We slept like logs last night. It’s rained the past few days, each day bringing on some cool thunderstorms. When it rains like that, Hershey and I like to hike in the silent, muffled woods or, as we’ve done several times lately, go up to the canyon so we can see what the weather has brought us to look at up there.
Truth is, the excitement and relaxation (contradictory?) of being in nature makes for some good sleep. Last night was no different. Woke up way before daylight, before the birds starting their morning serenade, and checked the weather. No rain or thunderstorms expected! My, my…. could this, would this be the day I’ve been waiting for?
So I did a few things around the camper, walked Hershey, took a nice, long, hot shower (yea, about three minutes worth of hot water) and got myself ready for the outing I’d been waiting for. Poor Hershey, he couldn’t go and figured it out real quick. He even let me leave him without causing a mighty fuss, for which I was truly grateful.
Finally it was time to leave and I wanted plenty of time in case a thunderstorm or two should pop up and halt all the outdoor courses. Headed to the ‘other’ side of the mountain we’ve been visiting every day to see if I had the guts to do something I’ve always wanted to do but didn’t know if I had the nerve. Ha! I should have known better than that!
After riding miles and miles of curvy mountain roads I finally arrived. What an incredibly beautiful ride! After driving through four or five parking lots with no place to park, I was finally directed to a spot with enough forward room to get that big ‘knee-knocker’ hitch out of the danger zone, whether hit by a vehicle or a poor, helpless soul. Ouch!
I paced myself going up the steps, went to pick up my Extreme bracelet, and the lady asked me if I was nervous. Do I look nervous? A little bit. I don’t feel nervous but I do know all will be well when I deliberately step off the edge the first time! To be honest, I wasn’t nervous but I sure was excited!
When the guide gave me the helmet, harness and whatever that metal thing was, I was ready to put the show on the road! Had a basic course on how to use the equipment we had clip, lock, hook, unhook to get from one obstacle to another. Lesson complete.
Being the newbie, I started with the first obstacle course, getting the feel for all the equipment and doing the so called ‘easier’ obstacles at the same time. Although none of them on that course were hard to do, playing in the trees like that did give me a new respect for all the birds I see. Obstacle after obstacle, I slowly made it to the last obstacle before the first zipline….. and there was this young fella named Brody who could not make himself get off that ledge. His dad went first, the guide kept being positive to him, the young man’s friends who were standing on the sidelines were cheering him on, telling him all kinds of true things to get him to fight his fear by just sitting in his harness and lifting his feet off the platform. After about 20 minutes, Brody finally sat and lifted his feet! Oh, the excitement that was in the air! We were all yelling and clapping, so proud of him for facing his fear, or I was happy he faced his fear.
The lady after Brody did the zip and then here I was on the platform. It’s my turn. I knew without a doubt this was going to be one of the best ride’s of my life. The guide hooked me and locked me up until it was okay to go, told me how to hold on (and told me not to flip over! Bummer!), checked to make sure the other platform was ready for me, unhooked her lock from mine, and said the magic words….. “okay, it’s your turn.”
Well, I just sat right down in the harness and lifted my feet, all in one smooth move. Forward, downhill momentum and I had cleared the platform, flying through the air like a bird without wings. Trying to see everything at once is nearly impossible and I remembered the guide’s words – “Don’t hang upside down and don’t do anything stupid.” Well, I could see the other platform getting closer and thought to myself it’s now or never. So I started twisting around, the way we all did on the swing set back in our younger days, feet and legs stuck straight out. Twisted and kept twisting, flying high in the treetops, seeing the big city that was miles in the distance but looked like it was just right there. Saw people down below me, felt the sun on my back and also on my face as I looked up at the sky, grinning from ear to ear, they said. But the platform was looming in front of me quickly; I saw the brake on the cable, straightened myself up and prepared for the sudden stop I was going to get before I flew right into the platform tree. Didn’t happen. Brake slowed me right down and I landed perfectly on the platform, said tree safe and intact once again.
Oh yea, I was happy – actually ecstatic. I did it! So I went to do the second obstacle course, quite a bit tougher than the first and still, I did not make a mistake where I was hanging by the hook and cable. Perfect! Then comes the second zip through the treetops. Wow, I could get use to this!
Then it was on to the ultimate zipline. The highest one, the longest one, the icing on the cake. Same rules for all the ziplines. Really, my nickname should be Twister instead of Nanny because I was doing all I could do except flip upside down. Saw the brake, saw the platform, saw the tree and knew I was going to crash land right into that sucker, as fast as I was going. Not to be. I landed perfectly and on my feet, this tree safe also.
Never thought I’d be interested in rock climbing until I had the chance right before me. It’s a little bit harder than it looks, to be honest. Trying to get your hands and feet in some weird places so you can get to the next step takes more than a little work but I did it, almost to the top. Then comes the really fun part – rappelling back down. Oh yea! That was fun! So I climbed up again just so I could rappell back down! Then it was off once again to climb up to the zipline for one last ride in the treetops. My time was almost up. That was the shortest two hours I can ever remember.
When I was thinking about this course a few days ago, I was nervous and wondered if I really wanted to do it. When I woke up today to no rain or thunderstorms in the forecast, I knew that’s what I was going to do. The nervousness was gone. I was all in for the challenge, no matter what. People do these things in all kinds of places and now, I want to also.
I accepted the challenge, I succeeded. Life is great!