Ziplining to the max

Trip Start Nov 22, 2008
Trip End Nov 22, 2008

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Flag of Canada  , Quebec,
Saturday, November 22, 2008

The plan for this weekend was to go ziplining with the University of Ottawa Outdoors Club at Lafleche Adventure Park. I didn't know that Keith was coming to visit until a few weeks ago.

There was no way I was about to back out of ziplining, so I ordered him an extra ticket, and we were on the list.

It's freezing this morning, there is a thin coating of snow on the ground, so I decide to forego the coat liner, but not the long johns. Keith never brought any long johns, so he's already predicting he's going to be cold.

We ended up leaving a little later than I wanted to, so I was stressing out on the bus to the meetup point. I didn't know anyone else who was going, except for Adam, and I wasn't quite sure about where exactly we were all supposed to be meeting. We got there at about quarter to 10 a.m. and no one was there yet.

"I'm pretty sure we're supposed to be at Tabaret Hall, but Adam's not here. Adam's ALWAYS early, what if we're at the wrong place? I'm gonna go look for internet to double check what my email said."

So I go wandering around and Keith stays in the warm lobby, just waiting. While I'm gone, Adam shows up on his bike as I'm walking back from Starbucks, which was closed. He has already met Keith, and I am instantly relieved.

"Now don't you feel silly for stressing out this whole time? We're the first ones here!"


I hate being late, especially when other people are counting on you, so yeah, I was stressed out.

We pile into a car with Angie, Jasmine and Tyler, then drive out to the Quebecois countryside. Last time Keith was here we went to Quebec too. Strange. On the way, we see an entire Saturday morning Christmas pageant walking down the street, we wonder if God or the Devil is "in the details" among other things.

It doesn't take long to drive there, so we all tumble out of the car, sign our waivers and grab our harnesses. This takes about an hour.

Our teacher, Lise-Anne (I think) takes us to the training course. We learn how to attach the carabiners to the "life line" (one at a time, and clipped in opposite directions) and we also learn how to attach the pulley to the zipline.

We crawl all around two small obstacle courses, complete with wooden bridge, swinging ropes, crooked ladders and anything else that could be concocted on a platform in the midst of the leafless trees. I'm definitely not as scared now, as I was when I did the ropes course at Doe Lake when I was in Girl Guides. I remember getting strapped into a harness and being sent up to the top of a giant pole, my legs and hands were shaking as I inched slowly across to the other side of the field at the top of another pole. It was terrifying. Since then, I had a chance to do a pretty long zipline at Carnaval in Quebec City, so I wasn't afraid this time.

After that, we head off to the "extreme" zipline course. Ha. It's pretty intense. There is a short zipline to slide down, then a SUPER long one, draped across a wintry, blustery valley. The wire looks like it could snap at any moment. I wait for everyone to go and I'm the last one to slide down to the first platform. Suddenly people are yelling at me and Angie wants to bail! She's so scared that she pulls herself back up to the beginning. I'd think it would be easier just to go sliding, but she's way too scared for that. We're taking a while, so the guide from the next group comes over and asks us what's going on. He says to tell Angie to follow him inside the building, where she will be warm and can wait for us to finish.
After Angie disembarks, I push off and quickly make it to the first platform. Easy peasy. Jasmine jumps off and goes down the long zipline, and then I go, so that I can take a photo of Keith coming in from the long zipline. It always takes me a while to hook up my equipment because I'm so short, I can hardly reach the wire. I take a deep breath and just sit down and let gravity do the rest. Keeping my hands firmly on top of the pulley, the wire literally "zips" underneath it. Zzzzzzzzzzzzeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, it's terrifying how fast it goes. I glance upwards for a second, imagine my hands accidentally getting caught in the pulley, then realize that maybe I should just enjoy the scenery sliding by around me. Yeah, forget about what could happen if my hands go somewhere they aren't supposed to.
So that was fun. I definitely was not as scared as I thought I would be. There are about five more ziplines to slide down, and I tell myself not to look up at the wire that could mutilate me if I touch it, ignore the loud zipping noise in my ear and just enjoy the ride. This works, but I get really cold. When I'm finally done the course, I'm glad to get into the warm hut, and ride back to Ottawa. 
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