Summer Adventure – Taking the Heat
by Victoria Dahl
Even though I live in a winter sports town, summer is my time for adventure. For me, adding ice to an activity sounds like a guaranteed trip to the hospital. I’ll pass. Actually, I would’ve passed on almost any adventure ten years ago, but as I got closer to forty, I decided to start taking on a few things that scared me.
I tried running, public speaking, river rafting, overseas travel. Then I did the scariest thing of all. Rock climbing.
It seemed like a great idea at the time. I was just starting work on Taking the Heat, and the hero is a rock climber. I live in the mountains. I could actually try climbing as research for the book!
I planned for a month, made an appointment with an expert guide and started doing some upper body exercises because I have the arms of a chubby newborn. I’m not an athletic person, but I was so excited! I figured I’d learn a lot and go up about 20 feet.
We did not go 20 feet. This was the view from halfway up. [Picture 1, Storm Mountain]
It was, by far, the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done. I thought my instructor would be right there next to me, pointing out exactly what to do, but that’s not how belaying works. He climbed up and anchored the line and called down encouragement. It was all me.
At first it was easy. I was concentrating on finding the next foothold and it wasn’t much harder than climbing a ladder. Then I got stuck on this smooth face. [Picture 2 – From Above]
That was when I really wanted it to be over, and I wasn’t anywhere near done. I stayed on that face for a good five minutes, maybe ten, just breathing and looking at the rock and trying to convince myself that I could ease my way over the slanted rock face even if there weren’t any ledges to hold on to.
I did it. One hundred feet up. My legs were jelly, I felt like I’d been in a car accident and I really needed a drink, but I did it and I never once said “I can’t,” no matter how many times I thought it. And I was so, so proud of myself. There aren’t enough moments in our life when we truly let ourselves feel pride without an ounce of guilt. [Picture 3 – Rappelling]
So I encourage you to get out there and find your own adventure this summer, even if it’s as simple as a hike on a trail or an hour in a canoe. I think trying new things changes us in the best ways…and that’s really the theme of Taking the Heat. Trying new things, taking some chances. What have you been dying to try?
Taking the Heat by Victoria Dahl
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: HQN Books (July 28, 2015)
Passion this hot can’t be faked…
All revved up for bright lights and steamy nights, writer Veronica Chandler chased her dreams to New York City. When she hit a dead end, reality sent her back home to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Saving her pride and her new gig—writing a relationship advice column!—requires some faking. No one can know the truth about her big-city flop or her nonexistent sex life. But the town’s irresistibly rugged librarian is determined to figure her out…and give her hands-on lessons in every wicked thing she wants to know.
Gabe MacKenzie’s heart might be in Wyoming, but secretly his future’s tied up in his family’s Manhattan legacy. Getting down and dirty with Veronica is supposed to give him a few memorable nights—not complicate his plans. But the thing about heat this scorching is there’s just no going back…and it might be too hot for either of them to take.