Travel Stories: Schooled on Schoolhouse Rock

Rock Climbing on School Rock, Moab, Utah
Rock Climbing on Schoolhouse Rock, Moab, Utah

Two summers ago, my family road tripped through Southern Utah. After much debate on what type of family trip to take, we finally decided we were ready for more adventure. The kids were old enough, and my husband and I missed the athletic and outdoorsy trips we used to take before having kids. Southern Utah was a great way to introduce them to this. Hiking, rock climbing, horse back riding, river rafting and more, we were going to do it!

The kids dove right in, literally. Our hikes were not all whines, but instead filled with enthusiasm and energy. Our river rafting day was much of the same. When we hit the rock climbing, it was slightly different.

We booked many of our day adventures through an outdoor adventure company in Moab, Utah, called Moab Adventure Center. We found each trip well organized, and enjoyed their young staff who were filled with energy and stories. For our rock climbing outing, we were again greeted by an enthusiastic young teacher, ready to help each of us climb, not matter what shape we were in.

We headed slightly out of town, along the Colorado river to a well known beginner climbing spot appropriately named Schoolhouse Rock. To any one with climbing experience, this gentle wall probably is just a warm up, but to us beginners, it was serious climbing… well, that is, until my monkey daughter scrambled up it within the first 15 minutes of arrival. If she can do it, I’m sure the rest of us can!

Next up was my husband. He managed to get up half way before needing a break. When it was my turn I managed about the same. It was clear my daughter was more fit for climbing than the rest of us. Last up was my son. At just 7, we could see he was a little reluctant, though he would not let on to this. He started up and only managed a couple holds before he needed a break. My husband and I went back to the wall for another go– we both made it the second time, and were very proud, even with our shaking muscles! My daughter again showed us how it was done with ease. All this climbing success encouraged my son for a couple more tries.

After several attempts, he was still struggling… in fact, there were a few tears. It was clear this was hard for him, but watching the whole family make it to the top, I knew he was not going to give up. In came our hero, the climbing teacher. Without either my husband or I requesting it, he adjusted his belay and headed up the rock behind my son. With tears and whimpers coming from his student, he gently and masterfully guided him up the rock… showing him hand holds, and giving him just the encouragement he needed. Once at the top, the beaming smile from my son was priceless. (Just like the ad says.) He had done it.

I can’t say enough about this experience. Not only was it a great family outing, the confidence that was gained that day in my son was immense, and all because of a wonderful young teacher patiently schooling us on Schoolhouse rock!


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