A Weekend Of Camping At Lake Norman State Park & Climbing At Rocky Face, NC

On belay? Belay on!

Inhaling a deep breath through my nose the cool air and the distinct smell of bonfires reaches my senses instantly as I step out of our fifteen-passenger van.

I arrive at the campsite and am struck by the soothing calming effect the wilderness has on me. It has been almost a year since the last time I went camping, but I hadn’t realized just how much I missed it until now. Camping eliminates all the unnerving distractions of school and work.

Upon arrival, we scramble to assemble our tents before the sun goes down.

We start a fire and begin to roast hot dogs on sticks over the warm flames. The perfect camping food.

I love that I can see the stars here. Some people associate the outdoors with being grungy, but for me, the clean air I am breathing in is the freshest I have felt since my last time camping.

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After we ate dinner and toasted marshmallows we clean the dishes and head to bed, or more accurately we head to the rectangle on the earth where we placed our sleeping pads and bags.

I sleep to the white noise of crickets and the slow breeze in the distance rustling against my tent.

Groggily I awaken early ready for a full day of climbing. Birds and other wildlife serenade me and make their presence known. The fresh air is like waking up in a cloud. After heating up some hot water and enjoying some instant oatmeal we drive the 45-minute drive to Rocky Face Recreation Park.

Upon arriving at the sight excitement pumps through my veins. The rock formation is much bigger than I remember. Rocky Face has over twenty routes ranging from 5.2-5.13, so there is something for everyone.

I am a much better climber now than I was when I first came to Rocky Face two years ago. Back then I could barely do a 5.5, but it was the first time ever went climbing.

Many routes to choose from Rocky Face has something for both beginners, intermediate, and advanced climbers. Climbing isn’t easy but when the fear creeps in that is when I have to push. Often times I doubt myself, but once I try the route and keep pushing eventually I will get it. I may not flash the route, but I will send it.

Each route has a personality of its own. There is one route where I have to fit my entire body through the crack between two rocks.

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Not pictured; all the blisters, chalk, and hand cramps it took to send this route. It has been a crazy ride of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, bonfires, tents, bruises, and chalk everywhere. The weather is perfect, sunny and 71 with a gentle breeze. The tingling of warm rock and chalk on my fingers as my hands search for a crimp to latch onto. IMG_6183

“Not pictured; all the blisters, chalk, and hand cramps it took to send this route. It has been a crazy ride of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, bonfires, tents, bruises, and chalk everywhere.”

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The combination of camping and climbing is the perfect formula for an outdoor adventure. Jamming to the sound of Country Roads blaring in the background we drive back home, away from the exciting world of outdoor climbing.

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