Thursday, June 16, 2011

Courage is not the absence of fear but the judgement that something else is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all. For now you are traveling the road between who you think you are and who you can be.- Meg Cabot

She flies through the air with the greatest of ease..... most of the journey!
X marks the spot of my
mid zip dangle ordeal 
This week as I was dangling by a mere cable over the top of a tree canopy in the Mohican forest, I made a new friend.  “Hello”, I said, to this brave little soul who had this silly grin on her face. She was staring, mesmerized, by the view into the precipice below.  I asked her, “Hey, lady, are you nuts?  Do you know you're stuck smack dab in the middle of the highest zip line here?”  Her eyes dreamy (for sure- she must have been crazy) she responded,  “Well, it appears for now, there is nothing we can do about this, so let’s just get our Zen on, and enjoy the forest through the eyes of an eagle.”  By the time I recognized this serene sister was me, and completely surrendered to the beauty of the view and the moment, my guide and hero, Brandon, came to my rescue.  Hooray!  He zipped out to meet me halfway (because that’s where I was stuck) and together we backstroked our way on the cable to the platform I missed, by many feet. There is a reason these guides are very young!  I huffed and puffed.  He barely broke a sweat. “Remember, he said, when they told you not to bounce off of the launch point?” Ahhh... lesson learned from “flight training” but apparently forgotten.   Hey, it was hard for me to contain my excitement and enthusiasm at such a daring and fun activity.  I was on an adventure..... Ms. Indiana Jones (excuse me but it’s my fantasy) , zipping through the trees, rappelling to the ground (twice) and moving cautiously through the forest to find that hidden treasure at the end.  There it was, a shiny pot of riches marked with self-confidence, satisfaction, bravery, exhilaration, accomplishment, and just plain fun! Fun is too trite a word for this experience.  It was a blast.  My infamous WooHoo, won’t do..... WAAAAAHOOOO is the action verb for this. 
My awesome hat - fit for a
Royal Wedding, or zip adventure
I was long overdue for an adventure and this one was over the top.  The course took about 2 1/2 hours to complete.  We started off buckling into some really edgy looking duds as we suited up and into all kinds of straps, buckles, pulleys, and toggles. Big, thick gloves, ten sizes too large, palms already primed and blackened from past braking experience, protected our hands.  Topping off our couture, a bright red helmet.  This is obviously designed to keep the contents of your skull contained should you happen to plummet from a platform or cable. I gave mine a few extra twists of the wheel, leaving bowl marks on my head when I removed it later.  My brains weren’t going anywhere, although some friends questioned whether I had already lost my mind.   I looked like a rock star, or at least, a rock climber. 
Heading out into the forest in a jeep we arrived first at “flight school”.  Here we learned how to position our hands and legs, readjust and center our bodies should they drift left or right; how to brake, slowing our zip enabling us to make it to the platform without crashing into a tree. We were given a briefing on the hand signals the guide would be communicating to us from the awaiting platform.  These were clear enough... a newborn would "get it".  The most important thing we learned was self-rescue.  What??  Rescue myself? What were the odds?  This certainly came in very handy in my personal experience, although I was able to enlist the help of Brandon when I encountered the perfect storm of opportunity. 
Then, off to cross the first of two rope bridges to our debut platform and zip.  I have to admit, the first time, I was sweating profusely and shaking so badly I looked like I had been plucked from the sea water of the Titanic. First zip completed, I dried up, jitters gone and could not wait to do it again.  The views from the platforms were spectacular and soothed me while waiting my turn.  A few zips under my straps, and I was Tarzan reincarnated.  
Then, we came to the rappel.  The guide told me to walk to the very edge of the platform, squat down as far as I could, (my kneecaps recoiled in horror) and the piece’ de resistance... LIFT my right leg and PIVOT around so I now faced the platform, tush  hovering over the edge, just sitting there, mid air, straps cradling my derriere.  Then, when my toes were higher than my nose, (or was it the other way around?) I could begin to rappel.  Slowly, or quickly, it was my choice.  I was the master of my destiny and descent to the ground.  Not so bad.  Actually very fun.  My creative mind whirled again as I envisioned my future with the Secret Service Swat Squad.  A Bond girl for seniors. 
Sadly, as I  sensed we were coming to the end of my big adventure and fantasy,  I made my mind up to fully savor the final zip- every long, fast, second of it.  As I zipped along what our guides claimed, everyone’s favorite, I exhaled and finally emitted a big,  long, WOOOHOOO.  I paid attention to every delicious detail. I listened, and really heard the zipping sound as I shot across the cable.  I felt every breath of the air, rushing  onto  my face.  I was so fully alive and alert, I’m sure the forest even felt my energy.  Then, the final rappel.  This time, my body just knew to go to the edge, squat, pivot, and drop like a rock to the ground.  I picked up my reward, my pot of gold, and proudly walked out of the forest into the reality, I had just check marked another ‘to-do” off of my bucket list!  
My Fellow Dare-Devils
Oh, and yes, another positive from this awesome experience.  I thought I lost my abs about ten years ago at the Battle of the Bulge. It appears they have just been MIA.  I heard them screaming for help late last night.  They’ve been located.  What a relief.  I took two aspirin and went to bed. 


  1. Brave girl! What's left on your bucket list?

  2. You rock!