Well I believe I am. So what could possibly be wrong with a little adrenaline to the system now and then?
Disclaimer: In an attempt to get The Dad blogging again, I asked him to write this post with me….he has edited a few words here and there.
Recently I was booked for training in Port Elizabeth. The training turned into a slightly extended stay with my family, which in turn became a week-long family holiday thanks to Fly Safair and their R3 tickets!
The kids got to see their grandparents, TheDad got a small vacation, and in the end it seemed that I only got to tag along to dabble with some work.
My Dad, bless his soul, decided that the perfect belated birthday present would be to take us ziplining at a little place he discovered named Adrenalin Addo. He’d been before and the video footage made the experience seem tame enough. I refer you now to my opening paragraph so that you may follow my logic. So I agreed.
Crazy-early last Friday morning the whole family woke up, bundled blearily into the MPV, and we were off on our adventure.
Some highway, some dirt road, and a nap (for the kids) later we arrived.
Don your harness, cross a small river by raft, hike a short vertical distance up a hill smiling all the way, zipline down. Get a few photos.
Cellphone footage does NOT accurately depict gradients. I stood, shivering in my harness, staring up at the platform from whence we’d be barreling down and considered faking an injury.
The scale of the zipline was far greater than I had imagined.
But a deal is a deal, so our intrepid possè set off to the river. We were six in total, being my brother and his girlfriend, my father, TheDad, our guide, and myself.
At the water’s edge we all warily boarded the raft, everyone relaxed and jovial, except TheDad who’s strangely gone quite, and of course myself. I did the whole frozen-half-on-half-off thing, much to the giddy mirth of my baby bro. I imagine I performed a passable impersonation of a highwire trapeze artist, complete with those terrifying moments of nearly losing balance – usually followed by gasps of anxiety from a circus crowd below.
Since I am writing this, I’m sure you’ve surmised that I did, in fact, not die, and made it across.
Next, the small hike. If you ask TheDad, he’d tell you that it was a short and mild trek, barely enough to break even the idea of a sweat. But don’t be fooled! It was diabolical for me even if he and the rest of our group seemed to be skipping lightly up the rocky facade, or I imagine they were. It was difficult to tell from my place at the rear. . .
I neglected to mention that on top of being the slightest sliver of unfit, I was suffering from stomach spasms that day. Just so you know okay?
The hillside is stepped. Some were steep, and others steeper. Our guide stopped three times, not only for respite from what I thought to be The Climb of Death, but also to provide us with mind-blowing facts and adages from the surrounding countryside, all laced with his own particular brand of dry wit.
I’ve learned about the river (the Sundays) which can be the fastest flowing in SA in flood season; the citrus farming methods of the area; the geology (we were walking on an ancient seabed – proven by the fossilized seashells embedded in the mountain rock); local history and much more. I wish that I could give you an accurate and verbatim version of his antics and vernacular, but it was difficult to concentrate through the exhaustion fueled ire I was beginning to feel toward the excursion. TheDad in particular was targeted. Not for any reason, but if he’s not there to vent on then what’s his purpose anyway?
At the first stop we were at a small lookout. I planned to look back at what was obviously a vast distance covered, and had a moment. . . you know those moments in movies, especially kiddies’ ones, where a character is climbing something and you’re led to believe that they’re far up the climb, but when the camera zooms out they’ve barely left the ground? Yes, I had THAT moment – Anna (from Frozen).
This scenario was repeated three times, and finally we spilled onto the open hilltop, marked only with the high wooden platform from which we’d zipline, thus undoing the ordeal I’d just undergone. Yay.
Then I stood atop that two-story platform, and looked down.
I think my mind shut down.
All I remember is our guide securing me to the harness with the words, “no matter what, when I say go, you MUST go.” This man was about to ask me to step out into an open void, with nothing but a string keeping me alive, and plummet at break-neck speed for over what looked like (to me) five thousand metres and a river, reaching almost 60km/h.
I’d like to think that I wouldn’t have clawed out my own eyes if I hadn’t been clinging white-knuckled to my lifeline, but honestly I’d give it a fifty-fifty. I tried to let him know that I wasn’t ready but it came out only as a whimper.
He smiled at me and said, “Just let Go” and before I knew it I was fast approaching the end of the 40 second-return-to-the-bottom trip.
Upon reaching the bottom I froze, not from the icy Addo wind but from the intense amount of adrenaline that overtook my body. If anything, this experience taught me that when faced with extreme amounts of adrenaline, my body tends to simply shut down which I will explore in a future post.
I honestly think that my bro secretly wished he had captured me passing out on his GoPro. He did not infact but almost caught the stream of tears rolling down my face.
Would I recommend this adventure to you?
Yes, because you only live once 😉
Would I do it again?
Thanks for the Birthday gift Mom and Dad!
P.S: TheDad and my bro had an amazing time on the Addo Swing, a relatively new addition to the Adrenalin Addo Family, my stomach was not strong enough so I sat it out.
P.P.S: Want to read about The Dad’s version of events? See here.