Sunday, June 14, 2015

Our Zipline Adventure in Whistler

My wife and I were in Whistler, British Columbia last weekend for the North Face Half Marathon. While there we also went ziplining with ZipTrek Ecotours, which was a very cool adventure. 

My wife has a bit of a flare for storytelling so I'm turning today's post over to her to tell the story in the way only she can.  
“You want me to do what?!?” I would have looked back at him, but I was much too afraid to turn around.

“Step down to the third step,” he repeated with the patience of someone who is well accustomed to being asked dumb questions by tourists.

I looked down at the metal steps in front of me; the ones that had no railings and suddenly dropped off into nowhere. And I mean nowhere! From that last step was a 750 foot drop off into the valley below.

“When you feel the wedgie, you’ll know you’ve gone far enough."

I would have thrown our 20 something year-old tour guide a withering look at that comment, but I was too busy trying to keep my breakfast where it belonged.
Suddenly, I had a flash black to 4 months ago when I first found the advertisement for this Zipline tour online. “Hey, Darren! Look at this! We can do this when we are over there for the half-marathon. What do you think?”

He had agreed with me then. Probably because we were both visualizing the easy experience we had ziplining at Turkey Point back home. Somehow, now that we were standing on the platform towering above the valley in Whistler, it suddenly seemed like a VERY bad idea.

Oh, well, if I die today, I won’t have to do any more call, I thought as I took a deep breath and stepped down. Another two steps and I felt the harness grip me in a way that was way too familiar. 

“Okay, this is as far as I can go.” I imagined that my voice sounded calm and collected. Like it belonged to an experienced health care professional who was used to making life and death decisions. Sadly, I am pretty sure I sounded more like a squeaky 6 year-old.

“Ok, then just sit back into the harness, step off and you’ll be on your way.”

Our guide still sounded way too cheerful for my liking.

“I’m only on the second step and the harness has me. Do I have to go down another step?” Was it my imagination or was Darren’s voice a notch or two higher then it usually is too?

I glanced over at my husband cinched up in his matching harness a few metres away from me on the same platform. Apparently, we were going to have the dubious honour of ziplining together.

“Just step off and go!” our tour guide called out to both of us.

Suddenly, the scene from Indiana Jones when Indy had to take a leap of Faith by stepping out onto nothing (when there was actually a bridge that blended in completely with the canyon wall) flashed through my mind. Here goes nothing! I thought as I took my own personal leap of Faith.

And then I was flying through the air. More like a terrified-seated-woman-clinging-onto-the-strap-of-her harness flying than soaring like a bird flying, but flying nonetheless. I can’t even describe what if felt like as I sailed across the valley, the trees whistling by below me. It made me want to laugh and scream at the same time.

I saw Darren zipping on his line out ahead of me and picking up speed. I was wondering how I could possibly catch up to him when for some reason I started to spin. Ok, zipping forward was one thing, but making me zip backward was just mean! Fortunately, a few seconds later, I spun back again. And then as my pulley hit the brake line and my feet hit the wood of the ramp on the receiving platform, it was over. My flight was over. Darren was there ahead of me and showed me his slightly shaking hand. I grinned at him and said, “That was fun!” He laughed and said “Terrifyingly awesome! Let’s do it again!”

Here's the group shot with our guides Keir and Aldo, from Ziptrek, and the two Heathers, our adventure partners for the days.

Photo credits: Ziptrek staff photographers.