Since the kids had never rock climbed outdoors before, we spent a weekend at Adventures on the Gorge @OnTheGorge, a #resort about five hours from Washington, D.C.. This single-destination catered to my husband’s preference for fine #dining, live #music, and a split-level #pool while I got to choose between white water #rafting, #zip-lining, obstacle courses, #horseback #riding, #fishing, #biking, #hiking, #camping, or #rock #climbing.
After a relaxing day at the #pool sipping smoothies and stargazing from the hot #tub on the deck of our #cabin, the kids were primed for an early morning ascent on the #Endless #Wall, which attracts rock #climbers from around the world. As soon as we dropped off Riley (1) at a local daycare, Ethan (6) started to panic.
“This does not look like fun,” he folded his arms across his chest while Kyra scaled the line set up by our guide Kyle Kent (a high school teacher and world-class climber) with ease. After much coaxing and taunting from his sister, Ethan made it higher than I expected a six-year-old to climb; however, on his way down, he scraped his knees and refused to move.
The more encouragements we shouted at him, the more Ethan cried. My husband looked disapprovingly at me. Fortunately, Kyle did some fancy counter-balance rappelling and got my “Batman” down with “I’m your Robin.”
An hour later, Ethan surprisingly volunteered to be the first to rappel blindly off the Endless Wall into a sea of tree tops. Behind him, I could see the New River Gorge twisting in the distance and hear screams from rafters battling rapids.
When it was my turn, I couldn’t believe I expected my kids to do this. With each step backwards, the Wall receded until I could feel the heat of the sandstone against my cheek. Then, my feet swung out. I dropped through the trees and felt gravity yank me down into another world. Beams of sunlight lit up ribbons of quartz, iron, and silicone.
I froze halfway down like a kid in a candy store. Dropping my head back and closing my eyes, I wanted to relish my accomplishment. Leaves fell like snow on my face.