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Focusing on the Rock

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

It’s about a three hour drive to the City of Rocks in Idaho, and I can imagine how strange it must seem to onlookers to watch our yellow bus sporting the Waterford School logo careening through the desert landscape. The group going on this term trip made our way up on Friday with enough time to do some evening climbing on the Swiss Cheese and Scream Cheese routes. I think everyone was pretty excited to be liberated from thoughts of academics for a weekend. After a few hours of climbing, we went to our campsite, and after a dinner of macaroni and cheese, most of the group slept outside. Sleeping outside is much more unusual than sleeping in a tent, because sleeping in a tent simulates what you know: comfort, civilization. Sleeping outside puts a person face to face with entire galaxies; expect to be overwhelmed. This night, the stars seemed to be especially impressive. They were dazzling in their distance.

Outdoor Program rock climbing weekend trip to City of Rocks, Idaho.The next day, we woke up and had a long day of climbing, with a healthy amount of sunbathing and salt-and-vinegar chips as well. We climbed on the Morning Glory Spire, including Skyline and Fall Line climbs. Like the day before, it felt good to be getting out in nature and climbing, readjusting my body to being ungrounded. There is a wonderful feeling that comes with disconnect from any inputs aside from what is right in front of you. When my mind is only paying attention to the voices of friends and the rock I am gripping in my hands, there is a wonderful sensation of focus that seems to come over me. I wonder if this is the person I would be if not for stresses and distractions like social media. I think maybe we could all be better people if we spend more time focusing on the things that are important to us. We climbed all day and took a brief respite in the evening to relax at the local hot springs before returning to our campsite, making dinner, and doing some night climbing a stone’s throw away from our tents at Practice Rock. I can safely say that we all went to sleep exhausted.

The final morning in the City of Rocks, we headed out to Bumblie Wall. We climbed until the afternoon and then returned to campus tired but replete, not only belly-full from the snacks we bought on the way into town, but mind-full from all the climbing and star-seeing. It was definitely a wonderful way to commemorate making it half-way through the term. I think (and hope) everyone enjoyed their trip to the City!

To see more photos from the trip, click here.