Fear of Ziplining

As Mark Twain said “if you do what you’ve always done, you get what you’ve always got.”

His words rang true recently as I stepped beyond my comfort zone more steps than I thought I could.

For weeks leading up to my visit to Long Point Eco-Adventures, I had been anticipating, dreading and scheming how to get out of the zip-lining canopy tour.  I even chatted to my Physiotherapist for confirmation that it most likely wasn’t a good idea ….”no, you’re fine to go ahead”.   Okay, I thought , a 5 minute zip-line, I can probably do…..but no  ,the zip line canopy tour is 2 2/1 hours long with 8 different zip lines.   Watching the video online supported my fears.  My 26 year old daughter watched it  and said “mom, I can’t say anything that would encourage you to do this because  I wouldn’t do it.”

But, mind over matter is a strong thing. I am going to act like I am doing it until I get tethered into position then decide.  A good strategy ?  I’m  not sure, but it has worked in the past.  In Mexico, last year, I didn’t think  I could explore an underground river system through caves for hours in a wet suit and helmet with head lamp in total darkness. .  After suiting up in my short wet suit (not a flattering look, I must say), I walked to the opening of the first cave , telling myself I could change my mind at any time.  A few steps in , wading through water, I kept reminding myself, it wasn’t too soon to leave.  Soon distracted by hanging stalactites and stalagmites squillions of years old I found myself wading and swimming through deep water in successive caves.  After about an hour I realized I was so fascinated by it all, I forgot to be afraid.

Same strategy here.  I will go through the motions as if I am doing the zip-lining, and see if I can fool myself into doing it.  Someone told me that you could actually be completely unconscious , still zip- line and complete the circuit – this actually reassured me.  Recently I spoke to an insurance agent and asked about the “risk factor” with zip- lining.  “Zero” he said – “really”, I squeaked . What’s the outdoor activity with the highest risk?  “Paragliding and scuba diving thru wrecks”, he assured me.   Hmm – I was running out of excuses.

fear, pure and simple

Almost everyone I told about the zip-lining tour said ” I could never do that.” I wasn’t sure I could do it either. But once the day  arrived, my heart pounded, my stomach lurched, and I was quite sure I couldn’t go through with it. After putting on harnesses, helmets, and gloves, we did a low practice zip-line where Amanda and Paige, incredibly patient staff, walked us through the how to’s including the ever necessary slowing down .  We then climbed to the top of the main building, and were basically told to jump off. I was shaking with fear and felt sick and seriously didn’t think I could go ahead.  Amanda said she would hold onto my clip so I wouldn’t jerk as I let go after I was released from standing on a stump.  She asked me if I was ready, and I said “no, but lets do it anyway.”

are we ready to go?

I  got to the other side after zipping towards Paige who was giving me the “slow down” signal.  I conquered one and  I shook more than I have in years and wasn’t sure I could continue on.   I asked  after the next one, whether I could stop and was  told that at the third zip-line, there was a spot where I could option out.

Focused on getting to the other side

After I stopped shaking , I zipped through   through a canopy of trees 100 feet high , and 200 feet long.  I felt like I was getting a handle on it, but was still shaking, and wondering what the heck I was doing.  Two zips later, I asked “is this the third one”?  No,  its the fourth one.  “Whooo hoo”, I said “I am half way through”  and relaxed and immediately  felt disappointed that I  was almost done.  The final  zip- line  was 750 feet long, 120 feet high and took a long 25 seconds.

and again

  Part way through there were 2 “sky” suspension bridges .  When I looked at them online, my heart lurched as I avoid suspension bridges at all costs and these we would be tethered to. After zip-lining prior to the sky bridges, I scurried across with no thoughts to them whatsoever.

one of our guides on the suspension bridge – no worries

I think I am getting the hang of this

the longest zip at 750 ft – fabulous!

I couldn’t believe that I was sad to be finishing.  but then we faced a 40 foot rappel down a rope.  I seriously didn’t know how to do it, but there was no option.   I managed to push past the fear and do it

my first rappel ever , 40 feet down

The experience proved to me that we can push ourselves waaaaay past  our comfort zone, and go ahead anyway.

all done and can’t wait to do it again sometime soon

My new motto is “feel the fear and do it anyway”. It was an empowering experience and makes me feel I can do anything . Our minds are incredibly strong, and we just need to push ourselves.  Afterwards, I was pumped with adrenaline wondering when I could zip-line again.

Back at our glamp-site writing up my notes

photos:  Jeff Thomason

For full article in The Kitchener-Waterloo Record and The Guelph Daily Mercury: http://www.guelphmercury.com/living/travel/article/778245–travel-outdoor-adventures-near-lake-erie

more information on Long Point Eco Adventures:  http://www.lpfun.ca, 1-877-743-8687

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About The blog of travel & lifestyle journalist Melody Wren

Melody is a freelance writer because she believes that work and fun should not be mutually exclusive. She writes about travel, food, lifestyle and green living. Melody loves staying in a place long enough to get acquainted. Local customs, markets and traditional cultures are magnets for this writer. When not writing she’s either on the road, in the air, or savoring something tasty. Most of her travels feature outdoor adventures of some sort, although she typically avoids sleeping on the ground. She is an ordinary person that enjoys challenging and pushing herself, facing fears with an eye on experiential travel. She needs to do it, feel it and see it so she can write about it. Her hope is that her stories encourage readers to get out there and do the same.
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