Rick Walker

What does he connect most with?

A 14-year-old boy, named Rick Walker is no ordinary teenager. Rick has had lots of trouble growing up, his parents abandoned him when he was young and his grandma raised him until she died. Rick Walker then grew up in-group and foster homes. Rick Walker was a juvenile delinquent and got into problems with the law. Now Rick Walker has realized who he is as a person and has focused on what he likes to do like reading’ working out, and watching wildlife. Rick Walker has many great qualities like being adventurous, he can be patient, and he is very caring about others. The biggest quality that stands out when you get to know Rick Walker is his bravery. Rick walker's bravery stands out in many ways like when he escaped from Blue Canyon Youth Detention Center, got over his fear of flying, and risking his life to save a man by the name of Lon Peregrino who he only knew for a short amount of time. An example of his bravery is, "He'd snagged his cheek on the wire, but he was over. That was the main thing"(23). That quote really shows that Rick's bravery will overcome anything that is in his way no matter how dangerous it is along with his wisdom and strength.

The condor birds that almost once became extinct have helped Rick face his challenges and appreciate his life on earth. The condor birds are very important in Rick's life especially Maverick (M4) because they have shown him that even when you are at your lowest point like when his Grandma there is a high point out there to be reached like when Rick found Lon and he let Rick stay with him. In the book when Rick saw Maverick catch his first thermal and go higher and faster then any of the other fledgling condors it gave it Rick hope about his own problems and how he could soar past them like the condor birds flying past their extinction. Rick and the condor birds bond has become closer ever since Rick has started helping Lon take care of them. The condors have helped to show Rick that once you fly past your problems you are able to fly freely in the world a head of you which has really helped Rick figure out who and be who he truly is as a person.

When Rick escaped from the detention center he ran off and eventually ran into Lon Peregrino in the Canyonlands. They had a very important role in Rick's life by helping him realize that his problems were nothing compared to the unsolved things of the world. Rick has grown to love the Canyonlands, Rick would take every chance that he had to go walk, explore, and take in the most breath taking views of the Canyonlands. Rick explored the Canyonlands in many different ways like from the air on a hang glider, looking over the side of the Canyon, and from the inside of the Canyons. Rick was very connected to the Canyonlands because he felt as if he was starting over with a clean sate and his problems were gone for good. He also was connected to the Canyonlands because it holds the Maze which a region of twist and turns, flatland and deep drops, the maze is very hard to get out of just like Ricks pile of problems. The quote, "A maze was nothing new to him. He'd been trapped in one for a long, long time"(59), means that Rick saw his life as a maze and thought that mazes were something that stood in his way of being free. The maze helped Rick see that there may be dead ends along the way you should never give up because somehow somewhere you can find a pathway to freedom.

Thermals are gusts of air in the sky that take you far and high really fast if you catch one. Thermals have impacted Rick's life because they helped bring out his bravery even more and fight through challenges and obstacles like how he had to go and save Lon by hang gliding and catching a thermal. In the book when Lon in stuck in Jasper Canyon and a storm is coming Rick decides that he needs to go and rescue him. The only way that Rick can find Lon to rescue him is by hang gliding over the Canyon to see if he can spot Lon. Rick has to work up his bravery because the only way that he can make it as far down as Lon is he is going to have to catch a strong thermal, which is very hard to do as a beginner. It took Rick a long time and a couple close calls before he caught a thermal and found Lon. That experience shows that thermals did truly help Rick learn to rely and use his bravery more in sticky or rough situations like his past problems and the ones to come.

Madie Bray