I’m a 38-year-old mom who rarely stays up past 11 p.m. on a Friday night. So how in the world did I find myself belaying at 2 o’clock on a recent Saturday morning? First of all, I had no idea what “belaying” even meant, much less expect to be doing it, until my daughter’s Girl Scout troop signed up for an all-night camp-in at a local rock climbing facility. That night, I quickly learned the art of tying figure eight knots, using carabiners and belay devices, checking our work before the climb, and feeding and pulling the ropes for a bunch of tween Girl Scouts. And I had so much fun, I didn’t even think about the time.
We arrived with sleeping bags and pizza at Peak Experiences in Midlothian at 8:45 on a Friday, and the place was – pardon the pun – rocking. The 40- to 50-foot-tall jagged walls were covered in climbers, both kids and adults, enjoying after-work outings, date nights and workouts. We had a great vantage point from the second floor balcony to watch as they traversed some of the 150 climbs mapped out in a rainbow of colored hand and foot holds. Then when the place closed to the public at 10 p.m., we had the 14,000 square foot playground to ourselves.
Some girls obviously were monkeys in former lives, scaling the walls with ease, ready to tackle more and more challenging routes. Others took some coaxing, but everyone had successful climbs and really challenged themselves.
I thought I was just a belayer, but when it was time for the moms to practice what we learned before we put our children’s lives in our hands, literally, someone needed to practice belaying me. So, I climbed, and before I even knew it, I was halfway up the 40-foot wall. By the time I reached the top, I felt a rush of adrenaline that was a little unexpected and a little thrilling too.
I am not a daredevil. Not remotely close. But I could go for more climbing and belaying at Peak Experiences. It would be a cool date night with the hubby or an active afternoon outing for the whole family. They even do corporate team building on a high ropes course with a leap of faith at the end. Now, that’s the way to get to know someone! It’s a perfect place for rainy days or when it’s 102 degrees outside. As our teenage instructors would say, “Rock On!”
11421 Polo Circle
Midlothian, Virginia 23231
Carla Murray is Assistant Director of Marketing & PR for Maymont. She is a Richmond native and a Virginia Commonwealth University graduate. She lives in New Kent with her husband, two daughters, a dog, a cat and a turtle. Some of her favorite activities include letterboxing, long walks, Cirque du Soleil shows, wine tastings, reading novels, and spending time with family and friends.