Around the World... One Journey at a Time. Around the World... One Journey at a Time.

North to Alaska - Live!

by Kathy 13. June 2011 08:04

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Testing Our Fear of Heights in Whistler


About 1 ½ hours north of Vancouver lies the mountain town of Whistler, perhaps most famous for hosting many events during the 2010 Winter Olympics. Although the snow was still deep on the mountains, we were not there to do any skiing (still available via helicopter, for those die-hard folks). Instead, we spent the afternoon at the WildPlay adventure center, testing our fear of heights on a series of ropes courses among the trees.

Sebastian met the age requirement, but his fingertips were just about half an inch shy of stretching up to 5 feet eleven inches while he was flat-footed. This meant that he could only do the lower course intended for kids aged 7 to 13—lots of fun activities, but not quite so high up in the air. (Being just a tad too small to do the “real” course took some wind out of Sebastian’s sails, but he recovered.) Ben graciously offered to stay with Sebastian so that I could experience the high level courses with Genevieve.

All harnessed and ready to go, with our safety guide Matt:

Matt was from Australia, and this was his second summer working at Whistler. He provided us with some basic instructions on how to use our two safety clips and our detachable zip-line pulley. Then we were on our own up in the trees, with Matt offering suggestions (when needed) from the ground.

One of the hardest things was developing a smooth technique for clipping and unclipping our safety straps, one by one. After a few times, however, Sebastian was a pro!

Sebastian, on one of the many ziplines:

Genevieve, on a stretch of swinging logs:

Zoomed out, to give perspective as to how high up she was:

Each of the tree-to-tree crossings presented a new and different challenge. Some of the designs were quite creative!

Sebastian, making his way through a draped net (not as easy as it looks!):

Genevieve, stepping off onto looped ropes:

Here I am, on the tops of up-ended logs:

Sebastian, on a row of alternating slats:

Genevieve figured out a great technique for crossing the rolling, slippery, swinging balls:

The crossing that almost did me in was the one involving swinging log steps.

A definite rhythm was needed—reach, step, reach, step. The logs were moving, and balance was critical. I stepped, reached forward, wobbled severely, hung on for dear life, paused too long, thought “what am I doing?”, reached again, wobbled some more . . . .   The learning curve was steep, and my comfort zone was being stretched. I froze momentarily in the middle. The little voice of fear was starting to murmur. Silence! Retreating was not an option. Just keep going, don’t think about falling, and don’t look down! One swinging log at a time (focus, focus!), I made my way across.

Sebastian, like me, was challenged with the set of swinging logs on his lower course—he stepped forward and ended up doing the splits!  Whoa! Here he is, carefully making his next move:

The toughest part for Genevieve was swinging across on a Tarzan rope and landing on a scramble net:

I have to admit that I had to take a deep breath before that one too. But both Genevieve and I agreed that after we each had swung through the air (clutching that rope with all our might), hit the net, crawled across, and stepped across a gap of space before pulling ourselves onto the platform, we felt totally empowered, as if there was nothing in the world that we couldn’t do!

We did three separate courses, each one higher and more difficult than the last. Here is Genevieve at the start of the highest course, before hooking herself to another zipline:

I climbed up, hooked onto the line, and zipped down after her—woo hoo!

Behind my safety gear was a definite smile!

At the end of the day, we rated our experience a big thumbs up!

The ropes courses were exhilarating, and I think that we all cracked through some mental barriers in rising to the challenges. Yeah, bring it on!

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Comments (2) -

6/14/2011 5:27:48 AM #

Donnie W. Jennings

Hi Kathy!

Another wonderful day!  Maybe we will cross paths in a few weeks.


Donnie W. Jennings United States | Reply

6/14/2011 9:03:40 AM #


Hi Donnie,
We'll keep an eye out for you, for sure!
Have a super trip!

