In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Victory.”
This week’s challenge reminded me of a personal victory I had while visiting Alaska. First it was a personal victory to even visit this massive state – it was a dream since my youth.
Zip lining is something I was familiar with and had an experience with once when I brought a foster child I was working with to Adirondack Experience for a reunion visit. There were a dozen girls who were at the reunion, many from the urban areas and attending the week in the Adirondacks was taking them out of their comfort zones. Add in the rope courses, zip lining and climbing poles was even further out of their element. The youth I brought wanted to climb up the tree ladder and experience the zip line but fear overtook her. I, with my fear of heights, hadn’t planned on participating but decided to show her that to overcome her fears she had to experience this, that day, for she may never have this experience again.
I slowly climbed the ladder, looking upward for fear if I looked down I would freeze. While in BASIC training with the Army I froze when climbing the various obstacles along the obstacle course but pushed forward because I wanted to lead the young girls who were in my company. I was 32 at the time serving with girls as young as 17 year olds old. So, climbing this tree with this young girl’s future in mind put enough pressure on me to climb to the top but this time I was in my late 40s. Once at the top, I sat and slid over to the guide. He locked me in to the harness and I scooted to the edge – feet dangling as I continued to look out and up at the trees. I leaned back and whispered for him to shove me off because I would never willingly jump off. He said lean forward. I asked for him to repeat. He did and added that I should look at the trees and lean forward. The girls were shouting encouragement from below and then I leaned over to look down at them and, I was flying in the air down through the trees so quick that it was all a blur. At the end the rope snapped tight and my feet continued onward out in front of me, then back behind me a few times until the weight of my body and gravity brought my body to a slow swing. The guide met my feet with a ladder and once my feet were secure I released the lock of the harness from the rope. The girls were cheering and I was still in disbelief. It was a wonderful feeling but my body continue to shake in response to the experience. I wasn’t ready to try again.
A decade later, my sister and I were checking out the excursions on the cruise ship and I decided zip lining in Alaska would add to my experience and fulfilled a few dreams – Alaska, temperate rain forest and zip lining. My sister declined the invitation so I went off on my own.
We road a boat across the bay to the island. Having an island of trees was pretty amazing to begin with. There were several zip lines throughout the adventure. The first wasn’t too long or too high – higher than the Adirondack Experience but compared to what was to come in hindsight it wasn’t. The trees were further apart as well. When I climbed the platform tears of joy filled my eyes – I was in Alaska, in a temperate rain forest zip lining. It was overwhelming. My knees were not quite as excited as they wobbled under me and my heart joined in with a little extra thump now and then. I was not going to let this stop me.
They buckle you up and off you go into the trees, sometimes not even knowing where you will land but I continued onward with others in my group.
I received my certificate and medal to show that I was victorious. Might have even stood a little taller and straighter that day. What better way to experience Alaska!!
Love and Light!