I’ve written before about my zip-lining adventure. About how wonderful it was and that I am so glad I went.
Today I want to tell you the downside. How hard it was and the lessons I learned from that…
Because as I mentioned before, you have to be willing to do some hard things to find joy, adventure and live a great life!
On zip-lining day, our little group stepped up to the first take-off point and we were welcomed to “the fastest and steepest zip-line in North America”. Wait. No one had told me that. I’m afraid of heights… no – terrified of heights.
All my hopes for a peaceful, controlled float through the air went out the window as I learned this course had no brakes on the lines. Yikes.
But here I was all rigged up to do this and standing in line, I should at least give it a try. I thought I could handle at least one zip. I ended up doing all 11!
Lesson from the zip line – have confidence and think positively.
Some zip-lines apparently take you directly from one platform to a landing on the next platform. Because these zip-line trolleys had no brakes though, we would do it differently. The Gorge uses a ZipStop, a device on the cable about 30 feet from the end that would quickly slow you down and stop you.
That’s great except it leaves you dangling from the cable about ten feet or so from the landing. You then have to haul yourself in, hand over hand on the cable, until the staff can grab you and help you onto the platform.
Doing this 11 times was far more physical challenge than I had expected. Could I do it? I exercise and am in pretty good shape so I was not willing to go home without trying. And I was glad my friend was there for support. We both were fine.
Lesson from the zip line – don’t give up and believe in yourself.
I loved zip-lining! I’m so glad I did it.
I even loved being on the platforms between the zips. I didn’t ask how high they were because that would have scared me, but I know at times we were near the tops of some very big trees.
It was remarkably peaceful there with the sounds of the birds and the wind. Even the sway of the platforms in the trees was pleasant as long as I was hanging on and not looking down.
Lesson from the zip line – keep track of your perspective and focus.
After 5 or 6 zips, I learned we had to “rappel” down from several platforms to the ground. What? No one had told me that.
Too late to turn around – I realized I would have to do this as well.
Here’s the procedure: hooked to a rope with pulleys, you take a step off the platform into midair and then get lowered to the ground by the staff. Did I mention to you that we were up VERY high? And that I am terrified of heights?
And I did it. Stepped off the platform into midair. Twice!
Lesson from the zip line – acting in spite of your feelings is sometimes the right thing to do.
There was one more surprise as well. Part way through the course, we had to cross a rope suspension bridge high up between two trees. This obstacle actually proved to be the hardest for me even though I didn’t think it would be.
Every step I took on the bridge made it sway and shake and made me feel like I would fall. The first half of the trip across was bad enough, but when I reached the midpoint of the bridge, the next person started as well and made the bridge shake even more.
For a few moments I was paralyzed and couldn’t move.
Then I called out to the people on the platform and asked for them to help. Their words of encouragement allowed me to get my feet moving again and I made it across.
Lesson from the zip line – Don’t always try to do it alone. Ask for help.
As we zipped down into the Gorge, the staff slowly taught us new skills on the zip-lines:
- How to take one hand off the trolley and still be fine.
- Pulling your legs up into a ball to go even faster.
- Zipping with your eyes closed for the thrill.
I had already spent half of the first zip with my eyes closed so I had that one done. I tried taking a hand off the trolley, but I quickly realized that made me feel a lot less secure.
I kept both hands up there from then on even though everyone else was zipping one-handed. I knew I didn’t even need to try to make myself go any faster with pulling my legs up.
Lesson from the zip line – learn from the experts but adapt what you are told to what is right for you.
There was a lot to learn from this experience of facing my fear. You’ve read the lessons I learned, now let me encourage you to step out in your life for an adventure instead of focusing on your own fear.
Find ways to help yourself act in spite of your feelings in difficult situations. Know what makes you happy and find creative ways to make it happen. And be sure to ask for help when you need it.