Youth: Outward Bound Mountaineering School in Keremeos, B.C.

Crevasse Crossing

I’ve been sorting through stuff.  This afternoon, I was looking for a missive I had written some years back about the Woolen Mill and finally found it.  Interspersed with ‘stuff’ was this photo and I have to say that it represents one of those moments that I will always think of as ‘magical’.

I trained for a year to be ready for Outward Bound, this particular 30 day course in 1974, outside of Keremeos B.C…it was my first year of teaching and I submitted my application at the beginning of the year.  By June, I was running ten miles in hiking boots and was in my personal top form.  This was 31 years ago!

The photograph represents one of my ‘hang-ups’.  Everyone, in 30 days, had some sort of hang-up and this was mine!  The crossing involved dropping forward, across a wide open abyss 500 feet straight down…reaching out my hands to grab onto the rock wall and then, using core strength, bringing my body across.  Of course, I was on belay, but the rope didn’t give me the confidence that I needed to REACH OUT and DROP FORWARD, not for ten slow and agonizing minutes.  My toes clung to the inside of my hiking boots.  I remember the feeling as though it was yesterday.  As Liz called out, “Drop forward, but don’t look down!”, what do you think I did?  Uh huh!  Well, in the end…someone took a shot of the moment and I’m so grateful that they did!  For me, it was momentus!

A long while ago, I had someone print a photo from the slide that was shared with me and so you see the imperfections…but there was no way that any of us had the capacity and equipment to take and edit zillions of digital shots along the way…not ‘in the day’.  I am so grateful to have this simple reminder of a day shared with nine other Canadians atop a beautiful mountain.

‘Not I, nor anyone else, can travel that road for you. You must travel it for yourself’ 
Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

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