When Mike told me he wanted to take me rock climbing for our date, I was a little apprehensive. I’ve never been before, but was totally down to try it out. He assured me that he’d been climbing for about five years and knew what he was doing, so I cowboyed up.
As we drove to the site he had chosen, I discovered that the date was going to be a triple date with a couple he’d known for a while and also our mutual friend, Dominique, and her boyfriend, Brandon. They had all packed different parts of a picnic dinner for us to share and we were going to meet at the mouth of the canyon.
We arrived and met Mike’s friends, who turned out to be a really awesome couple. The wife, Melissa, had been in a traumatic climbing accident a year ago where she fell twenty feet onto her face and had to be life-flighted to the hospital. Yet here she was, a year and a month later, ready to climb again. People with determination like that impress me so much.
The first couple of places Mike wanted to climb were pretty full already, so we drove to his “secret spot”. Dominique and Brandon weren’t there yet, so I waited for them while Mike and the other two went to go set the ropes. This was the last time I saw Mike for the next hour or so.
When Dominique and Brandon (who’d also had a traumatic climbing accident, turns out) arrived, I started hiking in with them. Dominique knew of a place where she’d climbed most of the summer and thought that was the secret spot Mike had been referring to. We had an adventurous hike: up steep terrain, down shale-covered stretches and across a stream. But the others were nowhere in sight.
As we walked, I learned some things about Mike that he was too modest to tell me on our car ride there. Like, he’d started the U of U Outdoor Club that still operates today and that he excels in all things outdoor. It was funny to me that someone who is a computer programmer by day could be happy away from the outdoors he loves so much, but he seems to have a good balance.
We finally ended up heading back to the car, since it was getting dark. We hadn’t been there long when I heard someone calling my name. It was Melissa, and she led us to where the other guys were. Mike was just descending the rock face, and was setting up to belay anyone who wanted to climb. It was past dusk at this point and no one had a head lamp or flash light, so I was weaksauce and decided not to try my first climb in the dark. But just being in the cool evening air, listening to the crickets chirp, and seeing the stars away from the city lights was worth the confusion of the night.
After everyone ate the picnic dinner and had a chance to climb, Mike resumed his lead climbing role and retrieved the ropes. I was pretty impressed by the feat. Brandon, who likes The School of Rock as much as I do, started singing, “Oh you’re not hard core… unless you live hard core… and the legend of the Mike is way hard core!”
Even though I didn’t get to spend a lot of the night talking with Mike, he seems like a really adventurous guy with a lot of initiative and intelligence. I appreciated that he took a risk and asked me to do something that would take me out of my comfort zone. And though it didn’t turn out the way he’d planned, it was still a fun adventure.