Monday, September 19, 2011

"Never noticed a female monkey not climbing as well as a male, have you?" ~Don Whillans

This weekend hubby and I and some friends went cabin camping at the New River Gorge in WV. Beautiful place! I just wish it didn't take 3+ hours to drive there because there was so much of it we didn't get to see. Our rustic cabin was a perfect way to end the camping season--no bothering to set up tents and air mattresses. Just roll into bed! And after the exhausting yet exhilarating weekend, it was heaven to pass out on a real bed, no matter how squeaky the mattress. 

One of the reasons we visited the New was for an introductory rock climbing/rappelling class that we were taking with a few of the group. I've had experience climbing and still have all my gear, but it had been more than 6 years since my last climb. But it all came back as soon as I had the gear on!

After an afternoon of hiking (more pics tomorrow), four of us headed to the outdoor gear/tours place to meet up with our tour guides. We were fitted with shoes and helmets, grabbed harnesses, and off we went! Rappelling is a little dull for me, compared to climbing anyway, but it was still exciting and comforting to be back in a sport I missed. 

And then the climbing. Most of my climbs were done indoors, even for the class I took (yay, Ohio University!) so I was thrilled to do some climbing. And at the New, no less! Our guide was great about giving advice and pointing out where to move to, what rock to grab, etc. But mostly it just takes grit and determination. Something must've gone right for me because, after a number of difficult spots, I wasn't willing to give up. I pushed all the way to the top. I need to find out which specific climb we did to see how difficult it's rated. I know most of the climbs at the New are not beginners but I'm curious to know how hard the climb actually was. 

By the end, I was exhausted and my forearms, upper arms, upper back, and very bruised knee were just screaming at me. But I haven't been that satisfied in 6 years. I was, however, absolutely starving and extremely thankful to find a buffet to stuff my face. I calmed down considerably afterward! It was a nice mellow evening around the fire, punctuated by passing out cold in the cabin.

To make the weekend even better (!), we went horseback riding on Sunday morning through our campground area. The horses were fairly calm and my horse, Lena, was a dear. She and Archie are totally enamored of each other and constantly nuzzled. So adorable it's nearly nauseating. 

If only we'd had one more day in WV!

Maneuvering over the first tough spot--big stretch to the left.
Adding more chalk to my hands before tackling the next section.

There are a good number of pictures in between, but I finally made it to the top!

Rappelling down the same cliff face before our climb.
Our horses all saddled up and waiting.
Archie (right) was just nuzzling Lena. She must've been shy for the camera. :)

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