Friday, June 25, 2010

the flying squirrel

people often ask me what i'm going to do this summer. i usually start off by saying, "camps, camps, and... well, more camps." my 2010 summer break is like a patchwork of camps, and the best part is that i'm excited for each and every one! you can probably tell from all these exclamation points! anyway, i have decided that each friday, i will update you about my camp experiences!

and the first camp is... *drumroll*... earth treks rock climbing camp!

what? you didn't think i was the adventurous type?? well, i guess you were right. but i do love rock climbing.

the first day of camp: time to learn! buckling up harnesses, tying knots, belaying, rappelling... all that good stuff. i actually had already learned this from calleva rock climbing camp last year, but my mind works in a pattern: learn, forget. learn again, hopefully remember! so the refresher was both needed and appreciated. :)

part of the gym (just for a visual idea)

pretty rad right? (by the way, i'm trying to expand the number of ways i say "cool")

welcome to the real rocks! this was the first time ella climbed outside!

ella in the picnic area (before the hike to the rocks)... give her a rubber band, and she becomes quite dangerous

the first climbing site

everyone exhausted (after the hike)

beautiful view... way above the water!

the first climb
(difficulty: medium-hard)

climber (me!)

belayer (ella!)

the second climb
(difficulty: medium)

climber (me!)

belayer (ella!)

by the way, you should see this insane spider web that i found on the rocks!

the second climbing site
ahh, nice shade!

breezy, right next to the water...

the first climb
(difficulty: easy... except for one part)

"did you just take a picture of me? hmph... now there's evidence of me belaying while sitting down..." (haha)

there was only one climbing site today, and it was awesome! challenging but so much fun.

the first climb
(difficulty: hard)

climber (me!)

the second climb
(difficulty: medium, except for tricky ledge)

climber (me!)

since we were at the great falls climbing site, we checked out the falls instead of climbing for longer. i had never seen it before, so it was neat to see. the water was surprisingly loud there...

i loved today's climbing site-- i had been there last year with calleva. the climbs were really challenging since there weren't many ledges. there were five climbs plus another one for rappelling, so there were rarely times that i wasn't climbing. ella and i always found ourselves climbing or belaying at the same time as each other, so we didn't get any climbing pictures today.

i will, however, be able to document the fact that this site was like a dust bowl (
well, if you don't take into account that barely noticeable lake in the background).

by the end of the day, ella and i were caked in dust and in desperate need of thorough showers.

olympic day: an exciting prospect for extremely competitive people, such as myself.

the first thing we did was a team building game which was, surprisingly, very fun. we had to work together to survive a treacherous journey through the gym without stepping into the shark-infested waters (a.k.a. the part of the floor not covered with mats). we had only the ropes hanging from the climbing walls, our harnesses, and our carabiners. the mats were about 10 feet apart-- yeah, it was a lot harder than it sounds. the campers who took the unfortunate fall into the water were saved but also became injured: someone became blind, another lost his arm, and one girl even became a mute. at one point, there was an open bottle of water (filled to rim) between two mats. we had to pick it up without spilling any water in order to survive. we put all of our lives into ella's hands, since she was the lightest camper. get this: we clipped the hanging rope to the back of her harness, suspending her body horizontally three feet above the ground, and pushed her across. it was amazing when our plan actually worked.

my team had three people, but the other three teams had four people. lucky me, the two boys on my team were really irritating. well, i shouldn't say that. with young boys, what can you expect? our team ended up being named "the yo mamas" against my will. you see, i was outnumbered. ella's team was called "the fire dragons," not that that's any better.

with our score sheets, we did various activities:
  • a knot tying relay race: everyone did this together, and our team won!
  • blind man: we climbed a simple wall while we had a handkerchief tied around our eyes
  • frostbite: we climbed the same wall with handkerchiefs tying our thumbs to our hands... (pretty creative uses for handkerchiefs)
  • hanging for life: we hung from a ledge for as long as possible (really hard!)
  • bouldering: which is climbing across a wall without a harness on
while everyone rotated through activities, people took turns riding a ginormous "swing." the rope hanging from the ceiling was attached to your harness, and once they pulled you all the way to the ceiling... they let the rope go!! swinging so high in the air, across the whole gym, really got the adrenaline pumping...

the last thing we did was perform something for the other groups, which was worth the most points. my group refused to do something musical, so we ended up doing a skit, which i think was meant to be comical... another group sang a song with lyrics that they wrote, and even made a banner. with that, neither my team or ella's team won the olympics.

at the end of the day, we had a little award ceremony (plus, we got brownies)! first, i must tell you about how one boy that was on my team got the "confidence" award. haha :). ella won the "flying squirrel" award for her amazing stunt during our team-building game. i won the award for always being helpful and supportive.

this camp was so much fun, and especially because ella and i could belay each other (not only that... i also had the privilege of carrying shoes, helmets, harnesses, and lunches for two people)!

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