Monday, August 29, 2011

Day 137 - Conquering fears and waterfalls

I'm standing at the top of a waterfall, looking down into the extreme wall of water pouring from just behind me, which I am about to abseil into.  I am not in the calmest state I've ever been in to be honest.

Mallary and I are 'Canyoning', which involves abseiling down waterfalls, hiking through forest, sliding down waterfalls as if they are water slides, jumping off cliffs, and swimming through canyons.  We started the day with a quick warm up session, getting used to holding our own weight on the harness and ropes, and slowly walking and jumping down a small slope.  Then, it was straight into our first wall.  It was a little slippery, and dropping into the water at the end was invigorating, but it was nothing compared to what was to come!

We hiked through the forest for a while before reaching our natural water slide, first, we went the easy way, feet first.  Then it was time to go in backwards - now that was scary! Luckily we had helmets on!  But again, this was just all small stuff compared to what was waiting for us after the next hiking venture.

The mother of all waterfalls, slippery as hell, at a "just don't look down" height.  The first bit was easy.  The moss made it slippery and finding footholds proved a little difficult, but when I got down to the second part was when it really got tricky. With water splashing into my face like it was coming from a high pressure hose, I could barely concentrate on anything except trying to keep my eyes open.  I slipped, got stuck on the rock, water then bearing down on the top of my head, found my footing again, just to slip once more! But I eventually made it, and the 4m drop into the water when the rope ended was an adrenaline rush all on its own.

After jumping off the cliff (sans helmet!), we hiked and scrambled over rocks to get to our final waterfall, also known as 'The Washing Machine'.  Named after the force of the water when you meet it, making you feel as if you are tumbling inside a washing machine.  My guide told me that it is technically the most easy, but also the most frightening.  I really didn't think I had the courage to go down this one.  I took it slow, breathed deeply, and was more than delighted to finally hit the water.  I made it! That washing machine sure made an impact on me!

Exhausted, hungry but happy, we climbed up the final mountain to our picnic lunch spread.  Gone was the girl frightened of the slippery limestone at Pai Canyon, and reemerged was the adventurous, "yeah I'll give it a go" girl I'd be searching for my entire trip.

Canyoning - some of the best fun I've ever had, whilst still keeping my clothes on ;)

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