Monday, August 12, 2013

Mt. Hood. And Fear.

My friend Nicole is getting married and moving away next month. We threw her a bachelorette party on Friday night, and then on Sunday, Nicole and I headed up Mt. Hood.

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Razz in front of Mt. Hood

My weekend was super busy, so my dogs are off on a vacation at my mom's house, where they are probably having way more fun than they would have had sitting at home while I was gone. Nicole, of course, has her share of dogs as well, but only brought one of them along for our Mt. Hood trip.

Razz was super patient with us and our incessant picture taking, which was nice.

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Razz at the Timberline Lodge

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Razz, with the view down the mountain

And while you may have thought we only went up there for the view, we actually had a totally different goal in mind.

See, a few weeks ago, I found a Groupon online while browsing, and asked Nicole if she would join me. I thought for sure she would say no, but she said yes, so I bought two of them and we started making plans.

Bungee jumping. That is what the Groupon I found was for. Specifically, bungee jumping on the 100 ft bungee jump tower at Mt. Hood Skibowl Adventure Park. (And, the Adventure Park is even dog friendly, though the various attractions like bungee jumping and zip lining are obviously not appropriate for dogs to participate in.)

See, both me and Nicole are afraid of heights. My fear is pretty bad, though not so bad that it interferes with my life very much. Pretty much the worst is that I avoid standing near the edges of sheer drops offs and don't climb open staircases. Nicole was very encouraging, saying that she has forced herself to face her fears in a lot of different ways, and it has made it all much better for her. So we decided to go bungee jumping.

It was terrifying.

There was nothing at all fun about this.

First, they strap you into a rather elaborate harness. That part is fine. The walk up the really tall, totally open staircase was the first scary part. And it lasted way too long. Nicole almost turned around and came back down. I forced myself to keep going, knowing if I stopped, I wouldn't be able to go any farther.

Then, at the top of the tower, the metal grating that makes up the floor is totally see through. Completely full of holes. Totally scary as all get out. I VERY carefully made my way over to the end where I would be jumping. Me and Nicole took turns jumping so we could get pictures of each other. Nicole had a bit of a wait once she was on the tower, giving her time to go into near panic attacks a few times. When she finally got her turn, she hesitated a little bit, then just went for it.

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Nicole, part way through her jump

My turn came all too quickly. I didn't have time for a panic attack, because there was no one ahead of me in line. I basically got up the stairs and walked over to the staging area (clinging tightly to the railings the entire time, I promise you), got strapped in, and headed out onto the jump area of the platform.

And then I totally froze. I could stand there holding onto the railing, but nothing I did could convince my body it was a good idea to get anywhere near the edge of the platform. My hand would not let go of the railing. My feet would not move forward. Nicole snapped about 20 pictures of me standing there, totally frozen, because she kept thinking I would jump any second.

I finally asked the guy working up there to push me. It was either that or turn around and climb back down, and the thought of climbing down all those open stairs was almost as bad as jumping into the open air in front of me. It was amazing how far down 100 ft looked.

In the end, I crouched down near the edge of the platform, wrapped both arms firmly around the padding on the bungee (after a firm discussion with my hand to make it release the railing), and then the guy working there gave the bungee a firm tug, sending me off into space.

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Being pushed into a free fall

And it was every bit as terrifying as I thought it would be, and then some.

Every fiber in my body was screaming out that I was about to die. The free fall was the worst few seconds of my entire life. As the bungee started engaging and slowing me down, I was finally able to think a little bit. I thought that the worst part must be over. The bungee would bounce back up, I would know what to expect, and it would be better that time.

It wasn't.

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Partway through one of the bounces

The bounce back up took me almost as far as the jumping platform was to begin with. The free fall that followed was just as heart stoppingly scary. It is a good thing we went to the bathroom right before hand, otherwise I very likely would have, quite literally, peed my pants.

The next bounce was no better.

The only good part of the entire jump was when my feet finally touched the safety bag below me (which looked absurdly tiny and far away from up on the tower!).

