Climb Every Mountain-You Gotta Start Somewhere!
Climbing Rocks and Walls
On my grandfathers farm there was a big granite formation. In the late 1930's and early 1940's stone was harvested and crushed that would be used to gravel the road that crossed the mountain. The road in those days was just a wagon road barely passable to those who worked in the wood business cutting pulp wood, acid wood and cross ties for the rail road. Workers from a CCC camp and the WPA, a government program that enabled many to find work and earn a living began under the Presidency of Franklin Roosevelt, were able to do much to make the road easier to travel but during those years much of the traffic was at night by blockade runners hauling moonshine out of South Carolina into North Carolina hoping to elude any potential captors. I have heard by my grandmother that one of my grandfather's brothers sold molasses to the workers when they were building this road and as a boy I played many times around the Crusher as we commonly called the huge rock in the pasture.
The remains of the old granite formation became a place of intrigue, curiosity and adventure when I was a young boy. Since I had an uncle only two years older than I, we became more like brothers than me just being his nephew and the "Crusher" as it was called, opened up so many opportunities for our boyhood escapades. We spent hours free climbing the face of the formation finding alternate routes to ascend and different one to descend.
We could see the drill marks made during the time when the rock was blasted by dynamite. My older uncle,Roy, told me the last time the "Crusher" was shot with dynamite, big stones flew through the air and some of them damaged the roof of the old farm house where my grandparents lived. In the summertime we would sit atop the "Crusher" sometimes shouting out a big hello or a Rebel yell to the mountains and listening for the echo that bounced off Ann Mountain the next ridge in the mountains and where I had first worked as a youngster of five years of age tying bottom bean strings for my daddy.
Today my grandson and I were at Camp Tekoa where my wife and I had worked this summer. The camp has a large multi-purpose field used frequently during the camping season with a large activity center including a small climbing wall and other elementary equipment designed to encourage and entertain young children including two slides. The wall is not difficult to climb for most youngsters but our Maddox is only three years old and the challenge was compelling. I was sitting on a bench at the edge of the field drinking a cup of coffee watching him as he studied the wall first taking a couple hand holds and moving his feet on the synthetic stones.
"You gonna climb that wall, Maddy?" I called to him. He looked at me with those big blue eyes sparkling in the morning sun. Yep! he called back with a huge smile. I got up from my seat on the bench to make sure I would be there in case he should fall. He climbed to the top and over without any difficulty that I could discern. The satisfaction of his accomplishment was evident by his huge smile and the thumbs up he he waved to me from the top. He climbed the wall several times more before going on to kick the soccer ball on the field.
I suppose walls and rocks are a boys fancy. The thrill or challenge with successful results help to enable a boy become man and have a lot of fun in the process. Having worked many years at summer camps in our area, rock climbing is often taught and climbing walls a part of the summer programs. We have several rock formations within a short driving distance and one camp actually owns the rock formation used for their summer programs.