Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Cindy Takes the Big Plunge

I seem to have had more than my share of big adventures lately and I hesitate to blog about yet another one but this was so supremely cool I have to share. And I have a point to make buried in here somewhere so hang on and I’ll get to it. :o)

Let me preface said ‘point’ with a little background info. Three years ago I hiked the Grand Canyon. Yup. 11.3 miles down Bright Angel Trail and 2 days later, 11.3 miles back up. Let me tell you. This hike is NOT for the faint of body or heart. It was grueling. It was also the most beautiful, spiritually fulfilling journey I’ve ever made. Sort of an “I am woman hear me roar” experience. I made the trip with 2 of my friends and we did not take the task lightly. We trained and read up on all the perils and dangers of the Canyon and prepared ourselves for the adventure. And when we stood on the South rim of that magnificent hole, looking down and down and down we were scared. Really. We carried a gallon of water each, trail mix for protein, salt and carbs to keep our electrolytes in balance and made sure we had first aid supplies – the whole shebang. It was truly a treacherous but fulfilling adventure. And painful. Did I mention the pain? Muscles strains, joint pain, bleeding blisters – you get the picture.

So, why am I talking about this today? Because ever since I hiked the Canyon I’ve been determined to go back … see it from a different perspective this time, uncluttered by the concerns of the physical stress of the hike, the real probability of having to be air lifted out by helicopter if I were injured, a snake or scorpion bite, etc. Soooo … last week, I did it. I went back to the Canyon only this time instead of hiking in, I flew with 6 of my friends on a 10 passenger mini plane piloted by a Doogie Howser clone to the rim of the canyon where we boarded – get this – a helicopter that flew us to the bottom of the canyon where we boarded a J-rig raft with 11 GREAT guys (now THAT was a hardship :o) and proceeded to white water raft and camp for 3 days.

Do I know how to push the envelope or what?? It was an amazing trip. Gorgeous scenery, incredible sights – I did mention the 11 guys, right?? – fabulous food and spectacular hiking adventures along the way.

Okay. Finally, my point. Here’s a photo of me jumping off a 30 foot cliff into the river.

Yeah. The Big Plunge. Now the teeny tiny plane and the super young pilot rattled me. The helicopter ride – a first for me – scared me. The white water rapids were white knuckle and screaming all the way. But the leap from the cliff TERRIFIED me. It was by no means mandatory. No one did any goading. No one called me chicken as I stood on the edge and peaked over into the abyss. So what made me do it? I don’t know. Would I do it again? Probably not. But right then, right there, in that moment, I felt like I could do anything, survive anything, triumph over anything. And that, my friends, is an amazing feeling.

And that finally leads me to ask, what about you? What envelopes have you pushed lately? How far have you tested your mettle? What would you like to do that scares you half to death? And the big question, with life being so precious and short, how long can you afford to put off doing that one thing you’ve been afraid to do? Tell me, tell me. I want to know …

For those of you who have never published comments before and have that puzzled look on your face, just click on comments, type what you want in the box, chose: anonymous as your identity, click publish and you're done - unless a pop up asking you to verify some letters comes up then just do that and THEN you're done :o) Don't be shy...


Keri Ford said...

I want to ride a horse around a race track. Yep, I want to straddle a animal, lock it up in a gate with me on it, and then shoot out of the stall and go from 0-to oh, say (guessing, could be slower or faster) 30 miles per hour in under two seconds. If I don’t end up with whiplash from the start up, I think it would be the most exhilarating thing I’ve ever done.

When I was little we went to Dogpatch (a little theme park in Arkansas that is now closed down). I climbed on the wooden roller coaster and I don’t remember how long I stay on before the sucker broke and we were stuck in the car…on the track…high up in the air. I was a toddler. I don’t know what my parents were thinking to even put me on. Been scared to death of them ever since until a few years back. I stood face to face with a huge inverted (the kind where your feet dangle) steel coaster that twisted, turned, and flipped up side down. I must have rode that coaster ten times that day. It was glorious.

Cindy, how did you like the helicopter ride? My DH insisted we take a ride over Maui on our honeymoon. I was sooo sick (not so bad I spilled my breakfast, but getting close). We had a nutty pilot who would more often than not jerk the stick back and to the right/left hard.

Cindy Gerard said...

Wow Keri. You're truly brave to conquer your fear of roller coasters. I don't know if I could have done that. And the race horse wish sounds awesome. I hope you get to do it some day!!
As to the chopper - it was really pretty cool and going in, that chopper ride scared me more than the prospect of white water rafting. The biggest stomach-
dipping moment of the chopper ride was when we cleared the edge of the canyon rim. It felt like the world just dropped away. Breathtaking!!

Anonymous said...

Cindy, got your new book last night - purchased from my local B&N. Dutifully read the first few chapters, jumped to read the end, and skimmed for the good parts.

