“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain
A few months ago my book club chose a Mark Twain novel to read and discuss. When we all sat down to dig into the book together I discovered I had a completely different view of the ending than the rest of the group. I actually thought to myself I must know something that they don’t about Mark Twain and his writing. After this weekend I am sure that Mark and I would have been kindred spirits and I know that if he were alive today he would be an Adventure Girl.
Heather teased us with details for a month prior to the adventure. She talked wind, weather and all things that had me thinking HOT AIR BALLOON! My girls, Patty and Tina, texted with me and we pretty much decided that we would bring a blanket, some wine and cheese and watch the rest of the girls fly into the clouds in the fire balloon. We would still have a blast, but we would be on the ground.
We met at Panera at 7AM! Early morning for these girls and we were so excited that Kelly was back with us after taking some time off to be with her gorgeous newborn. I was terrified to order coffee because of the pee factor. We had a long drive and at this point we still didn’t know what we would be doing. She finally spilled the scary beans and told us we would be heading to Luray to go mountain climbing and repelling. We all jumped in Heather’s car and headed on out at precisely 7:30AM. It was right around 9AM that we (maybe just me) realized that mountain climbing is not the same as hiking. We also received a voicemail from our adventure guide that said, “Hi ladies. I assume you are on your way. I just want to let you know to stop in New Market should you need to use the restroom because that is the last civilized place to do so.” It was like he already knew us at a soul level.
There was so much laughter on this car ride as we reflected on our past 24 adventures. Maryhelen asked the question, “What was your favorite adventure and which one scared/challenged you the most?” We took turns answering the question and the same adventures kept coming up. Trapeze, surfing and rafting came up as favorites. The most challenging seemed to be spelunking and trapeze. After today I think that answer might have changed. We had so much fun talking about the hilarious moments together over the past 4 years. 4 years! I can’t believe it. Where has the time gone?
Ok, there is no way to describe this day with words alone so I am going to take you through a picture tutorial on what to do and what not to do while repeling/mountainclimbing/goat trail hiking.
1) Do: Take every opportunity to photograph yourself helping out the group. These two gals volunteered to carry the repelling gear to our cliff. The two girls that volunteered to carry it up the goat trail at the end of the adventure did not take a picture. Now I don’t remember who the bad-a%4’es were that did it, so it is like it never happened.
2) Do: Make sure you take pictures of the trail you are on just in case you can’t find your way home and need to call for help. Also, while hiking to a repelling cliff on a trail named Storybook Trail try to visualize yourself in the story “Let it Go” instead of “Tangled”.
3) Do: While inching your way to the repelling cliff platform pretend you don’t see rocks sliding off said cliff and pretend you don’t hear the rock hit the ground 30 minutes later. 90 feet is much higher than you can imagine.
4) Do: Go first. Although it is scary to be the first to repel into the unknown I can say with certainty if I had watched yellow helmet after yellow helmet disappear over that cliff I probably would have asked for an alternate route down.
5) Do: Make certain to reflect on what you have just accomplished. It is amazing what you can do if you listen to that little voice that says, “just walk through the fear”. It helps when the little voice comes from your Mark Twain quoting guide. If ever you need motivation please google Twain quotes. Before beginning the repel our guide, Lester, told us about how Marky Mark said, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” He went on to explain that if standing in front of you is your biggest fear you can actually take your hand and pass your hand through the fear. Because fear is just an emotion there is nothing there, but the fear itself. But, if you turn away and run FROM the fear you will find that should you face that same fear again it will be much bigger. The best thing to do is breathe and walk through it and by doing so you make it so small that it is no longer a fear, but a challenge. I loved his motivational talks throughout the day. I got so much out of it that I know when anxiety and fear creep up on me again (they do often) that I have a few quotes in my back pocket to calm myself. The white cliff you see in the distance of this picture is what we repelled down. Holy Smokes!
6) Do: Realize that MH, no matter what silly, fat-pinching get up she is put into will never, ever look ridiculous and that she truly believes she does. The sooner you realize that, the sooner you will love her and not be green with envy.
7) Do: Even when you are wiped, take a moment to swing over to your friend and high-five her for a job well done. Friendship is all about the little moments that you can grab together in this crazy train of life.
8) Do: Be like Tina. There is never an adventure that she doesn’t seize the moment to take a posed picture and make sure her lip gloss is close at hand for touch-ups. The one of her on the mountain. Too. Too. Much. No one should look that cute.
9) Do: If you hear the words Goat Trail run in the opposite direction. Even if Mark Twain is whispering for you do the opposite.
10) And for my first Don’t: Don’t do Don’t. As Lester would say, “Keep it Positive. Keep it Natural. Keep it Safe.”
Thank you Heather for a thrilling day in Loo-Ray! We will never forget it.
Next Up: Maryhelen and Tina are planning our October adventure. Cannot wait!