One of the neat parts about being a college student is meeting people whose interests are vastly different from yours. You learn to appreciate others’ passions and develop new ones of your own by trying new things. Coming to the University of Iowa as a freshman, Tara Doyle discovered a new passion that has become a major part of her life: rock climbing.
A journalism and mass communications major, Doyle began working at the new rock wall at the CRWC two years ago when it opened. Since then, Doyle’s grown to love climbing, not just as a hobby, but as a lifestyle. She has taken climbing trips, breaking free from the wall for real rocks, in Iowa, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Georgia, Tennessee and Utah.
“I go with coworkers and regulars who climb at the wall,” Doyle said. “We’ve got our own little hippie community.”
Doyle’s spring break trip to Kentucky this year combined her love of climbing with her love of camping. She and several of her friends spent the week setting up at different sites to tackle the rocks at Red River Gorge – no running water, no showers, lots of tuna and peanut butter. Doyle’s favorite part about the trip was seeing how far she could push herself and get out of her comfort zones.
“When I got back to Iowa City, I had a hard time because I missed everything I had experienced so much,” Doyle said. “I've since adjusted, but I'll always miss the days that I climbed until my hands were numb, and slept underneath the stars.”
Doyle has met a lot of her friends at college through her so-called hippie community, including her roommate. She says the environment provides her with a diversion from everyday cares.
“It's an exhilarating feeling to top out on a problem you've been working on,” Doyle said. “I rock climb because you get to be outside and get away from the problems of everyday life. Climbing is an escape.”
Other interesting facts about Doyle: She likes to read, write, run and hike. She is an avid pen collector. She knows American Sign Language. She lives on StumbleUpon. And if you don’t find her rock climbing, you will find her blowing bubbles.