Usually, when you’re on a cliff, the scariest moment is when you look down. But today, the most frightening moment was when we looked UP, seeing the gargantuan walls we were expected to scale. Granted, we were not forced to climb, but most of us wanted to say ‘yes’ to the experience!
The sun beamed through our windows, heating up the room slowly but surely until it got so hot we all woke up in a sweat. Even though it was 8 am, and we were still tired from yesterday, we were so pumped to go rock climbing on an outdoor rock face!
Breakfast, as usual, was amazing: freshly-made waffles and burekas hit the spot at such an early time. Tefillah was spent by the flowing, ice-cold river, where we created temporary structures with rocks, sand, and leaves. Our art was soon washed away by the beckoning tide, but the memories of it seemed to last forever. And then we were off, the boys making the hour-long trek to the rock wall and the girls making their way to the canyons.
As our bright red 1992 Toyota Land Cruiser, pulled up to the rock wall, our mouths dropped to the ground. It was monolithic, towering above us in a million different shades of beige and black, a stark contrast to the flat, empty landscapes below. There was no time to waste, so we headed out towards the rock wall to begin our day of climbing.
CRASH! BANG! SMASH! Before anyone even ascended the wall, a backpack flew down the hill, taking other bags with it, and startling all the guys! It was just what we needed to get out of our heads and into the moment, because before we knew it, we were all getting hooked up to the rock wall. Usually, when you’re on a cliff, the scariest moment is when you look down. But today, the most frightening moment was when we looked UP, seeing the gargantuan walls we were expected to scale. Granted, we were not forced to climb, but most of us wanted to say ‘yes’ to the experience!
As we scaled the walls, finding footholds was extremely difficult, and our hands forcibly clung to the rock face with some sort of desperate, magnetic attraction. The wall was unforgivingly vertical, gritty rocks cutting into our fingertips. But as we looked behind us, at the panoramic view, we realized that the experience was worth it for the breathtaking scenery.
Before we knew it, we’d reached the top and with a "yee-haw," we came back down, still buzzing from the adrenaline high of being, well…so high. As our friends went up the wall, we cheered them on because we knew they could do it! The guys bonded today, seizing the moment and supporting one another.
After the trek back from the rock wall, we had more free time and some of us used it to go to the river adjacent to the hotel and swim in it. Picture this: a massive, flowing vat of snow melt careening down the banks of the river, splashing all who came near. Needless to say, going in was probably not the smartest idea, but we did it anyway. The water was chillingly refreshing and with friends, it was actually quite fun. We splashed each other, dunked underwater, and tried not to freeze our butts off. Pretty soon, our free time was over, and, dripping with water, we ran to dinner, shivering the whole way there.
Dinner blazed by. We could barely focus on the food in front of us--we were too excited for the bonfire that would happen afterwards!
As we sat down on the ratty benches surrounding the fire, we shivered in the bitterly cold Utah weather, only slightly warmed by the roaring flames. We were all crammed together, one person on top of another, but no one cared. As I watched my classmates perform, I felt nothing but love and compassion towards them; a feeling experienced by many of us. We felt comfortable enough with one another to take that positive risk, and it turned out great! Afterward, we roasted (but mainly burned) some marshmallows, and headed off to bed after a long, invigorating, and fun day in Zion National Park.
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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.