Prior to this internship, I had never been camping, repelling, or on long hikes. Today, I can now say I have done all three! My co-workers and I went on a camping trip to Crater Lake National Park earlier this summer, which was INCREDIBLE. I never have been a big national park system explorer, so having people to go with and beautiful summer days are a perfect way to do that. It took a little getting used to with the tents, sleeping pads, water sources, and cooking, but I can say (at least from my one experience) that it is some good ol’ fun!

Enough about camping though. I have an admission to make: last week I swore up and down that I was afraid of heights. The first time I practiced single rope technique was in the maintenance bay at Lava Beds. I got up about 3 feet of rope after getting situated (uncomfortably) and took a couple deep breaths as I look down. It was terrifying. But I keep practicing and ascending on the rope and figured out that I wasn’t going to fall. An hour after that, I did my first cave/cliff face and I landed at the bottom, shaking with both adrenaline and excitement.

The next day, the cave crew practiced at two other caves. One easy and one much harder to test me. If you look at the photos, you can see the different places I repelled in. The last one is completely different. I almost cried when I saw where we were repelling. Regardless, I went down and made it back up. When I was climbing up, I learned firsthand how much stamina it takes to ascend out of a 50ft cliff drop. Y’all, I need to work on that stamina, cause it kicked my butt!

My point is that I thought that I was afraid of something until I put myself into a situation to challenge that belief. And now I have a new hobby out of it and can appreciate heights so much more! Well, maybe only with my croll attached.

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