This weekend we took a short trip to Branson,MO. We consider it a mini-vacation. A writer’s meeting drew me originally. The meeting was a blast, but the main attraction was an experience I will likely never forget. It was truly a blast.
During the meeting, while discussing books and assundry writerly things, my daughter calls to tell me she has a reservation to go on a Zip-line. For those of us unfamiliar with the term, it is a wire strung high above the trees where a person hangs suspended by 20 lbs of climbing gear and rolls along the line at moderate speeds from one tower to another tower. She asks me if I want to do it with her. I say yes, not clear about the whole thing, but expecting an adventure.
It isn’t until after the meeting concludes that I learn the details of our adventure. Not only do we zip between two towers for 1/4 of a mile, but we must jump 100 ft off the final tower. It is the only way down. Gulp.
We are talking about a big ass chicken here. 100 ft is very, very high. I don’t ride roller coasters because I hate that horrible drop off. Well…. when we drive into the parking lot of the place, I see first hand how high 100ft truly is. OH. My. Gosh. From the parking lot it is really high.
Our tour guides for this exciting trip are Jessie and Miles. Two strapping young college men who find this job as the job of a life time. Where else could they have this much fun and make money at the same time? These young men are awesome with their people skills as well. The skill they use to keep us nervous nellies calm is outstanding.
We spend about 20 mins gearing up. Helmet, harness and ropes that keep us suspended safely in mid-air. All of them tightened close to your middle. I felt trussed up like a Thanksgiving turkey. Make sure you go potty before this stage. My daughter made a pit-stop, but her nerves managed to make that a moot break.
They brought us up the mountain in an old military all terrain vehicle. That is some hill too. At the tower from which we zip, we are giving a few basic rules. Don’t unhook yourself from any line at any time. And do not unhook the guides line. Actually no one touch his line. The guides are the only people allowed to touch the lines. Once we stand under that cable and are attached to it you look down that line. It is long and dips in the middle, but I will still be several tens of feet above the ground.
Here comes my little girl.
She’s so calm and collected.
The palms of my hands were soaking wet, but I was surprised that I didn’t freak to badly as I sailed through the air about 30 feet above the ground. I held my breath until I decided to scream for a little relief.
The look on my face in this picture relays the tension and “excitement” of the moment. Can you tell how thrilled I am with all the height? Just enthralled.
This was the easy part. We stood on the 100ft tower until all the others of our party jumped off the platform. All this time my hands and feet are exuding rivers of sweat as well as under arms and other body parts. My insides started vibrating, increasing with each members descent to the ground. It means my turn creeps ever closer. The view from that tower is high. Everything below us is soooo far away.
My little girl takes it all in stride. She doesn’t have a qualm about the jump at all!
Finally, or rather, regretfully my turn arrives. By this time I’m shaking like a leaf. My stomach is fluttery and sweat is pouring from every pore. To make this more urgent, an eminent storm is fast approaching. And I mean we see it raining just a mile away.
Jessie gets me ready to go and I approach the drop off. This rig is used to train paratroopers. A line is attached to the back of your harness and you step off the platform and free fall for 70 feet. It’s the stepping off into nothing that scares the bejeezes out of me. I have this aversion to falling long distances. It doesn’t matter if I know the tether will slow my fall at 30 fit above the ground. It’s that initial falling that just freezes me in my tracks.
I am standing on the edge and Jessie gently tells me to ease forward. I inch my toes to the edge, then I ease them over the edge. I am shaking like a leaf and just want to cry for the frustration of it all. There is only one way off that tower and it is DOWN.
I grab a hold of my harness and every muscle in my body is wound tight. About half way down, out of sheer relief, I let out a scream. I wasn’t falling to my death after all.
I am a stiff going through the air.
Finally the sweet firm earth meets my feet and Miles unhooks me and I can walk on my own. I hug the man, so grateful I am still in one piece and blissfully proud that I really did do what I considered the almost impossible.
Can’t you tell by the look on my face the sheer joy of the experience? It was truly a blast and I would so do it again. I recommend the thrill for all you people who love living on the edge.
This was a huge slice of heaven for my and my baby. I’d love to hear all about your dances on the fringes of the respectable. Leave a comment so we all can hear about.