I was on top rope, so if I had let go of the rock, I would not have dropped an inch.
But as I held onto a slim crack in the rock with one hand, and used my other hand to frantically search among the gear hanging from my harness for the right piece of protection, I began to freak out.
“I don’t think I’m meant to do this,” I called out to Sonya, who was belaying me.
At that moment, the seriousness of what I was doing weighed down on me. It was my first (mock) trad lead, and I finally grasped the importance of placing the most bomber piece of protection in the crack in the rock: If I didn’t place a piece of gear correctly (and if I weren’t on top rope) I could crash down onto the rocks below me.
I gasped for breath. Eventually, I regained my breath and confidence, and finished the climb.
All of that may have taken just a few minutes, but it is one of the most memorable moments of our Epic Sister Adventure in Joshua Tree National Park. That moment stands out to me so strongly, I think, because it took me far beyond my comfort zone.
“Life begins when you step outside your comfort zone,” Sonya said that afternoon.
That could be the best lesson I learned during our week in Joshua Tree. Below are some other lessons I learned during our trip.
Beware the cholla! It will get you!
Natural Sisters Cafe makes the best granola bars. Ever.
Julie looks cute in photos when she climbs things.
Vests and cacti are having a moment.
Desert weirdness is alive.
Nacho is too big to be a crag dog.
Sisters make the best adventure partners.
Next year in El Portero Chico!