Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Victoria BC aka “Extreme This Vacation,” Day 2

The previous day set a pretty high bar of fun but took a lot out of us.  Because I was recovering from a cold prior to our arrival in Victoria, being on the scooter all afternoon set me back a little.  All morning, I sequestered myself in our room to rest up for what we had planned Saturday.  And I was going to need it. In keeping with doing things that are unexpected and possibly unwise, Ken and I arranged to do something called Wild Play.  Both of us had done Ropes Course team building exercises in the past so when Ken saw this as the #4 recommended thing on Trip Advisor for Victoria, we signed up.
According to the pamphlet, we were in store for “thrill-filled circuits of rope swings, wobbly bridges, tightropes, ladders, swinging logs and zip lines [that] create [an] exhilarating, suspended obstacle courses for all ages.”  All this while strapped into a harness and strung up 60 feet in the air.  It was liberating. Like ski slopes, they had blue, green, red and black levels to denote the level of difficulty and distance from the ground. I do have a fear of heights which makes this activity that much more exhilarating. Most of the time I focused on the tree ahead of me and where the safety line was lashed/bolted to the tree. Looking down made it worse so I just tried not to do it.  

This is my bad ass look.
The most difficult "game" was the crossing (pictured below) with the alternated hanging nets. That required a lot of upper body strength and was in the black (last and most difficult) section of the course. I was getting tired by then and it put me over the top. Unfortunately there is no exit from that point so I just had to keep going forward. Much of it was mental too. Shortly after that, there is a rung of 6 monkey bars to cross to get to a nearby tree. When I was in 3rd grade, I'd swing all day on something like that but at 37 with a lot more weight and much less upper body strength, I was getting really psyched out by the idea of crossing them. Our guide shouted up to me to grab the 3rd rung in and swing my legs to the next platform. That was so simple but I couldn't see it through my anxiety. Interesting how the mind does that.

This challenge was the hardest for me to navigate.  Zapped a lot of strength.

The zip lines are basically where you take a break from the hard stuff and trust your equipment. They got longer and higher as the course progressed. Those initial few were quite a challenge for me because it's not like you are sitting in a sling. There is a "pulley" that is thethered to your harness and you clip that on to the line as well as your safety clips. But that's it--your butt is just hanging out there and you have to sit back, extending your legs and arms as you rocket into a cushion attached to the tree.

I know this sounds ridiculous but when I got scared or doubtful, I just remembered that I'd given birth to another human being so this obstacle course was a cake walk comparatively.  I definitely felt braver once I internalized that.  (Not that everyone has to have a baby to know what they're capable of but it really helped me.)  

We successfully navigated the entire course.

After returning to the hotel and getting cleaned up, we wandered out to the harbour where on a barge was a stunt bike exhibition.  While rave-like music blared from the stage, riders jumped and flipped through the air.  We were dressed up for dinner and didn't quite fit in with the crowd filled with grungy, overtly tattooed 20-somethings with a thirst for Molson Beer.

We concluded our night with a quiet celebratory dinner at a quaint Italian restaurant called Cafe Brio.  It was cool because they did half orders of the entrees so you could try more than one thing.  Stay away from the duck, too dry and salty, but the Beef Pasta dish was sublime.   

Our trip to Victoria was wonderful in every way.  Ken will tell you it was too cold but I would say the 60 degree temperature was just right and no precipitation--so perfect.  Canadians are super nice and I love the way they say "sorry" with the long 'o'.  On the Victoria Clipper ride back, we sat next to some retired vacationing Australians who hit it off with Ken and chatted about Australia and computers.  Other than being completely exhausted, I was mentally refreshed and can't wait for our next adults-only trip. 

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