While our spring break trip is now a distant memory, part of that trip has stuck with me. (warning, my last long post about our trip).
I am not afraid of too many things. I don't mind flying, I have come to accept that mice live in the world (and sometimes get in people's homes), I can kill and get rid of spiders. Fortunately I don't have much contact with snakes, other than the garter snake I accidentally stepped on one summer, but they only creep me out in large numbers (as in the Indiana Jones movie scene).
But heights have always given me a bit of pause. I will stand away from the railings on the third floor of the Mall of America, that look down into the rotunda. I get a little light headed. This will all relate, eventually.
Tuesday of our break dawned brilliantly blue and sunny, a perfect day in Whitefish. The guys had been asking if I was interested in joining them at the mountain, for part of the day, and even though I don't ski I really wanted to go. So I packed a big lunch for everyone, and my knitting, and we were out the door by 8 am.
Rick drove the twisty road up to Whitefish Mountain Resort, my head was on a swivel taking in the views. We arrived at the Base Lodge, and the guys got ready to ski. I went outside to attempt to take pictures of them as they hit a run that ended at the lodge, and then I packed up my things and took a shuttle to another part of the mountain. This resort is huge, you are only seeing a tiny part of it here. They have 98 runs!
I watched them from that spot for a few runs, and then they told me it was time to take Chair One to the very top of the mountain. It was all so new and fresh and exciting that I never even thought about declining the offer.
The four of us jumped on the chair lift (the ski less me on the end) and I was glad I had chair lift practice from the Sky Ride at the State Fair, so they didn't have to pause it for me. It was a gorgeous ride up the mountain, fresh snow sparkling on the pine trees, untouched snow on the slope well below us.
I gracefully stepped off at the top (at least I didn't fall) and just looked around me in wonder.
What a breathtaking view, from every angle. It was almost more than my brain could handle.
After some photos, the guys headed down for some runs and I went in to the lodge for some coffee and knitting.
Let's just say I didn't get much knitting done, it was just too beautiful to be looking at yarn, and I spent most of my time looking out at the view.
Soon it was time for the guys to take a break, and have some lunch, and before I knew it, it was time for me to head down the mountain to catch the Snow Bus back into town.
In all of the excitement, I hadn't really thought about how I would get DOWN the mountain.
Rick patted me on the back and said they could always stop the lift if I had trouble getting on. I was determined that would not happen, so with sweaty palms I clutched my cooler and jumped right on.
And then I realized I was in a chair lift, GOING DOWN. My heart literally stopped as I looked around me, and I knew I could not look down, or I would simply stop breathing. When a chair lift is going up, you are staring at the side of the mountain. When it is going down, you are looking out at the entire world, from thousands of feet up from sea level.
It was so beautiful, and so completely terrifying, all at the same time. I could see for miles, sparkling lakes, views of Glacier Park, I felt like I could see into other states all the way around me.
Wanting to seem cool and unruffled, I didn't put the safety bar down, and used my pageant wave as the guys skied underneath me. But I was having trouble taking full breaths, and I was pretty sure the people going by me (some of them laughing at a 'downloader' ) could see my heart beating outside of my chest.
About 8 minutes after it started, I landed on firm ground and felt like perhaps I had just completed a ski dive. I was completely exhilarated, and happy, and proud, and I could not stop smiling. And I was breathing again.
I left the guys, and they spent the rest of the day on the slopes. Here are some of their shots-they took turns taking pictures!
The lesson I take from that day, is that if I had been thinking ahead of time of what going up that mountain would really entail, I would have never have gone up. But I had no choice, and faced my fear, and realized that I can pretty much do anything. That piece of it has stayed with me, and I now have this little extra bit of confidence in my heart that makes me feel strong.
Have you faced some fears? If so, how did you do it, and how do you feel now?