Scaling new heights

Last day of May already? Yikes. Where did the month go? Where’s almost half the year gone, too, for that matter?

And speaking of years flying by, it’s my son’s birthday today. So to celebrate, over the weekend we headed to Taupo to tackle a half-day session at Rock ‘n Ropes.

Note: if you’re scared of heights, this is so not the activity for you, LOL.

Mind you, I’ve bungee-jumped down in Queenstown, and I thought I’d be OK with the whole height thing. After all, what’s this course compared to leaping off a bridge? But on the third activity, after climbing up the pole and getting my first up-close-and-personal look at the log I was expected to walk along,  I wasn’t exactly convinced that this was the right activity for me, either! Unlike in the picture to the right, when we did the course it was raining — typical. And I hadn’t realized the log was so curved…as logs tend to be. Ergo, no flat surface to walk along. Combine that with wet and slippery and you see my problem.

Have you ever been in a situation when you know you’re safe, but you just divorce yourself from that intellectual knowledge and pure, visceral fear takes over?

I knew I was in a safety harness and that if I fell, it wouldn’t be far before the belaying ropes took my weight, and then I’d be lowered safely to the ground. So no big deal if I fell. Right?

But even though my brain knew this absolutely, my heart was pounding like a mad thing and a voice in my head was going, “No way. No freaking way. No way in hell!” My knees turned to water — I’ve read that phrase in books often enough to imagine what it must be like but until you experience it yourself, you’ve got no idea how debilitating it is. I hugged that pole and informed my belaying partner (DH) and my audience of three (kids plus instructor) that this might just be the activity I can’t do.

With a heap of encouragement, I forced myself to take a step. And another. And to keep going forward. And once I’d touched the pole on the other side, I even walked backward–veeeery slowly–until I was back in the middle of the pole. They made me do it that way. Believe me, I was all for turning ’round and walking across in a somewhat normal fashion!  Then came the easy part: planting my feet shoulder-width apart on the log and leaning backward until I’d cleared the obstacle and could be lowered to the ground.

How did it feel to be scared as all heck and do it anyway? Awesome! Helluva buzz!

At least until I encountered the next freaking scary obstacle: the trapeze.

Hoh boy. Climbing up the pole is fine…. Kinda. Getting yourself atop that pole when there’s nothing to hold onto, is so not fine!

The circumference of the pole you’re expected to perch atop of suddenly seems so very small. And did I mention the darn pole is swaying?  Once you’re crouching on top of it — no easy feat, BTW — you have to extend your arms for balance and stand upright…then shuffle a couple of centimeters forward until the toes of your sneakers are over the edge of the pole…then bend your knees, and take a leap of faith. Literally.

Did I make it to the trapeze?

Not quite. Got my fingers on the darn bar but didn’t quite manage to grip it and prevent myself from falling. Still, at least I just counted to three and leapt, rather than standing atop that swaying pole for ages, trying to pluck up the courage to jump.

The way I see it? You gotta leave at least some challenges for next time ;-)

(The instructors later told us that even hard-assed rugby players have been known to get stuck up there and cry like babies. Honestly? Can’t say I blame them!)

Most fun activity? The big swing. Everyone screams, heh heh heh!

Anyway, it was a really fun and challenging way to pass an afternoon, making for a birthday treat that I hope my son will remember for many years. He, BTW, should be nick-named Intrepid. He tried every activity and amazed us all by succeeding in even the most challenging. The instructors were most impressed, as were his parents! (Lucky I don’t mind being shown up by my kids, because I so was, LOL.)

Oh, and if this sort of thing sounds like your cup of tea, then I’d highly recommend a long soak in a hot pool afterward. Believe me, your back, neck and shoulders will thank you for it!

Of course, whenever I go away for a weekend, I take heaps of reading material. This time, I didn’t get any reading done. That course is so physically and mentally challenging that I was too darned tired to do more than blob in front of the TV when we got back to our hotel. Even raising my glass of wine to my lips was almost too hard…. Almost ;-)

Here’s my reading list for May:

  • My Soul To Save by Rachel Vincent
  • Falcondance by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
  • His Lady Mistress by Elizabeth Rolls
  • Fall in Love Like a Comic 1 & 2 by Chitose Yagami
  • Irresistible Forces by Brenda Jackson
  • Snowbound by Janice Kay Johnson
  • Vampire Knight 8 by Matsuri Hino
  • Sushi For Beginners by Marian Keyes
  • Once A Cowboy by Linda Warren
  • Stranded with a Spy by Merline Lovelace
  • Safe-House by Meg Cabot
  • Demon Envy by Erin Lynn
  • The Secret Circle: The Initiation and The Captive (Part 1) by L.J. Smith
  • Betwixt by Tara Bray Smith
  • Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman
  • Sure Fire by Jack Higgins with Justin Richards
  • The Phoenix Files: Arrival by Chris Morphew
  • Homespun Bride by Jillian Hart
  • Mr. Irresistible by Karina Bliss
  • Ill Wind by Rachel Caine
  • Heat Stroke by Rachel Caine

:-)

M

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