Last week marked a momentous week. I went on my very first First Descents(FD1) trip. For those new to the program FD is :
First Descents offers young adult cancer fighters and survivors a free outdoor adventure experience designed to empower them to climb, paddle and surf beyond their diagnosis, defy their cancer, reclaim their lives and connect with others doing the same. (Firstdescents.org)
Which is truly an awesome thing and I am so glad I got to go and hang out with an unbelievably cool group of people for a week.
We spent a week outside, climbing rocks, swinging, rafting and having really tasty sunset porch dinners in the New River Gorge, West Virginia. It was so relaxing and invigorating I can't wait for more adventures... The world is officially my oyster.
Day 1 - Travel and arrival
The travel was easy. I was able to sleep on the first flight, which was good since it was at 6am. Passed my long layover and made it to Charleston, WV without and issue. And my bag made it too!
In the baggage claim I met up with 4 of
the 8 participants and 1 of the volunteers. (Apologize in advance for any name botching) who will always be known as Sporty, sunshine, katniss , Cheena and Navigator. We loaded up and drove the ~90min to the New River Gorge area. This day was a rest, get to know ya day. We got settled, and ready for the week, which included meeting the rest of the crew... Dodger, Draper, Cheeta, Princess, Doogie, Pedro, Lamb Chop, Lil D, Grasshoppa, Furiosa and Man Salmon. The coolest thing was all of us sitting on the grass silently watching the sun dip below the horizon.
Maybe not the correct day, but we had some amazing sunsets.... After that it was off to bed for an early up and at um.
I didn't mention the owner of the lodge had a thing for taxadermey
Day 2. - climbing day 1
We rose early or early - ish. It being when I usually get up anyway. Oops. Had an amazing breakfast and loaded into cars. We met the guides in Downtown Fayitville (not how that's spelled) and got al Kyle legal particulars. The town is actually pretty cute.
At least I look the part
Then it was off for a day climbing. The two we started with today involved climbing a crack (next to a poison ivy bush) which as far as I know didn't actually get anyone. And the climbing a chimney - ish thing. I did the crack first and had a lot of help. But that's ok, still made it up. And started to learned about leaning away from the hold to get tension. Side note: hand jams don't feel good. The chimney was different... Considering all the gyms I'd been to in my limited experience I had never done anything like that. And I wasn't a big door climber as a child. But it was cool. Once I got the idea that is. *little did I know this would come in handy later*
(Side ways of crack )
Because of park ranger rules we had to split the group. So we reunited for lunch on some rocks in the parking lot, under the bridge.
Our second location was ways different. It was much more wall - ish. Sandstone and had a lot of crimpy small holds. Interesting observation...crimpy holds in nature were easier than crimpy in the gym... Though still not easy. Odd right?
One of many try hard faces :)
Anyway we finished the day over there and tired loaded up for the return trip, relaxing, dinner and bed again.