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Finally touching back down

That smile is not a "oh what fun this is" smile. It is a smile of relief at finding the ground. At not having to bounce back up again. At still being alive.

I will never do anything of the sort again. No bungee jumping. No skydiving. None of that crazy, stupid nonsense.

Me and Nicole apparently both had the same final reaction to the jump. It was, bar none, the single most terrifying experience either of us had ever encountered. We went out for tacos afterwards, and spent pretty much the entire time talking about how horrible, scary, and totally petrifying the entire jump had been. We ate our tacos, then went and got ice cream. Because ice cream is needed when you are in a fragile mental state and just about died (or even when your entire body just thinks you just about died).

We shared some ice cream with Razz too.

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Pistachio ice cream for the Razzle

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Licking my bowl clean when I was done
In the end, I don't regret doing this. Me and Nicole had a great day hanging out (we even ran into a fellow flyball player completely out of the blue on the highway driving to Mt. Hood and stopped for coffee with her). Seeing Mt. Hood in the summer was really fun. Hanging out in general was really fun.

And honestly, both of us had thought about bungee jumping or skydiving plenty of times. So many people have one or the other, or both, on their bucket lists. So many people talk about how awesome it is. Even though we are both afraid of heights, it is something that sits the in the back of the mind, occasionally popping forward as if it would be a good idea.

We did it. We can both say that now. And even if we didn't like it, even if it was horrible, and terrifying, and all of those heart stopping emotions and craziness that there aren't even words sufficient to describe them, we did it.

Check that one off the list.

10 comments:

finnhoward said...

O.M.D. I would have the same reaction I am sure. Good for you for doing that! Mt. Hood looks beautiful!

Taryn said...

I would never, ever, ever have done that! EVER! My hat is off to the two of you for facing your fears so successfully!

I rode in one of those huge, huge ferris wheels and the car was ALL glass, even the floor. It freaked me out!

Oh, and I have one for you to try since you are now officially brave....how about the glass floor above the Grand Canyon ;-)

Flea said...

Holy crap. I was terrified just looking at the photos. Seriously. My heart stopped. Kudos to you both for doing this. No freakin' WAY.
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SlimDoggy said...

Good for you! You are much braver than I would ever be...so be proud of yourself! Abd ice cream at the end - perfect!

Diana said...

There is no way I could ever do that. When my son was younger he wanted to go down one of those tall water slides. Those ones where they go almost straight down and you race the person beside you. Yea, it freaked me out. And I thought my son would be terrified. We got to the bottom, I looked over at him. He said" that was great . Lets do it again". I told him to go get his dad so he could have a turn. That's the last time I did anything like that. Lol

The Squirrel Patrol said...

Fear of heights is a funny thing. Put me on something high that is connected to the ground, like the edge of a building, a tall ladder, or the side of a bridge, and I'm entirely freaked out, holding onto rails or whatever for dear life. But jumping out of an airplane from 12,000 feet was easy. The longest freefall I did was 42 seconds, and while it seems like forever, I could have happily had twice as much time to do barrel rolls and the like. Then the last couple minutes of hanging under a parachute and doing spins and drops is another fun, but completely different, thing. Then the ground is 100 feet below you and it's time to start panicking about going 'SPLAT' again. :)

Paws on the Run said...

LOL Too funny. It is something I've never done, but have always wanted to - I'm not afraid of heights though. My husband tried sky diving one summer without me and was so motion sick he had to call in sick for work! :)

Dom said...

So gorgeous.

And I would do that in a heart beat.

Greyhounds CAN Sit said...

Razz is gorgeous. I've done a 'up' bungy to keep a mad girlfriend company. NEVER AGAIN!!! I had the same experience of being terrified as you. And with an up bungy they leave you up there for what seems like forever before bringing you down to earth. I've done it but it's not my idea of a buzz at all! It wasn't even on my bucket list!

Nicki said...

I have never wanted to bungee jump and now I know that I never will. lol