Well our family summer vacations never seem to disappoint. It never fails that at some point in time our adventures will take us high…
Sometimes very high…
Sometimes very high with only a metal bar to protect you from falling to your death!
Now as you may recall from my post last summer (52 Pick Up – Family: Sometimes You Just Have to Put Your Big Girl Panties On!), I have an irrational fear of heights. Perhaps it isn’t so much the heights as it is the potential to plummet to my death.
Nonetheless where do our summer adventures lead us to this year but Montana. Now Montana seems pretty innoculous… lakes to swim in, grass lands, mountains.
Now I LOVE mountains. In fact the Rocky Mountain Range is practically in my own backyard, but when exploring mountains you generally can’t steer clear of heights.
As always, I refuse to sit back at the car while everyone else enjoys their adventures, or worse keep my family from an experience. So it was once again time to slap on those big old metaphorical granny panties, suck it up and meet my fear of heights head on.
Our adventure for the day took us to Whitefish Mountain Resort at Big Mountain. Not only is Whitefish Mountain Resort a ski hill in the winter, but it also hosts a vast array of summertime adventures such as treetop adventure walks, an alpine slide and zip lining tours. Now let it me brutally clear, there was NO WAY on God’s green earth that I was going to go zip lining!!!! I did agree to take the chair lift to the top of Big Mountain though.
I had the option of a gondola, but was feeling cocky and decided to brave the four person chair lift. I tried not to think about how high I was going to be above the ground as we boarded and that decidedly useless metal bar supposedly strapped us in. Seriously!!! One wiggle and you were hittin’ the ground baby!
For the first quarter of the trip up the face of the peak, I gripped the bar and did my best not to look down as my heart hammered a timpanic beat in my ears. Halfway up I was pleading for my kids to just sit still. How was it possible that craning their necks around to see behind them and leaning over that silly bar to look at their feet didn’t bring on heart palpitations?!?!
Then something suprisingly interesting occured; I began to enjoy myself.
The soft woody scent of the heated alpine terrain rose up to calm my senses. There are no arrangement of words on earth to accuratly describe how the mountains smell in the heat of summer. There I was practically flying, surrounded by the tangy scent of spruce trees mixed with the softness of alpine flowers. I would be remiss to add that the scenery was simply breathtaking. Mindnumbingly breathtaking. So much that I seemed to forget how high I was and instead found myself absorbed in the sensory overload that was assaulting me from every angle.
When I stepped off the chairlift I was amused to note that my legs didn’t feel like they were made of Jello and my heart was no longer pounding out of fear, but rather excitement in finding myself with a 360 degree view of a mountain vista that was almost impossible to comprehend. How thankful I was, as we explored the top of the peak, that I was having this experience with my family.
I could have missed it. We all could have missed out on this experience. All I had to do was say, “No, I don’t think this is something I can handle right now.” But I didn’t.
So in the words of Robert Frost I reflect…
Two roads diverged in a woods, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.