I couldn't wait, it was getting SOOOO late and I had to sleep.

Now, this weekend, I can restart at the beginning, and go from there.

Big thing I'd like to do . . . haven't managed it yet. . . Hang-gliding. Someday.

Marcia in OK

Cindy Gerard said...

Marcia - HI!!
Hang-gliding. That's on my list too. You'll have to let me know WHEN you manage that brave feat!
And thanks for buying DARK. Hope you enjoy the ENTIRE book :o)

Susan Kay Law said...

I'm a chicken. Kind of. I figure if I don't WANT to do something I'm an idiot if I do it just to prove something.

I adore rollercoasters - my kids used to brag to their friends, whenever they were at an amusement park: Oh, my MOM would ride that.

I ski, but pretty controlled. But there's no way you could pay me enough to something like hangglide or jump out of an airplane. Nope, no way. Have zero interest in it.

I'm afraid of flying, but I still do it pretty routinely, mostly because I like what happens when I get there too much too give it.

I have - count 'em - 9 flights scheduled in the next three weeks. We'll see how it goes.


Helen Brenna said...

My problem is wanting to do too much. Would love to do that same type of hike you did in the Grand Canyon, Cindy. Would also someday like to hike the Inca Trail in Peru. I could probably go on and on. And on.

Betina Krahn said...

Cindy, you're my hero!

I confess, I'm not a daredevil. I used to do roller coasters, but haven't in some years. Last week we went to Busch Gardens (6 huge coasters!) and just as I was getting up nerve to go on one of the biggies, we had to leave. Now I'm determined we'll go back and I'll ride one before the summer's over.

I have done some gentle whitewater canoing. . . which I loved. I think I'd love whitewater rafting, but Florida's not the place. I've never been on a plane smaller than a twelve-seater. . . but I have been swimming with dolphins. :)

I'd love to go on a big game photo safari in Kenya. You know-- I do love cars and I think I'd love to drive a race track in a car with a big, powerful engine! I'm a real fan of speed.

Anonymous said...

I always wanted to ride in RAGBRAI (Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) and I did it....all 535 miles! I always wanted to hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and I did it. I always wanted to white water raft the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon and I did it a week ago with 5 awesome women. I never wanted to jump off a 30 foot cliff into the didn't. Besides, Cindy, who would have photographed you taking "the leap of faith"? You were very courageous Cindy, as were 3 others in our group that had that desire. One was a little "iffy" as she got down on all fours and peered over the edge. She did finally take the plunge tho!
It was a trip I will never forget. Did I mention the 11 great guys that were on our J-rig?
Now I want to raft the upper canyon. Get ready girls!!!!


Anonymous said...

For one of our major anniversaries (that means one marking several decades of marriage) my husband suggested a trip to a beach resort in Mexico. After I got all excited, he told me it was a nudist resort. I got un-excited. I'd been skinny-dipping in the privacy of a backyard pool, but baring it all -- and it was "all that had borne a couple kids plus some abdominal surgery) was just a little more than I thought I could do. Then I started reading about nudist clubs and how it's not about sex but just about being open and free and shedding the veneers of society that hide the real us. So I agreed, knowing I could put on clothes if I was totally uncomfortable.

Guess what? I LOVED it! The people we met were the nicest folks. And yes, I stared at my share of men and women's bodies. But after a while I didn't notice anymore. Really. I'm hoping he'll suggest a return trip to mark that next decade -- or half-decade -- of marriage. I'll go in a heartbeat and it sure makes packing easy. LOL!

Cindy Gerard said...

Susie - NINE Flights? man, I hope it's for something gun. Facing the security nightmare a couple times a year is plenty brave for me.

Helen - Ah Peru. Ever since I set part of a book there, I've wanted to visit. And the Inca trail - what a rush that would be. Of course, I'd be clutching my tummy and gasping for air as I do not do well with high elevation. but you go, girl.

Betina - you sound like a dare devil to me! I have to confess. I don't do roller coasters. How's that for cowardly? You HAVE done them so you have bragging rights.

Cindy Gerard said...

Hey Dianne! Waving madly.
Dianne, obviously is one of my rafting buddies and an amazing photographer. As she said, she got the money shot of me going off the cliff. And I can't imagine riding all 500+ miles on RAGBRAI, in Iowa in July in the 90+ degree heat. Now that's brave!!

Cindy Gerard said...

Wow! A nudist resort. Now that IS brave. Good for you. I get scared looking at my naked self in the mirror. No way would I have the nerve to bare it all to strangers.
You go girl!!

Susan Kay Law said...

Okay, anonymous, I have to know this. Always been curious.

