Monday, September 12, 2011

ZIP-ah-dee-doo-dah!

We went ziplining in Whistler yesterday! It was, sort of, a last minute decision. The weather had finally turned into summer weather, even though the boys had started back at school. Sean has been working six days a week for almost the entire summer, and not only has it been a strain on him, the kids and me as well. This was a way to spend the absolutely beautiful day together in a way that we wouldn't forget.






Before I start on the ziplining pictures, I've got to say something about the drive! It was about 3 hours, which we kind of were dreading...packed the laptop, games, books, knitting, etc. to keep us occupied. I do believe though, that it was the most beautiful drive I have ever taken. Whenever I go to Whistler again, if it's clear day, I'll make sure to go in the daytime. So incredibly worth it. There's lots of places for tree pose...



This is Squamish Chief Mountain, just south of Squamish, BC, the rock climbing capital of BC. We saw it in the morning and were so amazed we had to stop again in the afternoon.

Apparently, you can also hike to the top; it takes about an hour, although it looks like it would take DAYS. Return trip in the future.


And the river. The sound was so cool, and the water so cold!




So we got up to Whistler at about 10:15, and after taking a little while to find our bearings and the Ziptrek check-in, we wandered around for a while. In the summer, Whistler is a mecca for mountain bikers. They ride the ski lifts up the mountain, and ride down the mountain like crazy lunatics. It looked like suicidal tendencies to me, but lots of fun to Sean. Return trip idea FOR HIM in the future. I told him I'd park it and sip on a drink or find something else to do all day. Way too scary for me.


When it was time for the tour, we got harnessed up. There was another boy in our group, Lucas, who was the same size as Owen. They had lots of fun together, and I think it made the whole experience more fun and less frightening for O. He was nervous in the days coming up to it, but was a trooper during the whole tour.




After getting our harnesses on, we took a little hike up to the "tester zip" to get a feel for it. I raced to the front of the line to get pictures--that's Guyan there in the front. There was also a couple on the tour, plus Lucas, his dad, and his dad's friend.

When we got to the structure to climb up for the tester zip (looked strangely like a gallows to me), I quickly realized first in line was NOT where I wanted to be. So I offered up my firstborn son to go first. He did great.


Experienced zipliner, ready for the next offering.


Here's Sean getting locked in. My camera died soon after taking this picture...so Sean took most of the rest of the pictures and videos with his phone. With no wrist strap to tether it to his harness, that meant not getting too fancy with the twists, twirls, upside down moves, etc.




So I made sure to get in plenty of that.


Guyan was so calm--never a scream, or a nervous look.


Unlike his mother.


The scenery up there was bee-yooo-ti-ful.



One of the guides, Darraugh, was from Ireland. Awesome accent. He taught the boys how to be Bravo Force members with their harnesses. You could tell he really enjoyed his job.



OH!! Another highlight. We saw a bear! The guides told us that the bear population around Whistler is high enough that you are never further than a kilometer from a bear (usually a docile black bear, not an aggressive, huge Grizzly). We were pretty darned close to a black bear! Right after Guyan zipped across one of the long zips, the photographer on the course radioed that there was a bear below the lines. Guyan and I were watching it for a few minutes while the others (including Sean, with the only working camera for our family) were zipping across. By the time Sean got there, it was hard to see the bear from the platform (and thankfully no chance--that's what I like to tell myself--of the bear joining us on the platform, since there was a VERY steep incline between it and us). One of the Ziptrek employees took Sean's phone out further on the platform and took this photo, sans zoom.





Maybe if I digitally zoom, you can see it better...

Seriously...we did see a bear. Awesome. It happens periodically, but not an everyday thing, the guides said. I think the black blob to the right of the "digitally enhanced" bear is the real thing. Or maybe it's the blob above it. Or maybe that's all shadows and the bear was climbinb the incline.


And now for the videos! As we were getting ready to leave for Whistler, I was stressing to Sean that it was important that we wear bright clothes, so that we could identify each other as we're zipping around the forest. I think he thought I was being a little over-dramatic, but now as I look at the grainy still shots from the videos I've uploaded to this blog one at a time over the past few hours, I can only identify, for sure, mine--'cause I'm wearing hot pink. Sean should've worn fluorescent orange or something. I figure I'll post and then move them around if they're totally messed up.


This first video, I know, is of me.


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The remaining five videos...I got them all messed up, except the last one (mine!). After posting and watching them all, now I've moved them around and they're right.


Sean's view of his own zip.


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And this is Guyan...


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This is Owen, in his first big solo zip.



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On the real long zips, Owen had to go tandem with a guide, to make sure he made it all the way across. Umm, good idea. Goes a lot faster when you add ~150 pounds!



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And finally, on the last short zip of the day, it was freestyle. Upside down? Tree pose? Twirl? Upside down tree pose with a twirl? I couldn't make up my mind. Before doing this zip, I had specifically asked one of the guides if we had to get upright before hitting the brake. It seemed like a good idea. "Yes. Get upright." I tried, I swear, but arrived at the brake in a horizontal flailing mess. Sorry 'bout that. Re-do?



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