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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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