Finding the Trust and Looking Down

November 11, 2013 By Tom

Camping?  Rappelling?  The amount of messages I got about “how I don’t do those things” was actually quite amusing over the tail end of last week.  Somehow in my 27 years, I’ve never slept in a tent or in a sleeping bag that wasn’t inside.  I surely have never willingly hung my ass out over the side of a 90 foot rock face with a guy named Bob working my safety line as I rappelled down the rock wall.

fire and conversation, what more is needed?

But in my recent challenge to try new things and get out of my well insulated bubble, I can say I’ve done all of the above now.  It was an awesome weekend that saw our group of 19 hit the road and get down late Friday night to the campsite.  This campsite was in the middle of nowhere and it took everything the Wrangler had to get back to the site with all the gear.  We got to the site about 10PM and setup camp and got situated.

A late night of stories and getting to know everyone transitioned into a pretty chilly night in the tent.  But waking up the next morning was incredible, it was impossible to see anything the night before but that morning I woke up to the fact I was sleeping about 30 feet from a 150 foot cliff.  The fall colors were breathtaking and the world was incredibly peaceful.  As a bonus (come on now, you know me), I still had full cell coverage which meant I didn’t feel totally isolated from society…!

there’s a 150 cliff at my feet

a morning view of the Wranglerropes I found myself staring down a 45 foot cliff as my first conquest.So, we were there to repel, which meant a learning curve in itself.  After a quick trip on the “bunny hill” to learn how to work the

perfect weather to try this thing out

And then, in my usual go big or go home mentality, I found myself swinging over a 90 foot cliff.  There is a definite “what am I doing moment?” right as I swung over, and a quick desire to reevaluate the decision I was about to make.  But, after a few deep breaths, I took the plunge.  I realized that in the moment I could only trust the rope I was on, the quick lessons I had learned on how to not get myself killed, and that no matter what I did have to look down to get a feel for where I was going to aim towards.

“Am I really doing this?”

“no going back up, only going down”

“I feel like Spider-man!”

And then it was time to leave.  No big deal, right?  About halfway back down the trail, I picked the wrong line and wound up in another deep puddle.  Except, this puddle had a good foot of mud under the water and a big piece of wood that jammed into the bumper blocking the exit line.  Suddenly, the old Wrangler was very, very stuck.

this happened.

We tried to dig ourselves out, without a whole lot of luck.  A short hike back to the camp to get the other Wrangler and some extra hands and we began to problem solve.  It took another Wrangler, a tow strap, 4 guys either working the Jeeps or the ropes, and 4 girls to push the Jeep out.  The real point here is, I’m pretty sure JBD just wanted to have 4 girls push out the Wrangler for me and get muddy as they did it.  I’ve got no doubt he was proud of the full utilization of his Jeep at that moment in time.

the aftermath

We got back up to Indianapolis and I found a new appreciation for my bed.  A nice lazy Sunday and I’m ready to tackle the work week.