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Fear Factor, Part Two!

Updated on April 24, 2020
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Raven promised God she'd never do it again - only to forget that promise a few hours later. Results...

To read the previous installment, please visit this link:


I’d done it again. I was standing on top of a 30 foot cliff, slings wrapped around my hips connected to a rope, and Mountaineering leader Bob Furnish telling me to rappel. Only this time, the cliff was a slight overhang!

So how did I wind up in this mess a second time? At Pinecrest Sunday Evening Campfire, the counselors were telling us about the various classes. When it came time for Mountaineering, I looked around for Bob, but couldn’t find him. Then I heard a yell coming from the top of the trees. Bob was up there!


He slid along a rope that was strung to a tree behind the campfire bowl. A minute later, he ran up to the campfire, dramatically waving his ice axe. After an introduction like that, I couldn’t resist – plus, I had virtually promised him I’d take the class again. Besides, I’d found facing fear last summer helped me deal with bullies at public school. I still had a way to go dealing with them, but at least last year wasn’t as bad as the one before.

“How do you feel, being the only girl?” a boy named Chris asked me, after signup.

“She was here last year,” Bob told him, before I could answer. “She’ll probably do better than any of you.” Actually, it made me nervous. I remembered promising God I’d never again get myself into dangerous situations, and here I was not only doing that, but putting myself at risk to be teased. Please, Lord – forgive me for breaking my promise to You. I really want to do this – please help things go well.

Tuesday morning, we loaded up our packs, and a truck drove us to the Echo Lake Trailhead. We hiked the easy 3½ miles to our campsite between Ralston and TamarackLakes. Several tiny frogs hopped all over the camp; it must have been their migrating season. Brett caught one, handed it to me, and said, “Here, hold this.” Calmly, I took it. He looked at me funny, and walked off.

We set up camp, had dinner, and went to bed shortly after sundown. “Thank You for such a beautiful day, Lord,” I prayed, before falling asleep beneath a shroud of stars.


And now here I was, the next morning, feeling way different. Standing on the edge of the overhang, I saw Rudolph, the biggest boy, vomiting in the distance. I didn’t know whether it was from the greasy pancakes we’d had for breakfast, or from nervousness.

Why wasn’t I in Rudolph’s place? Because Bob had pointed to me and said, “Ladies first.”

“Why me?” I had protested.

“You’re the only one who’s done this before.”

I had walked to the edge, looked over, and panicked. “I can’t do that! It’s worse than last year’s!”

“It’s not that bad. If you slip, the rope will hold you. Remember what I told you about leaning back until you’re almost perpendicular to the cliff.” He put the slings on me and attached them to the rope. “Go on, now.”

Much to my embarrassment, I started crying right in front of those boys. I looked to see if anyone would tease me, but no one did; they all looked on sympathetically. I turned to Bob, expecting him to be angry, but he looked sympathetic too. “All right, let’s pray,” he said.

“You think that will help?” I asked him. “After all, I shouldn’t be tempting God like this – like that time Satan told Jesus to jump off the cliff…”

Bob laughed. “That’s totally different! What we’re doing here is perfectly safe. Besides, you don’t think a Christian camp would have people do Satan’s work, do you?” I laughed with him. “That’s better,” he said.

We knelt, and he prayed for God to give me courage. Then he told me, “Go on. God has already given you the courage.” Slowly, I leaned back until he told me I had done so far enough, and began walking down the cliff. After an eternity, I made it to the bottom. Everyone cheered, and I heaved a sigh of relief.

So once again, I had faced fear. While waiting for the others, I thought about what Bob had said. Perhaps I shouldn’t have made such a rash promise to God,I did need to learn how to deal with fear. Thanks SO MUCH for giving me courage! I prayed. Now, all I had to do was find a way to totally conquer the bullies at school.

Finally, the last camper was down. We were all exhausted, so Bob did a brief demonstration on how to place pitons for climbing, then we returned to camp for lunch.


After lunch, several boys went swimming in RalstonLake. I watched enviously as they jumped off a 5 foot cliff into the refreshingly cold water. The day had turned scorching hot, but I could not join them, because I couldn’t swim.

“A Bigfoot came through camp last night,” Chris told me. “Wanna see its footprint?”

“Sure,” I said, skeptically. So he led me to a place where a group of boys surrounded the outline of a foot that had been drawn in the dust. “That’s not a Bigfoot print. You drew that yourself,” I said.

“No we didn’t,” said Brett. “I saw it walk through here last night.”

“This is what a real footprint looks like,” I said, stepping in a small pile of dust and showing them.

They walked off, and I went to TamarackLake, wondering if I should try to dog paddle in it. Chris came along and said, “We found a real Bigfoot print.” Even more skeptical, I followed him to the same group in a different area. “See, the Bigfoot passed through here,” he said, pointing to real footprint in the dust.

“You made that yourself. You saw how I made it, and did the same thing.”

“No, it’s for real!”

I put my foot in the print. “It’s not much bigger than mine.”

“That’s because you’re wearing shoes.”

“Besides, how come there’s only one?”

Brett called Bob over. “Ain’t this a Bigfoot print?” he asked him.

Deciding to play along, Bob’s eyes bulged. “That foot print is huge!” he exclaimed.

After dinner, Chris approached me with a baby snake. “Here, hold this,” he said, handing it to me.

“No, I don’t think that’s a good idea,” I answered. Snakes don’t frighten me, but I was unaware the only poisonous one in California is the rattler; that’s why I declined.

“Aw, it won’t bite you, see?” said Chris, putting his open palm against the snake’s mouth. Chomp! went the snake, and Chris dropped it real fast. A chorus of shouts from the group followed.

Brett said disgustedly, “You a tomboy, ain’t you? One of those!” That’s when I realized they’d been testing me the whole time! I was relieved they didn’t hold my crying on the cliff against me. Compared with what I was used to in public school, these boys were very nice!

I then decided soon as I grew up, I’d leave Oakland and find a positive Christian environment to live in. The change would be scary, but I’d already had practice dealing with fear, plus I knew God would help me, since He already had.

The next morning, we hiked back to Pinecrest along the Ralston Trail. When we arrived, the campers were already loaded into trucks headed for Lake Tahoe. We hurriedly put away our gear, and joined them. Resting on a sandy beach was a great way to end the trip.

Kiva Beach, South Lake Tahoe
Kiva Beach, South Lake Tahoe | Source

© 2016 Yoleen Lucas


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