This time of year, we’re all stressed. And that’s putting it lightly. There’s so much to prepare for and study and finish before the sweet relief of break, and it’s super overwhelming. Sometimes, the best way to deal with all this headache, is simply to take a break. That’s just what our photographer, Alexis D’Azevedo did to get her mind off the stress and recuperate in the great outdoors before finishing off school strong. Here’s photos from her trip and a brief tale about the details. Hopefully it’ll inspire you to get outside so you can get through finals week too.
Taking a Climbing Break
Myself, my boyfriend Daniel, and our friend Jackie decided to get out of Florida and get some much-needed vitamin O (outdoors). As finals approached, we all decided that we needed to get away from school. It was time for some rock climbing.
We gathered all the gear and started on the long 13-hour drive to Jasper, TN. Foster Falls really has it all when it comes to an all-around climbing destination. The camping is cheap and the climbing is top notch, so we really couldn’t have asked for a better situation.
Once we arrived and set up the tent, we headed down to make the most of the daylight that was left. As we neared the bottom of the rocky trail, we heard the roar of the waterfall the spot is named after. We crossed the bridge and began the long hike to the climbing spots.
My favorite part of climbing outside is how immersed you are in the nature. Sometimes too much… We saw a rattlesnake curled up on a rock, and, while, I was excited, I was also very cautious not to disturb her.
We climbed at Foster for 2 days. My favorite climb was a 5.9 called Miss Scarlet. Daniel also made a solid attempt at the route. We all really enjoyed being out in nature instead of being surrounded by the traffic of south Florida.
The real climbing began when we moved to Castle Rock for the last two days of our trip.
Dan and I had climbed there before and we were very excited to show Jackie our favorite routes and the projects that we had planned to try. After setting up my ascending gear to be able to capture my photos, Jackie climbed an 5.11c called Streakier. She absolutely killed it and seeing it from above was special to watch. Also, the best part of reaching the top of a climb at castle rock is the view. You are above the tree line and see all of Jasper and the other mountains that surround you.
The next route that was conquered was a route called “You Wish I was Trad.” Oh, yes, we did wish because the first clip was 25 ft. off the ground. Twenty-five feet is crazy high and we ended up having to stand on a ledge next to the start of the climb. We used Jackie’s height to be able to reach the first clip with the draw so that she could safely attempt the route.
One of the best nights we had was the last night, we decided to make a fire and roast marshmallows. We all gathered around the flames and talked about our favorite parts of the trip and all the things we are going to do when we (definitely) return in the spring.
These trips really put things in perspective for me.
As a college student, most of my stress and concerns are around school. Everything from homework to making sure that I graduate in time are constantly on my mind. When I am in nature with my favorite people, those worries seems so insignificant. I can completely focus on what I love to do, which is climbing and taking photos of beautiful places. The benefit of traveling when you’re stressed is that your brain and body can decompress and focus on something other than schoolwork and exams. It’s important for students to interact with nature. It helps you come back more focused and ready than you were before leaving. This climbing trip was the highlight of my semester, and I am already planning the next one.