Kathy United States | Reply

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Map of Our Journeys

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Our travel map

Places We’ve Been, w/Quick Links

   Bumthang Valley
   Gom Kora
   Paro Valley
   Punakha Dzong
   Sangdrup Jongkhar
   Wangdi Phrodrang

   Janko Marca
   La Paz
   Laguna Colorada
   Laguna Verde
   Salar de Coipasa
   Salar de Uyuni
   San Pablo
   Santa Rosa
   Sud Lipez
   World’s Most Dangerous Road

   Banff National Park
   Battle Hill Nat'l Hist. Site
   Boya Lake Prov. Park, BC
   Burns Lake Bike Park
   Canyon Sainte-Anne
   Dawson Creek
   Eastern Townships
   Fort Nelson
   Jasper National Park
   Kluane Lake, YK
   'Ksan Historical Village
   Lake Louise
   Liard Hot Springs
   Niagara Falls
   Quebec City
   Thousand Islands
   Vancouver Island
   Watson Lake

   Forbidden City
   Great Wall at Mutianyu
   Hong Kong
   Summer Palace
   Terracotta Warriors
   Tiananmen Square
   Yungang Caves

Costa Rica
   Arenal Volcano
   Finca Corsicana
   Hanging Bridges
   Manuel Antonio
   Poas Volcano
   Proyecto Asis
   Sky Trek Zip Lining
   Venado Caves


   Amazon Rainforest
   Chaquiñan Bicycle Trail
   La Mitad del Mundo
   Napo Wildlife Center
   Papallacta Hot Springs
   Proyecto DCR
   Yasuní National Park


   Baja California
   Frida Kahlo Museum
   Hierve el Agua
   Marietas Islands
   Mexico City
   Monte Alban
   Oaxaca City
   Puerto Angel
   Puerto Escondido
   Puerto Vallarta
   San Agustin
   San Martin Tilcajete
   Santa Fe de la Laguna
   Santa María el Tule
   Studio of Jacobo Angeles
   Teotitlán del Valle

   Dead Vlei
   Elondo Village
   Etosha Nat'l Park
   Hippo Pools Camp
   Hoba Meteorite
   Khowarib Camp
   Moose McGregor's Bakery
   Mowani Camp
   Ngepi Camp
   Nkasa Lupala
   n'Kwzi Camp
   River Dance Lodge
   Seisriem Camp
   Treesleeper Camp

   Cañón del Pato
   Cerro de Pasco
   La Oroya
   Machu Picchu
   Nuevo Jaén
   Tingo Maria
   Yungay Memorial


South Africa

   Rock of Gibraltar
   Santillana del Mar

United States National Parks
   Arches National Park, UT
   Badlands National Park, SD
   Bandelier National Monument, NM
   Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
   Cahokia Mounds (UNESCO site), IL
   Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
   Canyon de Chelly Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Cape Hatteras National Shoreline, NC
   Capitol Reef National Park, UT
   Civil Rights Memorial, AL
   Death Valley National Park, CA
   Denali National Park, AK
   Devil’s Tower National Monument, WY
   El Morro National Monument, NM
   Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.
   Glacier National Park, MT
   Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
   Grand Tetons National Park, WY
   Great Basin National Park, NV
   Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI
   Joshua Tree National Park, CA
   Kaloko-Honokohau Nat'l Hist. Park, HI
   Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks, NM
   King's Canyon National Park, CA
   Martin Luther King Jr. Nat'l Hist. Site, GA
   Mesa Verde National Park, CO
   Montezuma's Castle Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Monticello, VA
   Mount Rushmore National Memorial, SD
   Mt. Rainier National Park, WA
   Olympic National Park, WA
   Petrified Wood National Park, AZ
   Pinnacles National Monument, CA
   Pu'uhonua o Honaunau Nat'l Hist Pk, HI
   Pu'ukohola Heiau Nat'l Historic Site, HI
   San Antonio Missions Nat'l Hist. Park, TX
   Tuzigoot National Monument, AZ
   Walnut Canyon National Monument, AZ
   Washington Monument
   White Sands National Monument, NM
   Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, AK
   Wright Brothers National Memorial in NC
   Yellowstone National Park, WY
   Yosemite National Park, CA

