I was ready to take up the challenge. My heartbeat was fast and irregular, I guess it was just confused. Not sure whether it should be scared of this gigantic rock in front of me or, happy because I was finally going to do what I have always wanted to.
I did not realize my palms were suddenly sweaty. Don’t even mention my underarms. Ha ha evidence of fright or flight but the former sounded more like it.
What chickened out some more was the how the rock was perpendicular, no slants and gentle bends. I mean 90°. The edges that I was meant to grip were as smooth as a kid’s bum. So that begged the question… Where do I start from.
Quick instructions from John were. “Relax and do what I tell you to do”
Relax??? Did he say relax?
Well, I wanted it so bad, and the moment was there. Sadly I couldn’t find it anywhere within me to relax.
At first, It was mission impossible.
On the other end of the rock, pro climbers were thoroughly enjoying themselves.They were crimping skillfully from one side to the other and making it to the peak in minutes. I felt intimidated but still determined.
John kept telling me that the only thing between me and the peak was fear.
The best part about rock climbing is the realization that once you start going up, there are crevices and cracks that you hold onto firmly then you lift yourself up. These rocks are extremely firm. So the fear that your weight might not be supported by the rock shouldn’t be there.
Again for armature or beginner rock climbers, the instructor will be controlling the ropes from his end and balancing it with your weight. It basically acts as a pulley system. When you go up, he pulls the rope down. The rope is pivoted at the peak or desired height of the rock that the climber is comfortable with.
So the moment I learnt about grabbing firmly, lifting myself up and “relaxing” the rest was a walk in the park.
Within no time, I was at the top. Victory. I heard the African drums of victory so loud and clear. Victory tasted like chocolate. It tasted like cold water on a hot January afternoon. I was bursting with self pride. Smiling and feeling good. Dots of self importance here and there.
My little happy dance was however cut short when I realized I had to go down. But how? Jump? Move inch by inch with my behind? Pull spider man moves? or just sit and wait for air evacuation. Tough choices.
I was a coward.
All of a sudden, the happiness was gone and I was looking at this problem below me.It was steep and the ground seemed like it was many feet below. I could hear John talk, but too scared to understand what he was saying . “Bonnita, can you hear me?” A little voice in my head answered “yes” but my actual voice couldn’t come out. “Lean back and put you weight on the rope, I have you.Sit on the support and lean back. Don’t forget to relax too.”
Every time he mentioned relax, I felt like I am going to lose it.
There is a Swahili saying that goes, whatever goes up must come down. How true that was then… And why did I remember it just then?
Prayer number two.
It was difficult at first to get my knees in position , to let go of the rock, then to just lean back whilst tip toeing firmly on the rock.
Suddenly it hit me that I was just about to kick something off my bucket list. Something huge. I gathered courage, relaxed and indeed did what John was instructing me to from the ground.
No sooner had I started enjoying the descent than I realized I was already on the ground. I was met with claps and cheers from the guys who were keenly watching as the drama unfolded.
I am glad I went, I saw and conquered. Now on to the next item on my bucket list!