Nature's Impact on Rick Walker

By: Joe Lauria

About Rick Walker

Rick Walker was the main protagonist in the Maze, but he was not always a good person. After his Grandmother died when he was 10, he started jumping around from 1 foster home to another, and he used mischief to let out his anger. After stealing two CDs and throwing rocks at a stop sign he was brought to court. In court he was asked who he was, and all Rick Walker could say was:”Rick Walker is just somebody trying to get by.” Rick doesn’t know who he is or what kind of person he is either. Moments after being asked who he is, Rick was handed a six month sentence in Blue Canyon detention center a detention center known for its long history of having very dangerous inmates. After four and a half months of living low and not socializing with many inmates at Blue Canyon, he is told by a kid named Killian that; “One of the guards was offering two or three kids-seventeen year olds probably-a pack of cigarettes each to beat him to within an inch of his life”. Why? Because he told his social worker about something he had saw going on between a guard and a maintenance man that didn’t seem right to him. Rick knows that he has to leave Blue Canyon before he gets his beating. So that night, Rick Walker escapes Blue Canyon alone. Rick is a prisoner on the loose. Until he finds a truck at a gas station and decides he will hide in the back, until it stops. When the car stops though he does more then escape,he attempts to escape with the car. He doesn’t get too far though as the driver the car instructs him to get out. When he gets out he meets Lon,and learns that he is in Canyonlands National Park. He is offered the chance to stay with Lon for a couple of days and Rick takes him up on the offer. Even though he barely knew the man at first, Rick and Lon become very good friends and Rick becomes a changed person by the end of the book

Natures Impact on Rick

Maverick

Maverick was one of the Condors that Lon was taking care of at Canyonlands National Park. But he was not your average condor. He was a bird that liked to be alone and could fly higher then all of the other condors, and was also Rick's favorite condor. When Maverick would fly he would: “Rise with the air rushing up the face of the cliffs, flapped a couple times, then began to soar higher and higher. Instead of flying towards the others," (135). When Maverick was killed by Jasper, Nuke’s dog, Rick had to experience the death of an animal:” Rick couldn’t help himself. Tears were streaming down his face. He realized he was sobbing out loud,” (143). Maverick left a lasting impact on Rick throughout his whole life and even when he died he still left an impact on Rick. Without Maverick, Rick probably would have never been able to make his dreams of flying a reality. Without Maverick, Rick probably would have never been very interested into Condors and Birds in general. Without Maverick, Rick would have stayed the same angry teenager like he was before he escaped Blue Canyon. With Maverick Rick changed into a better person who was into flying hang gliders, and Birds, and not into stealing CD’s and throwing rocks at stop signs.

The Maze

The Maze was where Rick Went after he escaped from Blue Canyon Detention Center. It is also the place where he met Lon and all the Condors too. The Maze is inside Canyonlands National Park, and one day Rick decided to go inside it. “Rick Packed up some snacks and a water bottle, found a way down into the closest canyon and walked for hours among its twists and turns,"(136). As the reader can see, the Maze is a pretty big maze, with all those twists and turns in just one canyon. But for Rick this maze was: “easy compared with his personal maze, which didn’t seem to have a single exit," (137).The Maze was a place that was connected to Rick. For four years now he has been trapped in a maze full of bad behavior, jumping in and out of foster homes, and losing his closest and only family member known to him his grandma. But just like there is always a way out of a real maze like the one in Canyonlands, there is also a way out of Rick's personal maze. And by the end of the book due to the maze at Canyonlands national park he is able to find a way out of the maze that he has been trapped in for four years.

The Cliffs

Throughout his life, even before he entered his personal maze, Rick has always had dream of flying, and when given the chance to fly with Lon on his hang glider on the cliffs, Rick immediately took him up on the offer and they went hang gliding together, Rick described his feeling for the flight the next day:”All he had to do to recapture the sensation of the flight was to close his eyes. It was the greatest feeling in the world,” (156). A couple days later Rick also started to take solo flights. But only after a few days of flying lessons, Rick and Lon are approached by Nuke and Gunderson, two angry men who want all the condors gone from Canyonlands and have already killed Maverick to show for it. Lon tells Rick to go down to the maze, and go back to camp when it gets dark, and if he is not there call Josh, the park ranger for Canyonlands National Park. Well,he does get back to the camp at dark, but after hearing a few gun shots while down in the maze, he knew he had to do something else then just call in Josh: “his idea burned brighter and brighter, yet he was scared to death of it. He was afraid he was getting crazy from fear, crazy from desperation. Still he knew, he knew there was a way to get to Lon if he had the courage,” (200). Rick’s plan was, to go to the cliffs with Lon’s hang glider

and try to find Lon who was in a place unknown to Rick at the time. During the flight he faced many challenges, trying to save Lon. First being, getting past Nuke,Gunderson, and Jasper. Rick Barely made it through them, and then started the flight. Soon after he finds Lon underneath a part of the maze, and even though he broke his arm and Lon’s hang glider, Rick was just happy to see Lon again. Without the Cliffs though, Rick would have never been able to find Lon underneath one of those Canyons, and without Lon meant that Rick would have to fend for himself for a day, and no legitable witness for his date in court the next week. Without the cliffs, Rick wouldn’t have found his passion for hang gliding which is now his favorite hobby, which is much better then throwing rocks at stop signs.