CONTRIBUTION BY ABIGAIL MARTINEZ, 13 Years Old
My life started out as an adventure! I was born on October 1st 2002 on a military base in Heidelberg, Germany. In case you are wondering that makes me 13 years old! At approximately one week old my parents climbed into a car and drove with me from Heidelberg, Germany to Paris, France on a whim. I guess you could say that going on adventures is in my genes. I thank my dad for my adventurous nature who has served the United States Army in Iraq, Afghanistan, South Korea, and Germany. My parents are no longer together but I live with my amazing mother who makes sure I stay active with activities like soccer and volleyball.
My biggest outdoor influence is my uncle Greg. He is always there for me and takes me for the most awesome activities – like rock climbing, ice climbing, backpacking, and hiking. We have even skied parts of Mount Washington together. My uncles outdoor spirit comes from his grandparents he says who hiked a lot in the White Mountains in New Hampshire and hiked most of the Appalachian trail in their sixties. My uncle tells me the lessons and skills I learn from being in the outdoors can get me through the greatest difficulties in life.My favorite adventure so far has been a guided introduction to ice climbing course in New Hampshire. I felt very nervous being dropped off that morning. I became more comfortable when we arrived at Frankenstein cliff and we started mastering the basic ice climbing skills. Later that day I encountered a difficult situation. I had climbed up a steep section of ice and encountered a large hump of ice. I reached too far over the hump with my ice axes and I could not see my feet. I had a small moment of panic. My first reaction was to cry not knowing what to do next and being so afraid and so high up, but I didn’t. I held it back. My guide saw that I was panicking and calmly, reassuringly gave me instructions on how to continue to move upward.
It was there on that bulge that I realized that a lot of thing in life are difficult and scary but that tears and being paralyzed by fear will not fix your problem. Taking a deep breath, focusing and cautiously moving forward will help get you through those difficult moments.
By the end of the first day I knew that this was something I want to pursue for the rest of my life. Being outside and ice climbing makes me focused and I enjoy the challenge out outdoor activities. Ice climbing is like a scary roller coaster – the most difficult part of the experience is finding the courage to go for the ride. Once you do, it is tremendously rewarding.
In the two-day ice climbing clinic I learned footwork technique, how to use ice screws, the proper way to swing the ice axes, and safe belay techniques. I would recommend ice climbing to girls and women of all ages, even those who are scared of it. It builds self-confidence, self-esteem, self-reliance, trust in others and all the qualities that to make an emotionally stable and independent girl.
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