Not only did I see that sight, I had lots of experiences and thoughts to tuck away in my mind’s corners to possibly be used in future stories. And the same happened to John; he almost daily stated he could use a particular experience in one of his short stories that he now hoped to turn into a novel.
For instance, our first excursion was ziplining through the tree canopy of the forest surrounding Juneau. Having an on-again/off-again fear of heights, it took grim determination to try this. Thankfully, once I started zipping along each line, the gear kept me from looking down, so I only had to ‘face my fear’ on the platforms in the trees, for the most part. Now I have a little bit of a feel for what it’s like to don a harness and ride along a cable; how the wind feels, how easy it is to get ‘off-balance’ and start rotating instead of facing forward. Not to mention how wet one’s clothes can get, how slippery one’s shoes can get, or how poorly one can see the rapidly-approaching platform one is aimed for when it’s raining.
The day started misty but calm, and it was a gentle rain by the time we finished. From that, I might be able to extrapolate what the experience would be like in a heavier rain or even snow.
The tallest point we reached was 185 feet above the ground. (“I did not need to hear that,” I told our guides.) I don’t think the platforms were any more than half-way up a tree, and for the most part, there were tree limbs around us. But the course came down the side of a steep hill, and the ‘training’ line started at a platform about 1 foot off the ground and ended at one about 10 feet off the ground. The 2nd line (the bunny slope) took us even further into the air. With some imagination, I could possibly figure out what it would be like to use a zipline between buildlings like a cat burgler, or across chasms, or from stony outcrop to stony outcrop on a mountain.
I’ve considered intelligent creatures traveling in this way, but only 10-20 feet off the ground. If they were on a steep piece of terrain, they would have to use ‘switchback’ lines or ‘tack’ their way down. I’m still working on how they would get up a hill. That might involve tree-climbing.
It was hard for me to get started with this adventure. By the time we finished, my knees were shaky and I was completely worn out. The other adventurers asked how I felt about ziplining now, did I enjoy it? I replied I wasn’t sure ‘enjoy’ was the word I would use; I would have to do it again to see if it was fun. And then, during the obligatory visit to the gift shop, I found THE t-shirt I HAD to have! It said,
I survived ziplining!
Well, I’ve spent this entire blog talking about ziplining. I thought I would quickly run through a catalog of our ‘new experiences’ from this cruise, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen that way. Yeah, I tend to ‘run off at the keyboard’.
So stay tuned for my further adventures! They’ll get written up and posted, mixed in with all the other stuff I find to write about here.