Our Westcoast Air float plane landed on Green Lake in Whistler yesterday, and it felt like we went over a bunch of speed bumps, minus the major headache. Luckily, those privy to our arrival–meaning the emerald green lake and the beautiful log cabins–distracted me enough that I couldn’t think about freaking out, just yet.
That episode would come during our strapping afternoon, high above somewhere between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. That’s because I decided to take the plunge: I was going ziptrekking with Whistler’s own Ziptrek Ecotours.
It’s been described many things; heart-plunging, exhilarating, knee-shaking and dare devilish, and ziptrekking can be all those things. But to me the most prevalent feeling I got was just being able to let go and act like a little kid again. For many of us, that is a scary thought.
Dressed in a complex series of wires and pulleys, I weighed six and a half pounds more than usual, as we made a practice run through the course just above Whistler Village. Needless to say, I think I look pretty cute in a hard hat.
A little nervous as I gently let go and let gravity pull me down the line, I couldn’t help but shriek as I gained speed. I could hardly wait to go into the rainforest and ride down a series of four lines, different lengths and speeds and get the real experience.
Standing on a tree house type of an observation platform made of Western red cedar, we were amongst ancient old growth Douglas Fir forests overlooking a 200-foot drop down to Fitzsimmons Creek.
Soon, my climbing harness would be attached to the steel cables that swung from the Whistler to the Blackcomb Mountain sides and I would be like a cute monkey, just swinging across the line. No worries. So with anticipation building, I volunteered to go first.
Looking below me, there were three steps separating the elusive “down there” from the very real “up here” where I was standing. Why the irrational and fear-mongering thoughts need to start a conversation in my head at that very moment, I’m not sure, but I took care of them.
At this point, everything got quiet around me except for the noise of the rushing creek below. As if in slow motion, I grabbed my yellow rope below the waist and started moving off the ledge.
Feeling a loss of control, I teetered a bit and then just went for it. Gravity was leading me now, as I zipped down the line and I gained speed. Feeling free as a bird, I let go of the rope and spread my arms out to my sides.
For that one second, I felt innocent again. I forgot about my worries, my experiences of heartache and disappointments, and things I needed to get done that afternoon. I was just floating above the creek, in the forest with a giant smile on my face.
Now that’s a thrill, isn’t it?