Trying Out: Adventura (Week Thirty-Eight)
Five months ago I told my sister about some of the new things I had in mind. I mentioned that there was a place where lots of cables and platforms were rigged thirty feet above the ground. She looked at the age requirements and said, “You know, if you wait until September, the girls will be old enough to go too.”
So I partook in a patience-building exercise. Besides, my status as a cool uncle was a stake.
All I really wanted to do was relive my favorite scene from Pitch Perfect 2; except without singing. I thought that there would be more team-exercises or trust-falls. I was wrong. I am sure the instructors could have made things more cooperation-dependent. Since we were a group of couples and one family of six, they more or less let us do our own thing.
And yes. There was paperwork. I was feeling a little paperworked-out, and I was running late. So in the spirit of trying new things, I did not read what I signed. Gasp! If I signed over my firstborn, swell. They can have it.
They gave their introductory shpiel. They wanted us to be safe and they wanted us to have fun. (There were many similarities between this presentation and the skydiving one.) They hooked us up with harnesses.
“Gentlemen, make sure your tools stay in the right cabinets.” Oh harness humor.
They handed out helmets. They taught us to always have two ropes clipped on and to always have a buddy watch when we were transferring ropes and routes. Ropes, rigging, and carabineers; we received all the proper training.
Finally we were allowed to play.
My brother was in charge of his youngest on the ground. My sister had the eldest under her watchful eye. That left me with the middle girl. She has her concerns and her degree of caution. I was in no great hurry.
For the first fifteen or so minutes, we were all rather timid. I thought my long legs would be an asset (reeeeeeaaaach). They were, but for that first portion I was relying heavily on what arm strength I had. (Pull-ups do have a real life application. And this is it. Just this one time.) We were so concerned with the fact that the ground was thirty feet below us that our footing was not as sure as it would eventually be.
After the initial terror, we started to have some fun. I swayed and bounced on the ropes just enough that my niece yelled at me. I stopped pausing so much before each new obstacle. I stopped caring that the next route had no stationary position. “Let the platforms sway back and forth. I am clipped in. Bring it on.”
I was waiting in line for the zip line when I decided to let the ropes pull (lift?) their weight. I placed myself between two stations, crossed my legs, and let it all hang out. It was not quite same as having a parachute lift you above the earth, but it was still nice to not have my feet off solid ground.
The zip line was fun, though not fantastic. I was told that the “best” way was to run and jump; keep your arms out of the way. Yes, run and toss yourself out into the abyss and make no effort to save yourself. Trust in the gear. You will be fine. Really. (Turns out; I was.) Not quite the epic-length I might hope for. One day…
It was good practice for the finale. There were two easy ways to descend. You could climb back down the cargo net. That sounded dull. Or you could take the real zip line, once again throwing yourself off the platform, and assume that the cable will take you to the ground. (I think there is a third, faster option. But that involves no ropes, stepping off the platforms, and paying for an ambulance ride.) Of course, once you took the zip line to the ground, you were done for the day. Only one ride per customer.
They had some sort of cantilever/ deceleration/ pulley system at work. The cable took your initial weight and let you slide down a certain amount. Towards the end of the line, it adjusted to lower the cable a bit more and slid you backwards. So on and so forth until the cable dropped enough for you to put your feet on the ground. Physics!
It was a fun family activity. If more activities involved harnesses and thirty-foot drops, life would be more fun. Even my timid activity buddy had a fun time. Sure you could spend your two and a half hours worrying that something will break and that the whole thing will go horribly awry. However I found it was better to simply venture forth and enjoy.