First and Favorite: Rock Climbing in Vietnam!

My hand reaches for the rock that will bring me to the top. I’m losing my grip… I’m almost there… I reach as high as I can — finally! The cool metal of the bolt at the top of the climb touches my fingertips. I made it. I did it. I rock climbed!

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I’ve never been rock climbing before. Well, not real rock climbing, with a harness and a rope and special shoes. Here on Cat Ba Island, Vietnam, I tested my skills and went real rock climbing with my mom. It was a really special thing to do, and I enjoyed climbing so much. We looked into it one day, and the next thing I know, we are on a boat going to the small beach where we would climb. I was beyond excited. We glided through the maze of karsts and small, rocky beaches that rested at the bottom of them.

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Soon, we reached our beach. The beach was very rocky, with big karsts surrounding it, which we climbed. Our guides, Ben and Bo, set up the ropes by climbing up with no harness and hooking ropes as quick as lightning (wearing flip flops).

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Ben asked who would go first, and for a few seconds no one in our group of 6 answered. I thought I’d go for it, so I did. I went first. I climbed without seeing someone else do it first!  I was a bit scared, but it looked like so much fun, I didn’t really think about my fear. Ben hooked a rope to my harness, and I stepped onto the rock.

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A feeling of almost weightlessness washed over me. It felt wonderful, and scary at the same time. The first bit wasn’t all that challenging, but it got really hard after only a couple steps. The hardest part for me was finding secure handholds and footholds in the rock. Without those, I couldn’t pull myself up. I tried to feel as confident and surefooted as I could. That’s what really got me up there. It was really cool to be up that high and not worry about falling down. It was awesome.

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I found myself in a very tricky spot way up there. I was in a crevice, and since my legs and arms aren’t as long as an adult’s, I couldn’t quite reach where my leg should go. I started to panic, partly because I feared for my safety (even though I couldn’t get really hurt up there, I just couldn’t grasp that), and partly because I was determined to get to the top. I was twisting and turning and feeling and searching for a way to get out. I twisted the right way, and managed to grasp hold of the side of the rock to get out of the spot. My mind was only focusing on where to put what when. I think I have never ever been more focused than when I was rock climbing.

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The next climb was easier for me. I didn’t quite make it to the top, but I went very far. There were lots of options for my hands and feet, and the rock was very flat. The hard part was getting around the rock– moving left, then right, then more right, and so on. It was a fun hard, though. The climb made me feel really good, and really proud. Since I am small, it was easy to pull myself up the rock. Maybe that made up for not being able to reach the perfect places.  The third climb I did was probably one of the hardest. The climb stretched over two rocks, and getting from one to another was very difficult. The bulk of the climb was me reaching as far as I could for the ditch to put my hands in. I felt unsure a lot of the time, and it was hard to feel comfortable with where my feet were, because I rely on my feet the most. I reached the top, and I was very glad, not because it was over, but because I had done it. I let out everything I was feeling at that moment with the loudest scream I had in me, just for the fun of it. I felt great up there, screaming my heart out. The rock supported me, and I supported myself.

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Sitting back in my harness while slowly being let down from the rock was as close as I could get to flying. I didn’t have to worry about bumping into the rock, my feet took care of that. It was still scary, and even though I knew that I was fine, I still panicked a little, but not too much. I always saved room for enjoyment, no matter what precarious position I was in. I tried the last climb, which I didn’t quite finish. It was certainly the hardest, as the rock curved a lot. My hands got sore after a little while, so I came down and celebrated with a Snickers candy bar.

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Rock climbing on Cat Ba Island, Vietnam, is one of my favorite things I’ve done on this trip! (I loved it that much!) Climbing was challenging, which made it fun, which made me feel good, and proud. I will do it again, whether on this trip or in the States. Challenging activities aren’t hard to come across, but challenging and fun things are a treat!

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I highly recommend the company who took us rock climbing, Asia Outdoors, www.asiaoutdoors.com.

Thanks for reading Farawayfive!  We’ll keep writing if you keep reading.  Deal?

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