For all of my life—or at least for as long as I can remember—I have had acrophobia—an irrational fear of heights. I could barely stand looking down from a second story window without a panic attack. I remember going to New York with my parents, taking the elevator to the top of the Empire state Building and being afraid to go close even to the observation spots. I could just see the protective wall and screening falling away and me falling all the way to the ground. Splat!
As I got older I tried to conquer that fear. I tried deep breathing when I was at a high place. I tried imagining I was only two feet from the ground. Yeah, well, that didn’t work too well. I scared myself so much looking down from the fifteenth floor window of a hotel room that I refused to get a room higher than the second floor after that.
So I moved along through life, avoiding heights at all costs. Telling people I got nosebleed if I got higher the ten feet from the ground. All kinds of stories. Then some friends of mine, who are RVing around the country, sent pictures of themselves ziplining. And it just looked like so much fun.
What is zip lining, you ask? A zipline consists of a pulley suspended on a cable, usually made of stainless steel, mounted on an incline. It is designed to enable a user propelled by gravity to travel from the top to the bottom of the inclined cable by holding on to, or attaching to, the freely moving pulley.
Now of course you’d say, are you crazy? A woman with acrophobia wants to go ziplining? But the more I thought about it the more I wanted to do it. So a few years ago when I took my family to Las Vegas over Christmas, my daughter made arrangements for us to go ziplining over Bootleg Canyon.
It was quite an adventure. First, a van takes you as closed to the top of the mountain as it can drive. Then the guides give you what felt like ten thousand pounds of gear to haul the rest of eh way to the top. When they asked if someone needed help with that I raised my hand. You bet. And huge thanks to my son and son-in-law who walked with me every step of the way on that twisty path to the summit.
I was so proud of myself that I didn’t get nervous our faint or throw up, even though we kept going higher and higher. At the top is a wide platform with four places for people to hook up. The guides help you into the safety harnesses and make sure every buckle is buckled and every strap in ;place. Then they position you on the platform and hook you to the pulley.
The zipline is in four separate sections, each section 2,000 feet long. There you are on the platform, and below you, more than a mile, is gorgeous Bootleg Canyon.
And there I was, flying over the canyon at sixty miles an hour.
And I wasn’t afraid!
It was actually exhilarating. And freeing. It was unlike anything I’d ever felt before.
And I was so proud of myself when I worked my legs and body at the approach to the next problem, landing without kicking anyone or destroying myself. At each station there is a guide who unhooks you from that pulley and hooks you up to the next one. So there I was, off again flying over Bootleg Canyon.
And enjoying it!
Can I just say it was one of the most exhilarating things I have ever done. And surprise! I was ready to do it again!
As you can see by the pictures, it really was a blast.
Since then I have actually stayed in hotel rooms as nigh as the twenty-third floor and not had the urge to throw up or fall down on the floor.
And I can’t wait to go ziplining again.