The whole nudist-in-the-tropics things . . . it's not so much I'm too embarassed (childbirth cured me of that completely. I had all sorts of weird complications and they keep trotting in interns and nursing students to stare at my private parts.) but that, well, don't things BURN? Things that shouldn't burn?

I don't know if I trust my sunblock that much.


Playground Monitor said...

Oh. My. Gosh! Cindy you are just too brave. The whole hiking and helicoptering and rafting is one thing, but that jump. I might do it if someone had a gun to my head. OTOH, the fall might kill me anyway, so just shoot!

I'm adventurous but in a less physical way. When we were 25 my husband and I packed up and moved halfway around the world for his job with the government. We lived in Germany during the days of the Berlin Wall and the Iranian hostages. Of course it wasn't all drama. We got to travel a lot because his job required it. So many times I just tagged along. I've seen London, Paris and Rome, ridden a camel at the Pyramids, walked where Jesus walked in Jerusalem, been to the Acropolis in Athens, skiied the Austrian Alps, enjoyed seeing the Lippizaner Stallions perform in Vienna and strolled the Red Light district in Amsterdam (it was safe during the day and believe it or not, I was with my mom).

Now that we're empty nesters, we head off at the drop of a hat and my husband has this big bad-boy Harley that we love to take for rides in the country. Sometime this summer we're going to do our first overnight trip on the bike.


Anonymous said...

Cindy - As one of the five women on that rafting trip with you, I have to agree the whole journey was thrilling. Even though I'd bungie jumped, that was years ago so facing that cliff edge was heart pounding. So glad I did it - it just reminded me how a little adrenaline and superior travel companions can inspire us - but the leap, itself, was a personal decision. My mantra, after the plunge, "I can do anything!" So, it looks like skydiving is next. Luv you, man, Susan

Kaitlin said...

I've got a lot of weird phobias...tall buildings & heights being the 2 that get me every single time. *sigh* But, I would really, really like to go to the top of the Empire State Building someday. I'd probably break the hand of whomever was with me, but whatever. :)

Kaitlin said...

Read Into The Dark the day before yesterday. It was good. I reviewed it on my blog...nothing harsh, so no worries. :)

Cindy Gerard said...

I sooo envy you all of your traveling when you were younger. I'm trying to catch up now! And it is brave to uproot your life the way you did. You were really smart to cash in on that opportunity.
And a Harley?? too much fun!!

Anonymous said...

well, don't things BURN? Things that shouldn't burn?

Well, yes. But you can help a little with some au naturale visits to a tanning bed to slowly expose those things that have never seen the sunshine. And sunblock is essential. And dark glasses and a big hat. And lots of moisturizer.

Cindy Gerard said...

Hey Susan, buddy
Sky diving? I believe you WILL do it. I believe I WILL watch you do it. Luv you too, mannnnn

Cindy Gerard said...

Trust me. You can do the Empire State Building. I know it looks small at the top when looking up, but when you get UP there, it's amazing how big and roomy it is and you really don't get a feeling of horrific heights. It's a really great adventure.
And thanks for blogging about DARK. If I knew your url, I'd go take a peek:o)

Cindy Gerard said...

Oh, you can bet I'd have dark glasses on. And a big hat. And a big blanket :o)

Christie Ridgway said...

Wow. You guys amaze me. I =have= hiked the Grand Canyon (loved it) and would due white water rafting there (have done it elsewhere) but I don't want to jump from anything. For sure.

Son 2 and husband found a great spot in Kaui (e-mail me and I'll pass it along, it's not easy to find) but though Son 1 finally took the plunge, I hung back. I went to college with a bunch of daredevils and finally realized I only need to do what I want to do.

Nudist colony! Wow. Okay, I have to know the kind of people who go to those. I've been to a nude beach in the area, as well as the topless beaches in Mexican resorts I've visited, and I did realize everyone isn't a hardbody. But I just didn't get the allure.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I have to know the kind of people who go to those.

First off, ants live in colonies; nudists live in resorts. :grin:

The kind of people? I've met doctors, lawyers, a major music company artists' rep, a Hollywood movie producer, an FBI agent, a minister, truck drivers, factory workers, homemakers, teachers, nurses, military personnel, young folks, old folks, rich folks, not-so-rich folks, thin folks, not-so-thin folks and folks of all races.

Strip away the clothes and you can't tell who's who. It pretty much levels the playing field and at that point you get down to truthful communication.

I understand that it's not for everyone. That's the great thing about choice and free will, ain't it?

Anonymous said...

One member of Team UFFDA reporting in. What a trip indeed. The cliff dive was a hi-lite for all to be topped only by the severe attacks of laugher that just kept coming and comoing and ....I am in you Man!
Cindy (not the author)

Anonymous said...

So, Cindy, you mention the 11 hot guys twice, did you get to "hook up" with any of them????!!!! The trip might be worth it just for that alone!!