United States, Cities and Places
   The Alamo, TX
   Alaska Wildlife Conservation Cntr.
   Alpine Loop in CO
   Anchorage, AK
   Antares Junction, AZ
   Arctic Circle, AK
   Barrel Oak Winery in VA
   Biloxi, MS
   Bottle Tree Farm in CA
   Calico Ghost Town, CA
   Canfield Mountain Trail System, ID
   Cape St. Vincent, NY
   Carson City, NV
   Carter Caves State Park in KY
   Chappie-Shasta OHV Area, CA
   Child's Glacier, AK
   Circle B Chuckwagon Show in SD
   City Museum in MO
   Cody, WY
   Corn Palace in SD
   Crazy Horse Memorial in SD
   Custer State Park, SD
   Dalton Highway, AK
   Dinosaur Tracks in AZ
   Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC
   Dry Falls (Sun Lakes-Dry Falls), WA
   Fairbanks, AK
   Front Royal, VA
   Gallup, NM
   Goffs, CA
   Grand Canyon Caves, AZ
   Grand Canyon Skywalk, AZ
   Grave Digger Monster Truck in NC
   Great Salt Lake, UT
   Hackberry General Store in AZ
   Hannibal, MO
   Hatteras Island, NC
   Hawaii (Big Island)
   Hickison Petroglyphs, NV
   Holbrook, AZ
   Hole in the Rock, UT
   Homer, AK
   Honey Island Swamp Tour in LA
   Hoover Dam, NV
   Hyder, AK
   Jim Gray’s Petrified Wood Co. in AZ
   John’s Peak OHV Area, OR
   Kailua-Kona, HI
   Keepers of the Wild Nature Park in AZ
   Kennecott, AK
   Kennecott Copper Mine in UT
   Kingman, AZ
   Lake Havasu, AZ
   Lake Tahoe, NV
   Las Vegas, NV (winter 2010)
   Little Brown Church in IA
   London Bridge in AZ
   Loneliest Road in America, Hwy. 50, NV
   Los Angeles, CA
   Lost Colony Show on Roanoke Isl., NC
   Lowe’s Speedway in NC
   Mardi Gras World in LA
   Mark Twain Museum in MO
   Meteor Crater, AZ
   Million Dollar Highway, CO
   Minnesota Zoo
   Mitchell, SD
   Moab, UT
   Moab, UT (dirt biking)
   Montgomery, AL
   Montpelier, ID
   Navajo Nation, AZ
   Needles, CA
   Nevada Beach, NV
   Newberry Springs, CA
   New River Gorge, WV
   New Orleans, LA
   Niagara Falls 
   North Pole, AK
   Oatman, AZ
   Old Faithful Geyser in WY
   Omak Stampede, WA
   Painted Desert, AZ
   Park City, UT (summer)
   Plymouth, NC
   Portage Valley, AK
   Portland, OR
   Prospect OHV Trail System, OR
   Resaca, GA
   Riverside State Park, WA
   Rock City in TN
   Rosa Parks Library and Museum in AL
   Roswell, NM
   Russian River, AK
   Salt Lake City, UT
   San Antonio, TX
   San Diego, CA
   San Juan Islands, WA
   San Francisco, CA
   Santa Catalina Island, CA
   Seattle, WA
   Sedona, AZ
   Shoe Tree in CA
   Shoe Tree in NV
   Silverton, CO
   Sonora, TX
   St. Louis, MO
   St. Paul, MN
   Talkeetna, AK
   Telluride, CO
   Route 66
   Twin Knobs Recreation Area in KY
   Virginia Beach, VA
   Washington D.C.
   Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park in IL
   Williamsburg, VA
   Winom Frazier OHV Area, OR
   Winslow, AZ
   Zion National Park, UT

Planning Our Adventures

For us, each journey begins with the initial heart pangs to venture to a certain part of the world. Then the ideas start coming together . . . ahh, the possibilities . . . and the dream evolves gradually into an actual plan. But, oh, the joy of the dream!  Click here to learn more about how we plan and prepare for our journeys.

Where Are We Now?

Click here to discover where we are now, as well as our uncoming travel plans.

Words for the Heart

“. . . and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Anais Nin