Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Canyoning for Dummies

Its been a month since coming back from vacation and it feels like its been forever. "Sunday evening depression" sets in once I realize the weekend is over and dreaded Monday morning is approaching. The only thing that keeps me sane is planning the next vacation and looking back on great memories. Here is my favorite memory from Costa Rica:

There were 2 things that I had on my "to do" list: zip lining and whitewater rafting. My girlfriend wasn't excited about either after I "calmed" her nerves by describing how high, fast, and dangerous the activities would be. I didn't have a third excursion planned so I checked the hotel's listings. I came across something called "Canyoning" and it was described as a "trek through the forest on magical trails that lead to some of the most spectacular waterfalls". I thought it was the perfect compromise since the crazier activities were planned for later in the week. We arrive at base camp and the instructors put safety harnesses on us (I figured it was just a safety precaution for the hike). We follow a path and I can hear the slight roar of a waterfall. We stop at a platform and the instructors unpack the wet ropes and drop them over the side (huh!?). The safety instructions went like this: "Are you right handed or left handed? Keep your left hand on the rope above your head and never let go. Your right hand is kept to your side and you let it go slightly to give you slack to go down. Keep your legs bent in front of you at all times" (actual time spent on rapelling instructions: 30 seconds). Translation:

- If you let go of the rope in your left hand, your body will turn and your shoulder will smash into the cliff.
- If you let go of the rope in your right hand, you drop violently until the safety rope kicks in (and you smash into the cliff).
- If you don't keep your legs bent in front of you, you smash into the cliff.

I look over the side and realized the slight roar that I heard before was the waterfall beneath us. I can only see the top of trees below and ask how high the first waterfall was: 160 feet. "OK my friends, who wants to go first?"

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