Back in our dating days, Steve and I worked at a recreation resort in Zion National Park. For a summer we pretended like we were outdoorsy! And although most of it didn’t stick, we did fall in love with the beauty of the park…as well as rappelling.
Our friends here in Arizona share our love for rappelling (although they embrace everything outdoorsy) and we’ve gone out with them a couple of times. While my sister was in town for Thanksgiving, we spent one morning rappelling.
Hallie has been before and she was anxious to get started and to go down the 120 foot drop with Steve and then her friend.
Hunter was also anxious to go, although we didn’t anticipate him trying it. Our friend was kind enough to set up a small kids rappel so the younger kids could go down a 5 foot wall. Hunter thought he was so big. After the first time going down he was ready to conquer something bigger.
I knew he was capable of going down the big mountain, but we didn’t think he would like it. He begged. He wanted to go down so bad. It was one of those moments as a parent that you think, “Kid, you have no idea how scared you’re going to be once we get to the top of that mountain, there’s no way you’ll want to go down.” So I agreed to go with him (going down with a kid takes some serious work and upper body strength because you’re helping them out the whole time, and they don’t typically come off that mountain very quickly!)
We climbed to the top and he looked out over the edge. I kept giving him every out – we could easily walk back down. But he insisted he wanted this so bad. We waited our turn and as we started to get harnessed up I thought he might start to get nervous. I was still trying to talk him out of it. But in all reality, he could do it physically and he was willing mentally and I knew he would be safe. So we went for it. The first five feet are by far the scariest as you back off the mountain and it was right after this that Hunter was ready to be done! At that point, it’s easier to go down the mountain than to try and get back up!
I did some coaching and sweet talking and he did great. My arms were as sore as can be as I fed his rope through slowly inching down the mountain.
We made it to the bottom where he could relax. I asked him if he wanted to go again and he said, “No thanks!” Great. He had made up his mind he was going to do it. He did it and he didn’t need to do it again! Some things are only taught by experiencing them. No matter how many times I told him, “Its a big mountain and it will be hard and maybe scary”, he had to see for himself. I truly enjoy letting my kids make decisions in these type settings where I’m there to help, coach and somewhat control the environment for them while they learn that decision making process.
Bennett on the other hand wanted nothing to do with the harness and instead played…and possibly ate dirt!
Cannon was missing his nap time and wasn’t too happy but food consoled him!
Right before we were leaving I gathered my family together for a quick picture. My sister was behind the camera and after we go situated she realized how dirty Benentt’s face was and started looking for something to clean him up. I stopped her. Just take the picture – this is how we truly are today; tired, dirty kids and all!