Sunday, June 17, 2012

Hippy or Hipster, Just Not Hippie

Two weeks ago I returned from a rock-climbing trip in Moab, Utah, paid-for through the organization First Descents. My group consisted of 15 cancer survivors, 4 expert climbing instructors and freelancer Jayme Moye who is writing an upcoming story about our trip.

Eight people also volunteered to nurse our wounds, cook nutritious food, and manage the program. Although they repeatedly thanked us for sharing our stories and making their lives more rewarding, their contribution made our trip possible. So thank you, Rainier, Wacky and Criquette of Wacky Warriors, Doogie, Larry, Daryl, Googley, and Scooter.

These odd nicknames were a component of our trip. My nickname was Hippy, and I wrote a story about this alter ego on the First Descents blog. I may have spent more time on this story than any other, laboring over every word and notion, and I am pleased to share it with you:

Some participants hoped for—and found—a sense of comfort among a group of similar people. Maybe I'm wrong but I sensed that for some, like KMac, the trip was life-changing. It was moving to see my new friends transformed in such a short time.

I had beaten the shyness out of myself recently, so outgoingness wasn't a concern. Actually, I began the trip expecting only an adventure. I ended up finding much more, of which the deep conclusions I'll make you read in my story published on First Descents' blog. Here I'll stick with pretty girls: I found a proximity to several of them, an historically uncommon scenario. Whether this is a function of my increased charm or the trip's girl-to-guy ratio of 2:1, I'll know soon enough (hint: stay tuned for upcoming story My Cupidity, unless my four-month-old superesteem nosedives below the threshold I'm willing to disclose).

This was one of the best experiences of my life, and I plan to make it annual, which First Descents makes possible in return for participants raising money through challenges. To all survivors reading this, I demand that you consider a First Descents trip.

Rock on!

Arches National Park in Moab, Utah
Me with my desert ladies at Arches National Park
Climbing "Wall Street" in Moab, Utah
About to climb "the crack"
Climbing "Wall Street" in Moab, Utah
Maneuvering through "the crack"
Arches National Park in Moab, Utah
"Hippy" and "Lil Wayne"
First Descents rental lodge in Moab, Utah, for rock-climbing trip
Our lodge, wedged between mountains and red desert
Rappeling down 150 foot drop in Moab, Utah
Descending a 150-foot free rappel, wearing my turkey hat, earned for being rad
Climbing "Wall Street" in Moab, Utah
My arch nemesis of a move. If only I had Lil Wayne's height.
Rappeling in Moab, Utah
Rappeling like a champ
Sunset in Moab, Utah
An unforgettable trip


Anonymous said...

Great post - I love the part of our trip you've decided to focus on here. :)

Benjamin Rubenstein said...

Ha! I bet you do, desert lady #2 from left to right.