Monday, August 3, 2015

2002 Arizona Outdoor Adventure Program with Elderhostel

Elderhostel's "Adventure 101" was based in Scottsdale, Arizona. The subtitle for this program was "Learning how to enjoy the outdoors" and had as its goal learning the basics of certain outdoor skills in a safe environment with experienced guides, thus improving your self-confidence and allowing you (if you so choose) to push yourself beyond your self-imposed limits. This course was hosted by Ascend Adventures.

In the photo below I am doing a free rappel of about 50 feet, one of the "adventures" we engaged in. First we became familiar with the equipment by practicing on the very gradual incline of an outdoor amphitheater in Papago Park on the border of Scottsdale and Phoenix. Next we progressed to a 45 degree slope and learned to 'trust" the ropes, harness, and rigging. Finally, Al and I completed the free rappel shown below. Looking at the dropoff both from above and below and contemplating whether I wanted to try this, I admit that I was the most frightened I've ever been in my life, and I seriously considered not doing it. But rappelling was the main reason I had signed up for this class, so I forced myself over the cliff edge and not only enjoyed the activity, but also reinforced an important truth I had discovered long ago -- that most of our limits are self-imposed, and that we can accomplish many things despite our self-doubts, if we can break through self-imposed barriers and make the effort.


Another day was canoeing the Verde River below Bartlett Dam. It was supposed to be a calm river, but the water level was so low that many rapids which normally would be under water were instead running fast. It was still only a class 1 river, but far more exciting than a calm river. The seven canoes totaled about 12 tip-overs into the 45 degree water. Above is a three foot waterfall we encountered, and the canoes were brought over it by two of the guides. Here our head guide, Lance McCartle (who runs "Climb On!" in California), is bringing one canoe over the falls with me as passenger. I've done a lot of white water rafting but never had done rapids in a canoe, but this emboldened me, and in later years I've done week-long canoe expeditions down rivers with small rapids and had a blast!


Canyoneering was another day's activity. We drove to Sycamore Canyon and hiked along and across the creek, climbing high above the creek as the canyon narrowed. Left to right we have Jo Anne, Noreen, and Sally descending from high up on the cliff.


 The group after canyoneering:
back row (l to r): Bruce and Sally
middle row: Ann, Jo Anne, Noreen, Rosalie, Chuck, and Al
seated: Lily and Ruth
(not pictured: Vella)




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