“Do one thing that scares you every day,” the bumper sticker says. In that case, I think I’ve saved up enough terror for the next couple of months. Because this weekend, some friends and I went to Whistler for zip-lining. Sound familiar? Yes. But this was a brand new tour, way more intense, with longer and steeper lines. Plus a really hot guide, though that wasn’t advertised.
The ziplining was hella fun, though my fear of heights really kicked up. I mean, yes, I kind of expected it, being a hundred feet up and all, but I’ve already been through this! Shouldn’t I have become desensitized to gliding through the air, just a little? Hmph. Well, the first line wasn’t bad. I went through it with nary a flutter in my stomach. The second and third, though? Flying over Fitzsimmons Creek? Not so easy.
The fourth was hardest, because I could see exactly how long it was, and how far down to the ground. Hell, the station was above the tops of some of the trees, and the next one was waay down in the valley (about 2000 feet away and 20 storeys down, so the guides said)! So, just like four years ago, I had to force myself forward until gravity took over.
The stations on this trek had four or five steps, down which you walked until your harness picked you up. On the fourth station I inched down those steps, taking advantage of every distraction, using my camera as a shield against the terrifying heights. Hey, that’s some lovely scenery! (it really was, too) *click* Oh, look, lichen! How interesting, I must take a picture this second!
I made it down—and across—eventually, but it was a hell of a chore. The last line wasn’t so hard, though I chickened out of trying to zip upside down.
Well, that’s okay. There’s always next time. I shouldn’t be too hard on myself, because after all it’s been four years since I did anything like this. And I wonder if maybe my fear of heights has gotten worse since my little ATV accident. I think I was a little twitchier than normal on my flight back East—not the parts where I took awesome pictures of the Prairies and lakes and whatnot, but the parts where we landed in Toronto and Ottawa amidst bad weather and a little turbulence. And I was very twitchy on the flight to Victoria a couple weeks ago, though that could have just been a healthy survival instinct. It’s hard to be objective about your own phobias, am I right?
But here’s the thing about fears: you have to face them. So what I’m doing now is studying for the NAGVA referee certification exam. Queen Vicki is coming up soon. Though I’m the most experienced ref on my team, I haven’t reffed in a major tournament in ages, and frankly I’m pretty intimidated. But hey, it’ll be an experience. As far as experiences go, maybe as much of a rush as zooming over the treetops above Whistler at a hundred kph.