Sophomore Journey: The Climb

Shayna Dollinger, Class of 2018
Wow. Wow. Wow. What a day.

We were all pleasantly surprised by a nice 9 am wake up. It was great to be able to sleep in after our exhausting but incredible day yesterday.
Wow. Wow. Wow. What a day.

We were all pleasantly surprised by a nice 9 am wake up. It was great to be able to sleep in after our exhausting but incredible day yesterday.

So, we got up, packed our lunch, ate breakfast, and headed off to tefillah. My group got to experience tefillah with Coach T. We did some yoga, stretching, and a mindfulness activity. It was a perfect way to start the day, surrounded by beautiful mountains.  It was incredible  getting to do a sun salutation facing the sun as it was rising above the mountains. It was also especially nice since we were all pretty sore from our hikes the previous day.

After tefillah, we boarded the bus and went on a quick drive to Zion mountain school. There, we learned our groups and which activity we would be participating in. I was excited to learn that my group would be rock climbing.

The rock climbing group got off the bus and climbed into a few different vans belonging to Zion mountain school. We all had a blast listening to music and talking with our guides on the long car ride to prophecy rock. We parked the cars, got out, and stared ahead at the huge mountain that lay before us. Immediately our guide said, "we're going to climb that." We all were positive that he was joking but we soon learned that it was no joke.

We began the initial ascent to the platform from which we would be climbing. The fifteen minute hike up was scary but still beautiful. We all helped each other make our way around the rocks. When we finally made it to the platform, we could not help but appreciate the incredible view, despite the fact that we were on the edge of a huge cliff.

Our amazing guides climbed up the rock and set the ropes up. There were five separate courses, each one a different height and difficulty. Those who were excited to climb got their climbing shoes on and headed up the rock. Those who were a little (or a lot) more nervous (including me) hung out on the platform and watched the others brave the climbing. We had so much fun cheering each other on.

Eventually, after taking many photos of the climbers, it was my turn. I was scared out of my mind. My goal was just to get in the harness; I didn't care whether I would go five feet or all the way to the top. As I began climbing I heard all my classmates cheering me on. That encouragement and determination got me all the way to the top! I was so happy and amazed at everyone who tried the climbing, even those who were very afraid of heights.

Once we all gathered on the platform, one of our guides, Mike, gave us a very informative geology lesson. When we were ready, we began the climb back down to the cars. I loved watching everyone help each other  as we maneuvered our way through the trail and the rocks.

Back in the cars, a lot of us slept on the long ride back to the hotel. At the hotel, a lot of us had fun hanging out by the river and getting our feet wet. After free time we had dinner, tribe meetings, and then we boarded the bus to our stargazing location.
We all lay down on the patio, with our heads towards the middle, staring up at the incredible night sky. Mr. Fitch led us in an astronomy lesson in which we got to see (or just imagine) some constellations and learn myths behind them.

Afterwards, as we all stared at the night sky, Mr. Wolk led us in a niggun (a wordless melody). We all joined in and sang. It was such an incredibly peaceful moment. After singing, we stared at the stars in silence for a minute and truly felt part of something so much bigger than us.

We got back on the bus and headed back to the hotel for some well deserved sleep. Can't wait for canyoneering!

Thanks to Max Swan for Snapchatting these photos!
Jewish Community High School of the Bay
1835 Ellis Street, San Francisco, CA 94115
Phone: 415.345.9777
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The Jewish Community High School of the Bay (JCHS) is a unique college preparatory high school committed to integrating deep learning, universal wisdom, and Jewish values. We empower each student to embrace her or his Jewish identity, generate empathy and compassion, delight in lifelong education, and improve the world.