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As mentioned in previous posts, my travels this past month took me to Seneca Rocks, West Virginia. Steve and I have determined that when he first climbed Seneca Rocks I was probably sitting in a high chair smearing pink frosting on my face. I would have been celebrating my first birthday while he was celebrating the freedom of being a freshman at college on an outing with the Explorers Club. Over the years he would return many times to the mountain, sharing the experience of climbing with friends and family. He wanted to share the same experience with me.

I’d rock climbed in the past. Once at a gym where there was a climbing wall. Once in the wilds of New Hampshire with a bunch of middle schoolers participating in a summer writing program. All wonderful experiences. Were they enough to prepare me for Seneca?

Steve's Classic Gear

Steve Mapping "Easy" Route

Me All Dressed Up

So what happened?

We climbed. On occasion I swore under my breath. We finally reached a plateau where we could take a short break. Around us, others climbed.

At some point, gently, Steve reminded me that we had our own climb to finish. I tried focusing on what was before me and above, but at some point I made the mistake of looking behind me. And then looking down. And down and down and down. I will never forget the sight of both an eagle and a butterfly soaring above the clouds. We were all above the clouds it seemed. I looked at Steve and said, “I’m done.” I must have had “that look” on my face because he simply congratulated me on the distance I had traveled and then we sat for a bit in the quiet.

We just sat and shared the space, together, though I am sure our heads were in very different places.  Eventually, we rose.  The climb down was not so bad.  All in all, it was a good day.

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