The Neglected 4th Sense


It’s always good to try something new. At least every once-and-awhile.

That is exactly what my family did this weekend. We went rock climbing, sort of.

At our local outdoors outfitter called Midwest Mountaineering they have a climbing cave downstairs. In there they have a bouldering area with a soft floors for falls (thank you Midwest Mountaineering). We rented shoes and decided to give it a whirl.

Luckily for us no one was there. We could fall as much as we wanted, which for us was a lot. My five year old son loved it and wanted to show me how awesome he was by getting his feet off the ground and then letting go which actually wasn’t much different then what we were accomplishing.

Good footwork, contact strength, and balance are necessities for a successful climb. I brought a disability, 30 extra pounds, and the grip strength of an elderly woman. No seriously, I tested it later. I found an elderly woman and shook her hand, then I yelled and chastised her for squeezing so hard and being a brute. Sometimes the elderly are just plain mean and cruel.

I want to live here.

It was a successful activity. My wife is thinking of going back tonight for a class. We all seemed to enjoy it. Most of all I found out that I might actually be able to do this and that my disability isn’t really as big of a hindrance then I first thought. All good things, then I discovered something else wonderful about it. A new way to interact with the world around me.

When we hike or backpack for most of our journey the only part of our body that touches nature is our feet and only through wool socks, foot beds, and then thick soles. We may scramble at times, or touch a log or two to step over but how often do touch what is around us. I know I’ve avoiding touching things because I all too often lean up against a pine tree and cover myself in sap…yet I never seem to learn.

We make up rhymes to avoid certain plants as we should (i.e. leaves of three let them be…..) but we don’t often touch nature. We smell the evergreen forests, smell the soil and or flowers blossoms in the air. We can obviously see (for those who can) and hear (again for those who can) We listen for the sounds of animals, wind blowing through reeds, or the rush of a river.

Getting out on the rock will allow me to engage in the environment that I enjoy in new and enriching way. The feel of the granite, limestone, basalt (thank you geology class….you were awesome), and/or sandstone it another tactile way of enjoy what I hold dear.

Until next time…..Adventure On!

Categories: Backpacking, Climbing, Hiking, Insight, Outdoor Recreation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “The Neglected 4th Sense

  1. Pingback: Out of the comfort zone | That's good math.

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