My junior year in high school, when I was 16 years old, I got to go rock climbing. I have photos but no scanner. The science teacher, Mr. Carroll was an awesome teacher and man. He most definitely was up for adventure while teaching his students. I didn't have the fortune of having him as a teacher, but lucky me, my best friend was in his class.
They had planned a rock climbing trip, I was wanting to go so bad I was willing to do anything, and he said if he had an extra spot, I could go! Turns out he did. I had to talk my grandparents into signing the paper to let me go and I'm pretty sure if memory is serving me correctly, Mr. Carroll painted a really good picture of the whole experience, except in a less dangerous way. The Saturday we got to go came, so I was piled up in back of Mr. Carroll's car with friends I knew, my best friend, and some I didn't that were very cool.
We went to Stone Mountain in N.C., a 600 ft. dome with some of the best friction for climbing anywhere in the United States. I did mention above, I was willingly to do anything just to get to go? Well, the only available pair of rock climbing shoes were too small for me and though my best friend's feet were slimmer than mine, she refused to trade. I wasn't about to tell Mr. Carroll though, so I went ahead and wore the pink ones that were about a size and a half too small.
Some of the students had been before. Mr. Carroll had been so many places. My best friend nor I had ever been. I remember the feeling I got as we stood back and took in that huge mountain of rock. I recall thinking 'how do I get out of this'. Once harnessed in, safely tied to one another, and after listening closely to Mr. Carroll's instructions, we began the climb. Mr. Carroll freelanced the climb because he was an expert. He went unharnessed and allowed the students that had been before to lead the way and lend a hand. I have to say that by the first resting point, my feet were aching, I was tired, perspiring, my hands felt gritty, but it was the most beautiful view in the world.
By the time we finished our 600 ft. climb, I was in awe at how gorgeous the view was, so proud of myself for hanging tough while doing it, and so thankful that Mr. Carroll had been joking about gliding back down. We took a trail back down. I must say that out of all the experiences in high school that were approved for me to participate in, this ranks as one of my favorite experiences ever. I proudly still show off my photos and actually still speak to one of the fellow climbers who lives in Tn. on facebook. My best friend still lives in this area.
An expert climber, I am not. I was 16 then and turned 36 this past November on Thanksgiving Day. Do I still think Stone Mountain is beautiful, yes. Would I try it again today? I most definitely would because I am very lucky and thankful that my health is in tact. I don't know if Mr. Carroll is still a teacher at the high school I attended and my girls will attend. He done me a huge favor by allowing me to go and I hope when my girls get to high school, they have wonderful experiences to look back on!