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I got my first taste of ice climbing on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan during the @michiganicefest last week. ⁣⁣The first day, we went to do a climb called Dairyland. We rappelled into the steep ice as the winds howled. The jagged ice crashed into the shore below me. The cold mist cut me to my bones. I may have become mildly hypothermic. ⁣⁣The only way out was up. It was a struggle. It’s humbling to come back to my Midwestern roots to practice a skill I learned out West. I made it up, after putting the scream into screaming barfies. ⁣⁣I was talking to Nikki and Jason afterward, and Jason asked us why we like climbing. Nikki said for the focus. I got me thinking more. ⁣⁣For a few short hours today, I didn’t worry about the testimony I need to prepare for the Natural Resources Committee in DC in less than two weeks, about packages that need to be returned, about taxes, or bills.⁣⁣I thought about survival and getting myself up and off that frozen waterfall. And that is a beautiful thing. ⁣⁣I feel grateful for the opportunity to immerse myself in nature. I am grateful the lesson that I’m not above nature but a part of it. Im grateful to @nikkik_smith and @adventurewidely for being patient partners. I’m grateful to forever be a student of the mountains. And I’m grateful for a short memory because I would absolutely do it all again.

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