Monday, June 6, 2016

Olmsted Ladies Trip 2016: Day Five

A bunch of ladies ended up staying an extra day in Split due to flight schedules, travel plans, and a never ending desire to keep the party going.  Since so many of us ended up staying, Jen organized a canyoning trip for the day.   I was SUPER excited about this until I realized that there was rapelling involved. I can barely handle climbing up a lighthouse due to my fear of heights, so the fact that there were two different rapels (53m and 18m) had me almost backing out. Thanks to lots of peer pressure, I committed and lived to blog about it!  

We started up at the top (although I'm pretty sure I was muttering/singing the lyrics to "started at the bottom now we're here" throughout the whole trip) and had to hike about 20 minutes down to the water.  I don't know what it is, but I'm a slow hiker.  Maybe it's the lack of length in the leg/height department or the lack of coordination in the overall body department, but whatever it is, I'm a slow hiker.  I ended up in the back, which was fine because I got sweet views like this of everyone else. Hooray! So cool!

Oh hey! It's me!  That lack of coordination is making me question my next move here. 
After about 20 minutes of hiking down into the canyon, we found water! We spent the next fourish hours climbing over rocks, floating in water, and admiring views.  Sounds very picturesque amirite?

It most definitely was, but it wasn't all scenery and relaxation.  Imagine bumper cars in human form...canyoning version.  Rapids are rapid.  Who would have guessed? This led to a lot of running into each other, major pile ups (at one point, I think all seven of us were tangled together) and multiple people ending up in a position on a rock that mocked a beached whale.  I don't think I stopped laughing from the time I got into the water until we made it back to the car.  Oh wait, I'm still laughing. 

So many emotions.  

No words.
Bumper cars.

About halfway through our bumper car excursion, we reached the point of our first rapell.  Other people in our group had signed up for the basic canyoning trip, but the Olmsted ladies had decided to do the Extreme Canyoning package (EXTREME!!), which included two rapels.  Cue freak out. As I said before, it took a lot of peer pressure to do this.  Kelly, another woman on the trip, felt the same way as me, which was nice. Two people rapelled down at the same time, so I went with Melissa and Kelly went with Rais.  Both Rais and Melissa were experienced rapellers and Kelly and I...not so much.  I never regretted my decision, but there were lots of butterflies and even a few tears as I was getting strapped in. Flashbacks to rock climbing with the Girl Scouts in fifth grade where I couldn't get my legs to stop shaking were flashing in front of me. I knew the hardest part would be making the "jump" (really it's just a step backwards) off the edge.  Once I made the plunge, it did get easier.  Since it's such a long rapell down, you supposedly get into a rhythm.  I don't think that ever happened to me, but I was able to kind of focus on what I was supposed to be doing.  It was all going fine and dandy and minimal "Oh my gosh"'s were being yelled until the rock curved in and there was no where to rapell! WHAT?!?!?! NO ONE TOLD ME THIS WOULD HAPPEN!!  Cue freak out. All of a sudden, I was just hanging by my very thick and strong rapelling rope thread 75 meters in the air.  At one point, I think Melissa said to look over and check out the water fall.  Yeah, sure.  Once I realized that the water was getting closer because the guy at the top was lowering me down and not because I was falling to my death, I was able to let go of the death grip on my rapell and look over at Melissa who looked almost as freaked out as I was.  A little bit of notice about the lack of rock towards the end would have been nice.

I do have to say, I'm super glad I did it.  It was a cool experience and it definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone.  Although I was freaking out pretty much the entire time, I never felt unsafe or that my life was in actual danger (although it's hard to not feel that way when you're 50m in the air).  I don't think I'll ever be a lover of heights, but it was worth it to say I did it. Plus, I can say I'm EXTREME!! now.

Afterwards, there was so much adrenaline running through our bodies, a lot of us decided to jump off the rocks.  I was not one of them, but the adrenaline was a-flowin'!

After we finished rapel numero uno, we continued to float/bumper car our way down the canyon some more.  Let me tell you, my abs got a work out that day.  Lying on your back is not easy work.  It's a little bit easier when you have views like this.

Don't judge me if I frame this and hang it in our living room....

It wasn't long though before we were at rapell #2.  This was was a mere 18m high (look at me, thinking 18m isn't very high.  Who do I think I am?).  Thank the big man upstairs that we did the high one first because I honestly don't think I could have gone from short to long.  Anyways, this one wasn't nearly as bad and I was able to keep my feet on the rocks the entire time.  We had the option to stop about halfway down and jump off of the ledge into the water and to that I said "no way Jose" but Jen being the brave soul that she is decided to do it. All the applause!

bahahaha heyyyy Claire!  She's mid-rapell!

After we made it down safely, we were pretty much done with our canyoning adventure.  We floated down a bit more

saw a few more waterfalls....

Took a few more selfies....

And tried to enjoy the serenity and calmness of the canyon, while still managing to end up as bumper cars and/or beached whales.

Canyoning was a complete blast! I'm so glad that we did this and that we decided to be in the EXTREME!!! group.  I didn't stop laughing the entire time I was in the water and even the rapelling turned out to be fun. We ended the day with dinner outside, lots of talking and lots and lots of wine. 

This is how we feel about canyoning! EXTREME!

Also, happy start to Ramadan! Ramadan mubarak!

*All photos thanks to Claire Clancy's GoPro!