And what makes it even more impressive is he wasn’t even with me when he tried to kill me.
Let me explain….
As everyone who has ever known me is aware, I am not the most graceful or coordinated person that is on this planet. So when I suggested that we or I go zip lining across an arctic forest, did my husband tell me this was a bad idea? Did he give a thought for the small forest creatures, the ancient forest or the people in this group with me and how I could easily wreck havoc on all of them?
Having already been zip lining many times, he knew exactly what awaited me and did not tell me anything about how bad I would be at it!
So off I go by myself to dangle from a single wire with a group of similarly minded, although much more coordinated individuals. While I was alone I did meet three lovely gay men from Texas (as their shirts said “Everything is bigger inTexas, even the Gays”) who were very friendly. There were only 7 of us total in the group and we all were naively excited about the adventure we were about to embark upon.
So the training consists of this: get the harness on, the helmet and the gloves (a great look for me, by the way) and they instruct us to hook book the lines from our harness to the zip line. They also tell us to put our legs out straight or tuck them in to go faster. We put one hand on the guide that rolls along the line and this keeps us pointed in the right direction. If we want to slow down reach up with the other hand and skim your hand over the wire. So far this sounds pretty easy.
So the first training zip line is about 10 feet long and I do that in perfect form. I am totally going to rock at this!
Then I look at the next zip and see that it is 150 feet long. Extensive training my ass! Those 10 feet took a second and there was no mention of what to do in an emergency or in case you take out and endangered animal or something. I am literally at eye level with a pair of bald eagles; this is how high up I am in these trees.
Everyone takes off and I am the last on the platform except for one of the guides who is hooking me up. I take off…and promptly forget all of the “extensive training” and start swinging in a circle at 35 mph. I reach up to straighten out the pulley and brake, which almost pulls my arm out of the socket (apparently you should not close your hand around the wire). As I come closer to the platform I try to slow down some more and I stop 5 feet away from the platform. Swell… I now have to pull my heavy ass, hand over hand, until I reach the platform. At this point I vow to diet extensively if I don’t have to do that again.
At this point the 11 year old boy (who did everything perfectly and enthusiastically ~ I really didn’t like him) says, “Wouldn’t it be cool if someone got stuck in the middle of the line so we see someone have to get rescued?” No kid, don’t put shit like that out into the universe.
So half the group goes and now it’s my turn. I go, so far so good. Then I hear this weird sound….wait now I’m slowing down. Why am I slowing down?
I try to move my guide and can’t…. I have stopped. Mother f***ker!!!!!
My jacket is stuck in the trolley that sails down the line, and I have stopped. My arm is stuck straight up since my jacket has wound itself into the trolley in the guide. So I am now stuck in the middle of the l 600 foot line and there is no possible way I can do this hand over hand thing. Thanks kid
So I can’t move and I am hanging by a wire on a wire 185 feet over the forest floor. Umm…help! This is so not cool! My heart is beating a million miles a minute; I am trying to free my stuck arm and am swinging in the breeze. This is not the most fun moment of my life. To make everything worse, because of how I am stuck I can only peer at the forest through the corner of my eye, or look up into the sky. Are those eagles in that tree over there? Are there vultures in Alaska? I’m hanging here like a piece of bait. Was that a bear rambling through the forest underneath me?
I am totally going to die here.
If I were someone else, this would be the perfect opportunity for me to take in the beauty of the forest. I’d notice how the horizon meets the sea and forest, and the clouds drift across the sky or something. However, I can’t take in the beauty of the forest, as one might when an opportunity like this arrives. And not just because all I can think of is the many ways I can die from my complete lack of coordination.
Of course when the beauty of said forest is seeing exactly how far you will plummet to your death I guess it makes sense that it’s not something I’d dwell on.
Levi, our front guide comes out and hooks himself to me and unlatches the trolley which causes me to drop from the line and hang there by only one small hook. I know these lines have been field tested to a bijillion pounds of pressure, but one hook separating me from the forest floor is not improving the situation in my mind. Eventually we get to the end and he pulls me to the platform. He is the skinniest man on the planet and he was in charge of bringing me in…Poor guy must have lost a bet or something.
Upon reaching the platform I contemplated my next options. I could live on the platform. There are no stairs or any other ways to get off the platform, other then continuing on. Since I had proved up to that point that I was apparently incapable of doing this correctly, continuing on was not looking like the most likely option. So I could stay on this platform. I could change my name to Butterfly Moonblossom and say I’m protesting the plight of the earth worm, or something.
No? Fine then….
Next zip line up is 800 feet. I pray like I never have before that this is not a repeat of the last experience. I make it perfectly, and the kid gets stuck 10 feet away from the platform. Hah! Take that kid! I’m not the only uncoordinated person in the group anymore! (Is it bad I’m rejoicing that a ten year old was stranded mid-air?)
One of the guides says our elbows are the key to going straight and in good form. Where was this little bit of information during the “extensive training” Mr. Man? I decide to ignore everything they say from now on and go with my new plan; brake when I get close to the end and if I smack into the tree then at least I’ll have stopped by the platform.
Now I notice that all this time one of my new friends has taken “hug a tree” to a new literal meaning. His kung fu grip was slowly killing the poor trees. I take refuge that I didn’t resort to that. I mean, once I was on the platform I only clung to the wire line, not the tree itself.
3 suspension bridges, and 5 more zip lines and I made it through the course and saw Bald Eagles, a Mama Bear and her cub, and a reindeer. Although I’m not sure if they were there coincidentally or because they were hoping that I would screw up again and they’d have dinner.
At the end of the course we all climb down from the giant trees. I am sure that the guides have never been so happy to see someone go home.
Our bus pulls back to the area where my husband said he would meet me afterwards, I see him sitting on the curb, Starbucks in hand. I get off the bus and run to him and give him a huge hug. I look up at him and say,” I was so bad at that I almost died!”
My husband looked at me lovingly and said,”" I figured you would be; that’s why I didn’t go”.