Below and Above

We took off for a family adventure last weekend; it was a birthday present for that guy I call husband. He’s impossible to shop for:  he is not the gadget guy equivalent of my gadget girl, clothes are ho-hum in his opinion and there is no fancy finery he pines for. What he does like are cool experiences shared with his family. In years past it has been things like kayaking, scavenger hunts, hiking,  private plane rides, and last year I had promised him a zip line adventure. Then, I got stuck in the sky, well, the airport actually, in Denver on the way home from a conference, and we missed the whole day.

We made up for that this year and headed south + east of our zip code and made our way to the Mother Lode country. Theres gold in them thar hills. If only…

We started out with a journey to the center of the earth. Ok, just 165 feet  below the surface. 262 stairs down…262 stairs up.

Almost.

See, we got about 10 stairs down [see that first set of stairs in the image below],  and my kiddo decided something. He. Did. Not. Want. To. Go. Down.  His decision was firm, there was nothing wishy washy about it. But we had about 30 people behind us on a stairway maybe 2 feet across. We had to keep going, but we hear this,

“You can’t make me do it”

Well, sort of. He had to get to the bottom of the wooden staircase before we could pull away from the rest of the group.

We tried to allay his fears, but there would be no discussion.  So, birthday boy took the plunge to the depths of the earth while the kiddo and I remained on the landing.  We watched two guys rappel down through that ‘tube/chute’  – they floated down on ropes all 165′ down to the bottom.  All I could think, ‘you can’t make me do it!”

Do you know the difference between a stalagtite and a stalagmite?

I do. Now!

So, once back up in the light of day, above the earth’s crusty exterior, my kiddo is smiling again.  We had a little chat about fears, facing them and courage.  We were getting ready to take a little ride. A 1500 foot long ride, many feet above the ground. A zip line ride.  The harness doesn’t accommodate fear very well…

Sometimes, two heads are just better than one.  That’s when we ride tandem. He is old enough and weighs enough to ride solo, but based on the cave experience, we figured together is better.

We got geared up…

…and made our approach to the launch tower.  I have to admit, I was nervous as we went higher and higher and then when I caught a glimpse of the cables stretching out in front of us for what felt like forever, my belly did some flip flops and I began to question my sanity.

And I wondered about my kiddo.

He was riding tandem with his dad and I was getting set up to launch next to them.

[Launch = jump off a perfectly stable and perfectly fine platform…]

Together, they took the leap…

 …and they did great and make the perfect landing.  My fears about my son being afraid were unecessary! Whew!

 I shot a video as I screamed woo-hoo-ed my way down the cable on our first ride.  I will spare you that. You’re welcome.

We all loved it and couldn’t wait to ride again, so kiddo and I went tandem

and this guy flew like Superman!

The best moment was when I hear the kid strapped to my lap exclaim,

“This is awesome!”

as we went screaming through the air

Then it was on to the 38′ climbing tower. This time, it was my turn for fear to get the best of me. I was about to reach the top and ring that elusive bell when I just  wouldn’t couldn’t  go any higher. I was [enthusiastically] expressing my fear and trepidation about going any higher while the kiddo was at the bottom encouraging me and cheering me on.

The irony of the situation was not lost on me…here we were again having a ‘little chat’ about facing your fears…

So, I gave it what I had, and my brain said go, but my arms wimped out and my fear of falling prevailed. Yes, belay was on, but there is something unnatural about letting yourself fall…

The kid made it to the top though and rang that bell. Later, I was very proud of him when he said that was his favorite moment of the day. I was proud that despite the thrill and the instant fun of the zip line ride, for him, his best moment was an accomplishment only he could take credit for.

I regret not trying again to make it to the top and push a little harder, dig a little deeper, but it’s more important to me that my son had that moment of success and victory!

Apparently, Superman is also part Spiderman. Yes, he rang the bell too. 2 out of 3. Sigh…

On the way, home cruising through the charming old time towns;  we could just imagine them in their hey day, before time marched on.

But for us, I’d say, hands down, that our day was no less than…

It was indeed a very good day, and while I tease my husband, a day below and above the earth is much more fun than a new shirt. But, he got that too 🙂

Cheers!

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4 thoughts on “Below and Above

  1. You rock!!! really. how much fun was that day? landing waiting and all. i might have been with him on that one. i used to know the difference between stalagtite and a stalagmite but can’t remember now. is one made of rock and the other ice? that brain filing cabinet is currently too full to find the information. whether you rang the bell or not, you did ‘moooy bueno’.

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    • Thanks!!! It was such a fun day – and tho I tease my husband about being ‘difficult’ to buy for, I am always glad for our adventures and fun experiences that we end up having for his birthday! The cave was pretty cool and a bit overwhelming…I could respect his fears for sure. Ok, so here is what I learned that day…Stalagtite = formations that grow down from the ceiling [they hang ‘tite’ from above] and stalagmite = formations that grow up from the ground [they ‘mite” make it to the top]. Cool way to remember them – at least for a week! ha! It was indeed a mooey bueno day…wasn’t that truck perfect?!

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